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  • Writer's pictureJanene Oleaga, Esq.

LGBT History Month: A Celebration of Gay Rights and The Related Civil Rights Movement - October 2020

Updated: Jan 26, 2021

LGBT History Month is a celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history, and the history of the gay rights and related civil rights movement.

Among the most prominent individuals advocating for LGBT equality is Maine-based Mary Bonauto.

Mary Bonauto has served as the Civil Rights Project Director for GLAD for over two decades. She was one of the first openly gay private practice lawyers in Maine, and worked with the Maine legislature to pass the same-sex marriage law and defend it at the ballot.

Mary Bonauto was lead counsel in Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health, in which the Court held that the Massachusetts Constitution required the state to legally recognize same-sex marriage. This victory enabled Massachusetts to be the first state to legalize same-sex marriage.

Mary Bonauto was also one of three attorneys to argue before the Supreme Court of the United States in the landmark case Obergefell v. Hodges, in which SCOTUS ruled that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples by the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.


"...the right to marry is a fundamental right inherent in the liberty of the person,

and under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment couples of the same-sex may not be deprived of that right and that liberty."


Securing legal recognition of same-sex couples' right to marry thrust the question of same-sex couples' right to procreate into the national limelight. The legalization of same-sex marriage created the potential for more surrogacy arrangements, egg donor arrangements and sperm donor agreements, and intensified focus on the legal regulation of assisted reproductive technology practices.

If the intention of the holding in Obergefell v. Hodges was to extend to same-sex couples the rights enjoyed by heterosexual couples, it follows that the Court also intended to treat both heterosexual couples and homosexual couples the same with regard to the right to procreate. If same-sex couples and heterosexual couples alike have a right to procreate, they have a right to employ assisted reproductive technology to exercise this right.


"Every child has the same rights under law as any other child without regard to

the marital status or gender of the parents or the circumstances of the child's birth."


Reproductive rights and access to reproductive health services including assisted reproductive technologies belong to people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. We respect and celebrate those individuals who have fought to get us here.

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