Roberta Kaplan: Maker and LGBT activist

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Roberta Kaplan: United States V. Windsor Attorney

Roberta (Robbie) Kaplan is the attorney who successfully argued the United States V. Windsor case, a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling that a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) violated the U.S. Constitution by barring legally married same-sex couples from enjoying the wide-ranging benefits of marriage conferred under federal law.

A partner in the Litigation Department at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, Robbie's Supreme Court argument on behalf of Edie Windsor may be the most significant civil rights decision of our time. In its majority opinion in Windsor, the Supreme Court held that the status of being a married gay person is "a far-reaching legal acknowledgment of the intimate relationship between two people, a relationship deemed ... worthy of dignity in the community equal with all other marriages."

MORE COVERAGE OF NATIONAL COMING OUT DAY:What's changed since Michael Sam came out?

The consequences of the Windsor decision have been both rapid and profound. At least 13 Lower courts throughout the United States, including in New Jersey, Ohio, New Mexico, Kentucky, Oklahoma and Utah, have since held, relying explicitly on Windsor, that gay couples in those jurisdictions should be accorded equal rights.

Women Who Made LGBT History | MAKERS


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Roberta Kaplan: Maker and LGBT activist

Ellen DeGeneres

Ellen DeGeneres arrives at the People's Choice Awards at the Nokia Theatre on Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Billie Jean King

In this June 4, 2015 file photo, Billie Jean King poses for a portrait in New York. King and World Team Tennis are serving up their 40th season, a feat accomplished only by the "big four" U.S. leagues. Starting on Sunday, July 12 through July 29, the newer faces of the coed WTT summer league will take to the courts in seven cities. (Photo by Scott Gries/Invision/AP, File)

Brenda Berkman

Fire Department of New York Capt. Brenda Berkman stands outside the firehouse of Engine 204, in the Cobble Hill neighborhood of the Brooklyn borough of New York, in this Saturday, May 24, 2003 file photo. Berkman's experience with the NYFD is featured in the new documentary "Taking the Heat: The First Women Firefghters of New York City." (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg, File)

Chely Wright

Country music star Chely Wright performs at the 2014 National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at President's Park on December 4, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/WireImage)

Tammy Baldwin

Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) listens during a hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee on July 29, 2015 in Washington, DC. The committee is examining the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, focusing on combating campus sexual assault. (Photo by Astrid Riecken/Getty Images)

Rita Mae Brown

Rita Mae Brown arrives at the 27th Annual Lambda Literary Awards at The Great Hall at Cooper Union on June 1, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Debra L Rothenberg/Getty Images)

Martina Navratilova

Navratilova was born in Prague in 1956, and defected to the United States in 1975, becoming a US citizen in 1981. She won 18 Grand Slam singles titles including the women's singles title at Wimbledon which she won a record nine times, as well as 40 Grand Slam doubles titles. She came out as a lesbian in response to speculation about her relationship with Rita Mae Brown. In 1991 her split from partner of 9 years Judy Nelson was much publicised in the media. In 1994 Navratilova retired from the singles tour and was introduced into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2000. She is the oldest ever Grand Slam champion having won both the Australian Open and Wimbledon mixed doubles titles in 2003 aged 46 years and 8 months. (Photo by SSPL/Getty Images)

Tig Notaro

Tig Notaro attends PETA's 35th anniversary party at Hollywood Palladium on September 30, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)

Brittney Griner

Brittney Griner #42 of the Phoenix Mercury speaks to the media after Game Two of the WNBA Western Conference Semifinals against the Tulsa Shock on September 19, 2015 at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Photo by Shane Bevel/NBAE via Getty Images)

Melissa Etheridge

Melissa Etheridge performs at The Bardavon 1869 Opera House on June 14, 2015 in Poughkeepsie, New York. (Photo by Steve Mack/Getty Images)

Portia de Rossi

Actress Portia de Rossi attends the celebration of ABC's TGIT Line-up held at Gracias Madre on September 26, 2015 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images)

Sheryl Swoopes

Sheryl Swoopes #22 of the Seattle Storm during a press conference on March 3, 2008 in Seattle, Washington. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2008 NBAE (Photo by Terrence Vaccaro/NBAE via Getty Images)

Wanda Sykes

LAST COMIC STANDING -- Episode 905 -- Pictured: Wanda Sykes -- (Photo by: Ben Cohen/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Sally Ride

Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, is shown while talking with members of the Nevada Women's Fund in Reno, Nev., Tuesday, May 13, 2003. Ride on Tuesday said it's ``unfortunate'' Annika Sorenstam is being criticized for trying to become the first woman to compete on the PGA Tour in 58 years. ``It is a little bit surprising,'' Ride said Tuesday before a speech to the Nevada Women's Fund. (AP Photo/Debra Reid)

