Mary L. Bonauto

Shikes Fellow in Civil Liberties and Civil Rights and Lecturer on Law

Spring 2020


Mary L. Bonauto is a nationally renowned litigator who has been the Civil Rights Project Director at Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders since 1990. In her time there she has celebrated a number of historic and groundbreaking victories, including her involvement in Baker v. State of Vermont, which led to the nation’s first civil union law and Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, which made Massachusetts the first state where same-sex couples could legally marry. She also brought the first successful challenges to the federal Defense of Marriage Act and is currently co-counsel on the Michigan marriage case currently before the United States Supreme Court. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including most recently the 2014 MacArthur Fellowship.

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