GULFPORT, FLORIDA: Broward County Florida Circuit Court Judge Robert W. Lee will offer a presentation entitled “Welcome to Florida: LGBT Attorneys Need Not Apply” on Wednesday, June 12 at 7 p.m. at the Gulfport Public Library (5501 28th Ave. S.). In 1997, Judge Lee was the first openly gay person appointed to the Florida State Court bench. The event is free and open to the public.
Until 1979, it was illegal for an LGBT person to work as an attorney in the state of Florida, and roadblocks persisted into the 1980s. Judge Lee will survey the history of the barriers that have been in place disallowing LGBT persons from practicing as attorneys in Florida, the cases that triggered a change in the view of this issue by the Florida Supreme Court, and development of current rules of professional conduct and judicial canons that deal with the treatment of LGBT persons in Florida courts. The presentation will also address current laws dealing with LGBT discrimination in the court workplace. This enlightening review of LGBTQ legal history in Florida is open to all. (Pending approval, Attorneys and Judges may also receive continuing education credit for attendance.)
Judge Lee is a distinguished jurist who has received the Chief Justice Award for Judicial Excellence, as well as the President’s Award for Outstanding Service, both in 2016. His wide community involvement has included the Broward Education Foundation; Broward United Against Discrimination; the Broward Human Rights Initiative; the Broward County Hispanic Bar Association; and the Stonewall National Museum and Archives. He was chair of the Broward County Canvassing Board and presided over the historic 2000 Presidential Recount in Broward County. He has presided over almost 350 jury trials and has more than 500 published legal decisions. Judge Lee has served as an Adjunct Professor of Legal Studies at Florida International University; Florida Metropolitan University; and Barry University.
This event is part of a full month of programs sponsored by the LGBTQ Resource Center of the Gulfport Public Library to celebrate Pride Month in June. For a full schedule of Pride events, and for more information about the Center, visit the Center’s website: www.mygulfport.us/lgbtq-resources or email LGBTQGulfport@gmail.com. The Resource Center, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, was established in 2014 and is the first of its kind in a public library setting in Florida, providing collections, services and events throughout the year to the local LGBTQ community, its friends and family.