Robin Roberts

Robin Roberts speaks onstage at the ESPY Awards at the Microsoft Theater on Wednesday, July 15, 2015, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Cynthia Nixon

Cynthia Nixon attends a premiere for "James White" on day 8 of the Toronto International Film Festival at the Ryerson Theatre on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015, in Toronto. (Photo by Tony Felgueiras/Invision/AP)

Rosie O'Donnell

Rosie O'Donnell performs onstage at the 3rd Annual One Billion Rising: REVOLUTION at Hammerstein Ballroom on February 7, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Zimmerman/WireImage for V-Day)

Ellen Page

Actress Ellen Page stands for a portrait at the Ritz-Carlton Georgetown in advance of the release of her movie 'Freeheld' in Washington, DC on Friday, October 02, 2015. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Jane Lynch

Jane Lynch poses in the press room during the 2015 Creative Arts Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 12, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by C Flanigan/FilmMagic)

Rachel Maddow

WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE -- Pictured: Rachel Maddow -- Photo by: Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

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Ellen DeGeneres Comedian
Cause of Choice: Humane Society of the United States and Oceana
Second Chance: The first time she was scheduled to appear on Johnny Carson, she got bumped when the previous guest, Robert Goulet, kept forgetting the lyrics to the song "Memory."
Big Break: Winning "Showtime's Funniest Person in America" contest in 1982 vaulted her from local New Orleans clubs to a national tour.
Family Act: Her brother Vance was the first sibling to achieve local celebrity as the bassist of the New Orleans band, The Cold. He now co-runs Steve Carrell's production company.

Billie Jean King Tennis Champion & Activist
Cause of Choice: World TeamTennis and Women's Sports Foundation
Making the Deal: She started the first professional women's tennis tour by getting nine players to sign one-dollar contracts.
Working Doubles: She worked two jobs to pay her way through college. It was pre-Title IX and no sports scholarships were offered to women.
Getting in the Game: King saved up to buy her first tennis racket at age 11. It was lavender and she was so happy that she slept with it at night.

Brenda Berkman First NYC Female Firefighter
Cause of Choice: Girls Prep Lower East Side Elementary School
Role Models: Billie Jean King, Gloria Steinem, and Betty Friedan
Trial Run: Before taking on the FDNY, she worked as a lawyer on sexual discrimination cases brought by female NYPD officers.
Awards and Accolades: In 1996-97, she served as a White House Fellow, the first professional firefighter to be awarded this prestigious leadership development fellowship.

Chely Wright Country Musician and Gay Rights Activist
Idols: Connie Smith, Loretta Lynn, Buck Owens
Her first big gig: Filling in for a band at age 11. She was fired for insisting on too many rehearsals.
Turning point: Chely started her book on the same day she came out to her producer, Rodney Crowell. She says, "I started writing and I never stopped."

Tammy Baldwin U.S. Senator (D-Wisconsin)
Born & Raised: Madison, Wisconsin.
Double Major: Graduated from Smith College majoring in mathematics and government.
Best Piece of Advice: "Don't just read about it. Do it. Demystify it. Get right in."
Role Models: "As I start this new role as a United States Senator I look to Barbara Mikulski...who paved the way for so many of us to follow."

Rita Mae Brown Author & Activist
Favorite Saying: "Worse things have happened to nicer people."
Advice to Young People: "Learn Latin. It is the basis of our culture [and] the undergirding of all that we do and are."
Childhood Dream: To be a hunter.
Proudest Accomplishment: Being able to lead her pack of fox hounds on the hunt.

Martina Navratilova Champion Tennis Player
Athletic Upbringing: "On the weekends, we would go either for a walk, or a hike, or swim in the river, or even go cross-country skiing in the winter. I rode my bike around town everywhere or I ran to the tennis or to school. I was always running or walking very fast."
Grandma On The Court: Martina's grandmother was a ranked player in Czechoslovakia.
Train, Run, Tram, Run: With no car, getting to tennis practice with no small feat. She had to "run to the train station with my tennis gear and my school gear...get on another train all the way to Prague...then go on a tram...then a bus...then walk, play tennis, and reverse. So I was in great shape just to get to the tennis court."
Domestically Skill or Challenged: "Domestically skilled surprisingly enough."

Tig Notaro Comedian
Nickname: Spent a lot of time in the outdoors as a kid. "My friends would call me Huckleberry Tig."
Elementary Quirks: "I used to carry a briefcase to elementary school full of Star Wars action figures."
Early Love for Music: "I started playing guitar when I was nine."
Before the First Open Mic: "I used to talk into a flashlight in the mirror."

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