American Bar Association to honor LGBT advancements in legal profession

CHICAGO -- The American Bar Association Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity will honor three lawyers with the inaugural Stonewall Award during a ceremony at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Dallas on Feb. 9, 2013.

Named after the New York City Stonewall Inn police raid and riot of June 28, 1969, which was a turning point in the gay rights movement, the award recognizes lawyers who have considerably advanced LGBT individuals in the legal profession and successfully championed LGBT legal causes.

Following are the award recipients:

Mary Bonauto: Civil rights project director for the New England-wide Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders since 1990, has worked on nearly every facet of the legal movement for equality under law for gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender individuals. Best known for her work on marriage and the Defense of Marriage Act, she served as lead counsel on the 2003 landmark case Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health, which legalized same-sex marriages in Massachusetts.

Matt Nosanchuk: Associate general counsel for legal counsel at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, whose division is responsible for significant litigation, civil rights and civil liberties, privacy and legislation. Nosanchuk joined the Obama Administration in 2009 as senior counselor in the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, where he provided leadership on LGBT, policy and legislative issues and congressional oversight.

Mia Yamamoto: A Vietnam combat veteran and private practitioner since 1984, serves on the board of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, Criminal Courts Bar Association and International Bridges to Justice, which provides due process education to the judicial systems of China, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. This year she was honored by the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission for her advocacy on behalf of the LGBT community. She also received the Harvey Milk Legacy Award from Christopher Street West/LA Pride 2012.

Created by the ABA in 2007, the Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity works to secure for LGBT persons full and equal participation in the ABA, the legal profession and the justice system.

With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.

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