Northeastern alum recieves MacArthur Genius Grant

It’s a GOOD week…

To be a genius, after the MacArthur foundation honored Northeastern University School of Law alumna Mary Bonauto with a MacArthur Genius Grant of $625,000. Bonauto, who graduated from the law school in 1987, is a Boston-based attorney and Civil Rights Project Director at the Gay and Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD).

She approached same-sex marriage bans innovatively with years of state-by-state litigation. Bonauto’s lawyering in the case Goodridge v. Department of Public Health resulted in the 2003 landmark decision that made Massachusetts the first state to grant marriage equality to same-sex couples. Her case Gill v. Office of Personnel Management was the first federal court win against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which inspired United States v. Windsor — the case that ultimately led to the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down of DOMA in 2013.

Drawing on our nation’s historical concept “separate but equal as inherently unequal,” Bonauto has been dubbed this generation’s Thurgood Marshall. The MacArthur Foundation honors Bonauto for her efforts in “breaking down legal barriers based on sexual orientation and influencing debates about the relationship between the law and momentous social change more broadly.”

This is the second Northeastern Law School graduate to receive a MacArthur Genius Grant in recent years. Marie-Therese Connolly, who graduated in 1984, was honored by the foundation in 2011.