Attorney, prof. to discuss rights of global LGBT community

The Holocaust Memorial Center Zekelman Family Campus announced that it will host an address focusing on the most current and key issues facing the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community on Wednesday, March 5, at 7 p.m.

"Be in the Know: A Briefing on the Rights of the Worldwide LGBT Community" takes place at the Holocaust Memorial Center located at 28123 Orchard Lake Road in Farmington Hills. ACLU of Michigan LGBT Project Staff Attorney Jay Kaplan and University of Detroit Mercy (UDM) School of Law Director of the Immigration Law Clinic David C. Koelsch lead the discussion. This program is open to the public at no charge with light refreshments also available.

Recent issues that will be among the topics of discussion include:

* Now that the Olympics are over, will Russia resume its anti-homosexual agenda?

* Recent human rights protests of anti-homosexuality laws in Nigeria and Uganda.

* Current trial to determine whether Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

* Laws under consideration in Kansas that would give service providers the right to deny basic governmental, health and human services to people perceived to be homosexual.

"It is very important that we come together as a community to make sure that everyone is treated equally," said Holocaust Memorial Center Executive Director Stephen M. Goldman. "Regardless of who you are, be it Jewish, homosexual, or simply a visitor from another country, denial of your basic rights is not something that should be tolerated. We are pleased to welcome Mr. Kaplan and Mr. Koelsch for what should be an enlightening event for our visitors."

Kaplan has been the attorney for the ACLU of Michigan's LGBT Project since 2001. Prior to working for the ACLU of Michigan, he was an attorney with the Michigan Protection and AdvocacyProject where he started the HIV/AIDS Advocacy Project.

In addition to his position at UDM, Koelsch is the legal director of Freedom House, a Detroit-based organization serving the legal, housing, medical, and psychological needs of asylum seekers. He has served as consultant to the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission regarding claims brought against immigration attorneys for determination of industry standards for adequacy of representation.

The program is being made possible through the support of Freedom House, Anti-Defamation League, Between the Lines, Ruth Ellis Center, Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive, Affirmations, Jewish Gay Network, Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan Detroit, PFLAG, University of Michigan-Dearborn Office for Student Engagement LGBTQ & Inclusion Initiatives, Eastern Michigan University Jewish Studies, Henry M.Grix and Howard W. Israel Fund, Brian Kutinsky and Michael Neumann, and Mindell, Malin, Kutinsky, Stone, Blatnikoff, Oliver & Mindell.

For additional information on the Holocaust Memorial Center, visit, or call 248-553-2400.

Published: Mon, Mar 3, 2014