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November 15, 2021

National Center for Lesbian Rights’ Shannon Minter to receive Stonewall Award

CHICAGO, Nov. 15, 2021 — The American Bar Association Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) will honor Shannon Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), with its Stonewall Award during a ceremony on Feb. 12 at 5:30 p.m. PST at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Seattle.

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. 

In 2001, Minter represented the lesbian partner of a woman in a wrongful death case due to a dog mauling that resulted in a landmark decision in California that extended tort claims to same-sex domestic partners.


He was lead counsel for same-sex couples in the landmark 2009 California marriage equality case which held that same-sex couples have the fundamental right to marry and that laws that discriminate based on sexual orientation are inherently discriminatory and subject to the highest level of constitutional scrutiny.


Minter was also NCLR’s lead attorney in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision that upheld student group policies prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The ruling also rejected the argument that such policies violated a student group’s rights to freedom of speech, religion and association.


In 2005, Minter was one of 18 people to receive the Ford Foundation’s “Leadership for a Changing World” award. He received his J.D. from Cornell Law School.

“We are thrilled to honor Shannon Minter, who has won groundbreaking Supreme Court cases and continues to transform our country and the lives of millions of people,” said Judge Benes Aldana, chair of SOGI.

You can find a photo of Minter here.

The ABA Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity leads the ABA’s commitment to diversity, inclusion and full and equal participation by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the ABA, the legal profession and society. Created in 2007, the commission seeks to secure equal treatment in the ABA, the legal profession and the justice system without regard to sexual orientation or gender identity.

The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers 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. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews.