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Tom Stoddard: Civil Libertarian

Norman Dorsen

The Greeks had a saying, “The good die young.” Rarely has this been as true as with Tom Stoddard, who in the short years given to him made an indelible mark as a hero in the struggle for the rights of lesbians and gay men. He did it all–courtroom advocate, legislative counsel for the New York Civil Liberties Union, head of Lambda Legal Defense Fund, and a colleague who taught (at New York University) one of the first courses given in any American law school centering on legal issues surrounding homosexuality. Tom will be remembered for many things, but mainly for his success, as the New York Times recognized when he died, in “bring[ing] issues affecting gay men and lesbians into the mainstream of legal and political debate.”