Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders

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"GLAD" redirects here. For other uses, see Glad.
Gay & Lesbian
Advocates & Defenders
Formation 1978
Purpose LGBT rights
Headquarters Boston, Massachusetts (USA)
Region served New England[1]

Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) is a non-profit legal rights organization in the United States. The organization works to end discrimination based on sexual orientation, HIV status, and gender identity and expression.

John Ward founded GLAD in 1978 in response to a sting operation conducted by Boston police that resulted in the arrest of more than a hundred men in the men's rooms of the main building of the Boston Public Library.[2] GLAD filed its first case, Doe v. McNiff, that same year and eventually all those arrested were either found not guilty or had the charges against them dismissed.[2] An early victory came in Fricke v. Lynch (1980), in which GLAD represented Aaron Fricke, an 18-year-old student at Cumberland High School in Rhode Island, who won the right to bring a same-sex date to a high school dance.[3]

GLAD is based in Boston, Massachusetts, and serves the New England area of the United States. Services it provides include litigation, advocacy, and educational work in all areas of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) civil rights and the rights of people living with HIV. The organization also operates a telephone hotline and website.

In 2003, GLAD received national attention for its work in winning marriage rights for same-sex couples in Massachusetts. In Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, it successfully argued before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court that to restrict marriage to heterosexual couples was a violation of the state constitution.[4] In October 2008, GLAD won marriage rights for same-sex couples in Connecticut with a decision of the Supreme Court of Connecticut in Kerrigan v. Commissioner of Public Health.[5]

On November 18, 2008, the fifth anniversary of Goodridge, GLAD, working with other statewide groups, launched a project called the "Six by Twelve" campaign that aimed to bring same-sex marriage to all six New England states by 2012.[6] The campaign aimed to make New England a "marriage equality zone."[7] The campaign worked primarily through state legislatures and hoped to provide a road map for the rest of the country in 2012.[8] Within six months, same-sex marriage laws were passed in three more states, but the Maine law was repealed by the voters on November 3, 2009.

Beginning in March 2009, GLAD filed Federal Court challenges to Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act that prevented the federal government from providing certain federal rights and benefits and assigning certain responsibilities to individuals in same-sex marriages,[9] including Gill v. Office of Personnel Management and Pedersen v. Office of Personnel Management. It won both cases in U.S. District Court and in the First and Second Circuit Courts of Appeals, respectively.

On June 30, 2011, EqualityMaine and GLAD announced plans to place a voter initiative in support of same-sex marriage on Maine's November 2012 ballot. The voter initiative passed, making Maine the first state to legalize same sex marriage through a ballot vote.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ About GLAD - Mission Statement | GLAD: Equal Justice Under Law
  2. ^ a b Allis, Sam (April 13, 2010). "Looking Back". Boston Globe. Retrieved August 2, 2014. 
  3. ^ Michael Jones, "Ten LGBT Court Cases that Changed the Gay Rights Movement", October 6, 2008, accessed March 26, 2012
  4. ^ Mary L. Bonauto, "Goodridge in Context", in Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, vol. 40, 1-69, [available online], accessed April 15, 2014
  5. ^ McFadden, Robert D. (October 10, 2008). "Gay Marriage Is Ruled Legal in Connecticut". New York Times. Retrieved April 15, 2014. 
  6. ^ Five Years After Goodridge, GLAD Announces "6x12", GLAD, November 18, 2008
  7. ^ Same-sex marriage bills gain in N.E., Boston Globe, David Abel, March 24, 2009
  8. ^ Gay marriage backers target New England, Washington Times, January 4, 2009
  9. ^ New York Times: Suit Seeks to Force Government to Extend Benefits to Same-Sex Couples, accessed February 28, 2011
  10. ^ Wall Street Journal: "Gay marriage supporters plan referendum in Maine," June 30, 2011, accessed June 30, 2011

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