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Protecting LGBT-Headed Families in a Post-Obergefell World


Speaker(s): Denise Brogan-Kator, Emily Hecht-McGowan
Recorded on: Sep. 25, 2015
PLI Program #: 158478

Denise Brogan-Kator
Senior Legislative Counsel

Denise Brogan-Kator is the Senior Legislative Counsel for the Family Equality Council. She is responsible for supporting our efforts to advance equality for all families at the states level. A US Submarine Service veteran, she graduated from the University of Michigan Law school (matriculating as the first openly transgender law student) and earned her MBA from the University of Colorado. Denise has a 15-year history of public and private advocacy on behalf of the LGBT community, coming to us as a former Executive Director of a statewide LGBT advocacy organization. She lives in Southeast Michigan with her spouse, Mary, her mother-in-law, Kitty, and 6 cats. She has three grown daughters (and is excited for that first grand-baby).


Emily Hecht-McGowan
Director of Public Policy

Emily Hecht-McGowan leads Family Equality Council’s team of lawyers and fellows focused on federal, state, and local policy/advocacy efforts to ensure full visibility, recognition, respect and protection under the law for LGBTQ parents and their children. She joined Family Equality Council in November 2009 as Senior Legislative Counsel, charged with opening the organization’s Washington, DC office and building a federal policy/advocacy portfolio. She has served as Director of Public Policy since August 2010.

Prior to joining Family Equality Council Emily served as the Legal Director for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network where she assisted service members impacted by “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and related forms of discrimination. Prior to her time with SLDN, Emily was the Assistant Section Director for the American Bar Association’s Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities where she spearheaded the ABA’s civil rights, human rights and social justice policy work.

Emily has been widely quoted in national publications such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, CNN.com and others. In 2013, she was recognized by the National LGBT Bar Association as one of the “Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40.” Emily holds a BA in History from American University and a JD from Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law and is admitted to the bar in both Virginia and the District of Columbia. Emily lives in Takoma Park, MD with her wife Sharon and their daughter Sadie.