Congratulations to Mary Bonauto, recipient of 2014 MacArthur ‘Genius’ Award

Today, September 17, Mary Bonauto, who serves as the Civil Rights Project Director at Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), was announced as one of this year's recipients of the MacArthur Award, the prestigious honor that acknowledges the country's most talented artists, scholars, thinkers, and professionals.

Mary Bonauto has been a champion of the freedom to marry for 25 years, leading GLAD's legal case for the freedom to marry in Massachusetts, Goodridge v. Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Bonauto also won the first challenge to the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, the law that denied federal respect of the legal marriages of same-sex couples until June 2013, when the United States Supreme Court struck down the core of the law as unconstitutional. 

Freedom to Marry president Evan Wolfson congratulated Mary on this high honor today. He said:

Mary Bonauto is a giant in the campaign to win the freedom to marry, universally acclaimed for winning momentous cases across the range of lesbian and gay civil rights concerns, for spearheading the litigation strategy that effectively brought down the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, and for exceptionally high standards as a practitioner and partner. And Mary’s brilliance and accomplishments are not confined to the courtroom; she has been a key shaper of the message and strategies that have helped us build political and public support alongside the legal progress. Mary and I have worked hand in glove for (gasp!) 25 years now, strategizing together and assisting and playing off each other in all aspects of the work, and I am thrilled to see her duly recognized today as the American hero she has always been.

Mary said today:

This award is a testament to the justice-seeking work of innumerable people all across the nation. I deeply appreciate the Foundation’s vote of confidence in our movement’s work as we strive to remove barriers to LGBT people’s full participation in society. So many have given so much to bring us to this point – whether our courageous plaintiffs or people whose names history may never know – and every bit of it has mattered. This honor is an investment in a better future for all.

Learn more about the MacArthur Award and the other recipients.