Civil Rights Project Director, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), NULS ’87
Mary L. Bonauto has been the Civil Rights Project Director at Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) since 1990. Her practice concentrates on impact litigation for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities. She has litigated widely in the state and federal courts and agencies of the six New England states on issues of employment discrimination, custody, free speech, and civil rights. In 1999, she and two Vermont co-counsel won a ruling that same-sex couples are entitled to all of the benefits and protections of civil marriage in the case of Baker v. State of Vermont, leading to the nation’s first civil union law. She was lead counsel in Goodridge v. Dep’t of Public Health, the landmark Massachusetts decision which held that prohibiting civil marriage for same-sex couples is unconstitutional, co-counsel in Kerrigan v. Dep’t of Public Health, in which the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled for marriage, and active on the campaign committees in Maine’s 2009 and 2012 ballot measures first defending, and then seeking, marriage for same-sex couples. Mary led GLAD’s challenges to the constitutionality of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in two cases in federal court, leading to the first District Court and Court of Appeals victories against DOMA, and then coordinated amici briefs for the Windsor case at the Supreme Court.
Mary is a graduate of Hamilton College and Northeastern University School of Law. She is a past Co-chair of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Committee of the IRR Section of the ABA and serves on the Honorary Board of the Boston Chapter of the American Constitution Society.