While miracles will not happen over night, for the first time to my knowledge the Virginia State Bar – hardly a bastion of modernity – will soon be headed by a gay friendly attorney. Virginia Beach attorney Kevin Martingayle was voted the next president-elect of the Virginia State Bar. The election was the first contested election in 11 years and pitted Martingayle against northern Virginia attorney Raymond Benzinger who was feared to have an advantage given Northern Virginia’s larger population base. Yours truly wrote e-mails and contacted attorneys across the state and encouraged them to support Kevin. Kevin is not only gay friendly but has a somewhat high profile sister-in-law: Doria Biddle of the Frank DeCaro show who DeCaro describes as the “Kevin Bacon of lesbian Los Angeles.” I am most pleased about Kevin’s win.
But back to Kevin Martingayle. The Virginian Pilot has an article that looks at his election. Here are highlights:
Virginia Beach attorney Kevin Martingayle has been voted the next president-elect of the Virginia State Bar in the first contested election in 11 years.
Martingayle, who will become the first Bar president from Virginia Beach, defeated Northern Virginia attorney Raymond Benzinger in voting among Bar members. The Bar governs 29,000 licensed attorneys.
A Richmond native, Martingayle received his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1991. He is a founding partner in the Beach law firm Bischoff Martingayle. Martingayle will serve as president-elect for one year beginning at the Bar’s annual meeting in June, and he will then become Bar president the following year
One thing that I hope to work with Kevin on achieving is an expansion of the Virginia State Bar’s diversity program. Currently, the Bar’s idea of diversity is including more women, blacks and non-whites. LGBT attorneys and the lack of legal protections for LGBT Virginians are invisible at present.
Michael Hamar is an out gay attorney in a committed relationship; formerly married and father of three wonderful children; sometime activist and political/news junkie; survived coming out in mid-life and hope to share my experiences and reflections with others. Follow him at Michael In Norfolk.