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May 29, 2014
Next Stage in Marriage Equality
Arent Fox partner Hunter Carter is fighting for marriage equality in the Americas. Yesterday we caught up with him to talk about his most recent filing before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
"Every moment, you're being deprived of your human rights," says Hunter of couples not being allowed to marry, and "getting it five years from now doesn't make up for it." He's a fluent Spanish-speaker (impressively self-taught) who's worked on cases for marriage equality in the US, Chile, Colombia, and now Mexico. The Mexican couple whose case was just filed before the IACHR in DC have a pressing need: one member has HIV and needs treatment. Because they're not married, he doesn't have access to his partner's medical benefits. The Mexican constitution and American Convention on Human Rights both prohibit discrimination on sexual orientation.
We snapped Hunter pointing out the Pro Bono Declaration for the Americas in his office. In addition to filings from Mexico and Chile before the IACHR, Hunter's working on two vital cases before Colombia's Constitutional Court, on second-parent adoption and the right to get married. He points out that the best-prepared opponents to marriage equality in the US couldn't come up with valid arguments against it, judging by the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell; DOMA and Prop 8 cases; and the many judges who've overturned same-sex marriage bans (it's legal in 19 states and DC). In the US, we should hear from the Fourth and 10th Circuits within weeks, and the Ninth and Sixth Circuits shortly after that. (So get your ruling viewing party invites in the mail.)
These matters have a personal element for Hunter, whose husband is Colombian. The two own a residence there. Hunter says he's been involved in the legal fight for marriage equality since around '07, though before that he was involved in other ways, including as the GC for the Whitman-Walker Clinic, a DC community health center specializing in HIV/AIDS care. The clinic honored him with this award, which he calls one of the most meaningful items in his office. On marriage equality, he says the pendulum that's swinging to its completion in the US will be followed by Latin America.
Reading at Jones Day
Jones Day recently hosted nonprofit Room to Read for its annual spring gala. Up on the rooftop terrace at 51 Louisiana Ave, we snapped Room to Read founder, John Wood, center. He transitioned from being a Microsoft exec to helping build libraries and schools for underprivileged children around the world after a life-changing trip to Nepal. He's flanked by Shajjan & Associates founder Saeeq Shajjan, who was in town from Kabul, Jones Day partner Pete Garvin, Jones Day firmwide partner-in-charge of pro bono, Laura Tuell Parcher and George Mason University president Dr. Angel Cabrera.
Inside before dinner, we snapped Room to Read DC head Craig Herb, also a former Microsoft exec, and Room to Read associate manager Raina Aronowitz. The nonprofit has set up more than 16,000 libraries and almost 2,000 schools around the world. Jones Day's given Room to Read grants to set up libraries and scholarships, and has helped with IP and trademark infringement issues.
Women in IP
NoVa-based IP firm Oblon Spivak recently hosted AIPLA's annual Women in IP Law event, bringing in USPTO deputy director Michelle Lee. She's front and center in this photo with talented female IP lawyers from the firm: (top) Tia Fenton, Ruth Davila, Claire Hu, Julia Fei, Beth Chapman, Maki Saitoh, (bottom) Robin Bren, Lindsay Kile, Lisa Mandrusiak, Michelle Lee, Kathleen Cooney-Porter, and Marybeth Peters. Lee talked about facilitating the next generation of women in tech and IP and gave some encouraging stats from the USPTO: while 36% of employees are women, they make up 44% of managers and officials, and 32% of senior execs.
GEN Z – Announcing New Events and Summer Pricing for High School Events
Do your kids know what they want to be when they grow up? (Do you?) Well, at least we have something for them! GEN Z is Bisnow's program that lets teenagers explore career options in a quick, fun, hands-on way. They'll hear directly from really successful young folks in various careers (like Video Blocks founder Joel Holland, pictured). This spring, more than 140 area high school students got started with their futures by attending a GEN Z event. And we've just announced new summer GEN Z programs focused on entrepreneurship and real estate. We're offering special summer pricing now. More info and sign up!
Announcing: The Bisnow SuperSchmooze!
Every couple years, you veterans may remember, we put on a big pure networking and food event—so big we can only call it "SuperSchmooze!" The evening of June 12 is our next one. Bring your business cards, and your appetite to the District Center downtown (555 12th Street). You'll find over 20 of DC's top restaurants, offering some of their best food. Plus, a big open bar. And you will find our readers from every local field of business: tech, law, association, finance, commercial real estate, and government, all converging for two hours of fun, food, and schmooze. More info and sign up!