Roberta Kaplan: Maker and LGBT activist
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.
Here are some other women moving LGBT rights forward
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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