Gay and Lesbian Law Students
Eric Webber (JD 1987) founded the Gay and Lesbian Law Students after having started a similar group at the Business School in the fall of 1984. One of the group's first goals was to get the Law School to add "sexual orientation" to its nondiscrimination policy. The Law School was the first division of the University to do so, in 1988.
In 1986, the Supreme Court's ruling in Bowers v. Hardwick allowed states to criminalize relationships between people of the same sex. Webber remembers feeling the decision was "like a slap in the face." His anger about the decision gave him the idea to organize the First National Conference on Sexual Orientation and the Law in 1987.
Irwin Keller (JD 1988) used his training as a lawyer to help activists across the city author Chicago's first non-discrimination ordinance, which passed in 1989. Keller remembers that Ambassador James C. Hormel, JD 1958 and former Dean of Students at the Law School, asked to meet the gay and lesbian law students when he visited campus in 1986. These students talked to Hormel about a loan forgiveness program for people going into non-profit work, and in 1987 he created the James C. Hormel Public Service Fund to support students going into public service law.