The Lambda Independent Democrats, the political club serving Brooklyn’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community, gathered for their 27th annual luncheon this past Sunday, April 10 at Aunt Suzie’s Italian restaurant on Fifth Avenue in Park Slope.

As has been the practice in past years, the group gave out awards for outstanding service to the community to a number of activists and organizations that have served Brooklyn and the city.

This year’s honorees included Rabbi Ellen Lippmann, a lesbian who serves Kolot Chayeinu, a progressive Park Slope congregation; Kelli Conlin, the longtime feminist leader who now heads up NARAL Pro Choice NY; Joe Pressley, the executive director of the New York AIDS Coalition, Susan Sommer, the lead Lambda Legal attorney in the historic February 4 ruling by Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Doris Ling-Cohan ordering the city clerk to issue same-sex marriage licenses; and Gay City News.

Borough Pres. Marty Markowtiz also awarded the honorees certificates bearing the “Seal of the City of Brooklyn.”

On a beautiful early spring day in an election year, it is not surprising that the event drew a wide array of New York political leaders. Three of the four Democratic candidates for mayor—City Council Speaker Gifford Miller, Manhattan Borough Pres. C. Virginia Fields and former Bronx Borough Pres. Fernando Ferrer—were on hand, as were three contenders for public advocate, the incumbent Betsy Gotbaum and primary challengers Norman Siegel and Andrew Raseij.

The lunch also drew three members of Congress who represent Brooklyn—Major Owens, Nydia Velazquez and Jerold Nadler—and a broad array of local councilmembers and state lawmakers. Former Public Advocate Mark Green, who is widely expected to run for state attorney general next year, also attended.

Pictured above are: (clockwise from bottom right) Rabbi Ellen Lippman receiving her award from lesbian Brooklyn Civil Court Judge Debra Silber; the group celebrating the Lambda award, including marriage plaintiff Jo-Ann Shain with her partner Mary Jo Kennedy and their daughter Aliya, attorney Susan Sommer, Lauren Abrams and Donna Freeman-Tweed, with Lambda members Harley Diamond and his husband Jonathan Lovett behind them; City Councilwoman Letitia James, NYAC’s Joe Pressley and Lambda Vice Pres. Christopher Murray; and NARAL Pro Choice NY’s Kelli Conlin.


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