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Civil Rights Advocate & Pioneer Dies

The life of a fierce civil rights advocate and pioneer ended all too soon last Friday as San Francisco attorney Mary Dunlap lost her battle with pancreatic cancer. (See her obituary here.) Mary, 54, most recently the director of San Francisco’s police watchdog agency, the Office of Citizen Complaints, will also be remembered as one of the founders of Equal Rights Advocates, the San Francisco-based public interest law firm that works on behalf of women subjected to sex discrimination, one of the attorneys who litigated the landmark discrimination case against the San Francisco Fire Department, and as the attorney who argued the “Gay Olympics” case before the U.S. Supreme Court. Mary also taught sex discrimination and sexual orientation discrimination classes at several Bay Area law schools, and her teaching and writing has influenced countless numbers of law students over the years. She will be remembered by many as a tenacious advocate, vivid storyteller, and extremely wise person who persevered in taking some of the most difficult and controversial discrimination cases of her time. She is survived by her partner of 18 years, Maureen Mason.


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