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Civil Rights Project

Since 1978, GLAD’s bold and effective advocacy has achieved scores of precedent-setting legal victories to end discrimination based on sexual orientation, HIV status, and gender identity and expression, benefiting individuals, couples, and families across New England and through the United States.

We fight because we care, and we win because we’re good. Each time GLAD argues a case or tackles an issue, we tear down more of the outdated laws and stereotypes that have denied LGBT people basic protections and opportunities in every area of daily life – family, school, employment, housing, government, health care, and beyond.

Whether it’s marriage for same-sex couples or non-discrimination policies in the workplace, GLAD doesn’t shrink from tough issues.  And we don’t compromise on our belief that every LGBT citizen deserves full equality under the law – without exception.

Latest Civil Rights Project NewsMore→

August 28, 2014

Utah Marriage Equality Plaintiffs Ask U.S. Supreme Court to Review Case

Today, the three couples challenging the State of Utah’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples asked the United States Supreme Court to accept the … Read More →

August 26, 2014

GLAD Joins Historic Utah Marriage Case

GLAD Civil Rights Project Director Mary Bonauto and Legal Director Gary Buseck have joined colleagues at the National Center for Lesbian Rights … Read More →

Latest Civil Rights Project Blog PostsMore→

August 25, 2014

Continuing the Struggle - in the U.S. and in Uganda

Earlier this month, Uganda’s Constitutional Court struck down, on technical grounds, the Anti-Homosexual Act – the law that has put my community in … Read More →

August 13, 2014

Letter of Solidarity in Response to the Death of Michael Brown

GLAD has joined with other national LGBT organizations in the following statement of solidarity in response to the tragic death of Michael Brown, … Read More →

Project Director

Photo of Mary L. Bonauto, Esq.

Mary L. Bonauto, Esq.

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 … Read More →

Related Cases


In re Wambere

Update: John Wambere had an interview August 25, 2014 with an asylum officer at the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services about his … Read More →


Barrett v Fontbonne Academy

GLAD has filed a complaint with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) against Fontbonne Academy, a religiously affiliated … Read More →


Passaro v. Bayer

GLAD has filed a lawsuit against Pittsburgh-based Bayer Corporation on behalf of Gerald Passaro of Milford, Connecticut, whose late husband, Thomas … Read More →


Kitchen v. Herbert

Update August 28, 2014: —Today, the three couples challenging the State of Utah’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples asked the United States … Read More →


Considine v. Brookdale Senior Living

GLAD has filed a charge of discrimination with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against Brookdale Senior Living on behalf … Read More →


Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination and Individual Complainant v. The R.O.S.E. Fund, Inc

The GLBTQ Domestic Violence Project (GLBTQ-DVP) and Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) are pursuing a complaint with the Massachusetts … Read More →


Miller-Jenkins v. Miller-Jenkins

Update: On April 22, 2011 an arrest was made in the custody case involving former civil union partners Janet Jenkins and Lisa Miller, and their … Read More →

Victory • 2013

Gill et al. v. Office of Personnel Management et al.

June 26, 2013 U.S. Supreme Court rules DOMA Section 3 unconstitutional in Windsor v. United States

For complete details about this case, the … Read More →

Victory • 2012

Todd Elia-Warnken v. Richard Elia

July 26, 2012 - Victory! The MA Supreme Judicial Court ruled in favor our our client, Richard Elia, stating that “a Vermont civil union must be … Read More →

Victory • 2012

Patino v. Birken Manufacturing Co.

GLAD and the Connecticut Employment Lawyers Association (CELA) applaud a May 4, 2012 ruling from the Connecticut Supreme Court that employers can be … Read More →

Victory •

In re Guardianship of Madelyn B

Update: The New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled July 2, 2014 that our client Susan B. is a legal parent to the daughter she brought into the world with … Read More →

Settled •

D’Amico v. Cranston School Department

In a victory for GLAD, the Rhode Island Human Rights Commission found probable cause to believe that sexual orientation discrimination had occurred … Read More →

Amicus • 2014

M.L. v. S.N.

