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social sciences

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Romero, Anthony (b. 1965)  
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Some of the other dissidents are known primarily for their ideological purity and prickly personalities. Hence, their opposition is less bewildering.

Kate Kendell remarked that her strong defense of Romero was motivated in part because of a fear that at some level might be behind the attacks on him. "I don't want to engage in gay-baiting," she confided to David France, "but I'd be lying if I said it hadn't crossed my mind."

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Under Romero's leadership of the ACLU, the organization has strengthened its commitment to securing equal protection for glbtq citizens. Romero has increased funding for the LGBT & AIDS Project and repeatedly stated that securing glbtq rights is a core ACLU goal.

During Romero's tenure, the ACLU has participated in most of the crucial legal victories that have helped define glbtq rights, from the landmark U. S. Supreme Court ruling in Lawrence v. Texas in 2003 to marriage equality successes in state courts. It has also worked closely with other public interest gay legal groups, such as Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights to coordinate strategy.

In recent years, the ACLU has been particularly active in securing relationship recognition, law, and students' rights. Romero's strengthening of the affiliates has proved crucial in enabling the ACLU to respond quickly to local incidents, such as when principals or school boards attempt to deprive gay and lesbian students of their rights of assembly and free speech.

Romero has spoken eloquently of his personal resentment at the inequality he feels as a gay man in a society in which glbtq people are not treated equally under the law; and he has described marriage equality as a fundamental goal to work toward.

On the other hand, he has also said that he and his partner--a black, Cuban-born psychiatrist eleven years his senior--have no plans to marry. Indeed, the two, who have been together for over a dozen years, are not even registered as domestic partners in New York City, where they own a large loft apartment in the flower district.

In contrast to Romero's openness and activism, his lover is decidedly publicity-shy, allegedly because of his profession. "He wants his patients to not know anything at all about his life," Romero told David France.

Romero and his partner also differ politically. Whereas Romero characterizes himself as a libertarian who usually votes Democratic, his lover often cancels his vote.

Taking a decidedly higher profile than his partner, Romero serves on the boards of several nonprofit organizations and has received dozens of public-service awards. In 2005, he was named by Time Magazine one of the 25 most influential Hispanics in America. He has also been awarded an honorary doctorate by the City University of New York School of Law.

In 2007, he co-authored, with Dina Temple-Raston, In Defense of Our America: The Fight for Civil Liberties in the Age of Terror, which takes a searching look at civil liberties in America during a time of peril.

Claude J. Summers

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social sciences >> Overview:  Latina/Latino Americans

Latina/o glbtq communities in the U.S. pursue multiple visions, diverse politics, and a variety of struggles for identity and liberation; their efforts have helped shape the meaning of what it means to be queer and Latina and Latino in the U.S. and transnationally.

social sciences >> ACLU LGBT & AIDS Project

For more than four decades, the ACLU has been at the forefront of litigation and education designed to secure glbtq rights on a variety of fronts.

social sciences >> Bonauto, Mary

American attorney Mary Bonauto, civil rights project director at Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, has won major rulings that have brought the promise of equal rights nearer to reality.

social sciences >> Bowers v. Hardwick / Lawrence v. Texas

Two of the most significant Supreme Court decisions regarding constitutional liberty for glbtq people are Bowers v. Hardwick (1986) and Lawrence v. Texas (2003).

social sciences >> Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD)

New England's leading legal organization dedicated to equal justice for glbtq individuals and families, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) provides litigation, advocacy, and educational work in all areas of glbtq civil rights.

social sciences >> Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund

The largest glbtq legal advocacy group in the United States, the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund has been fighting for the civil rights of queer Americans and people with HIV/AIDS for over three decades.

social sciences >> National Center for Lesbian Rights

Founded in 1977 as the Lesbian Rights Project, the National Center for Lesbian Rights is a public interest law firm committed to advancing the civil and human rights of glbtq people through litigation, advocacy, and education.

social sciences >> Wolfson, Evan

Evan Wolfson has participated in some of the crucial legal battles in the struggle for glbtq rights, and has been particularly visible in the quest for marriage equality.


Coates, Ta-Nehisi Paul. "Anthony Romero." (August 13, 2005):,8599,1093634,00.html

France, David. "Freedom to Backstab." New York Magazine (February 11, 2007):

Lewin, Tamar. "Civil Liberties Union Chooses New Executive." New York Times (May 1, 2001):

Liptak, Adam. "For Jailed Immigrants, a Presumption of Guilt." New York Times (June 3, 2003):

Richardson, Lynda. "Public Lives: Liberty and Justice for All, with an Emphasis on All." New York Times (January 8, 2002):

Romero, Anthony D. "LGBT Rights: A Core ACLU Issue." Perspectives: Annual Update of the ACLU's Nationwide Work on LGBT Rights and HIV/AIDS. New York: ACLU Foundation, 2006. 7-8.

Sherman, Scott. "ACLU v. ACLU." The Nation (January 18, 2007):


    Citation Information
    Author: Summers, Claude J.  
    Entry Title: Romero, Anthony  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2009  
    Date Last Updated November 17, 2009  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2009 glbtq, Inc.  


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