“Lately I’ve been getting a little scared because people have proposed that we should move away from the ‘gay pride image’, meaning a display of the full diversity of our community, and just promote the ‘same-sex marriage image’ to advance the movement.”
Paula Ethelbrick (2004) – International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission
A call for tolerance:
Showing intolerance :
Totally intolerant :
To be tolerated – this view or which view ?
Paula Ettelbrick obituary
US campaigner for gay and lesbian rights
- guardian.co.uk, Thursday 3 November 2011 18.54 GMT
Paula Ettelbrick, who has died of ovarian cancer aged 56, was an internationally acclaimed US-based lawyer and one of the pioneers of the movement for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. A fiery activist, she would fight in the courtroom, and with federal and state representatives – and more often than not would win.
During her 25-year career as an advocate for the LGBT community – which she began in 1986 at Lambda Legal as a staff lawyer, before progressing to become legal director – Ettelbrick held directorships in a number of high-profile lesbian and gay organisations. These included the National Centre for Lesbian Rights, the Empire State Pride Agenda, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. Ettelbrick was the first woman to lead the Stonewall Community Foundation, from which she retired in July this year.
Her commitment to social justice began with her early involvement in the women’s liberation movement. As comfortable in a lecture theatre as a courtroom, Ettelbrick taught on law and sexuality at Barnard College, Columbia Law School, the University of Michigan Law School, New York University School of Law and Wayne State University, Detroit.
She helped to bring about greater acceptance and recognition of diverse families. However, her views on gay marriage often led to disagreements with colleagues. In 1993 Ettelbrick wrote the paper Since When Is Marriage a Path to Liberation? (published in William Rubenstein’s collection Lesbians, Gay Men and the Law), a feminist critique of how the institution of marriage had historically constrained the freedom and rights of women. She argued that the LGBT community should be pressing for social and legal changes to support alternative family structures. “Marriage is a great institution – if you like living in institutions,” she wrote
In 2001, speaking at the Albany Law Review symposium “Family” and the Political Landscape for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People, Ettelbrick said: “The best course for family advocates to pursue is that which recognises the caring and committed relationships of all families – not just those who wish to marry and those that include lesbian and gay couples.”
In 2004 she wrote a paper (with Julie Shapiro) entitled Same-Sex Marriage: Are We On the Path to Liberation Now?, published in the Seattle Journal for Social Justice, in which she admitted: “Lately I’ve been getting a little scared because people have proposed that we should move away from the ‘gay pride image’, meaning a display of the full diversity of our community, and just promote the ‘same-sex marriage image’ to advance the movement.”