June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month, and the Department of Justice recently honored a former Assistant U.S. Attorney from the Eastern District of Michigan at its Pride Month celebration.
Judge Judith Levy, who was recently sworn in as a U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Michigan, served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for 14 years before taking the bench. Judge Levy was presented with the James R. Douglass Award, which recognizes outstandingcontributions to the LGBT community and to the work-life environment for DOJ employees.
Judge Levy, who served as the Chief of the Civil Rights Division for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit, was recognized for her contributions to promoting quality in the DOJ workplace. Judge Levy helped pave the way for federal government health care benefits for same-sex spouses.
The DOJ Pride event also recognized Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr., for the achievements of the Justice Department under his leadership, which includes enforcement of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, a commitment to stopping harassment, bullying and abusive behavior directed at young people, enforcement of the Violence Against Women Act’s provisions covering LGBT survivors of domestic abuse, and enacting policies to provide equal treatment for same-sex married couples under federal law following United States v. Windsor, in which the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional.
Here in the Eastern District of Michigan, we have sought to enforce the legal rights of all of our residents, including those in the LGBT community. In United States v. Avery, a defendant was convicted under the Shepard Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act for assaulting a gay man at a Detroit gas station. The defendant admitted that the motive for the assault was the victim’s sexual orientation, and he was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
Since 2010, we have included LGBT Pride Month among our special emphasis programs, which also include Black History Month, Disability Awareness Month, Holocaust Remembrance Month, Veterans’ Day, and Arab American Heritage Month, among others. This year’s LGBT program will feature a talk by Henry Ford Health System CEO Nancy Schlichting. These special emphasis programs give our employees a chance to learn more about the various segments of the citizens we serve, so that we can enforce the rights of all people effectively and with sensitivity.
As Attorney General Holder stated at the DOJ Pride event: “This Department will never stop standing up and speaking out for equality and against discrimination – so we can ensure that every American receives the protections, the dignity, and the rights to which he or she is entitled.”
Barbara L. McQuade
United States Attorney
Eastern District of Michigan