A Statement from NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell

(San Francisco, CA, July 29, 2010)—The National Center for Lesbian Rights extends our warmest congratulations and appreciation to attorney Paul M. Smith, who will receive the 2010 Thurgood Marshall Award the most prestigious civil rights honor in the nation at the Thurgood Marshall Award Dinner on Aug. 7 in San Francisco.

Smith, a partner in the litigation department at Jenner & Block LLP and co-chair of Lambda Legal’s Board of Directors, has an impressive track record of successfully arguing before the United States Supreme Court, and worked alongside NCLR in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, the recent victory affirming that public universities can require officially recognized and funded student groups to comply with non-discrimination policies. Smith also argued the landmark case of Lawrence v. Texas, which held that every adult has a protected constitutional right to enter into an intimate relationship with the person of his choosing.

Established by the American Bar Association and the Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities in 1992, the Thurgood Marshall Award is named after U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, who epitomized individual commitment, in word and action, to the cause of civil rights in this country. Previous winners include former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

A statement from NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell:

“Few people are worthier of this honor than Paul, whose profound commitment to advancing civil liberties has made him a legal force to be reckoned with, and a role model and leader within the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community,” said NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell. “He has stood beside us, and fought for us, and more importantly, we know that with him by our side, there are no limits to what we can accomplish.”

NCLR is a proud sponsor of the 2010 Thurgood Marshall Award Dinner. Purchase tickets online.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.