A global first: Australian state of Victoria issues formal apology to the LGBTQI community for discriminatory laws

In what is being heralded as an international first, the Australian state of Victoria’s Parliament has just formally apologized to generations of gay men (and the larger LGBTQI Community)  for the systematic persecution and destruction of human dignity enforced by the State through its anti-homosexual statutes.

In one of many remarkable passages, the Victorian Premier,the Hon. Daniel Matthews, declares,

 ” Speaker, it is the first responsibility of a Government to keep people safe. But the Government didn’t keep LGBTI people safe.

The Government invalidated their humanity and cast them into a nightmare.

And those who live today are the survivors of nothing less than a campaign of destruction, led by the might of the State.”

The Premier continues by recounting the remarkable stories of survivors from this odious time period when representative governments worldwide created and enforced these destructive laws.

It is his final words of apology that are truly ground breaking:

If you are a member of the LGBTI community, and there’s someone in your life that you love – a partner or a friend – then do me a favour:

Next time you’re on a tram in Melbourne, hold their hand.

Do it with pride and defiance.

Because you have that freedom.

And here in the progressive capital, I can think of nothing more Victorian than that.

Speaker, it’s been a life of struggle for generations of Victorians.

As representatives, we take full responsibility.

We criminalised homosexual thoughts and deeds. We validated homophobic words and acts.

And we set the tone for a society that ruthlessly punished the different – with a short sentence in prison, and a life sentence of shame.

From now on, that shame is ours.

This Parliament and this Government are to be formally held to account for designing a culture of darkness and shame.

And those who faced its sanction, and lived in fear, are to be formally recognised for their relentless pursuit of freedom and love.

It all started here. It will end here, too.

To our knowledge, no jurisdiction in the world has ever offered a full and formal apology for laws like these.

So please, let these words rest forever in our records:

“On behalf of the Parliament, the Government and the people of Victoria.

For the laws we passed.

And the lives we ruined.

And the standards we set.

We are so sorry. Humbly, deeply, sorry.”

Read the entire apology here.

Watch it here:


Are you an RA?

If you are a law faculty RA please register.  As a registered RA you can get the following:

  • Printing
  • A liaison in the library
  • A carrel (a study space)
  • Help with your research projects

So register today.  We are here for you.


Westlaw, Lexis and Bloomberg – What can I use this summer?

Lexis Advance and Bloomberg/BNA allow full access for the entire summer and you can use them for work purposes.  If you don’t have a password contact Stefanie Weigmann and she will help you get access.

Westlaw allows you access to 60 hrs per month for June and July, with normal use (180 hrs per month) resuming in August.  You cannot use this for work, only for educational purposes.  If you are an RA or doing an unpaid internship or externship you can get full access here.

Other library databases are also available over the summer through the eResource A-Z list, however most of our licenses limit their use to educational purposes.

Have a great summer, and remember you can e-mail the library or chat with us anytime during the summer.



Graduating? What is your access to databases after graduation?

First of all – Congratulations!  This is a huge accomplishment.  As you go out into the work world and study for the bar, you might want to know which of the databases you had access to in law school you still have access to, and what you can use them for.

The exciting news is that we have negotiated an extension of Westlaw access.  So you now have access to Westlaw for 18 months after graduation and can use that for work purposes.

Lexis Advance allows access until Dec. 31, 2016 and you can use that for work purposes.  If you are working for a 501(c)(3) you can get an extension on that if you apply to the ASPIRE program.

Bloomberg Law allows access for six months after graudation and you can also use that for work purposes.  That includes all the BNA materials as well.

For all other library databases, remote access to these end on graduation. However, you can come into the library as an alumni and use any of them in the library.


What’s your favorite?

books-1015594_960_720Ever wished you could borrow a book rest or lap desk to make your library studying a little easier? We’d like to make that happen for you! Stop by the 3rd floor to try out four different book rests (on the round tables by the MyPrint center) or 2 different lap desks (by the soft seating in the third floor reading room), vote for your favorite, and we’ll have them available for check out in time for the reading period and finals.


Religious Freedom and Bathroom Ordinances

North Carolina Republicans yesterday fired the latest salvo in the Nation’s cultural wars over civil rights, passing a state law overturning local LGBT Discrimination bans, joining Tennessee (2011) and Arkansas (2015) …

“Once released, it was clear that the legislative language was more sweeping than expected. Not only does it prevent local governments from writing ordinances that allow people to use the bathroom corresponding to the gender with with they identify, it also preempts cities from passing their own nondiscrimination standards, saying the state’s rules—which are more conservative—supersede localities. Local school district would be barred from allowing transgender students to use bathrooms or locker rooms that don’t correspond to the gender listed on their birth certificate. The bill would also ban cities from passing their own minimum-wage laws.” (The Atlantic, see below)

Similar efforts have failed after facing withering attacks from business and civil-rights groups in states like South Dakota (governor vetoed bill passed by legislature), Utah (state legislature fashioned a remarkable compromise in consultation with multiple stakeholders), Indiana (effort failed after enormous public outcry), Georgia (bill passed awaiting governor’s signature faces uncertain future after business leaders and NFL suggest serious economic consequences for the state if law is enacted).

Here is some of the press on the issue:

The Atlantic:


NPR:  http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/03/24/471700323/north-carolina-passes-law-blocking-measures-to-protect-lgbt-people

The Washington Post:



Introducing…writing retreats

Startup Stock Photos
Startup Stock Photos

Need a little distraction-free time to work on that note, seminar paper, or other writing project? Join the law librarians Fridays from 9-12 in the law library conference room (310) for some regular, quiet work time. Questions? email us at lawref@bu.edu.


Help BU libraries improve; take a survey and enter a drawing for an iPad mini 4

960x540-2015 (1)_Page_2BU libraries are conducting a survey of faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates to learn how we are doing and what we can do to improve. Check your BU email account for an email from Provost Morrison with a personalized link to the survey. Complete the survey by April 5 to help the library improve and to enter a drawing for a chance to win an iPad mini 4.

Results from previous library surveys can be found at the Library Assessment webpage; the results of the current survey will be reported there once the survey is completed and analyzed.



Voting in America

Do you want Bernie or are you for Rubio?  Massachusetts has already voted, but as the primaries progress in other states the press has been focusing on voter ID laws.  Many states have passed voter ID laws in the last few years, and a good way to keep up with these is to find a 50 state survey. The National Conference of State Legislatures keeps a close eye on developments across states.  Westlaw also has a good 50 state survey on voter registration.  50 state surveys are an invaluable tool to compare state practice in different areas of the law.