GLAD submitted an amicus letter to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Appeals Court addressing the admissibility of explicit sexual photographs in a … Read More →

Victory • 2014

Town of Hanover v. New England Regional Council of Carpenters

GLAD joined the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts (ACLUM), the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) and the Massachusetts Fair Wage … Read More →

Victory • 2012

A.E.H. v. M.R.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled unanimously September 28, 2012 that Massachusetts must recognize other states’ parallel spousal … Read More →

Victory • 2012

Parents of Student K.1 / SAU #53 – Epsom School District

In a victory upholding the efficacy and enforceability of New Hampshire’s anti-bullying statute, GLAD represented an Epsom, New Hampshire student … Read More →

Victory • 2011

Raftopol v. Ramey

In a first-of-its kind decision, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled on Jan. 5, 2011 that a gay male couple who wanted to have children and used a … Read More →

Victory • 2008

Kerrigan & Mock v. Connecticut Dept. of Public Health

On Friday, October 10, 2008, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that gay and lesbian couples are entitled to full marriage equality.

On August 25, … Read More →

Victory • 2008

Parker v. Hurley

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit on January 31, 2008 unanimously affirmed District Court Judge Mark L. Wolf’s dismissal of a lawsuit … Read More →

Victory • 2007

Adoption of M.A. and R.A.

The Maine Law Court issued a unanimous decision on August 30, 2007 lifting the bar on unmarried couples adopting children.
As a result of the ruling, … Read More →

Victory • 2007

Bedford and Breen v. New Hampshire Technical College System

The state of New Hampshire dropped its appeal in this case on May 7, 2007, providing a definitive victory for GLAD and the plaintiffs. The New … Read More →

Loss • 2006

Schulman v. Reilly

GLAD filed this lawsuit to challenge the Attorney General’s decision that a proposed ballot question that would once again exclude same-sex couples … Read More →

Victory • 2006

Cote-Whitacre et al. v. Dept. Public Health

On March 30, 2006, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court determined in the absence of a home state’s “express prohibition” against marriage by … Read More →

Victory • 2005

C. J. Doyle v. Goodridge

One of a barrage of actions filed early in 2004 to prevent the implementation of Goodridge on May 17, 2004, this action sought a further stay of … Read More →

Settled • 2005

Netherland et al. v. Whiteman et al.

GLAD is putting the right-wing on notice that they cannot use intimidation tactics to try to stop vitally important sex education information from … Read More →

Victory • 2004

Pulsifer v. Portland

GLAD represented the City of Portland, Maine against an attack on the city’s domestic partnership registry by ten-taxpayers, along with two anti-gay … Read More →

Loss • 2004

T.F. v. B.L.

GLAD represented T.F., a biological mother seeking child support from her former partner, B.F. The two had decided together to have a child, with … Read More →

Victory • 2004

C.E.W. v. D.E.W.

GLAD, along with Maine co-counsel, won the right to seek full parental rights and responsibilities for a non-biological lesbian mother in Maine whose … Read More →

Victory • 2004

In re Nancy Walsh

GLAD applied for and won compensation from the federal September 11 Victim Compensation Fund on behalf of Nancy Walsh, a lesbian whose partner of 13 … Read More →

Victory • 2003

Blanchflower v. Blanchflower and Mayer

GLAD filed an amicus curiae brief in a divorce case addressing the question of whether the New Hampshire adultery provision as a fault-based ground … Read More →

Victory • 2003

Goodridge et al. v. Dept. Public Health

In a historic opinion on November 18, 2003, GLAD won a ruling from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court that gay and lesbian couples can no … Read More →

Victory • 2003

Brindamour, et al. v. Manchester Board of Education

GLAD used the Connecticut anti-discrimination provisions based on sexual orientation and marital status to help a group of teachers and school … Read More →

Victory • 2003

Guardianship of I.H.

