Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 12 / 22 March 2018

Online Extra: Gays Across America: Wolfson receives Lambda Legal honor


Evan Wolfson, a pioneer in the marriage equality movement, will be honored by Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund at its April gala in New York City.  
Print this Page
Send to a Friend
Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on MySpace!

A national LGBT nonprofit is honoring a pioneering marriage equality attorney.

Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund recently announced that Evan Wolfson, a gay man who once worked as an attorney for the organization, will be a recipient of its Liberty Award at a dinner April 30 in New York.

"We are thrilled to recognize Evan Wolfson, one of our own alumni, with this year's Community Legacy Award," said Lambda Legal CEO Rachel B. Tiven in a news release. "Evan's clarity about true equality drove his work at Lambda Legal and then beyond. As a lawyer at Lambda, he not only brought the first successful marriage equality case in Hawaii – he also led the case that challenged the Boy Scouts' exclusion of gay people. He left Lambda Legal to create Freedom to Marry, and moved national opinion to favor equality. In all of his work he sees the long game, and he leads others with love and hope."

Wolfson stated, "I began volunteering with Lambda Legal shortly after graduating law school – and decades of strategy and tenacity, persuasion and combat, later, still prize Lambda Legal as one of the central pillars and drivers of our movement. Lambda Legal never gives up, generously partners with others, and is unafraid to lead. ... Freedom to Marry achieved its mission, but the work we look to Lambda Legal to lead is far from over – and I remain, as I became in 1984, a committed supporter and proud part of the Lambda family."

Wolfson will receive the Kevin Cathcart Community Legacy Award, which is named after Lambda Legal's former longtime executive director. Cathcart retired in 2016.

After being director of Lambda Legal's Marriage Project, Wolfson founded the organization Freedom to Marry, which was instrumental in the U.S. Supreme Court's 2015 ruling that legalized same-sex marriage across the country.

He teaches law and social change at Georgetown Law Center and, among other achievements, has served as senior adviser to the National Immigration Law Center, where he helped others learn "how to win" from the Freedom to Marry campaign.

In response to emailed questions from the Bay Area Reporter, Wolfson said that he hopes the Lambda Legal honor "inspires us all to believe in the possibility of change, the ability to reach and persuade others, and our power individually and together through vital organizations like Lambda, to get our country back on track and then the world."

The biggest battle he now sees for LGBTs is, "Most urgently, while standing up for ourselves and the others under assault these days – overlapping communities and shared values – we must get our country back on track, including taking back Congress and state legislatures and then purifying America of the current illegitimate, disgraceful, dangerous regime."

The community must also keep the marriage conversation going, "with its power to grow empathy and visibility and thus continue the momentum for change," he said. "We must fight to establish meaningful protections against discrimination at the federal, state, and local levels; and we must work to ensure that people's lived experience is everything it should be in every community and part of the country. We don't just want good laws, we want good lives."

For more information, visit


Georgia advocates rally against anti-LGBT adoption bill

Georgia Equality led a rally March 1 to oppose Senate Bill 375, which would allow adoption agencies in the state to use religious objections to deny LGBT couples the chance to adopt a child. The bill recently passed the Senate and is headed to the Georgia House.

The event included state and national advocacy groups, faith leaders, LGBTQ families, and entertainers including actor Daniel Newman, a Georgia native who's appeared on the "Walking Dead" TV show.

"We're incredibly energized by the support we've received in just the last few days from Georgians of all backgrounds who want to speak out against SB 375, the latest attempt to discriminate against LGBTQ people in our state," said Jeff Graham, Georgia Equality's executive director, in a news release the day before the rally. "People are fired up – in particular because this bill singles out LGBTQ kids for harm. We're looking forward to sending a message to lawmakers that citizens across our state want to talk about positive and proactive measures that bring us all together, not these same old types of bills designed to foster division."

According to Georgia Equality, there are about 14,000 children in the state's welfare system whom SB 375 could impact.

In an interview last Thursday afternoon, Graham said the rally, which drew about 150 people, "really focused on telling the stories of those prospective and current adoptive parents."

He said one young transgender woman spoke about her experience in the foster care system.

"Folks were really moved by that," said Graham. "It really put a face on the real lives of people that have the potential to be impacted by this legislation should it become law."


LGBT family law directory launched

The LGBT Family Law Institute has launched an interactive member directory map that allows people to find experienced, LGBT-friendly family law attorneys across the country.

The institute, which is a joint venture of the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the National LGBT Bar Association, includes attorneys' contact information, specific practice areas, and other data.

In a statement to the B.A.R., Judi O'Kelley, the National LGBT Bar Association's chief program officer, said that her organization "began in 1988 with family practitioners taking care of the LGBT community during the worst of the HIV/AIDS crisis. Our family law practitioners have always been dedicated to helping the wider community, and this member directory is just one more way to facilitate that."

To view the directory, go to


This is the final edition of Gays Across America. Visit for more columns and news.

Follow The Bay Area Reporter
facebook logo
facebook logo
Newsletter logo
Newsletter logo
ISSUU logo