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Dorothy L. Thompson Lecture Series

Civil Rights and Same Sex Couples

Mr. Pedro Irigonegaray, a civil rights attorney, will be advocating equal rights for same sex couples and Mr. Joel Oster, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, will be presenting the opposing view.  Mr. Bill Rich, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Professor of Law at Washburn Law School has agreed to be the moderator for the debate.

Mr. Irigonegaray is a member of the Kansas Equality Coalition of Topeka. The Kansas Equality Coalition of Topeka is committed to helping achieve equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals across the state of Kansas . Mr. Irigonegaray recently represented Sandy Gast, a transsexual, on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union. Gast was accused of filing a "false swearing" on her marriage license. Mr. Irigonegaray graduated from Washburn Law School and has been in private practice in Topeka , Kansas since 1973.

Mr. Oster represented the California Coalition for Families against San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome after the Mayor ignored state law and issued thousands of marriage certificates to same-sex couples.  All of those marriage certificates were invalidated by the California Supreme Court. In addition, Mr. Oster has represented several county clerks in Florida against lawsuits from same-sex couples seeking to force the issuance of same-sex marriage certificates. Mr. Oster graduated from University of Kansas Law School. Prior to working for the Alliance Defense Fund, Mr. Oster was Senior Litigation Counsel for Liberty Counsel in Orlando , Florida .  

Mr. Bill Rich was a Rockefeller Fellow at Yale Divinity School . Prior to joining the Washburn Law faculty, he was a law clerk for Chief Justice Donald Wright of the California Supreme Court and he served as a staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society of Wichita. In the fall of 1985, he was Acting Dean of the Washburn Law School.