Attorneys in conservative Arizona have elected their first openly gay state bar president. Amelia Craig Cramer was named president of the State Bar of Arizona on June 22.
"This is an important development," the lead attorney for the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund in Los Angeles told the Washington Blade. "Arizona remains a conservative state. It's a sign of progress."
Cramer, a Stanford law grad, once worked as a managing attorney for Lambda, a national LGBT advocacy group. Cramer has continued her advocacy for LGBT rights, even as she established herself in Arizona as a respected prosecutor.
Arizona Bar President Amelia Craig Cramer was born in California and grew up in Arizona, according to the Blade. After law school, Cramer worked in Washington, D.C., California, and Massachusetts, where she was executive director of the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders in Boston. Cramer moved back to Arizona with her wife and daughter in the 1990s.
Cramer is currently chief deputy attorney for Pima County, Ariz., which is home to the slightly less conservative Tucson.
Even in conservative Arizona, Cramer has strived for equality on LGBT issues, one gay Republican activist told the Blade. Cramer supported the repeal of Arizona's sodomy law, and has lobbied for state laws to protect LGBT people from discrimination, the activist said.
The State Bar of Arizona represents nearly 17,000 attorneys. But Arizona is not alone in being a conservative state with an openly gay state bar president: Lawyers elected Shane Vannatta as the first openly gay president of the State Bar of Montana last September, Instinct magazine reports.