Cheryl Jacques

  • Fall 2005

CHERYL JACQUES is a national leader in the gay civil rights movement. She is of Counsel to the Boston-based law firm of Brody, Hardoon, Perkins and Kesten, and is a consultant on diversity issues to corporations and non-profit organizations. Jacques formerly served as president and executive director of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). Jacques led HRC through the successful defeat of the anti-gay Federal Marriage Amendment. She oversaw significant growth in fundraising and membership, including a record $30M budget for 2004 and a membership that now exceeds 600,000. She vastly increased the organization's internal and external diversity and established a strong national presence with a record amount of media coverage. Jacques took the helm of HRC after serving nearly a dozen years in the Massachusetts State Senate.

As a State Senator, Jacques was a leader on civil rights and equality in the Massachusetts Legislature. In 1996, she successfully pushed for the inclusion of sexual orientation in the Commonwealth's Hate Crimes Statute. She also passed legislation establishing standby guardianship provisions to protect the children of AIDS patients and other chronically ill individuals. She was a leading Senate advocate on civil rights, consumer protection, criminal justice and victim's rights. She authored and passed over 40 pieces of legislation including the landmark Gun Control Act of 1995, the 1998 Consumer Protection Act and the 2000 Clergy Abuse Mandatory Reporting Act. In 2002, Jacques lead a bi-partisan coalition of legislators to defeat the so-called Defense of Marriage Act in Massachusetts. Before her six terms in the State Senate, Jacques served as an Assistant District Attorney in Middlesex County and went on to serve as an Assistant Attorney General in the Trial Bureau of the Attorney General's Office.