Person of the Year went above, beyond duties

BTL Staff
By | 2006-12-28T09:00:00-05:00 December 28th, 2006|Uncategorized|

It’s challenging to select just one community advocate who makes great strides to enhance life for all of us. After all, there are quite a few who’ve put forth the effort this year. But Jay Kaplan, LGBT staff attorney for ACLU of Michigan, went above and beyond the call of duty in leading our community to profound possibilities.
As a crusader of LGBT issues, including a transgender rights case and significant devotion to second parent adoptions involving same-sex couples, Kaplan’s leadership work is rooted in his eagerness for equal rights.
But what makes Kaplan, who’s also served on the board of the Michigan AIDS Fund for 10 years, a pivotal part of the gay community is his enthusiastic involvement in activities. He’s participated in the Wilde Awards, Between The Lines’ theater award gala. As a theater devotee, he’s directing “Pal Joey” for the Village Players of Birmingham.
As a gay man himself, he knows best that LGBT people are no different from others when it comes to raising children and seeking love.
“It’s made it very difficult for gay and lesbian couples when they have children to have both parents [legally] recognized,” Kaplan said about personal views from a handful of justice on second parent adoption. “Unfortunately, there’s a lot of politics with our court system because our judges are elected, and sometimes politics gets in the way.”
It’s his devotion to the LGBT community, paired with his rigorous activist work, which boasts Kaplan as more than an average Joe.
Kaplan’s insistent on marriage protection for LGBT people and doesn’t back down. Although the passage of the 2004 constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in Michigan was a drastic setback, and domestic partner benefits offered by various states agencies are under attack, ACLU succeeded at the trail court level. Though the Michigan’s attorney general appealed the ruling, Kaplan’s work doesn’t stop there. He’s prepared to take on the courts along with others at ACLU by looking into federal challenges should the Supreme Court offer an unfavorable ruling.
“We feel very strongly about this,” Kaplan told us.
It’s his persistence and his unwillingness to just sit on the sidelines that has prompted Between The Lines to name Kaplan the first-ever person of the year. And we have no doubt he’ll continue to step up to the plate as we head into 2007.

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 25th anniversary.