Legal Activism

The mission of the Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C. is to uncover the hidden and deleted political histories of LGBT Americans, who faced persecution and discrimination at the hands of federal and state governments for over sixty-five years. MSDC is dedicated to achieving full civil equality for LGBT Americans.

Together with our pro bono legal counsel, McDermott Will & Emery, the Mattachine Society of Washington, DC is proud to continue the work of original Mattachine Society by providing the documentation that demonstrates the persistent culture of animus leveled against LGBT Americans.

Marriage Equality

In addition to joining briefs submitted for United States v. Windsor and Hollingsworth v. Perry, the Mattachine Society of Washington, DC and McDermott Will & Emery have filed an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges and the consolidated same-sex marriage cases. The full brief is available online.

Employment Discrimination

In April 2016, MSDC and legal partner McDermott Will & Emery filed a lawsuit against the Department of Justice to unseal records related to Executive Order 10450, which authorized broad categories of Americans to be fired or excluded from federal employment. The suit accuses the government of conducting an inadequate search for materials, and of groundlessly withholding records on the basis of national security after three years of Freedom of Information Act requests.


The Mattachine Society supports local archival research through partnerships with universities, local libraries, and public and private archives. In 2015, MSDC helped launch the William & Mary Mattachine LGBTIQ Research Project, which aims to better understand, chronicle and preserve the history of LGBTIQ people in Virginia.

One response to “Legal Activism

  1. Pingback: A Culture of Animus | The Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C.·

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