Brian brings to Marriage Equality USA his experience leading other large, volunteer-driven organizations including the International Association of Emergency Managers - Student Council, a global organization comprised of 1400 members, plus chapters. He helped to lead and grow those groups, focusing on how to balance vision, strategy and tactics while supporting the volunteers that truly make the work successful.
A passionate leader with a core commitment to diversity and the value of each individual, Brian has a steadfast dedication to LGBTQ equality, to non-profit work, and to collaboration with other organizations. Prior to stepping into his current position with MEUSA, Brian served Marriage Equality New York first at the Chapter Leadership level and later as Executive Director. Hailing originally from Northern California, Brian currently lives in New York City.
Brian has been fortunate to visit and work in many places including Northern Ireland, South Africa, Mexico, Vietnam, and Laos. He has traveled, backpacked, and camped cross-country twice, giving him the opportunity to enjoy two of his passions -- the amazing outdoors and meeting people from all walks of life.
John Lewis graduated in the top ten percent of his class from Stanford Law School in 1986, where he was awarded the Steven M. Block Award for writing on Civil Liberties. After clerking for the Honorable Thelton E. Henderson of the Northern District of California Federal Court, he practiced civil rights, public policy, and constitutional law.
John and his husband, Stuart Gaffney, were plaintiffs in the landmark California legal case In Marriage Cases, 43 Cal.4th 757 (2008), that established broad constitutional protections for lesbian and gay people and the freedom to marry in California before Proposition 8.
John is a member of the State Bar of California. John provides legal analyses of marriage equality-related court case proceedings, judicial decisions, and legislation to Marriage Equality USA leaders and members.
Additionally, John works with his husband, Stuart Gaffney, Marriage Equality USA's Communications Director, as a media resource and public spokesperson for the organization. John is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, is a columnist for the San Francisco Bay Times and writes for other publications as well. John authored an amicus brief that MEUSA submitted to the United States Supreme Court in February 2013.
Interesting fact: John worked in a refugee camp in the Philippines for Southeast Asian refugees in the early 1980's.
Stuart is the Marriage Equality USA National Communications Director, serving as the primary liaison to all areas of the organization as it relates to media/press: MEUSA Media Center. Stuart also oversees our organizational communications, which incudes our media relations, messaging, and our news blog and newsletter.
Stuart and his husband John Lewis have been prominent voices speaking out for marriage equality in the local, national and international media since 2004. Stuart is one of the well-known "faces" of the marriage equality movement. His messaging and marriage equality news dissemination is widely relied upon, both professionally and informally. Stuart is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, is a regular columnist for the San Francisco Bay Times and writes for other publications as well.
Stuart and John were plaintiffs in the historic California case for marriage equality, In re marriage cases (2008). Stuart's Witness declaration. Together for 24 years, they legally married in 2008. A graduate of Yale University, Stuart is a filmmaker, and in his "day job" he is a policy analyst and educator at the UCSF Center for AIDS Prevention Studies.
Not surprisingly, Stuart was president of his high school's debate team WAY back in 1980. Stuart says that one of the best times of their lives was when he and husband John backpacked around the world together before their wedding day.
As the Multimedia Lead for MEUSA, Paul manages our Flickr and YouTube resources to showcase the past and present stories and work of the organization. He is a professional project/program manager, and has been working in the IT industry for over 25 years. During that time, Paul has been instrumental in corporate changes for the LGBT community, including establishing Employee Resource Groups, Domestic Partner Benefits, developing Leadership Seminars for LGBT employees, developing Recruiting/Mentoring programs, and assisting with Corporate Policy development around LGBT issues.
Externally, Paul has been involved in a number of LGBT and AIDS services organizations, including serving as a board member of a locally based pediatric AIDS foundation, developing IT programs for LGBT youth, and other volunteer engagements.
Paul currently lives in Manhattan with his husband, Juan Carlos Fernández. When in town, they are avid theatre goers, and support non-profit theatre organizations in New York. They enjoy traveling the world (34 countries and counting), enjoying the food and arts of many cultures and documenting their experiences through photography.