Hyatt Fund presentations address marriage, birth control and international arbitration

Jack Senterfitt

Jack Senterfitt '74 addressed the national struggle to legalize gay marriage in a Hyatt Fund Lecture sponsored by the law school's Gay/Straight Alliance on January 31.

Other spring semester Hyatt Fund events included "Got Birth Control," a panel discussion sponsored by the Women Law Students Association in conjunction with student organizations at Vanderbilt's divinity and medical schools on February 2, and "Adventures in International Arbitration," a lecture by Francisco Balduzzi, International Legal Consultant with Fulbright & Jaworski presented by the International Law Society and Vanderbilt Alternative Dispute Resolution Organization on March 16.

Senterfitt is a senior staff attorney in the Southern Regional Office of Lambda Legal, the largest and oldest national legal organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV. In his lecture, he focused on why marriage is important for securing the same protections for families of gay and lesbian people that different-sex couples and families enjoy.

Before joining Lambda Legal, Senterfitt was Assistant Commissioner and Chief Legal Officer for the Georgia Department of Human Resources, where he was responsible for managing all legal affairs for the state's social service agency.

After graduating from Vanderbilt Law School, Senterfitt spent more than 27 years with Alston & Bird in Atlanta, where he led the firm's railroad litigation group, and helped develop the firm's domestic partnership benefits program. He was also was instrumental in amending the firm's nondiscrimination policy to include sexual orientation. At Vanderbilt, Senterfitt was on the Law Review and received the International Barristers Association Award for Trial Techniques.

The "Got Birth Control" panel, moderated by Rebecca Brown, Allen Professor of Law, highlighted the issue of whether pharmacists should be able to refuse to fill prescriptions for birth control because of their personal, conscientious or religious objections. Among the six panelists were Professor Ellen Clayton, who serves on the faculties of the law and medical schools and is co-director of Vanderbilt's Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society; Allistair Wood of the Vanderbilt Medical School; and Melissa Snarr, Professor of Ethics at Vanderbilt Divinity School, as well as representatives from Planned Parenthood, the Regent School of Law and the St. Thomas School of Law.

"From the very beginning it was important to us to invite panelists from a variety of different backgrounds and viewpoints," said 2L Caryn Cramer, WLSA president. "It made for a really interesting – and at times heated – panel discussion!"

The Hyatt Student Activities Fund provides student organizations and individual students with full or partial funding to bring in outside speakers and support student-planned symposia or conferences. The fund was endowed by Wayne S. Hyatt (VULS '68; VU '65) and his late wife, Amanda M. Hyatt (VU BA '67, MA '74), to support student-initiated programs that enrich the intellectual content of student activities at Vanderbilt Law School.