Perkins Pride Celebration
Thursday, June 21, 2012
6:00 p.m., Speakers' remarks at 7:00 p.m.
Perkins Coie LLP
1201 Third Avenue, Suite 4900
Seattle, WA 98101-3099
Please Join Us
Perkins Coie and QLaw are pleased to host the second annual Perkins Pride celebration. This year we are excited to announce that the Chief Judge Vaughn Walker (Ret.) will be our keynote speaker. Please join us as we celebrate the achievements and contributions of Chief Judge Walker and members of the LGBT community, and their allies and supporters. To attend the celebration, kindly RSVP here by June 15th. You are welcome to bring guests and share this invitation with others.
Help Us Celebrate You
Families and relationships come in all shapes and sizes. Help us celebrate equality for all by sharing a photo of yourself, your family, or your wedding, union or commitment ceremony. Images will be displayed on the evening of June 21st for guests to view during our Pride celebration.
To submit a photo or for more information please contact Judah Travis at
About Chief Judge Walker
Born in Watseka, Illinois, Chief Judge Walker was appointed to the federal bench in 1989 by George H. W. Bush. A graduate of the University of Michigan and Stanford Law School, Chief Judge Walker started his career in private practice before his judicial appointment. Chief Judge Walker's tenure on the bench spanned more than twenty years and showed him to be a thoughtful, independent thinker who values the tenets of our Constitution and the individual liberties guaranteed therein. Following Chief Judge Walker's retirement in 2011, he came out publicly and shared the fact that he has been in a committed relationship with a man for over ten years, making him the first known gay man to have served on the federal bench.
Chief Judge Walker is perhaps best known for his role in the litigation concerning Proposition 8 in California. In May 2009, after California voters approved Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, two couples filed a lawsuit in the Northern District of California challenging the constitutionality of the initiative (Perry v. Schwarzenegger). Chief Judge Walker held a three-week trial on Proposition 8, and ultimately made eighty findings of fact and ruled that California's Proposition 8 violates both the due process and equal protection guarantees of the United States Constitution. He characterized the right at issue as "the right to marry" and found that no compelling state interest justifies denying same-sex couples this fundamental right. Proponents immediately sought a stay and appealed the decision. On February 7, 2012, the Ninth Circuit affirmed Chief Judge Walker's holding that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. The case continues, as proponents seek en banc review by the Ninth Circuit.
Following the decision in Perry and Chief Judge Walker's retirement, Proposition 8 proponents mounted an effort to vacate Walker's decision, arguing that, due to his sexuality, he should have recused himself or disclosed his relationship because he had a "direct personal interest in the outcome of the case." Their motions were denied.
Perkins Coie is proud to welcome Chief Judge Walker to join us in celebrating Perkins Pride. Chief Judge Walker will speak about his career as well s his decision in Perry.
A Word from Debra Bernard, Chair of the GLBT Affinity Group
Perkins Coie’s commitment to the LGBT community is exemplified by its sponsorship of LGBT organizations, support of its LGBT attorneys, and support of pro bono work on behalf of the LGBT community.
In 2011, Perkins Coie was a National Sponsor of both Lambda Legal and the National LGBT Bar Association. Perkins Coie also supported the Human Rights Campaign, which, with over one million members, is the largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for GLBT Americans. For the second year in a row, the firm sponsored the Out & Equal Workplace Summit, which was attended by several C-level administrators and attorneys. Out & Equal is the largest gathering of GLBT professionals in the country, with attendance of over 2,500 and representation from many of our clients including Google, Boeing, Microsoft, SC Johnson and Northrop Grumman. The firm also supports many local LGBT organizations.
Our lawyers and staff also demonstrate their individual commitment to diversity and LGBT community by actively participating in many LGBT organizations. For example:
The firm and its attorneys and staff also undertake significant pro bono activities in support of the LGBT community, including:
- Attorneys Matt Gray and David Tsai serve on the Board of Directors of AIDS Legal Referral Panel.
- Attorney David Larsen is actively involved in the Financial Services Industry Exchange, an organization with a mission to be the leading global networking and professional services organization specifically for gay and lesbian financial services professionals.
- Attorneys Amanda Beane and Sher Kung are past and current board members (respectively) of QLaw, the GLBT Bar Association of Washington.
- Attorney Aaron Coombs is involved in the planning of the 2012 National LGBT Bar Association Lavender Law Conference.
- Attorney Debra Bernard is involved with Lambda Legal.
- Attorney Steve Gonzalez is on the Board of Advisors of APAIT Health Center, a nonprofit organization originally formed to combat HIV and AIDS in the gay Asian-Pacific community in Los Angeles.
- Attorney Misha Isaak is on the lawyers committee for Basic Rights Oregon, Oregon's GLBT rights organization.
- Attorney David Tsai is the Co-Chair of Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF) and the ABA LGBT Litigator Committee.
- Judah Travis, Senior Coordinator of Law Student Recruiting and Diversity, is a board member of QLaw, the GLBT Bar Association of Washington, and on the advisory committee of the Seattle division of Out and Equal.
Perkins Coie also demonstrates its commitment to equality through its internal policies and practices. For the fourth year in a row Perkins Coie has received the 100% Corporate Equality Index rating from the Human Rights Campaign as one of the “Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality.”
- Filing an amicus brief in the Ninth Circuit supporting affirmation of the decision holding Proposition 8 to be unconstitutional on behalf of Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom, the Santa Clara County Bar Association, the Marin County Bar Association, and 39 other minority bar and civil rights organizations;
- Successfully representing LGBT state employees in Arizona to protect their family insurance benefits for domestic partners and their children;
- Representing Washington Families Standing Together in Doe v. Reed, a case in which the United States Supreme Court ultimately held that those who signed a referendum to repeal the state’s domestic partnership law could not keep their names secret as a matter of right;
- Protecting the rights of a transgender individual in Alaska; and
- Representing LGBT asylum seekers.
Learn more about Perkins' Diversity Efforts