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Chicago-Kent College of Law




Professor Maria O'Brien Hylton*: Welcome to this session on "Same Sex Marriage and its Implications for Employee Benefits." I'm Maria Hylton and I will introduce our speakers and moderate the program.

Our first speaker is Constance Hiatt, who is a partner with the Hanson Bridgett law firm here in San Francisco. She represents mostly large employers and large employee benefit plans, including the State of California's 401(k) and 457 plans as well as the University of California's benefits office. So, she has extensive experience in the employee benefits area and she came to us, to me really, through several very well known ERISA lawyers who are active in the ABA. When I was calling around last year trying to find a fabulous and dynamic speaker, everybody said Constance Hiatt, if you can get her, So, we got her.

Our second speaker is Shannon Minter. He is the legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights also based here in San Francisco. This is an organization that is the leading advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender individuals. He was the lead attorney on Sharon Smith's groundbreaking wrongful death suit,1 and has litigated a variety of other important impact cases in California as well as in other parts of the country.

Our third speaker is Professor Teresa Collett. She's a professor of law at the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minnesota, where she specializes in constitutional law, legal ethics, and churchstate relations. She has published numerous law review articles on these topics and she recently testified before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee in favor of the Federal Marriage Amendment.2 That's as succinct as I can be with each of these three extremely impressive individuals.

Let me mention one other thing before Connie makes it up here to the podium. The session today is co-sponsored with the AALS Section on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Issues. Elvia Areola is the chair of that section, and I just want to publicly thank her for all of her help. She was extremely critical in our working our way to Mr. Minter today and for that I am very grateful.

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