In advance of the April 19 annual Lambda Legal Bon Foster Awards, the organization hosted a reception for Bon Foster Liberty Award honoree Judge Patricia M. Logue featuring top national attorneys in the fight for LGBT equality. The event was held March 1 at the Chicago offices of Jenner & Block.
Speakers paying tribute to Logue were current Lambda Legal Midwest Regional Office ( MRO ) director Christopher Clark, and former MRO directors Jim Bennett and Mona Noriega, who helped Logue open the MRO 25 years ago, later returning as its director.
Lambda Legal Interim Litigation Director Camilla Taylor spoke passionately about Logue's incredible contributions to the LGBT legal landscape. Tracy Baim, publisher of Windy City Times, addressed Logue's impact on Chicago through both litigation and building connections in the LGBT and mainstream communities.
Out-of-town speakers were Evan Wolfson, founder of Freedom to Marry and senior counsel at Dentons; Paul Smith, formerly of Jenner & Block and the person who argued the LGBT side in Lawrence v. Texasa case for which Logue played a critical role; and Kevin Cathcart, former executive director of Lambda Legal. Each spoke eloquently about the importance of the work Logue did in the Midwest, on critical regional and national cases.
Former Chicagoan Heather Sawyer told of her friendship with Logue, including their time working together at Lambda Legal. Sawyer, who now works for the Democrats in Congress, also read from a special recognition of Logue's work that was read into the Congressional Record by U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky.
Among the many LGBT and HIV/AIDS cases Logue worked on were the fight to include an LGBT contingent in Chicago's Bud Billiken Day Parade; the Jamie Nabozny case in Wisconsin, which resulted in a U.S. appellate court ruling requiring public schools to take seriously the abuse of lesbian and gay students; she established the right of gay individuals and couples to adopt children in an Illinois appellate case that has helped thousands secure their family ties; she represented Chicago's "Dancing Queens" when they were arrested for dancing together in a local bar; and led Lambda Legal's participation in the federal court battle against Cincinnati's Issue 3 anti-gay ballot measure.
In addition to the Lawrence case at the U.S. Supreme Court, which overturned sodomy laws in this country, Logue was active in numerous cases at the Supreme Court, including Lambda Legal's cases challenging the Boy Scouts of America's exclusionary policies and striking down Colorado's anti-gay Amendment 2. She also helped to defend free speech rights at public universities by securing a victory over conservative students at the University of Wisconsin who tried to de-fund the LGBT student group, according to her induction biography in the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame.
Logue's wife Marcia Festen was among the family and friends who joined her for the program, which also featured excerpts from Baim's Chicago Gay History Project interview with Logue from 2007. See chicagogayhistory.org/biography.html .