Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP will be hosting the Sixth Annual Michael Diehl Civil Rights Forum on May 25th at Fried Frank’s offices. The guest speaker, Susan Sommer, Senior Counsel at the Lambda Legal Defense and Educational Fund, will be speaking on the topic of “Litigation for Marriage Rights.”
Sommer is lead counsel in Hernandez v. Robles, Lambda Legal’s lawsuit seeking the right to marry for same-sex couples in New York, which will be argued before the New York Court of Appeals on May 31, 2006. Sommer was also the lead attorney on Lambda Legal’s lawsuit that convinced the Arkansas Supreme Court to strike down the state’s antigay sodomy law and clearly identify a right to privacy in the state’s constitution for the first time, and she also played a key role in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Lawrence v. Texas.
Fried Frank filed an amici curiae brief in the Hernandez case on behalf of clergy members from around the state of New York. The clergy members urged the court to reiterate the fundamental distinction between civil marriage sanctioned by the State and the religious rites of matrimony governed by an individual faith’s practice. Members of the clergy represented in the brief have received a special invitation from Fried Frank to attend the forum.
The Civil Rights Forum was established in memory of Michael Diehl, who was an associate in the corporate department at Fried Frank from 1997 until 1999. Throughout his life, Michael was committed to the struggle for civil rights for gays and lesbians, as well as for all people who have traditionally been denied equal rights in our society.