Dan Bradley Award, the LGBT Bar’s Highest Honor, Presented to Doug Hallward-Driemeier and Ropes & Gray
C. Thomas Brown provides remarks at the Lavender Law Conference after accepting the Dan Bradley Award.
On Aug. 2, appellate & Supreme Court partner Douglas Hallward-Driemeier (Washington, D.C.) and Ropes & Gray’s Obergefell litigation team were named as this year’s recipient of the Dan Bradley Award, the LGBT Bar Association’s highest honor. Business & securities litigation partner C. Thomas Brown (New York) accepted the award on behalf of Ropes & Gray and Mr. Hallward-Driemeier at the National LGBT Bar Association’s 29th Annual Lavender Law Conference & Career Fair in San Francisco. The award recognizes the highest level of achievement in support of the cause of equality under the law for gay, bisexual and transgender persons. This is the first time the award has been presented to honor a non-LGBTQ person, Mr. Hallward-Driemeier.
A team of Ropes & Gray attorneys led by Mr. Hallward-Driemeier, together with Mr. Brown and our co-counsel the National Center for Lesbian Rights, represented a group of plaintiffs before the U.S. Supreme Court in the landmark marriage equality case, Obergefell v. Hodges. The decision in Obergefell affirmed the right of same-sex couples to marry nationwide and to have their relationships recognized as equal under the laws of all states. Other plaintiffs in the case were represented before the Supreme Court by a number of organizations, including GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), the American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal. GLAD’s Mary Bonauto argued the case together with Mr. Hallward-Driemeier.
Most recently, the firm’s work contributed to a follow-on victory at the U.S. Supreme Court. In June 2017, in a 6-3 per curiam decision, the Court—citing Obergefell—reversed the Arkansas Supreme Court’s decision in Pavan v. Smith, which denied same-sex married couples’ right to be named on their children’s birth certificates just as other married parents are. The National Center for Lesbian Rights again served as Ropes & Gray’s co-counsel.
The outcomes in Obergefell and again in Pavan are indicative of Ropes & Gray’s distinguished history of pro bono work, particularly our work on LGBTQ issues and marriage equality. The firm has developed a reputation for assisting LGBTQ asylum-seekers and securing health care rights for transgender prisoners and people living with HIV. The firm—in partnership with GLAD, Lambda Legal and other organizations—played an important role in previous efforts to establish marriage equality in New York and Maryland, and to secure insurance and inheritance rights for same-sex married couples. Ropes & Gray filed an amicus brief in the successful effort to establish marriage equality in Massachusetts, and signed onto another in the ultimately successful challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Ropes & Gray also filed amicus briefs in cases affirming the parentage rights of non-birth parents in cases in New York and Massachusetts involving unmarried same-sex couples.