The Mazzoni Center is preparing for its anticipated awards luncheon, where the health and wellness organization will honor a local attorney who fights for LGBT rights.
Tiffany L. Palmer will receive the 2018 Justice in Action Award at the March 2 event.
Palmer was the first attorney of Equality Advocates Pennsylvania, formerly the Center for Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights. She subsequently became the organization’s first legal director. The attorney currently serves as the director of Family Law Institute of the National LGBT Bar Association.
“I’m very excited about it,” Palmer said of the award. “It really means a lot to me to be recognized for the work I’ve done the past 20 years on behalf of the LGBT community.
“The thing we always have to take away is there is still a lot of work to be done and ,even though we’ve made a lot of advances in LGBT civil rights, there’s still a lot of battles that have to be won. I don’t think there’s ever a time we’re going to think there is nothing left to do with respect to the LGBT community.”
Each year, the awards luncheon unites legal professionals, law students and others to raise money and awareness for Mazzoni Center’s Legal Services program.
This program offers free legal services specific to the needs of low-income LGBT Pennsylvania residents.
The Legal Services program also helps individuals with advisement, information and representation. This provides them with an understanding of their rights, using the law to protect themselves and their families, and how to respond to discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
“This year’s honoree, Tiffany L. Palmer, Esq., exemplifies the spirit of this award. It is easy to forget how different the world was for our community in 1998 when Tiffany started her work on behalf of the LGBTQ community,” said Larry Benjamin, Mazzoni Center’s director of communications.
“Legal protections for LGBTQ individuals and families were mostly uncharted territory. There were few rules, much less statutes or precedent, for the ability of same-sex couples to protect one another or their children,” Benjamin added.
Mazzoni Legal and Public Policy Director Thomas W. Ude Jr. also spoke on Palmer’s achievements.
“I’m thrilled that we are honoring Tiffany L. Palmer at this year’s luncheon,” Ude said. “She was the first attorney and the first legal director of the Legal Services program that is part of Mazzoni Center.
“While our community and our program owe a great deal to each of our previous Justice in Action honorees, the work that we do here today is deeply indebted to Tiffany for the work that she has done and for the amazing work that she continues to do every day.”
The annual luncheon honors people whose careers have improved lives through significant progress toward justice and equality.
“We plan this program because it’s important to recognize that while the LGBTQ community’s advances are not the result of one person alone, there are individuals whose work and vision has moved us forward and brought us to places that others had not even imagined,” Benjamin said.
Mazzoni Center will offer information on the Continuing Legal Education program during the luncheon, as well as discuss the danger the LGBT community faces from those who seek to invoke religion as justification for discrimination or harming community members.
“Antidiscrimination laws were still considered a novelty. As staff attorney and then legal director with the Center for Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights, Tiffany blazed a trail where there had been none,” said Benjamin. “At the same time, she wrote the map laying out legal pathways to safety, showing the way for our community and other attorneys who serve them. And she continues to do that to this day.”
The Justice in Action Awards luncheon is the single largest source of program-specific revenue for the Mazzoni Center’s Legal Services program, Benjamin said.
The Justice in Action Awards Luncheon will be held 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. March 2 at Loews Philadelphia Hotel, Commonwealth Hall at 1200 Market St. For more information or to register, visit https://www.mazzonicenter.org/events/justice-action-2018-awards-luncheon .