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Ruth Harlow
(? - living) U.S.A.

Ruth Harlow

Legal director, Lambda


Harlow is legal director of the country's oldest and most prestigious gay legal advocacy organization, the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund. She graduated from Stanford and received her law degree from Yale, where she was already active in queer issues, helping to organize the first-ever legal conference on AIDS and co-authoring the first journal article on discrimination against gay students in public schools.

From law school Harlow jumped right into advocacy law. The first practice she joined specialized in employment discrimination. She then took a job at the New Jersey ACLU, where she began to fight for activists and AIDS patients, and eventually ended up as the associate director of the national ACLU's gay and lesbian rights and AIDS projects.

Having worked with Lamda for much of her career, Harlow joined its staff in 1996. Four years later she took over the position of legal director, and has since continued Lambda's tradition of legal and educational support for the queer community.

Harlow, who both supervises the team of Lambda lawyers and works cases herself, has argued before state high courts and the Supreme Court. Among the cases she has been involved in are the main challenge to Don't Ask/Don't Tell, sodomy law victories in Arkansas and Minnesota, Boy Scouts of America vs. Dale, the Civil Union bill in Vermont, and defeat of anti-gay initiatives in many states. She works out of the Lambda main office in New York.


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