News

  • October 4, 2019 - Harrisburg: Executive Director McCormick will serve as a panelist on “Best Practices Regarding Batson Challenges and other Jury Diversity Issues” during the PBA Minority Attorney Conference.
  • August 22, 2019 - Pittsburgh: Executive Director McCormick will conduct a presentation on “Cultural Competence/and Implicit Bias in the Justice System” at Duquesne University Law School’s Orientation Program for incoming first-year law students.
  • June 7, 2019 - Harrisburg: Executive Director McCormick conducted a presentation on ‘Implicit Bias in the Criminal Justice System” at the PBI Criminal Justice Symposium.
  • June 3, 2019: the Interbranch Commission submitted Comments to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Committee on Rules of Evidence in support of the Committee’s proposal to add a new comment to Rule 401 of the PA Rules of Evidence, indicating that evidence of a person’s immigration status, among other characteristics, is irrelevant and inadmissible.
  • May 20, 2019 - Miami, Florida: On behalf of the Pennsylvania Courts, Executive Director McCormick presented the Pennsylvania State Report on Racial and Ethnic Fairness Initiatives at the Annual Conference of the National Consortium for Racial and Ethnic Fairness
  • May 16-17, 2019: On behalf of the Civil and Equal Rights Committee of the Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA), Executive Director McCormick presented a Resolution to the PBA’s House of Delegates and Board of Governors. More >>
  • April 4-5, 2019 - Philadelphia: Executive Director Lisette McCormick moderated a panel presentation on “Protecting Your Non-Citizen Clients’ Rights in the Courtroom” at the Pennsylvania Bar Institute (PBI) Civil Rights Symposium.

More News >>

Upcoming Events

  • September 19, 2019 - Harrisburg: The Interbranch Commission will hold its Quarterly Meeting.

More Events >>

view the report

The Interbranch Commission implements recommendations from the Report of The Pennsylvania Supreme Court Committee on Racial, and Gender Bias in The Justice System. View the Report

Members

  • Helen E. Casale, Esq. (Chair)
  • Lee Carpenter, Esq.
  • Jesse M. Cohen
  • Judge Kathryn Mary Hens-Greco
  • Lisa M. Herbert, Esq.
  • Keith B. Joseph, Esq.
  • Lucille Marsh, Esq.
  • Donald McLeod
  • Gerri Sperling, Esq.
  • Nora Winkelman, Esq.

 

Reports

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Rights (G.L.B.T) Committee

The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Rights (G.L.B.T) Committee works to end discrimination against GLBT Pennsylvanians in our courts and throughout the Commonwealth. The Committee’s current initiatives include:

  • extending state discrimination protections to GLBT Pennsylvanians;
  • conducting training sessions for judges and attorneys on GLBT legal issues; and
  • training judges and staff in the juvenile delinquency and dependency systsm regarding the treatment of GLBT youth.

Anti-Discrimination Legislation: GLBT Pennsylvanians have seen enormous progress in expansion of their legal rights in recent years. In 2014, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Whitewood v. Wolf lifted Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriage. The United States Supreme Court extended this right to all Americans in 2015 when it decided the landmark case of Obergefell v. Hodges. However, GLBT Pennsylvanians still lack legal protections against discrimination in many facets of their daily lives, including housing, workplace, and public accommodation discrimination. The Committee has been actively involved in supporting legislation to amend the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act to extend protection in those areas to GLBT Pennsylvanians.

Education and Training: The Committee is currently working with Lambda Legal and several local bar associations to conduct training sessions on addressing anti-GLBT bias in jury selection.

GLBT Youth: The Committee has been working with Lambda Legal’s Youth in Out-of-Home-Care Project to address areas where GLBT youth face discrimination within the court system. As Pennsylvania’s statutory and regulatory definitions of gender do not currently include gender identity, the Committee is considering ways to collaborate with the Pennsylvania Bureau of Juvenile Justice Services to craft a policy specific to transgender youth and their care. The Committee, along with Lambda Legal and Equality PA, are also working to broaden Pennsylvania’s regulations defining gender to include gender identity. Additionally, due to reports of bias against GLBT foster parents, the Committee has been considering possible avenues for statewide reform to prohibit anti-GLBT discrimination by private organizations that enter into contractual relationships with state courts and other agencies.

Past initiatives of the Committee include:

  • proposing changes to Pennsylvania’s Adoption Act, establishing a second-parent adoption procedure;
  • advocating for legislation to allow for same-sex marriage; and
  • other initiatives.