Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance Honors Compassion & Choices
By Alyson Lynch, Communications Coordinator
April 30, 2019 LGBT
Compassion & Choices was proud to receive the Distinguished Service Award from the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance (GLAA) on April 18 in Washington, D.C., for our leadership in the effort to pass and protect the District of Columbia’s Death With Dignity Act. GLAA is the nation’s oldest continuously active gay and lesbian civil rights organization. Compassion & Choices was founded at the height of the AIDS epidemic, and many of our early advocates were LGBTQ community members. This tradition holds strong today, with prominent LGBTQ advocates continuing to lend their voice to campaigns for end-of-life care options in the District and across the country.
Compassion & Choices and GLAA have a strong and enduring partnership. In 2016, Compassion & Choices led a successful campaign to pass the D.C. Death with Dignity Act with the help of organizations like GLAA. When terminally ill advocate Mary Klein was unable to find a prescribing physician, GLAA stood with Compassion & Choices on the steps of the D.C. Council building urging health systems and lawmakers to make the law accessible to all D.C. residents. We also worked together to lobby Congress to stop the repeal of the law on numerous occasions since it took effect in 2017.
At GLAA’s 48th Anniversary reception, Donna Smith, Compassion & Choices’ D.C. and Maryland campaign director, accepted the Distinguished Service Award on behalf of Compassion & Choices. She spoke to the audience about the D.C. Death with Dignity Act and Mary Klein’s legacy. She then introduced Stella Dawson Klein, Mary Klein’s widow, who continues Mary’s legacy by advocating for medical aid-in-dying laws. Donna said, “We are proud to continue our partnership with the LGBTQ community through organizations like GLAA and advocates like Mary and Stella.”