- In 2009, as Attorney General, Coakley challenged the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), because the law was unfairly preventing more than 16,000 same-sex families in Massachusetts from receiving benefits that were rightfully theirs, securing the first federal court decision to strike the law down. When the case was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Attorney General’s office filed an amicus brief, which stated “our firm conviction that in order to truly achieve marriage equality all couples must enjoy the same rights and protections under both state and federal law.” Coakley’s leadership in Massachusetts inspired the Department of Justice not to defend DOMA, and when the high court struck down DOMA’s ban on federal marriage recognition last year, it echoed many of Coakley’s original arguments.
- Coakley has fought to expand protections for transgender individuals in Massachusetts. In 2011, she was the only gubernatorial candidate to testify in person in support of proposed legislation that would expand legal protections and ensure equal access, and told the Joint Judiciary Committee that “our Commonwealth is stronger when every person can live and work free of harassment and threats.” Governor Deval Patrick signed the bill into law in November 2011.
- Coakley chaired the Massachusetts’ Commission on Bullying Prevention and, in partnership with MassEquality and the Anti-Defamation League, sponsored legislation that requires schools to update anti-bullying plans to include protections for especially vulnerable populations, including LGBTQ youth. The law allows the Commonwealth to better measure the effectiveness of our anti-bullying programs and create a safer environment for every student. Governor Deval Patrick signed the bill into law in April 2014.
However, Martha Coakley recognizes that the work is not done and that too many members of the LGBTQ community continue to face discrimination and lack access to critical services like safe housing and health care. To tackle these challenges, she has proposed a comprehensive plan that will improve conditions for LGBTQ people in Massachusetts. Visit Martha’s website to see her comprehensive plan.
Are you interested in volunteering Martha or donating to her campaign? Click on the links below to visit Martha’s website and get plugged in (you will be leaving the MassEquality PAC website)!