Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library
Donna Novak Coles Georgia Women's Movement Archives
Bruce W. Callner was born in Camden, New Jersey in 1948 and received a B.S. degree in psychology from Western Michigan University followed by a J.D. degree from the University of Notre Dame. Callner became a member of the American Bar Association in 1974, serving on numerous committees including the Marriage Law Committee and the Divorce Law and Procedure Committee. As a long-term member of the State Bar of Georgia, Callner served on the Family Law Section Legislative Committee and the Younger Lawyers Section. During his term on the Younger Lawyers Section, Callner was a member of the Lawyers Ethics Committee, Mental Health Committee, the Committee on the Legal Status of Women, and Legislative Committee. As a member of the Atlanta Bar Association, Callner served on the Family Law Section, the Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee, the Legislative Sub-Committee, and the Speaker's Bureau Litigation Section. Callner also belonged to a number of civic groups; he was a member of the National Council on Family Relations (1977-1994), the National Organization for Women (1975-2001), the ERA Georgia, Inc. (1980-1982), Hospice Atlanta (1982-1983), and the Visually Impaired Foundation of Georgia, Inc. (1998). Callner also volunteered for a wide variety of community groups such as the Georgia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, Inc. (1978-2001), the Council on Battered Women (1979-1981), the Child Service and Family Counseling Center, Inc, (1978-1980), and the Fulton County Foster Care Review Project (1980-1981).
Abstract of the full interview
Bruce Callner's oral history provides an interesting and rare male perspective of the Women's Movement. In describing his childhood, Callner recounts the importance of the gender-neutral environment created by his mother. He discusses his experience at college in Michigan, and then at Notre Dame, where he studied law, and where he began to understand the importance of the Equal Rights Amendment as a way to protect all citizens equally under the law. When Callner came to Atlanta to work as a divorce lawyer, he was approached by Sherry [Shulman] Sutton to become involved in the coalition for the ERA in Georgia. Callner recalls his frustration when dealing with other men on the issue: He states that he ran into "[d]isintrest, for the most part. They didn't care. Remember, they are the empowered class." Callner discusses the continued importance of creating a gender-neutral environment for his own children -- giving the children of his second marriage their mother's surname. He describes what he considers to be some of the most important accomplishments of the women's movement and its legacy.
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