The American Bar Association has chosen to honor Nashville attorney Abby Rubenfeld with its Stonewall Award. Rubenfeld has worked to advance LGBT rights in Nashville and Tennessee for over 20 years, and was on the team that argued before the Supreme Court earlier this year among the cases that won marriage equality nationwide.

The ABA's Stonewall Award is named, of course, for the legendary Stonewall Inn in New York City, a bar that was the location of a June 1969 police raid and subsequent riot that historians cite as the dawn of the modern LGBT rights movement. The award recognizes lawyers "who have effected real change to remove barriers and champion diversity for the LGBT community both in the legal profession and impacting the greater human universe."

According to the ABA:

Abby Rubenfeld, who filed the Tennessee lawsuit in 2013 that led the U.S. Supreme Court to legalize gay marriage in June, has been an attorney and legal director of Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, serves on the board of the Human Rights Campaign, and has worked with the Tennessee Equality Project, American Civil Liberties Union and the National Center for Lesbian Rights, among other advocacy groups. A graduate of Princeton University and Boston University Law School, she worked to overturn Tennessee’s sodomy law in 1996. Rubenfeld is an adjunct professor at Vanderbilt University Law School and former chair of the ABA Individual Rights and Responsibilities Section.

The ABA has also awarded Evan Wolfson, the founder of Freedom to Marry, and Thomas Fitzpatrick, the first openly gay person to be elected to the ABA Board of Governors.

On her Facebook page, Rubenfeld acknowledged her work with Wolfson who, along with Fitzpatrick, will receive their awards in February at the ABA Midyear Meeting in San Diego.

I've said it before, but - when Evan and I first started working together, I don't think either of us even dreamed of marriage equality. It just felt so far off compared to the basic protections we were fighting for then. To now be receiving the ABA Stonewall Award alongside him in a country where full marriage equality has been achieved is absolutely amazing. I am still reveling in the happiness and excitement of this victory.

Thank you, Evan, for all that you have done personally and through Freedom to Marry. I look forward to celebrating with you in February! 

 

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