The Trustees of the Massachusetts Bar Foundation proudly announce that they have selected Attorney Mary L. Bonauto of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) to receive the MBF's 2016 Great Friend of Justice Award. The award will be presented at the Foundation's Annual Meeting on March 15, 2016, at the Social Law Library in the John Adams Courthouse in Boston.
The MBF's Great Friend of Justice Award is presented annually to an individual who has demonstrated extraordinary passion for justice, consistent with the MBF's values and mission of increasing access to justice throughout Massachusetts.
"It is no exaggeration to say that Mary Bonauto's achievements in fighting for LGBT civil rights and equality have been momentous," said MBF President Robert J. Ambrogi. "She has devoted her entire career to the pursuit of justice and is truly deserving of this award."
Bonauto is a leading civil rights lawyer whose powerful arguments and long-term legal strategies have led to historic strides in achieving marriage equality for same-sex couples across the United States. The Civil Rights Project Director at GLAD since 1990, she has worked tirelessly to eradicate discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Bonauto is best known for two precedent-setting cases. In 2004, she was lead counsel in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, which made Massachusetts the first state where same-sex couples could legally marry. In 2015, Bonauto successfully argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges, establishing the freedom to marry for same-sex couples nationwide in one of the most important civil rights cases in modern history.
She is also responsible for leading the first strategic challenges in section three of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
Bonauto's work has been recognized with numerous awards, including the 2014 MacArthur Fellowship and Yale's Brudner Prize. The MBF is honored to add the Great Friend of Justice Award to Bonauto's many honors.