On Thursday, September 15, 2011, the Colorado Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender Bar Association held its Eighth Annual Awards Dinner. The evening drew allies from all across the Colorado legal community, including Senate President Brandon Shaffer and Colorado Supreme Court Justice Monica Marquez, to celebrate diversity and the progress of civil rights recognitions both locally and nationally. Dinner was followed by the presentation of the association’s 2011 Attorney and Ally Awards, which went to Mindy Barton and David Getches, respectively.
The keynote speaker for the evening was Scott M. Malzahn, a former attorney at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP, where he was a member of the Perry v. Schwarzenegger trial team. With the team, he worked to repeal Proposition 8 in California, in which voters overturned the California Supreme Court’s ruling that same-sex couples have the constitutional right to marry. Scott discussed the case’s trajectory in the Ninth Circuit and possible future before the United States Supreme Court. He also shared insights from the trial, including details about expert witness testimony that lead to United States District Court Judge Vaughn R. Walker overturning Proposition 8 on August 4, 2010.
2011 Outstanding GLBT Attorney – Mindy Barton
Mindy serves as the Legal Director at The Center, the only statewide, nonprofit community center dedicated to providing support and advocacy for Colorado’s GLBT population. The Center serves as a catalyst for community organizing, support services, social activities, and cultural events. Mindy also serves as an ex-officio, non-voting member of the Board of Directors for Equal Rights Colorado doing legislative advocacy work. She holds an undergrad degree in Speech Communications from the University of Illinois and a JD from the University of Denver College of Law. She has worked in this role at The Center for three years, managing the Legal Helpline, taking high-impact cases for pro bono direct representation, and presenting diversity trainings across the state.
While unable to attend personally, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock had a representative on hand to present Mindy with a City and County of Denver Proclamation in recognition of her work on behalf of the GLBT community. The Proclamation declared that September 15, 2011 shall be known as Mindy Barton Day. It also happens to be her birthday.
2011 Oustanding GLBT Ally – David Getches
David became a member of the CU Law faculty in 1979, and became dean of the school in 2003. He resigned from the position at the end of June this year, and died of pancreatic cancer just a few days later. During his tenure at the school, he oversaw the opening of the Wolf Law Building and was dedicated to increase scholarship money for his students. And David’s legacy is not confined to the law school. He earned his undergraduate degree from Occidental College in California and his law degree from the University of Southern California School of Law. In 1968, he was co-directing attorney for California Indian Legal Services and, in 1970, he moved to Colorado to become the founding executive director for the Boulder-based Native American Rights Fund, a national, nonprofit Indian-interest law firm.
Throughout his life, he was dedicated to protecting the rights of minorities and all groups that struggle for recognition in the legal system, including the GLBT community. His daughter was there to accept the award on behalf of him and his family. She reflected on her father’s life and mission, urging everyone in attendance to stand up for one another. Whether or not you belong to a particular minority or group, she reminded the audience that we are stronger together, diversity gives us strength, and that David’s legacy continues with us.