The John Marshall Law School becomes the first Chicago law school to be inducted into the LGBT Chicago Hall of Fame. According to the report of this honor, the designation identifies the law school as one of “non-LGBT-identified individuals and organizations that have contributed to the quality of life of the city’s LGBT community.”
A ceremony will be held in November that will make the LGBT Hall of Fame induction official. The designation for The John Marshal Law School will be as a “Friend of the Community.” The law school has a long history of supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students as well as its current educational offerings and services that impact the LGBT community.
“The school has been really a gay-friendly center of scholarship and community,” said John Marshall’s professor Mark E. Wojcik who is gay and was inducted into the Chicago’s LGBT Hall of Fame in 2010.
Mr. Wojcik graduated from The John Marshall Law School in 1986 and returned as a professor in 1992. While a student, Mr. Wojcik was involved in one of the first LGBT student groups at a Chicago law school and one whose participants avoided the spotlight.
“At the time it was founded, the group often had to meet off campus because it was too dangerous for students. They thought it would be deadly to their careers to meet on campus in case people saw them meeting as a gay group,” he said.
Needless to say, the evolution of acceptance has changed. The school was also home to one of the first openly lesbian professors in the country. Pearl M. Hart graduated from John Marshall in 1914 and went on to teach at the school and was posthumously inducted into the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame.
In 1996, The John Marshall Law School hosted what Mr. Wojcik described as a major national LGBT national law conference in response to the 10th anniversary of Bowers v. Hardwick in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that states could outlaw sodomy between consenting adults.
In addition, Mr. Wojcik pointed out that The John Marshall Law School was one of the first law schools to offer AIDS law classes and continues to offer courses that address issues faced by those in the LGBT community.
The law school has many important clinics. For example, the Fair Housing Legal Support Center & Clinic has dealt with issues including LGBT housing discrimination. The Domestic Violence Clinic has worked with gay and lesbian domestic violence cases, and the Veteran’s Legal Support Center & Clinic has also assisted gay and lesbian military veterans to change dishonorable discharged declarations to honorable.
The ceremony inducting the law school as a “friend of the community” will be held on Nov. 9, 2016 at 5:30 p.m. at the Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark St. It’s free and open to the public. In addition, former Gov. Patrick J. Quinn will be recognized for his support of the LGBT community and for signing into law Illinois’ marriage equality legislation.
Robert D. Kreisman has been an active member of the Illinois and Missouri Bar since 1976. Mr. Kreisman is also a 1976 graduate of The John Marshall Law School.
Kreisman Law Offices has been handling civil jury trials, commercial litigation, medical negligence cases and injury lawsuits for individuals and families for more than 40 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Arlington Heights, Bannockburn, Calumet City, Chicago Heights, Country Club Hills, Orland Park, Olympia Fields and Melrose Park, Ill.
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