Co-edited by Lambda Legal’s Kevin Cathcart and Leslie Gabel-Brett, includes chapters by 41 attorneys, activists and plaintiffs representing organizations and regions across the country who fought together for decades to make history.

(June 7, 2016, New York) – Just in time to celebrate the first anniversary of winning marriage for same-sex couples nationwide, “Love Unites Us: Winning the Freedom to Marry in America” will hit bookstore shelves on June 14, 2016.

Edited by Lambda Legal’s Education and Public Affairs Director Leslie Gabel-Brett and newly retired Executive Director Kevin Cathcart, the book features authors from the American Civil Liberties Union, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) and National Center for Lesbian Rights among many others.

The book opens with poignant reflections and stage-setting by Gabel-Brett and Cathcart—each long-serving veterans of the LGBT and HIV rights movement.  The chapters take the reader through the decades with first-hand accounts from the brilliant lawyers and activists whose vision set the course and the courageous plaintiffs who changed hearts and minds across the country. The 334 pages transport the reader to the earliest days of the fight and even to the debate within the LGBT movement itself about whether to take on the issue of marriage equality at all. Who is the Baker in Baker v. Nelson? What do sodomy laws have to do with it? How did Black leadership in Maryland make the difference? Where is the LGBT and HIV movement heading now?

“This story is part of the history of our movement and our country, and it is a joy to tell it,” said Gabel-Brett.  “It was important that we include voices from across the country and from as many as possible of the organizations that played roles, because it took a broad movement to achieve success. We’re proud that Lambda Legal played a leading role —from the first case in Hawaii to the final case at the Supreme Court, and we hope this book offers lessons and inspiration for the work ahead.”

Contributors include Evan Wolfson who fought for marriage in Hawai’i in the 1990s and went on to found Freedom to Marry; Mary Bonauto from GLAD who won the first major state victory in Massachusetts in 2003 and then successfully argued the winning case before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015; Nadine Smith, who leads the fight for LGBT rights in Florida; James Esseks from the ACLU who recounts the game-changing Supreme Court victory to strike down DOMA; Francisco Dueñas of Lambda Legal who discusses the roles of LGBT Latino/as in the marriage movement; Kate Kendell, Executive Director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, who shares insights on the journey to change hearts and minds; and Jon Davidson, the Legal Director for Lambda Legal, who charts our path forward.

Author Group Photo "Love Unites Us"

“It may feel like progress came quickly, but it was the result of decades of work by GLAD and many courageous people who did everything from having dinner table conversations to suing the federal government,” said Bonauto. “It’s humbling to have been part of such a movement, and I hope our stories will contribute to the store of knowledge that helps all social justice movements.”

Added Kendell: “It has been one of the greatest honors of my life to have been a part of winning the freedom to marry for our community. Leading NCLR for the past two decades has been breathtaking and humbling. It is a privilege to be one of many voices in Love Unites Us to tell the remarkable story of how love won. So many sacrificed for so long, and that sacrifice has been vindicated.”

“It was a unique honor and privilege for me to help loving, committed couples to tell their stories and bring about real change for future generations,” said Esseks. “The ACLU filed the nation’s first marriage equality lawsuit in 1970 and we’ve been proud to have been at the frontlines of the fight for marriage equality through the 2015 Supreme Court decision. Love Unites Us shows the unique path that an entire movement took to reach an important milestone and should also be a roadmap to the fight for full LGBT equality that continues.”


Lambda Legal:  Lisa Hardaway 212-809-8585 ext.266; 973-902-9298;

ACLU: Steve Smith, 212.519.781;

GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders: Carisa Cunningham, (617) 426-1350;

National Center for Lesbian Rights: Ming Wong , 415.365.1323 ;