Kate Kendell is the Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, a national legal organization committed to advancing the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy, and public education.
Kate has spent 20 years at the helm of the organization, where she helps develop legal and public policy strategy, and is responsible for all aspects of the organization’s success. Under her leadership, NCLR has become a national leader in shaping the legal landscape for the LGBT community while embracing a racial justice analysis.
NCLR was among the first national organizations to launch projects advancing parent, youth, immigrant, and transgender rights, and many others. It continues to impact the lives of LGBT people and their families across the country through its precedent-setting litigation, legislation, policy, and public education. NCLR made history in June 2015 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality nationwide after hearing its Tennessee marriage case and cases from three other states. In March 2016, it won its second U.S. Supreme Court case in less than a year when the Court unanimously held that second parent adoptions must be recognized in every state.
Kate grew up Mormon in Utah and received her J.D. degree from the University of Utah College of Law in 1988. After a few years as a corporate attorney she was named the first staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah. In this capacity, she oversaw the legal department of ACLU of Utah and directly litigated many high-profile cases focusing on all aspects of civil liberties, including reproductive rights, prisoners’ rights, church/state conflicts, free speech, and the rights of LGBT people.
In 1994, Kate accepted the position as NCLR’s Legal Director. Two years later, Kate was named as NCLR’s Executive Director. She lives in San Francisco with her spouse, they have two children.