100 Women We Love: Diane Abbitt

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Diane Abbitt has spent her career protecting same-sex couples under the law, both as an attorney and more recently as a board member of Freedom to Marry. “I was the first open lesbian to ever be appointed to the state commission in California [in the 1970s], which was a tremendous honor,” she says. Extending that sense of duty throughout her career, Abbitt has been active in the National Organization for Women, AIDS Project Los Angeles and multiple marriage equality campaigns in California. “I chose to go into the field of law for several reasons, not the least of which was because of my own personal experience,” she says. “It was only after I got divorced…that I truly realized the great deal of discrimination women face under the law. By becoming a lawyer, I knew I could make some changes.” Abbitt’s helped bring attention to LGBT issues in her state as a founding member of Equality California, a board on which she has served as both president and PAC chair. But the icing on the cake of her inspiring career was more personal—and festive: Abbitt and her partner became the first lesbian couple ever to dance together in the White House. –NHM

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