A Conversation with Mark Kleinschmidt
On January 23, MRS will be treated to a second presentation by Mark Kleinschmidt (this time via Zoom), whom you should remember from his time speaking to us as mayor of Chapel Hill (January 27, 2013). He’ll tell us about LGBTQ people and the justice system in a look back over the last couple decades, from going to death row because you’re gay to legal issues surrounding reproductive technology, adoptions and the modern same-sex couple led family.
When elected to the Chapel Hill Town Council, Mark Kleinschmidt was only the fifth openly gay person in the history of North Carolina to be elected to office. Although born in Belleville Illinois, he studied at UNC-CH, where he graduated in 1992 with a Bachelor of Arts in education. This led him to West Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte, where in 1997 he was chosen “Teacher of the Year” by his peers. That year he returned to UNC to study law. After graduating in 2000 Mark joined the Center for Death Penalty Litigation, for which he represented indigent clients in NC facing execution. In 2006 he became Executive Director of the Fair Trial Initiative, also representing capital defendants.
Meanwhile, in 2001 he was elected to the Chapel Hill Town Council, and in 2009 he was elected mayor. He served as mayor until 2015, and in 2018, he was elected Orange County’s Clerk of Superior Court. He is also serving as an Adjunct Professor of Law at UNC Chapel Hill.
The gathering will have time for a question & answer session. Occasions for exchanges like this are rare; please join us.