History

The history of advocating for LGBTQ rights goes back at least 40 years at the Moritz College of Law. In the early 1970s, Professor John Quigley advised LGBTQ students — a time when some would have feared such open support could hurt their careers. At the law school, however, Quigley’s career and support for the LGBTQ community blossomed for decades.

When Professor Rhonda Rivera joined the faculty in 1976, she started organizing students alongside her colleague, Professor Douglas Whaley. Rivera and Whaley threw a party each school year to help students find and support one another.

Douglas Whaley was one of a number of gay rights activists who formed Stonewall Union in 1981, the organization now called Stonewall Columbus. Not long after, Rivera, at Whaley’s urging, became involved with the group. Both Rivera and Whaley helped it grow into a significant force for equality. Both professors and other Stonewall leaders appeared on television, radio, and at many special events to further the cause of LGBTQ rights. Hundreds of law students joined the fight, as well as the many law professors, gay and straight, who subsequently have pushed hard for legal protections in this arena.

LGBTQ advocacy is woven into the fabric of the Moritz College of Law. Members of the college’s administration and at least four current faculty identify with the LGBTQ community. The OutLaws — the college’s LGBTQ organization of students, faculty and staff — has been recognized by the university for enhancing diversity.

The Moritz College of Law is proud of its role in making Columbus a city known nationwide for its inclusive atmosphere and vibrant LGBTQ community.