Evan Wolfson receives highest honor from National LGBT Bar Association

This morning, August 22, at its annual Lavender Law conference, the National LGBT Bar Association presented Freedom to Marry founder and president Evan Wolfson with its highest honor: the Dan Bradley Award, which has been presented annually since 1990. The award, according to the association, "recognizes the efforts of a member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender legal community whose work, like Attorney Dan Bradley, has led the way in the struggle for equality under the law."

The award is named for Dan Bradley, the first chair of what is now the American Bar Association’s Committee for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity who also headed the U.S. Legal Services Corporation under Presidents Carter and Reagan. Bradley was the highest-ranking openly gay person in federal government at the time.

The LGBT Bar Association explained, "Bradley saw the law as a powerful instrument of social justice, believing that lawyers had an obligation to place their skills as advocates at the service of the least powerful among us." Past recipients have included pioneering activists Frank Kameny and Urvashi Vaid, James Esseks of the American Civil Liberties Union, Jon Davidson of Lambda Legal, and Shannon Minter of the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

Evan Wolfson said today in a statement about receiving the award:

I'm honored to receive the Dan Bradley Award and join a long list of trailblazers and friends who have worked to make America a better place. As lawyers, we have a special obligation to make the case for liberty and justice for all, and to hold America to its promise. And as lawyers, we know that change is too important to be left just to the lawyers or the courts. What we’ve been doing, together – making the same strong case for freedom and equality in the court of public opinion as we are making in the courts of law – has been working, and we’ve come a long way. But we still have a long way to go. This is no time to stop or sit back.

Evan Wolfson has been working to win marriage nationwide for more than 30 years. He has been dubbed the "Godfather of Gay Marriage" by Newsweek and is the author of Why Marriage Matters: America, Equality, and Gay People's Right to Marry. In 2012, he won the Barnard Medal of Distinction alongside President Barack Obama.