GLAD represented a committed lesbian couple from Kennebec County who jointly decided to have children together.  They took all legal steps available … Read More →

Victory • 2002

Rose v. YMCA of Nashua

GLAD intervened on behalf of a lesbian couple and their family in New Hampshire who were denied a family membership rate at the YMCA in Nashua, … Read More →

Victory • 2002

Albano v. Reilly et al

In Albano et al v. Reilly et al, GLAD challenged the propriety of the Attorney General’s certification of the ballot initiative.  GLAD’s claim was … Read More →

Victory • 2002

Boy Scouts of America v. Wyman

GLAD worked to stop the special access of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to the Connecticut state employees’ charitable campaign in light of their … Read More →

Victory • 2002

Brett, et al., v. Town of West Hartford

GLAD successfully challenged the discriminatory policy of the Town of West Hartford municipal pool, which sought to exclude same-sex couples and … Read More →

Loss • 2002

Burns v. Burns

GLAD submitted an amicus brief in this Georgia case, the first addressing whether a Vermont civil union has the force of marriage in another … Read More →

Victory • 2002

GLAD et al. v. Attorney General Thomas Reilly et al

GLAD won a declaration from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court that neither of the state’s sodomy laws applies to private, adult, consensual … Read More →

Victory • 2001

Muzzy v. Cahillane Motors, Inc.

GLAD was instrumental in winning a decision from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court that personal information about a plaintiff, such as sexual … Read More →

Victory • 2001

Ayer v. Sommi & Keller

GLAD was instrumental in obtaining a favorable ruling from the Massachusetts Appeals Court that domestic violence laws protect gay, lesbian, and … Read More →

Victory • 2001

In re R. C.

GLAD ensured that an incarcerated gay man who was violently attacked and raped by another inmate was able to press charges, despite attempts to … Read More →

Victory • 2001

Doe v. Kelley (State Police)

As a result of the settlement of a GLAD case against the Massachusetts State Police, a General Order was issued that “officers should not order … Read More →

Victory • 2000

In re Baby Z & An Act Concerning The Best Interest Of Children In Adoption Matters

GLAD helped win second-parent adoption in Connecticut, through work in the courts and assistance to activists drafting legislation.  In April 1998, … Read More →

Victory • 2000

In the Matter of Jane Doe

In response to an assault against a lesbian student by a number of her peers at a Western Massachusetts high school, GLAD secured the school’s … Read More →

Victory • 2000

Rubano v. DiCenzo

The Rhode Island Supreme Court ruled that a lesbian co-parent could bring a claim in Family Court to resolve issues of visitation rights with the … Read More →

Victory • 1999

Jason H. v. Boston Public Schools

Representing a Boston student subjected to peer harassment, GLAD negotiated a settlement that includes system-wide training and information regarding … Read More →

Victory • 1999

Baker et al. v. State of Vermont

GLAD won a ruling from the Vermont Supreme Court that recognized the right for same-sex couples to have their relationships afforded the same legal … Read More →

Loss • 1999

Connors v. City of Boston

In a disappointing decision, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court struck down an Executive Order issued by Boston Mayor, Thomas Menino, granting … Read More →

Victory • 1999

Crandall v. Boston Concession Group

GLAD won a ruling that Massachusetts non-discrimination law applies equally to every employee of Massachusetts companies, even if the employee works … Read More →

Victory • 1999

In re D.G.

Where a southern Maine school sought to “solve” the two-year harassment of a student by graduating him a year early, GLAD successfully turned the … Read More →

Victory • 1999

M.G. v. Providence School Department

Representing a Providence student arrested and expelled from school after false accusations by tormenting peers, GLAD won an agreement completely … Read More →

Victory • 1999

Carr v. New England Medical Center

GLAD won a favorable settlement on behalf of a gay man denied sperm banking and transport services simply because he is gay and assumed to be at … Read More →

Victory • 1999

West High GSA v. Manchester School District

Faced with a lawsuit by GLAD and its NH co-counsel, the Manchester School District directed West High’s principal to recognize a student initiated … Read More →

Victory • 1999

E.N.O. v. L.M.M.

In a landmark decision, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that a non-biological lesbian mother, who helped raise her son from his birth, … Read More →

Victory • 1999

Gagne v. Holyoke Health Center and Dr. George Abraham

GLAD won a favorable settlement on behalf of Erica Gagne, who was denied treatment by Dr. Abraham of the Holyoke Health Center after she identified … Read More →

Victory • 1998

In re South Kingstown High School

GLAD intervened successfully on behalf of a high school gay/straight alliance that had been denied the equivalent privileges of other student … Read More →

Victory • 1980

Aaron Fricke v. Richard B. Lynch

GLAD’s 1980 case, Aaron Fricke v. Richard B. Lynch, is a milestone in protecting the rights of LGBT students. GLAD founder John Ward and co-counsel … Read More →