Thursday, April 23, 2015
Just a few days in advance of the U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments in the same-sex marriage cases, the Legal Writing Institute announced the formal establishment of the Pink Ink Caucus. The charge of the Caucus is to support LGBTQ faculty and to strengthen the inclusion of diverse perspectives in the legal writing classroom. Membership is open to all, no matter what your sexual orientation is.
The Pink Ink Caucus was never before established as a formal group -- it was an ad hoc response to some job postings on the Legal Writing Listserve that blatantly discriminated against LGBT persons. The reactions to that posting sparked numerous passionate debates within the Legal Writing Institute about whether job postings from discriminatory organizations could be allowed, and, indeed, whether LWI membership could be open to persons who taught at discriminatory institutions. The job posting also sparked the ad hoc Pink Ink Caucus which I organized. The Pink Ink caucus usually met informally, but we also met a couple of times in a more organized fashion during LWI conferences. I chose the name Pink Ink from a presentation I had made earlier at the LWI Conference held at Chicago-Kent College of Law, which discussed integrating LGBT characters and legal issues in legal writing problems. It was often the case that in some problems there might be a different answer to the legal question posed if the character in the problem was gay or lesbian.
Membership in the informal Pink Ink Caucus was always open to everyone and matters of discussion included the status of LGBT professors as well as appropriate ways to integrate LGBT legal issues into legal writing problems for research memoranda and appellate briefs. For example, the LWI Conference in 2008 scheduled a Pink Ink Caucus where we announced on this Legal Writing Prof Blog that the discussion would include these topics:
- Using issues of sexual orientation and gender identity in memoranda and advocacy assignments, particularly in light of California now allowing same-sex weddings (and that California does not require persons getting married there to be from California);
- Latest research resources for LGBT scholarship;
- Mentoring and support for LGBT professors and students;
- Hiring practices of law schools;
- Attending the AALS Hiring Conference as an openly LGBT candidate (or recruiter); and
- A preview of an all-day program at the AALS Annual Meeting in San Diego on Sexual Orientation Issues Across the Curriculum.
In 2008, the Legal Writing Institute was one of the first organizations to join the national boycott of the Manchester Hyatt Hotel in San Diego (where the AALS Meeting was going to be held) because the owner at the time, Doug Manchester, was the financial sponsor of the California Ballot Measure Proposition 8 that amended the California Constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage. Click here to read more about that. LWI organized its Golden Pen Reception that year outside the hotel as a sign of protest against the anti-gay ballot measure. That move was also not without controversy, but it showed a commitment of LWI to the respectful, equal treatment of all its members.
Along the way the LWI Bad-Ass Legal Writing Store also came up with some wonderful (ok, let's just say rather fabulous) Pink Ink merchandise that was sold at LWI conferences -- such a supportive and much-appreciated gesture. And you know what? You can still buy this Pink Ink Merchandise from the LWI store -- click here to visit the Pink Ink Page at the LWI Bad-Ass Legal Writing Store. Go ahead, you know you want to buy something.
So if you are interested in joining the new Pink Ink Caucus, please send an email expressing your interest to Sue Painter-Thorne at this email: painter-thorne_sd[at]law.mercer.edu. (And of course change that [at] to an @ symbol). You do not have to be gay or lesbian or bi or trans or questioning and you do not even have to own an album by Madonna, Lady Gaga, Judy Garland, or Barbra Streisand.
Thank you, LWI, for formally establishing the Pink Ink Caucus.
Hat tip to Suzianne D. Painter-Thorne
Mark E. Wojcik, The John Marshall Law School