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Jefferson Medals in Law awarded to LGBT rights litigators

Lawyers Menaka Guruswamy and Arundhati Katju were named this year’s recipients of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Law for their work in advancing LGBT rights in India.

The medals are sponsored jointly by the University of Virginia as well as the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, the nonprofit organization that owns and operates Jefferson’s Monticello. They’re UVa’s highest external honors and recognize achievements in work that Jefferson “excelled and held in high regard,” according to Monticello’s website.

Guruswamy and Katju represented plaintiffs in a 2018 ruling by the Supreme Court of India to decriminalize all consensual adult sex, including homosexual sex. The two lawyers are currently representing clients seeking same-sex marriage rights, according to a statement from UVa’s School of Law.

“Menaka Guruswamy and Arundhati Katju have worked tirelessly to advance equality and LGBT rights in India, the world’s largest democracy,” Dean Risa Goluboff said in a law school statement. “I’m thrilled to celebrate their achievements and for our students to learn more about their groundbreaking work and careers.”

Guruswamy and Katju are scheduled to be honored in person at 1 p.m. on April 12 at the UVa School of Law’s Caplin Pavilion.


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