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Orange County Lavender Bar Association Announces Honorees for Fifth Anniversary Party

For Immediate Release

July 1, 2015

Irvine, Calif. – The Orange County Lavender Bar Association (OCLBA) today announced that Stephen Reinhardt, Circuit Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, will be honored with the organization’s 2015 Community Leadership Award and that Laura Kanter will receive the 2015 M. Katherine B. Darmer Outstanding Community Service Award. The awards will be presented at the OCLBA’s Fifth Anniversary Party.

Judge Reinhardt was nominated to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals by President Jimmy Carter and was confirmed in 1980. He follows Justice Kathleen E. O’Leary as the fifth recipient of the Community Leadership Award.

“We are thrilled to honor Judge Reinhardt for his distinguished career on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals,” said OCLBA President Jeff VanHoosear. “Judge Reinhardt has a well-earned reputation for authoring opinions that seek to remain faithful to Supreme Court precedent while protecting the Constitutional rights of all citizens, including members of the LGBT community.” In 2012, Judge Reinhardt authored the majority opinion for the Ninth Circuit, declaring Proposition 8 Unconstitutional. Prior to that, in 2009 as Chair of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal’s Standing Committee on Federal Public Defenders, he issued the opinion In The Matter of Brad Levenson, in which he declared the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) Unconstitutional and ordered that federal employee spousal health insurance benefits be provided to Brad Levenson’s same-sex, legally married spouse.

OCLBA also announced its selection of Laura Kanter as the recipient of the M. Katherine B. Darmer Outstanding Community Service Award. The award, named in memory of the late Katherine Darmer, a founding member of the OCLBA Board of Directors, recognizes individuals and organizations who make extraordinary contributions to the advancement of LGBT equality. Laura Kanter is the Director of Policy, Advocacy and Youth Programs at The LGBT Center OC, and has been a middle and high school counselor in the Santa Ana Unified School District. Her post- graduate work included research on the experiences of LGBT youth and the best

policies and practices to support them. She has been a tireless advocate and activist for marriage equality, the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, Transgender students’ rights, restorative justice and immigration reform.

“Despite some advancements in LGBT rights locally and across the nation, the fight continues for true equality for all members of the LGBT community. Laura Kanter is at the forefront of these battles, and continues to work with youth, perhaps the most vulnerable population within the LGBT community” said VanHoosear. “Laura was studying and advocating for protections for LGBT youth, well before the issue gained national attention and OCLBA is thrilled to honor Laura for her important work.”

Finally, OCLBA announced that at the Fifth Anniversary Party, the M. Katherine Baird Darmer Equality Scholarship will be presented to Emma Gunderson, who will enroll this fall at the University of Southern California, Gould School of Law. The scholarship is sponsored by OCLBA and the Orange County Equality Coalition. Ms. Gunderson is the third recipient of the scholarship. Last year’s scholarship was awarded to Elizabeth Hercules-Paez, a student at the University of California –Irvine School of Law.


Wednesday, July 15, 2015 at 6:00 p.m. Hosted cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and dessert The Sky Garden at The Michelson Building 3161 Michelson Drive, Irvine, California

The Fifth Anniversary Party is hosted by Aitken*Aitken*Cohn, Bryan Cave, Gibson Dunn and Soiree Catering, the Valet Sponsor is Jones Day, and the event is championed by Kia Motors USA, Corrigan Welbourn & Stokke, APLC, Fish & Tsang, Kaas Settlement Consulting/The Settlement Alliance West, Keller Rackauckas, LLP, Knobbe Martens, McDermott Will Emery and Paul Hastings.

For tickets to the event or for sponsorship opportunities please visit www.oclba.org. Tickets: $45 non-members; $25 members; $15 students.

For more information contact Casey Johnson at or Jeff VanHoosear at .

The Orange County Lavender Bar Association (OCLBA) is the official association of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and allied attorneys, judges and law students in Orange County. Founded in 2010, OCLBA produces a dynamic series of programs that connect the bar and lay communities in Orange County to advocacy, education, charity, mentorship, networking, and community building activities that advance LGBT equality. OCLBA is an affiliate of the Orange County Bar Association.