From Our Founder

by Stephen Lachs, Los Angeles, California

August, 1995 – For any number of years, my old friend and colleague Mary Morgan and I would talk about getting together with other gay men and lesbians who were judicial officers and forming a group so that we could network and provide a basis of support for each other. We knew how important this could be. After all, when I became the first openly gay judge in 1979 and Mary the first openly lesbian judge in 1981, there weren’t so many colleagues to share our feelings with. Of course, we realized that there would be many other objectives for such a group. But mainly we thought it would give us a chance to help each other in the somewhat difficult task of being openly gay in the judiciary.

Time went on and both of us were too busy to do much about this idea. Finally, in 1992, I realized that I had only seven years left before I would retire and so if anything was going to happen, it better happen soon. As a result, I made some phone calls and eventually came up with more names than I thought existed. As it happened, because of a particularly light calendar, I had the time to put together what I think was a great meeting in Washington in 1993. And, voila, we had a group. We are incorporated as a non-profit in California, we have a bank account with money in it, and we have had three subsequent meetings.

The 1995 meeting in Provincetown was so enjoyable that I think back to when Mary and I would talk about this and I feel that something good and special has occurred. While we haven’t yet achieved many of our loftier goals (and I’m sure we will with time), many of us have been able to meet judicial officers whom we never would have known existed, and I know that a number of new friend ships have been cemented. For me, this has been the first and foremost goal of our group. For those of you who have been to any of our three meetings, you have met lesbian and gay judges from across the nation and, like me, you undoubtedly have a feeling of connection with the rest of the country.

Let me thank all of you for your support of this concept. I’d like particularly to thank Michael Sonberg and Paula Hepner from New York, Linda Giles and Dermot Meagher from Massachusetts and Rand Hoch from Florida, for all of the effort they’ve given. With Linda as our new President and Rand as the new Vice President, I’m sure we’re going to see more done in accomplishment toward our other goals. For now, however, I will keep on with my aim of bringing as many of us together as possible to share in the very special feeling of meeting another judicial officer who shares that unique something which is being gay.

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