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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 Each time GLAD argues a case or tackles an issue, we tear down more of the outdated laws and stereotypes that have denied LGBT people basic protections and opportunities in every area of daily life – family, school, employment, housing,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→

March 27, 2015

Victory! Connecticut Removes Barrier for Medicaid Coverage of Transgender Health Care

Earlier this week the Connecticut Department of Social Services updated state regulations to require Medicaid to cover treatment for Gender … Read More →

March 16, 2015

Advocates Ask Supreme Court to Hear Case Concerning Medical Care for Transgender Woman in Prison

Petition Asserts First Circuit Disregarded its Proper Role

Lawyers today petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an appeal on behalf of Michelle … Read More →

Latest Civil Rights Project Blog PostsMore→

March 27, 2015

Celebrating Trans Lives

In the last year, the trans community has suffered from an epidemic of violence, both physical and psychic. Black trans women targeted and murdered … Read More →

March 26, 2015

Have You Experienced a Health Insurance Exclusion for Your Same-Sex Spouse at Walmart?

​GLAD is looking for stories of Walmart employees who were denied the option of adding their same-sex spouse to their employee health insurance … Read More →

Project Director

Photo of Mary L. Bonauto

Mary L. Bonauto

Mary L. Bonauto has been the Civil Rights Project Director at Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders since 1990. She has litigated in the state and federal courts of New England on discrimination issues, parental rights, free speech and religious liberty, and relationship recognition.

Mary and two Vermont co-counsel won a 1999 ruling in Baker v. State of Vermont which led to the nation’s first civil union law. She was lead counsel in the groundbreaking case Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, which made Massachusetts the first state where … Read More →

Related Cases


Held v. Colvin

GLAD, Justice in Aging and Foley Hoag LLP have filed a class action lawsuit against the Social Security Administration (SSA) on behalf of … Read More →


Deboer v. Snyder

The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing six consolidated cases this term on the questions of the freedom to marry and recognition of marriages. Oral … Read More →


Tevyaw v. Colvin

Update: After a three-year-long battle, Deborah Tevyaw has finally received the Social Security survivor's benefits she has been due since the death … Read More →


Commonwealth v. Kelly

GLAD has joined the Anti-Defamation League, MassEquality, The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice, South Asian Bar Association … Read More →


Cote v. Walmart

Update: The EEOC issued a notice of probable cause on January 29, indicating that Walmart's refusal to allow Jackie to include her spouse, Diana, on … Read More →


GLAD’s National Marriage Work

Since GLAD won the first marriage state in Massachusetts in 2003 with our Goodridge case, we have taken part in winning every New England state by … Read More →


In re Jane Doe

GLAD submitted an amicus brief along with the ACLU in a case in which the state seeks to transfer a transgender girl from a youth juvenile justice … Read More →


Barrett v Fontbonne Academy

GLAD has filed a complaint against Fontbonne Academy, a religiously affiliated college preparatory school in Milton, MA, after the school terminated … Read More →


Considine v. Brookdale Senior Living

Update, March 2, 2015: We filed an amended complaint on behalf of our plaintiffs on February 26, 2015.

Update, October 28, 2014:  In late summer, … 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 →


Kosilek v. Spencer

Update, March 16, 2015 - GLAD, attorney Joseph L. Sulman, and Goodwin Procter LLP have filed a petition for certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court. The … Read More →

Victory • 2014

Bradford v. Group Insurance Commission

Update November 14, 2014 - Victory! This matter has been settled and Bradford will now be able to receive coverage for gender reassignment surgery.

Read More →

Victory • 2014

Kitchen v. Herbert

Update October 6, 2014: The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals decision striking down Utah’s marriage ban for … Read More →

Victory • 2014

In re Wambere

Update November 26, 2014: John “Longjones” Abdallah Wambere received a letter from the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services informing him that his … Read More →

Settled • 2014

Passaro v. Bayer

Update, September 2014: Through proactive discussions and careful deliberation amongst our legal representatives, we have jointly reached an … Read More →

Victory • 2014

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 →

Victory • 2014

In re Rikki Bates

GLAD represents Rikki in her appeal to MassHealth after they denied her request for coverage of transition-related care.  We were awaiting the … 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 • 2014

Doe v. Clenchy

January 30, 2014 - Victory! Maine High Court rules  that denying a transgender girl the use of the girls' restroom at her school violated her rights … 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

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 →

Loss • 2012

CHRO and Dana Peterson v. City of Hartford

Update The Connecticut Appeals Court sided with the City of Hartford, ruling on September 18, 2012, that the trial court improperly reversed 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 • 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 →

Settled • 2011

Adams v. Bureau of Prisons

Update: September 30, 2011

A settlement was announced September 30, 2011 in the case of Vanessa Adams, a Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) inmate at … Read More →

Settled • 2011

Freeman v. Denny’s

GLAD’s Transgender Rights Project and Realty Resources Hospitality, which operates six Denny’s restaurants throughout Maine, are pleased to announce … 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 • 2010

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 • 2010

In re A.M.B.

GLAD filed an amicus brief with the Maine high court in support of a trangender man who was denied a name change by Cumberland County Probate court.  … Read More →

Victory • 2010

O’Donnabhain v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue

Victory! On February 2, 2010, the U.S. Tax Court issued an important decision in O’Donnabhain v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, ruling for the … Read More →

Settled • 2009

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 →

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 →

Settled • 2006

Blanchette v. Saint Anselm College

In June 2005, GLAD filed a lawsuit in U. S. District Court in New Hampshire on behalf of a transgender woman in New Hampshire who was fired from her … 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

Barreto-Neto v. Town of Hardwick Police Department

GLAD worked with a police officer in the Town of Hardwick, Vermont, in Northern Vermont who was terminated from the police department when the Town … 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

Jette v. Honey Farms

One of two landmark rulings issued in October 2001, in which the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination drew on GLAD legal analysis to rule … 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

Millett v. Lutco

One of two landmark rulings issued in October 2001, in which the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination drew from GLAD legal analysis to … 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

Rosa v. Park West Bank

In a precedent-setting decision with major implications for the business community, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit … 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 • 2000

Beger v. Division of Medical Assistance

In this case, a Superior Court in Suffolk County ordered the state of Massachusetts to pay for a surgical procedure it had denied to a transsexual … Read More →

Victory • 2000

In re John/Jane Doe

In November 2000, the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) issued a landmark ruling stating that all transgender people … Read More →

Victory • 2000

Doe v. Yunits

GLAD obtained a landmark ruling, in the first reported decision ever in a case brought by a transgender student, that a middle school may not … 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

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

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 →