Who: Mary Bonauto, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders
Martha Coakley, MA Attorney General’s Office
What: Boston Bar Association Beacon Award for Diversity + Inclusion
When: November 13, 2012 at 6 p.m.
Where: The Liberty Hotel, Boston
As the Supreme Court of the United States considers several cert petitions involving gay marriage, the BBA will present its Beacon Award for Diversity + Inclusion to the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders and the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office for their efforts to challenge the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a statute that discriminates against legally married same-sex couples. The award will be presented on the evening of November 13, 2012 at the Liberty Hotel at a reception free and open to the entire legal community. Mary Bonauto will be accepting the award on behalf of GLAD and Martha Coakley will be accepting the award on behalf of the Attorney General’s Office.
“GLAD in its own right exemplifies the values of the Beacon Award in constantly advancing the frontier in diversity and inclusion in our profession and society at large,” said Colin Owyang, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, National Grid USA, and chair of the selection committee that vetted the numerous nominees for this award. “Even more impressive than its daily heroic work was its success in enlisting the support of the Office of Attorney General of Massachusetts and others, both directly and indirectly affected by DOMA, as it continued our profession’s proud tradition of public service. Importantly, this coalition-building effort serves as a model for effective private-public partnerships that are necessary for all manner of important policy innovation, especially in the never ending advancement of diversity and inclusion.”
With this award, the BBA recognizes the major work involved in two parallel cases that challenged the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), one filed by GLAD and the other filed by the AG’s Office. In May of this year, the First Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision covering both cases — ruling that DOMA violates the Constitution of the United States. Following an appeal by the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, the case is expected to come before the Supreme Court of the United States later this year.
Both cases coming before the First Circuit involved the filing of numerous amicus briefs produced by lawyers at a number of distinguished law firms donating their time to fight discrimination. Among the many bar associations listed on a brief in support of the case brought by the AG was the Boston Bar Association.
The BBA established the Beacon Award for Diversity + Inclusion in 2010 to recognize exceptional leadership on diversity strategies that will have a lasting impact on the Greater Boston Legal profession. Previous winners include Massachusetts Mutual (2011) and Northeastern University School of Law (2012).
Sponsors of the Beacon Award for Diversity + Inclusion are:
Bingham McCutchen LLP
Choate Hall & Stewart LLP
Goodwin Procter LLP
Goulston & Storrs – A Professional Corporation
Holland & Knight, LLP
Krokidas & Bluestein LLP
Looney & Grossman LLP
Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo P.C.
National Grid USA- Waltham
Nixon Peabody LLP
Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP
Ropes & Gray LLP-NY
Suffolk University Law School
Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP