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Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders

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Founded in 1978, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) is a non-profit legal rights organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, HIV status, and gender identity and expression.

Based in Boston Massachusetts, GLAD provides New England-wide litigation, advocacy, and educational work in all areas of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights and the rights of people living with HIV. GLAD is funded by donations, and operates a telephone hotline and website.

In 2003, GLAD received national attention for its work in winning equal marriage rights for same-sex couples in Massachusetts. It successfully argued before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court that to restrict marriage to heterosexual couples was a violation of the state constitution.

GLAD Historical TimelineEdit

  • 1978 - Founded in response to a sting operation at the Boston Public Library.
  • 1979 - Defends a man arrested and charged with disorderly conduct for posting publicity for a Gay Pride rally.
  • 1980 - Wins the right of Rhode Island high school senior Aaron Fricke to attend the prom with his boyfriend.
  • 1983 - Successfully defends the constitutionality of the proposed MA "gay rights" bill.
  • 1985 - Files case against a dentist refusing to treat a man with AIDS. GLAD sues to permit gay and lesbian foster parents in MA.
  • 1986 - Wins one of the first honorable dischargees for a U.S. service member targeted for being gay or lesbian.
  • 1992 - Co-authors first domestic partner ordinance in MA.
  • 1993 - Wins a second-parent adoption case in MA's highest court, setting precedent for gay and lesbian couples.
  • 1995 - Founder becomes first openly gay man to argue case in U.S. Supreme Court, defending gay marchers in Boston's St. Patrick's Day Parade.
  • 1998 - Appears in U.S. Supreme Court arguing that people with HIV are protected from discrimination.
  • 1999 - GLAD and its Vermont co-counsel win ruling that entitles lesbian and gay couples to same benefits and protections of marriage as opposite-sex couples.
  • 2000 - Wins court order that a transgender 8th grader can wear any clothing allowed to any other male or female student.
  • 2003 - Wins a historic victory when the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rules that gay and lesbian couples have the right to marry in Massachusetts.

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