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  • Meet the lawyers facing off on gay marriage

    The Wall Street Journal - 04/27/2015

    The Supreme Court will first hear from civil-rights lawyer Mary Bonauto who is representing 16 gay and lesbian couples forbidden by states to marry.

    Ms. Bonauto, who is 53, has never argued a case before the Supreme Court, but few were surprised when last month gay rights groups announced her star role in Tuesday’s arguments. Ms. Bonauto, who will be arguing that the Constitution requires states to recognize same-sex unions, has spent more than 20 years litigating in defense of gay marriage as an attorney for the nonprofit Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders in Boston.

    An early case led to a 1999 court decision in Vermont that paved the way for legislation making Vermont the first state to legalize civil unions. When the Massachusetts Supreme Court in 2003 became the first state high court to declare that gay couples have a right to wed, she was lead counsel for the plaintiffs.

    When the MacArthur Foundation awarded her a “genius grant” last year, it credited the Northeastern University Law School graduate with “breaking down legal barriers based on sexual orientation and influencing debates about the relationship between the law and momentous social change more broadly.”

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