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2016 Stonewall Award honoree: Evan Wolfson

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2016 Stonewall Award honoree: Evan Wolfson

By John Glynn

Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry, was a recipient of the 2016 Stonewall Award from the ABA Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity during an award ceremony on Feb. 6 at the ABA Midyear Meeting in San Diego.

Wolfson is considered by many as the father of the same-sex marriage movement. He is the author of the 2004 book, “Why Marriage Matters: America, Equality and Gay People’s Right to Marry.”

Wolfson graduated from Yale College and served in the Peace Corps in the African nation of  Togo before attending Harvard Law School. He wrote his 1983 Harvard Law thesis on same-sex marriage, long before the issue rose to national prominence. After stints that included teaching philosophy at Harvard, serving as an assistant district attorney in Brooklyn and as associate counsel to Laurence Walsh in the Office of Independent Counsel, Wolfson worked for the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund from 1989 to 2001.

He left Lambda to form Freedom to Marry in 2001. In 2004, Time magazine included Wolfson on its list of the “100 most influential people in the world.”

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 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals in the legal profession and successfully championed LGBT legal causes.