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



The GLBTQ Domestic Violence Project (GLBTQ-DVP) and GLAD pursued this complaint with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) on behalf of a gay male survivor of domestic violence who was denied access to facial reconstruction surgery by The R.O.S.E. Fund.

On March 25, we filed our appeal brief with the Full Commission of the MCAD arguing that a hearing officer erroneously concluded that the R.O.S.E. Fund, a nonprofit social services agency, is exempt from the Massachusetts law that prohibits discrimination on account of race, sex, sexual orientation, disability and other protected classes. MCAD ultimately denied the appeal.


The R.O.S.E. Fund established a partnership with leading healthcare institutions to provide free or low-cost reconstructive surgery to survivors of domestic violence.  Through this program, R.O.S.E. refers survivors to institutions such as Massachusetts General Hospital, the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, and Tufts Dental School. But they denied a referral to the complainant because he is a man.

The Commission had previously found that there was probable cause in this case that discrimination had occurred.

The complainant was represented by attorneys Ben Klein and Jennifer Levi of GLAD and Wayne A. Thomas Jr. of the GLBTQ Domestic Violence Project.

In addition, a number of organizations, including women’s and domestic violence groups, have signed on to an amicus brief in support of the complainant.  These organizations include the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, the American Civil Liberties Union Women’s Rights Project, the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC), the Elizabeth Stone House, Fenway Health, Harbor COV, Healing Abuse Working for Change (HAWC), Mass. NOW, the Massachusetts LGBTQ Bar Association, MassEquality,  the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, Renewal House, The Second Step, and TOD@S. The amicus brief was written by attorneys Anna M. Martignetti, Jeffrey J. Pyle, Joseph Edwards and Darren Braham of the firm Prince Lobel.