On April 28, 2015, Four US states will argue before the Supreme Court to keep their bans on same-sex marriage. The states contending that marriage is only between a man and a woman are: Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee.
Lawyers for gay and lesbian plaintiff chose Mary Bonauto, the movement’s pioneer who won the first case in Massachusetts in 2003, to present their main argument . Mary Bonauto, 53, is the civil rights project director for Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, a Boston-based group that does most of its legal work in the New England area. She was brought in to assist in the case several months ago.
Mary Bonauto and Doulas Hallward-Driemeier
Mary will argue on behalf of Michigan and Kentucky couples seeking the right to marry in their home states. Douglas Hallward-Driemeier, (a former assistant solicitor general in Washington with experience arguing before the Supreme Court), will argue for Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee plaintiffs whose marriages elsewhere are not being recognized in their home states.
Former Michigan Solicitor General, John Bursch, will defend same-sex marriage bans in MIchigan and Kentucky. Tennessee Associate Solicitor General Joseph Whalen will defend bans in Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio against recognizing marriages from other states.
Mary Bonauto’s Impressive Career
Mary Bonauto has been involved in most of the major court cases that have advanced the cause of gay and lesbian couples.
She was part of the legal team that won a 1999 case making Vermont the first state in the nation to legalize civil unions. She represented same-sex couples in the 2003 case Goodridge v. Department of Public Health that established marriage rights for gay couples in Massachusetts. And she won the first federal district and appeals court victories against the Defense of Marriage Act, before the Supreme Court followed suit in 2013.
Mary was born in 1961 into a Roman Catholic family. She spent her early years in Newburgh, New York. She graduated from Northeastern University School of Law in 1987. She entered private practice in the state of Maine and was at that time, one of three openly gay private pracricelawyers in the state.
Mary is married to Jennifer Wriggins, a professor at the Universit of Maine School of Law. The couple married in Massachusetts and have two twin daughters. Mary has fought hard to end discrimination in the work place, housing and anti-gay harassment and violence. Yale University awarded its 2010-2011 Brudner Prize for her activist work and her accomplishments as an academic. In 2011, Mary was named one of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Boston and the following year was listed as one of the 31 LGBT history “icons” by the organizers of LGBT History Month.
On behalf of LGBTI persons on the entire planet and fair-minded people who support us – we wish Mary, Douglas and their team a successful outcome. They and we, are on the right side of history. paula.