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She was one of three lawyers who helped establish the nation’s first civil union law in Vermont. She was the lead counsel in the case that made Massachusetts the first state to legalize same-sex marriage in 2004. And eleven years later, she argued before the Supreme Court on behalf of extending that right to marry to same-sex couples in every state. Now, Mary Bonauto will receive well-deserved praise for her efforts on behalf of LGBT equality.
The National LGBTQ Task Force will honor Bonauto — the Civil Rights Project Director for Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) — with its National Leadership Award at its annual gala in Miami in October. In addition to her work on marriage equality, Bonauto has also worked on cases involving discrimination, parental rights, free speech and religious liberty.
“Mary is one of those exceptional people who — through her brilliant legal mind, her advocacy and her passion for freedom, justice and equality — has literally changed the world and made it a better place for millions of same-sex couples and the LGBTQ community,” Rea Carey, the executive director of the National LGBTQ Task Force said in a statement.
The Task Force will also honor Juan Bosco Talavera with the Eddy McIntyre Community Service Award for his work on behalf of LGBT rights. Talavera, a founding board member of the philanthropic professional organization OUT Miami Foundation, has volunteered with local South Florida community organizations including SAVE, Pridelines Youth Services, Health Crisis Network and the People with AIDS Coalition over the past 20 years.
Talavera has served as a member of the board of directors and later board chair of SAVE, which advocates on behalf of LGBT nondiscrimination protections and other LGBT-related issues. Under his leadership, SAVE saw the passage and implementation of legislation to provide domestic partner benefits to employees of Miami-Dade County, the City of Miami and other municipalities, and to add gender identity to Miami’s and Miami Beach’s local human rights ordinances.
The National LGBTQ Task Force Gala will be held on Saturday, Oct. 24 at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach. The gala includes a cocktail reception, dinner, silent auction, awards ceremony and dancing. Proceeds benefit the Task Force and local South Florida LGBT advocacy organizations. Tickets are $450 and can be purchased by visiting thetaskforcegala.org. For more information on the Task Force, visit thetaskforce.org.
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