|Nan Hunter and Chai Feldblum|
“We commend the Senate for finally setting aside pointless partisanship and confirming this highly qualified candidate for a full term on the EEOC,” Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese said in a press release announcing her confirmation. “Chai Feldblum has spent decades working to protect those most ignored and maligned by our society. The civil rights of all Americans will be in good hands with Chai Feldblum’s continued service on the EEOC.”
HRC notes that “Feldblum’s confirmation marks the first time an openly LGBT person has served on the EEOC.”
Feldblum is highly regarded among LGBT and AIDS activists, having served as legislative counsel for the AIDS Project of the ACLU during the AIDS crisis in the 1980s – a time when religious leaders such as Jerry Falwell and politicians Orange Country antigay conservative Rep. William Dannemeyer used their positions of power to publicly damage gays and people with AIDS. Falwell: “AIDS is not just God’s punishment for homosexuals, it is God’s punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals.” Dannemeyer in 1985: “[People with AIDS] emit spores that have been known to cause birth defects.”
Feldblum helped secure legal protections for PWAs and was a leader in drafting and negotiating the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and while at Georgetown, helped draft the ADA Amendments Act of 2008. Feldblum has also counseled on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act – which should be invaluable in her contribution as Commissioner. The EEOC, established as part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, has as its mission the promotion of equality of opportunity in the workplace and enforce Federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.
In its press release announcing her confirmation, the White House also noted that Feldblum clerked for Judge Frank Coffin of the First Circuit Court of Appeals and for Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun after receiving a law degree from Harvard. She is a graduate of Barnard College
For more on Chai Feldblum, please check out the EEOC’s website and the Washington Post’s “Who Runs Government” section on “Why She Matters,” which includes links to the bloviations of antigay right-wingers think she hates America.
Feldblum’s partner is another LGBT legal eagle, Nan Hunter, law professor at Georgetown University Law Center who is currently working at the Williams Institute in Los Angeles. Hunter also blogs at Hunter of Justice.