February 28, 2009
WHEREAS, in 1992 SAA adopted an Equal Opportunity/Non-Discrimination Policy that rejected discrimination and unequal treatment based on race, color, creed, gender, national origin, age, marital status, family relationship, individual life style, and disability; and
WHEREAS, in February 2005 the SAA Council identified diversity as a high strategic priority for the Society; and
WHEREAS, in June 2006 the SAA Council adopted diversity as one of the Society’s strategic priorities and each year thereafter reaffirmed diversity as a principal strategic goal of the Society; and
WHEREAS, in February 2009 the SAA Council expanded the Society’s Equal Opportunity/ Non-Discrimination Policy specifically to include discrimination on the basis of gender identity/expression, sexual orientation, and veteran status;
NOW THEREFORE, be it resolved
THAT the SAA Council reaffirms its commitment to the principle that human and civil rights are immutable and inherent in each individual and should not be abridged by political manipulation, social attitudes, or prevailing opinion; and
THAT the SAA Council condemns the exploitation of prejudice for political, promotional, or financial purposes; and
THAT the SAA Council reaffirms its commitment to equal opportunity, non-discrimination, and human and civil rights for all of its members.
Support Statement: In August 2008, SAA met in San Francisco during a historically significant period in the ongoing movement for gay and lesbian rights, when same-sex marriage was legal. Several SAA members took advantage of this right to marry, and SAA celebrated these marriages by publishing a member-written article in Archival Outlook that profiled some of these weddings.
Within the context of the passage of California’s Proposition 8 in November 2008, SAA’s Diversity Committee, with the support of the Lesbian and Gay Archives Roundtable, requested that the Council discuss and consider steps that the Society could take to support actively the needs of its gay and lesbian members. Inclusion of this matter on the Council agenda engendered a great deal of discussion, with varied opinions expressed on the Archives and Archivists listserv, blogs, and social networking sites. Many members contacted SAA directly to express support for gay and lesbian members of the Society.
In revising the “Equal Opportunity/Non-Discrimination Policy” statement and adopting this resolution, the SAA Council clearly asserts the principle that all of our members, including our gay and lesbian members, deserve full human and civil rights, and commits itself to working toward the realization of those rights by whatever practical means are appropriate to a professional organization. We encourage ongoing dialogue and suggestions for further activities that will make SAA as inclusive an organization as possible.