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ACLU Gay Rights Director Announces Departure;
Spent Four Years Coordinating Work on Lesbian, Gay Rights, AIDS
For IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 30, 1994
NEW YORK -- After four years of directing the American Civil
Liberties Union's increasingly aggressive work fighting discrimination
based on sexual orientation and HIV status, William B. Rubenstein has
announced he is leaving his posts as Director of the ACLU's national
Lesbian and Gay Rights Project and AIDS Project.
Rubenstein, who plans to join his partner in Boston and teach for the
next year at Harvard and Yale Law Schools, joined the ACLU seven years ago
as the first staff attorney for the lesbian and gay rights and AIDS
projects. He succeeded Nan Hunter, the founding director of the Projects,
in June of 1990. Today, the projects have four attorneys in New York and a
legislative representative in Washington and a budget of nearly $1
Nationally, the ACLU handles more lesbian and gay rights and AIDS
matters than any other organization. Today, the projects are working with
ACLU affiliates around the country in coordinating more than 125 lesbian
and gay rights matters and 75 AIDS discrimination matters.
"It has been an honor to work for the ACLU and to make the ACLU work
better for the lesbian and gay community," Rubenstein said. "It is
rewarding to leave knowing that I have helped the Lesbian and Gay Rights
Project, and the ACLU generally, be at th e heart of the struggle for
equality for gay Americans -- and knowing that this is only the
Calling Rubenstein's decision to leave a "tough loss," ACLU Executive
Director Ira Glasser added that "Bill has done a stunning job in building
the Projects, expanding their financial infrastructure and making the ACLU
a key player in the struggle for equal rights for lesbians and gay men."
"But one measure of a person's institutional accomplishment is
whether it can continue to function effective after he leaves the helm,"
Glasser continued. "I am confident that we are well-positioned to do so,
and owe much to Bill for that as well."
In the last several years, the ACLU has dramatically expanded its
work in fighting discrimination based on sexual orientation and HIV
status. Recent ACLU victories in the courts include a Virginia decision to
give a lesbian mother custody of her three-year-old son and a $512,000
verdict against an Ohio hospital and doctor for discriminating against a
person with AIDS. The ACLU is also continuing to litigate the challenge to
President Clinton's discriminatory military policy and an ongoing case
fighting Florida's ban on gay adoption, which is currently pending before
the state Supreme Court.
Non-litigation activities include the ongoing production of a video
to help combat the wave of anti-gay initiatives sweeping the country and
the publication of three briefing books that have provided in-depth
analysis on Colorado's anti-gay ballot initiative, on the Americans With
Disabilities Act and on needle exchange and harm reduction efforts.
In addition to coordinating the ACLU's efforts in these areas,
Rubenstein has developed the first casebook on gay rights law, Lesbians,
Gay Men and the Law, and co-edited, with Nan Hunter, AIDS Agenda: Emerging
Issues in Civil Rights.
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