This week I talked with attorney Maura Healey, who's making a historic bid for attorney general in Massachusetts as the first openly gay candidate for the job. Maura served as Attorney General Martha Coakley's right hand for the last seven years, achieving monumental victories to protect consumers and homeowners and promote LGBT equality. As chief of the attorney general's civil rights division, Healey spearheaded the efforts of an extraordinary team to overturn the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), winning the first federal court decision striking down DOMA, which discriminated against legally married gay and lesbian couples.
I talked with Maura about her campaign to become Massachusetts' next attorney general and her spin on LGBT issues. When asked about her personal commitment to LGBT civil rights, she stated:
My commitment is deeply personal. I'm a gay person myself, so of course it's personal. I do feel and hope that equality is everyone's agenda and everyone's interest and something that everyone should be behind, but I certainly have a personal commitment to issues of equality. I also have a lot of resolve. I mean, I know how hard it is; I know the barriers created by discrimination. I've seen that in my own lifetime, both as a young woman growing up and as a young gay woman growing up, and I've seen that discrimination play out in the lives of friends and colleagues. So my commitment here is real, and it's deep, and I want to make sure that we're making it easier and better for people to be able to live the way they want to live. I go back to my youth, and I'm a product of Title IX and a beneficiary of Title IX, which was a federal law that made possible great gains for girls and women in athletics, and I'm a beneficiary. Because of that law I was ultimately able to play college basketball, Division I, and ultimately have a professional basketball career. So I think that the kind of laws we have are terrifically important, and as attorney general you have the opportunity to enforce laws, and enforce laws that protect civil rights. So I look forward to doing that, but I know it takes a lot of resolve, and it takes a lot of hard work. When we put together the state's case challenging DOMA, a lot of people tried to talk us out of it, and I know at the time I argued that case, the majority of Americans were not supportive of marriage equality, and even the president and the Justice Department were standing behind DOMA. But I also know that eventually that changed, and we did prevail, and things can change, but it requires perseverance, resolve, and that's certainly a commitment I'm going to continue. So for whatever the fights are that we have ahead, I'm prepared to stand in and make sure that we're advancing equality and not moving backwards.
Maura Healey attended Harvard University, where she majored in government and captained the Harvard basketball team. After two years as a starting point guard for the UBBC Wustenrot Salzburg professional basketball team in Austria, Maura returned to Massachusetts to attend law school at Northeastern University. She then served as a litigator in one of Boston's most prominent law firms, Wilmer Hale, and as Special Assistant District Attorney in Middlesex County. In 2007 she joined the attorney general's office, where she headed two prominent divisions in the state's chief law enforcement office: the Public Protection and Advocacy Bureau and the Business and Labor Bureau. Maura lives in Charlestown with her partner.
For more information on Maura Healey, visit maurahealey.com.
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