Arlene’s Flowers and the Seeds of Injustice in the June Bar News

Cover of Bar News

When the Washington State Bar Association first began planning the June issue of Washington State Bar News, the notion of a 100-year pandemic bringing the world to a standstill seemed preposterous. When the issue was going to press, the notion that anything might be more important than COVID-19 was laughable.

Yet, while this country—indeed much of the world—has in recent weeks been challenged to finally confront and correct the longstanding institutional injustices against people of color, particularly Black and indigenous communities, when the issue of WSBA’s member magazine was being put together it was to examine the injustices against people on the basis of gender and sexuality.

“In my lifetime, the issue I had felt the most burning passion and political attachment to was the issue of same-sex marriage—or to be specific, the lack of recognition thereof,” WSBA President Rajeev Majumdar writes. “To me, it was an issue of structural inequality and denial of justice.”

June is Pride Month, and the parallels could not be more stark between the widespread protests dominating headlines today and the anniversary of a key civil rights moment in 1969 when citizens, led by trans women of color, fought back against police at the Stonewall Inn.

For the June issue of Bar News, our featured story takes a look at State v. Arlene’s Flowers and where it fits with similar cases surrounding LGBTQ rights, religious rights, and their legal intersection in places of public accommodation.

We further examine the “gay panic defense” and how it was struck down in Washington state, learn how the Lavender Rights Project is helping increase access to justice for transgender people in rural Washington, and hear from the executive director of the QLaw Foundation.

This issue also highlights some key things you should know about the WSBA’s response to emerging issues during the COVID-19 health crisis, a look at how coronavirus might affect claims under “business interruption” insurance policies, and eight predictions for how COVID-19 will change the legal profession even after the pandemic has subsided.

You’ll also learn about the positive financial outlook midway through the WSBA fiscal year, internet scams that target lawyer trust accounts, how to show instead of tell in your writing, and what kept the WSBA Office of Disciplinary Counsel busy in 2019.