|Janson Wu with Sarah Remes at the ACS National Convention|
The Carliner Award recognizes “outstanding mid-career public interest lawyers whose work best exemplifies its namesake’s legacy of fearless, uncompromising and creative advocacy on behalf of marginalized people.”
In her presentation of the award at the ACS National Convention in Washington, D.C. last Saturday, David Carliner's granddaughter Sarah Remes pointed out the many parallels between Janson's work and that of her grandfather:
has been a powerful advocate for marriage equality. He led the legislative effort to secure marriage equality in New Hampshire at a time when others believed such a thing was impossible.
In his recommendation, Bishop Gene Robinson wrote,
"I now have a husband, not just a 'friend' or partner, because of
Janson Wu's efforts in our midst."
Mr. Wu has taken the fight into the
courts, where he is a lead member of the team challenging the Defense of
Marriage Act. He and his team recently achieved an enormous victory when the
First Circuit became the first circuit court to rule that DOMA is unconstitutional. It is appropriate that Mr. Wu is honored with
this award in the name of the person who brought the first interracial marriage
case to the Supreme Court in 1956.
Mr. Wu has been
a leader for transgender rights. While working on the marriage equality bill in
New Hampshire, he insisted that his coalition include the struggles of
transgender people. He led a litigation
effort against Denny's in Maine, after the restaurant refused to allow a transgender
customer to use the appropriate restroom. Not only did Mr. Wu secure a
settlement for his client, but Denny's changed its policies to be welcoming and respectful of all transgender customers.
Mr. Wu also was a key member of a
Maine coalition that protected transgender rights against a right-wing attempt to cut them from an anti-discrimination bill. He is the co-author of a chapter in
a recently published book, Transgender Family Law: A Guide to EffectiveAdvocacy.
In 1965, my grandfather won the right of gay employees to work
for the federal government, and Mr. Wu's work follows in those footsteps.
“I’m humbled to receive this award for doing work that I love, particularly fighting for transgender rights and marriage equality,” Janson says. “I hope to honor David Carliner’s amazing legacy by fighting for the most disadvantaged and unpopular in our communities, because it’s the right thing to do.”
All of us here at GLAD congratulate Janson on this well-deserved recognition!