June 25, 2012 | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Lesbian attorney elected president of Arizona Bar

Lesbian attorney Amelia Craig Cramer, chief deputy attorney for Pima County, which includes Tucson, became president of the 16,900-member State Bar of Arizona on Friday, June 22, making her the first openly gay head of the organization.

The State Bar operates under the supervision of the Arizona Supreme Court. It provides education and development programs for the legal profession as well as investigates ethics related complaints against lawyers, according to bar spokesperson Alberto Rodriguez.

Cramer was born in California and raised in Arizona after movng there with her parents as a child. She has practiced law in Washington, D.C., California, and Massachusetts before returning to Arizona in the 1990s with her wife and daughter to continue her legal career and care for her ill father in what she considers her home state.

While in California she served as managing attorney for the Western Regional Office of the gay litigation group Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund in Los Angeles.

During her residence in Massachusetts, Cramer served as executive director of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), an LGBT rights litigation group in Boston.

Gay Republican activist and former Arizona State Rep. Steve May called Cramer “a leader in the LGBT community in Pima County” since the 1990s. May said she advocated, among other things, for repeal of the state’s sodomy law and lobbied for state legislation banning discrimination against LGBT Arizonans.

“She’s a very well respected attorney in the state,” May said,

Jonathan Davidson, head attorney for Lambda Legal’s Los Angeles office, said that while Cramer has special knowledge in the area of LGBT rights law, she is a highly regarded attorney in other areas of law.

“This is an important development,” he said. “Arizona remains a conservative state. It’s a sign of progress.”

Arizona Bar spokesperson Rodriguez said bar members and leaders elected Cramer to leadership positions over the past three years with the intention of putting her on a track to advance to the presidency of the organization. For the past year, Rodriguez said, she held the position of president-elect.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

7 Comments
  • CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON

    What happens if this president gets re-elected, then, Congress “votes-down” “gay” marriage, afterwards? Will the election of people like, Amelia Craig Cramer, still be an “in-style” practice? Is Ms. Cramer riding the popular “coat-tails” of, Sheriff Paul Babeu?

    Christopher Allen Horton

    • The State Bar President is a position of succession; the current vice-president will become president next fiscal year. There are no re-elected presidents under the rules of the Board of Governors, and the Bar Leadership has no connection to races for county sheriffs.

      • CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON

        Chad Belville,

        My point was, since they are both in Arizona, the election of this “lesbian” probably has something to do with Sheriff Paul Babeu’s 75% approval rating among conservatives.

        Christopher Allen Horton

    • Michael Woodward

      Amelia is an outstanding professional. As the article says, she is a widely respected attorney throughout the state. She has served as the right hand to the Pima County Attorney for many years and is more than qualified for this honor. I’ve known Amelia since shortly after I moved to Tucson in 2001. She earned the office regardless of her sexual orientation. It has nothing to do with being fashionable.

      Someday we’ll give sexual orientation and gender identity no more notice than whether someone has blue eyes or red hair, and we won’t need to point out that someone is LGBT to show the mainstream that LGBT people are just… people.

      • CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON

        Michael Woodward,

        I am not disputing your points. Sheriff Paul Babeu has received national-media exposure – like, being on CNN. This exposure has not damaged his popularity. I have never seen this “lesbian” on television.

        Christopher Allen Horton

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