[UPDATED: Coroner Rules Suicide] Katherine Darmer, Chapman Professor and Gay Rights Champion, Falls From a Building in a Possible Suicide

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OCEC
Darmer
UPDATE, FEB. 22, 3:46 P.M.: The Orange County coroner's office has ruled Katherine Darmer's death a suicide. Questions remain as to why she would want to end her life.  

ORIGINAL POST, FEB. 21, 12:32 P.M.: Katherine Darmer, a Chapman law professor and a founding member of the Orange County Equality Coalition (OCEC), has died at the age of 47. At 11:30 a.m. on Friday, she fell from an Irvine parking garage in what police are investigating as a suicide. An official cause of death has yet to be determined.
 
Darmer was hailed as a brilliant and inspirational professor, and a fierce advocate for equality. In 2008, as Proposition 8 aimed to keep same-sex couples from marrying, she helped launch OCEC, which united Orange County's gay community.

The Weekly has always witnessed Darmer to be passionate and sharp, whether debating John Yoo on waterboarding or standing up for a teenage girl who was bullied for helping stage the musical Rent at Corona del Mar High School.   

'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' activist Dan Choi wrote a letter to the Orange County Register about Darmer's impact on his life: 

Professor Darmer was the first lawyer to reach out during my DADT fight.
She was college roommates with NY Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and made a point of introducing me to her very early on (in both of our journeys) and this had an indelible impact on our fight to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell. I called Katherine often, before trials, for advice on printing "Don't Hide" shirts, or for representing myself in court.
She always had a calming and wise voice to advise and encourage. I am very sad to hear of her sudden passing. . . . Katherine has a very important place in my journey and heart.
A 2009 Weekly cover story quoted Darmer in a speech at an OCEC-sponsored event at Chapman University, reflecting on the year since Prop. 8.

I'm pretty open about my views on these issues, and my issues are not the same as everyone at Chapman or here in Orange County. People often say to me, "Why are you in Orange County? Why are you at Chapman?" And in all honesty, what I want to say to you is this is where there's work to be done.

It is here, in Orange County, that we have to change hearts and minds. Think of it as a challenge. Here, you can make a difference--and we have made a difference.

In an email to members, OCEC wrote this about its "Lady of Justice": 
 
If you knew Katherine, then there's no need to explain what's been lost.  If you didn't, then know this: She fought for you even though she did not know you. Her's was the voice we heard that spoke against marriage inequality, gave us hope and guidance for the future, and helped form a better community.

She will be missed.
    
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16 comments
Stang
Stang

Too many unanswered questions in this article. Did she really kill herself or was she murdered? After all, she stood up to people with no scruples about winning at any cost.

Justice Scalia
Justice Scalia

People winning at all costs? Seriously?I was a student of Professor Darmer's, and as you can tell by the name I use in posting, she and I had NOTHING in common politically.  However, she was a kind, considerate, dedicated teacher, who did it well...very well.  After occupying a chair in a classroom for three years, you learn that some people can teach, and some can't...and some who can are so wound up in their own little world that they don't care if you learn or not. Professor Darmer was one of the great ones.

What happened to her is tragic and sad.  Sad that no one could help her, that she had some desire to cease living.  Sad that being a mother, a husband, a daughter, a friend, and a teacher didn't make her think twice about her tragic choice...which is another thing.  She was a teacher who LOVED her students...and she had two classrooms of students that she just walked out on, without warning, in week 5 or 6 of the semester.  Knowing her in that context, something really bad was going on inside.

But to portray this as a "the other side threw her off the building because they'll stop at nothing to win" issue?  Win what?  The right to get "married" over getting a":civil union?"  Ask most married people, it's overrated, and no one threw her off a building.  Read the comments to the OC Register article...people in their offices saw her sitting on the ledge, alone, dangling her feet...then she just pushed off.

If "they" wanted to "stop at nothing" and make progress in stopping gay marriage, they'd throw Gavin Newsome and Gerry Brown off a building instead...but there's always another election.

Wake up and mourn the loss of a good, decent lady, instead of trying to use her untimely death to falsely defame the opposition.  Professor Darmer would have never done that...take a lesson.

Danjandersen
Danjandersen

Fuck them all!!! we are all going to die anyway's...it's just a matter of time....if disease, cancer, or heaart attack wont get you.....suicide will..either way....one guarantee in life is death......there are no other guarantees...

Your Self
Your Self

You listen up! Any idiot that decides that there own tragic vain life means anything to the rest of  stupid vain humanity needs to become educated.  It's not all about You!   figure it out. 

guest
guest

your self,

Before you start posting ignorant and insensitive comments denouncing others as idiots, you need to educate "yourself" on the rules of grammer and vocabulary.  Start with the difference between "there" and "their." 

listenup
listenup

She must have had some bad demons.

Seems like a strange way for a woman to take her life.   I feel bad for her family.   

qdpsteve
qdpsteve

Sad. Ms. Darmer sounds like the kind of activist OC (and the rest of the USA) needs more of: someone willing to go among their ideological opposites and debate them with intelligence and civility, rather than just stand back and demonize...

Dt.Kat Munoz
Dt.Kat Munoz

Its a shame to see tragedies like this happen to someone so intelligent

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

It proves it can happen to anyone. Intelligence has its own burdens, though.

20ftJesus
20ftJesus

Had everything going for her and she jumps?  Where was D. Pauly when this happened?

Allison
Allison

You never know what kind of demons people battle inside. "Having everything going for" you doesn't automatically make you happy. Serious depression doesn't discriminate.

Matthew T. Coker
Matthew T. Coker

 Getting her drink on?

your self
your self

Matthew T. Cocker you r one sick puppy. 

your self
your self

 when you are too self absorbed, you entertain killing yourself in front of others. 

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