McDermott’s Longstanding Pro Bono Partnership Prominently Featured in Mattachine Society Founder’s New Memoir - McDermott Will & Emery

McDermott’s Longstanding Pro Bono Partnership Prominently Featured in Mattachine Society Founder’s New Memoir


International law firm McDermott Will & Emery is proud to be prominently featured in the newly released book Archive Activism: Memoir of a “Uniquely Nasty” Journey, (University of North Texas Press, 2023). i.e. Archive Activism: Memoir of a “Uniquely Nasty” Journey (University of North Texas Press, 2023), by Mattachine Society of Washington, DC President Charles Francis. McDermott has been a pro bono partner of the organization for more than a decade, supporting its “archive activism” mission to uncover and preserve LGBTQ+ American history.

Charles co-founded the new DC-based Mattachine with Pate Felts in 2011. Charles’ memoir tells the story of his life as an LGBTQ+ advocate and the Mattachine Society’s work to recover forgotten, sealed and often deleted LGBTQ+ history. The book also details the contributions of McDermott partners Paul Thompson and Lisa A. Linsky, who have co-led the cross-office, cross-practice teams of lawyers and staff professionals to achieve impactful outcomes on behalf of the Mattachine Society, including:

  • Submitting an amicus brief in the US Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges, a case in which the Court held that the Fourteenth Amendment requires states to license and recognize same-sex marriage.
  • Winning a motion for summary judgment against the Department of Justice, which was required to disclose historical documents related to a 1953 Executive Order that provided the government with the legal authority to purge gay and lesbian employees from the federal employment rolls.
  • Publishing a white paper on the legal and political history of conversion therapy in the US and the damage it causes.
  • Publishing a white paper that outlined the history of US government discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community, which resulted in a Congressional Resolution calling for Congress to acknowledge and apologize for long-standing mistreatment.

“Charles’ memoir is a tribute to the unsung heroes and heroines of the LGBTQ+ Civil Rights Movement who fought for full civil equality when doing so put their lives and livelihoods in jeopardy. It is a must-read for all those interested in American history to understand the culture of animus that was created and the many ways in which this animus was perpetrated against LGBTQ+ Americans at the hands of their government,” said Lisa.

“The stories are particularly relevant today given the state of emergency that the LGBTQ+ community and its allies face in the current political and social climate. McDermott has been proud to partner with the Mattachine Society and is deeply honored to have our work recognized by Charles.”

McDermott was also featured in the Mattachine Society’s 2018 documentary produced and directed by Mike Isikoff, an award-winning investigative journalist. The film recounts our joint work to uncover forgotten and buried LGBTQ+ American history. The documentary earned the Edward R. Murrow Award.

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