Mary Bonauto & Douglas Hallward-Driemeier to argue marriage cases at SCOTUS

In just under a month, on April 28, lawyers Mary Bonauto and Douglas Hallward-Driemier will present arguments to the United States Supreme Court on the question of the freedom to marry in the marriage cases currently before the Court. 

Mary Bonauto, who is the Civil Rights Project Director at Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) and a MacArthur 'Genius' Award recipient, will be presenting the argument for the freedom to marry in-state. Douglas Hallward-Driemier, a former Assistant U.S. Solicitor General who has argued before the United States Supreme Court over a dozen times prior, will be presenting the argument in favor of state's respecting marriages performed legally in other states.

Mary Bonauto expressed her optimism for the outcome of the case:

I'm humbled to be standing up for the petitioners from Kentucky and Michigan who seek the freedom to marry, along with the Michigan team of Carole Stanyar, Dana Nessel, Ken Mogill, and Robert Sedler, and with support from the other legal teams. The road that we've all travelled to get here has been built by so many people who believe that marriage is a fundamental right. Same-sex couples should not be excluded from the joy, the security, and the full citizenship signified by that institution. I believe the Court will give us a fair hearing, and I look forward to the day when all LGBT Americans will be able to marry the person they love.

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.

Evan Wolfson, Freedom to Marry founder and president, said:

There is no advocate more fitting to stand before the Supreme Court on behalf of all of us arguing for the freedom to marry than Mary Bonauto. Mary and I have worked for the freedom to marry for 25 years, and she delivered the first win of a freedom to marry state and spearheaded the legal strategy that brought down federal marriage discrimination. Mary's presenting the oral argument caps the compelling collective presentation our movement has made to win marriage nationwide. It's time for the Supreme Court to finish the job.

Freedom to Marry National Campaign Director Marc Solomon said today of his longtime colleague: 

I could not be more thrilled that Mary will represent us before the Supreme Court. I’ve had the great honor of working closely with Mary Bonauto ever since she filed the Goodridge case in Massachusetts nearly 15 years ago. She is fierce, brilliant, and relentless, whether in the courtroom, the state house, or on the softball field (hint: never challenge Mary to a game of softball - she will show you no mercy!). No one deserves this more than Mary Bonauto, and no one could do a better job of advocating for our community before the Supreme Court.

Hallward-Driemeier said today:

It is an incredible honor to represent these devoted couples, who have already been lawfully married and established new families, in arguing to vindicate their right to have the states respect their marriages. These couples deserve the same respect and stability that states grant other married couples and their families throughout every phase of life.

The two lawyers will argue on behalf of all marriage cases from the four states before the United States Supreme Court. Freedom to Marry applauds all counsel who have been leading the cases before the Court:

  • Kentucky's Bourke v. Beshear & Love v. Beshear, brought by private firm Fauver Law Office and Clay Daniel Walton & Adams, joined by the American Civil Liberties Union and Stanford Law School's Supreme Court Litigation Clinic.
  • Ohio's Obergefell v. Hodges and Henry v. Hodges & Henry v. Hodges, brought by private firms Gerhardstein & Branch Co., LPA and Newman & Meeks Co., LPA, with the ACLU joining Obergefell and Lambda Legal joining Henry.
  • Michigan's Deboer v. Snyder, led by Michigan attorneys Carole M. Stanyar; Dana Nessel of Nessel and Kessel Law; Kenneth Mogill of Mogill, Posner & Cohen; Wayne State University Law Professor Robert Sedler; and Mary Bonauto of GLAD.
  • Tennessee's Tanvo v. Haslam, led by the National Center for Lesbian Rights; Tennessee attorneys Abby Rubenfeld, Maureen Holland, and Regina Lambert; William Harbison and other attorneys from the law firm of Sherrard & Roe PLC; and Douglas Hallward-Driemeier and other attorneys from the law firm of Ropes & Gray LLP.

Read all about the freedom to marry at the U.S. Supreme Court HERE.