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When the Ontario native moved to Santa Cruz to head international litigation at Apple Computer in the 1980s, she settled cases that other lawyers would have taken straight to court.Rosen, who became a lobbyist 20 years ago, has been calling lawmakers by their first names ever since. She once took a break from lawyering to write a screenplay called "Dykes in Oz," featuring a character with a lipstick switchblade.An important role As a pair, the two are a potent image in the gay community."They put the 'go' in 'you go, girl!' " says Bob Hattoy, a Clinton administration aide and gay activist.Even when posing for pictures, there are certain angles she likes and others she won't permit.Birch counter-balances Rosen's East Coast intensity. The tall blond daughter of a Canadian Air Force engineer, she has a laid-back manner that wins trust.There are more like Hilary and Elizabeth who are closeted."But some criticize the couple, accusing them of getting too cozy within the system."The most important thing to them is getting invited to the next cocktail party," says Steve Michael, an AIDS activist with ACT UP."You've got to push the envelope, constantly, and that's not what they do.
Rosen explored her lesbianism in college -- she dated her George Washington University roommate -- and decided to come out in her early 20s while lobbying Congress on AIDS issues. Birch started by overturning her high school's no-pants rule for girls.
An article Monday overstated the federal campaign contributions made by Hilary Rosen, CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America. "Kind of like the Garth Brooks of the gay and lesbian world."Garth Brooks, maybe. Rosen, whose salary and powers are among the highest at Washington's trade groups, enjoys close connections with lawmakers that are enhanced by the fund-raisers she organizes and campaign contributions she delivers.
She has donated more than 4,000 to political campaigns and organizations since 1987, according to records filed with the Federal Election Commission. WASHINGTON -- It has been a busy few months for lobbyists Elizabeth Birch and Hilary Rosen. Birch, head of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay and lesbian political group, has doubled the organization's size to more than 200,000 and magnified its political clout -- not surprising given her previous career as one of the country's highest-ranking openly gay corporate lawyers.
Still, they are very much "out" as a couple, together on the political scene for the past two years.
As a pair, they have attended the Grammys, posed for pictures flanking President Clinton, even sat in the studio audience of the coming-out episode of "Ellen." Birch tells friends that meeting Rosen was like finding her soul-mate.
"And both are seen as leaders in their own right."Yet even given their prominence -- and their recognized political talent -- they remain marginalized because of who they are and how they live.