For Immediate Release
August 17, 2004
WINNIPEG – Prof. Karen Busby of the University of Manitoba is the recipient of the Canadian Bar Association’s (CBA) Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Conference (SOGIC) 2004 Hero Award.
“Prof. Busby has fought hard for equality for the GLBT community and her work on a landmark case dealing with freedom of expression and obscenity laws exemplifies this work,” said Joanne Prince of Toronto, co-chair of SOGIC. “She is a role model for the community.”
In 2001, Prof. Busby was a founding member of Group Organizing on Same Sex Issues and Principles (GOSSIP), which focuses on educating the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and two-spirited community in Manitoba and lobbying the provincial government. She was also an active member of the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) during the 1990s.
As a LEAF member, Prof. Busby served as lead counsel on a Supreme Court of Canada case dealing with a shipment of books destined for a Vancouver GLBT bookstore that was seized at the border by Canada Customs and deemed to be obscene. The Supreme Court later held that there was "no evidence that homosexual erotica is proportionately more likely to be obscene than heterosexual erotica,” and that Customs had overstepped its authority in seizing the books.
As a member of GOSSIP and in her capacity as a law professor, Prof. Busby has made submissions to the Manitoba government and to the Minister of Justice dealing with common law relationship amendments and other issues necessary for Manitoba law to provide equality for GLBT Manitobans in accordance with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Prof. Busby has also been active in the local Winnipeg GLBT community, and was a speaker at the Winnipeg Pride Day Rally in both 2001 and 2002. She also sits on the board of directors for Egale Canada as the the female representative for the Prairie-Northwest Territories-Nunavut region, and in that capacity has done work on numerous GLBT issues, including same-sex marriage.
Prof. Busby has been an instructor at the University of Manitoba School of Law since 1988. She received her LL.B from the University of Manitoba in 1981, and her Master’s in Law from Columbia University in 1987. She was called to the Manitoba Bar in 1982.
The SOGIC Hero Award recognizes contributions made in the cause of equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and two-spirited people. The Award is presented at the Touchstone Reception, held as part of the Canadian Legal Conference in Winnipeg on Tuesday, Aug. 17 at 4:30 p.m. in the VIP Salon of the Winnipeg Convention Centre. The event is open to accredited journalists who have registered with the CBA Media Centre.
The Canadian Bar Association represents the legal profession on a national and international level. It is dedicated to improvement in the law and the administration of justice. Some 38,000 lawyers, notaries, law teachers and law students from across Canada are members.
CONTACT: Hannah Bernstein, Canadian Bar Association, Aug. 13-17, Winnipeg Convention Centre, Meeting Room 16, (204) 957-4375.