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Kate Kendell

Photograph of Kate Kendell

Kate Kendell led the National Center for Lesbian Rights, a national legal organization advancing the civil and human rights of LGBTQ people and their families. NCLR’s legal, policy, and legislative victories set important precedents that improve the lives of all LGBTQ people and their families across the country. Kate retired from her position in 2018.

Kate grew up Mormon in Utah and received her J.D. degree from the University of Utah College of Law in 1988. After a few years as a corporate attorney, she was named the first staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah.

In 1994 she accepted the position as Legal Director with the National Center for Lesbian Rights and made the move to San Francisco. In 1996 Kate was named as NCLR’s Executive Director. Under Kate’s leadership, NCLR won custody and family law cases, achieved victories on behalf of LGBT athletes, won protections for LGBTQ students and elders and secured asylum for over 300 clients. NCLR was lead on the California marriage equality case in 2008 and was later part of the team of attorneys to secure national marriage equality in the 2015 US Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges. Together with GLAD, NCLR filed a federal lawsuit challenging Trump’s transgender military ban in August 2017, which secured a nationwide preliminary injunction stopping the ban from moving forward.

Kate has appeared in hundreds of media outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post, BBC, NPR, Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, and dozens of on-line blogs. Kate is also a visible and vibrant social media voice.


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