Senior Attorney Ben Klein honored for commitment to HIV/AIDS advocacy
AIDS Project Worcester (APW) is honoring Ben Klein, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders’ Senior Attorney and AIDS Law Project Director, with a special Red Ribbon Award for his advocacy and support for those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS.
“Ben has been at the forefront of the HIV/AIDS legal advocacy movement since he came to GLAD in 1994,” said Lee Swislow, GLAD’s Executive Director. “We are proud of and grateful for the monumental achievements he has made throughout his career.”
Klein was lead counsel in Bragdon v. Abbott, the first HIV discrimination case to be heard by the United States Supreme Court. The U.S. Supreme Court's decision in 1998 established nationwide protection against discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act for all people with HIV.
In June, Klein reached a successful settlement on behalf of AIDS Services for the Monadnock Region (ASMR) that will enable ASMR to continue their group home without fear of it being taken by tax deed. Klein also won a decision before the Massachusetts Division of Medical Assistance Board of Appeals in 2001 ensuring equal access to liver transplants for HIV-positive individuals under the Commonwealth's MassHealth program.
The Outstanding Advocate Red Ribbon Award will be presented to Ben during the 25th Anniversary event on Thursday, October 4, 2012. The theme for the evening is “Looking Forward: A Generation Free of AIDS.” APW is honoring ten individuals, including Kevin Cranston, Director of the Massachusetts Bureau of Infectious Disease.
AIDS Project Worcester is a nonprofit organization in Central, Massachusetts dedicated to ending the HIV/AIDS pandemic and fostering wellness through service, advocacy, prevention, education, and collaborative initiatives. They empower and enhance the lives of people infected and affected by HIV/ AIDS by fighting stigma and discrimination and through individualized services and best practices in a supportive, multicultural setting.
Mary L. Bonauto Named Icon of LGBT History
Equality Forum is honoring Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders’ Civil Rights Project Director, Mary L. Bonauto, as one of their icons for National LGBT History Month. Icons are selected for their significant contributions to LGBT civil rights and as role models in their fields.
“Mary’s skillful litigation has secured landmark rights and protections for the LGBT community over the past two decades,” said Lee Swislow, GLAD’s Executive Director. “We are proud of everything she has accomplished and she truly is a LGBT icon.”
Bonauto was lead counsel in Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health, which resulted in Massachusetts becoming the first state in the nation to legalize marriage for same-sex couples. She is currently leading GLAD's challenge[s] to the constitutionality of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in two cases primed to be heard by the United States Supreme Court.
“What’s compelling is how bedrock American principles of justice and equality come to life in the stories of real people. I agree with the many who have observed that the history of our constitution is the extension of those protections to those once ignored or excluded,” said Bonauto.
Bonauto is involved in litigation, lobbying and public education throughout New England on a wide variety of issues affecting the lives of LGBT people. She also served as co-counsel in Baker v. Vermont, which challenged the state’s prohibition of same-sex marriage. The landmark 1999 ruling mandated in Vermont the country’s first civil unions with legal benefits similar to marriage.
She joined GLAD colleagues and Connecticut co-counsel in litigating Kerrigan v. Dept. of Public Health, which made Connecticut the third state to authorize marriage for same-sex couples.
In 2011, Boston Magazine named Bonauto one of the city’s “50 Most Powerful Women.” She was awarded Yale University’s Brudner prize for her contributions to the LGBT community. She has served as co-chair of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Committee of the American Bar Association and currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Boston Chapter of the American Constitution Society. She is regularly named as a “Superlawyer” in Massachusetts and New England.