News and Updates

Jane Marquardt is a activist, grandmother, attorney, seeker of good health, writer, and occasional Huffington Post contributor.

The Pavan Family, photo by NCLR

The National Center for Lesbian Rights, Kate Kendell, and The Audacity to Fight for Justice

My wife, Tami, and I were fortunate to be in San Francisco for the 41st anniversary celebration of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR).   Along with celebrating NCLR’s work, the 2,000 plus people gathered at the Palace of Fine Arts were honoring my long-term friend Kate (Kathy) Kendell as she retires at the end of 2018 from 22 years of being the Executive Director of NCLR.   Along with tributes to Kate, the program gave special honors to the two plaintiffs in Doe vs. Trump, the NCLR lawsuit challenging President Trump’s ban on transgendered people serving in the military.  Listening to these two individuals (ages 20 and 22) address the crowd, I was inspired and realized that we really are now living in a world that Kate Kendell helped create. 

Twenty Years later:Reflections on the death of Matthew SHepard

Imagine experiencing the death of a child.  And then imagine your child was a gay college student who died as a result of a brutal attack that left him beaten and suffering. And next imagine that tensions were so high at the time of his funeral that you, his parent, had to wear a bulletproof vest under your suit to the service.  And finally imagine it took twenty years to find a place where you could safely lay your son’s remains to rest without fear of them being desecrated by further anti-gay violence.   Such has been the journey of the parents of Matthew Shepard since his horrific murder in October of 1998.  This month, with much love and respect, Matthew was finally interred in a place of honor in the Washington National Cathedral.  



Last week our house just missed burning to the ground. From a glass half full perspective, last week our house was saved. I feel self-indulgent to even be focusing on it, because as I write this there is a raging fire in Northern California. Thousands and thousands of people have been forced to flee, hundreds of homes have been burned to the ground, people have died. Here in Utah, there are at least six active wildfires burning today. As my wife, Tami, noted this morning on our neighborhood walk in this valley-wide smoky air, “It seems like the earth is smoldering.” Yet in the midst of wildfires and national political chaos (where it seems like our country is divided into two acerbic camps who have no chance of understanding one another), our fire gave us the chance to experience a fabulously functioning local government and the generous and courageous actions of family and friends.


Peace. Love. Opportunity.

The specific notion of equality extends beyond just fair treatment under the law and into the realm of equal access to opportunities for all people to achieve their full potential.