Melissa Goodman joined the ACLU of Southern California (ACLU SoCal) as a senior staff attorney in October 2012. Melissa directs and conducts legal and policy advocacy concerning LGBT rights, reproductive justice, gender equity and the rights of people with HIV.

Prior to joining ACLU SoCal, Melissa worked at the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), where she directed the organization’s LGBT and reproductive rights work. At NYCLU, she led the organization’s campaign to pass the Marriage Equality Act, which gives same-sex couples the freedom to marry, and a campaign for a statewide law to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression. She served as co-counsel in Windsor v. United States, a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act.

Melissa worked for six years as a staff attorney at the ACLU’s National Security Project, where she litigated cases concerning surveillance, excessive government secrecy, torture and detention and the freedoms of speech and association. Her cases included challenges to the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the FBI and the Defense Department’s use of “national security letters,” the government’s practice of ideological exclusion, the U.S. military’s detention practices at Guantánamo and Begrime and the CIA’s “extraordinary rendition” program.