About Cheryl Jacques

Cheryl Jacques has written and spoken nationally on issues of diversity, civil rights and politics.

Cheryl Jacques with her family
Jacques (left) with her spouse Jennifer

She is a seasoned advocate and leader in politics, social justice and LGBT equality. Elected to the Massachusetts State Senate at the relatively young age of 29 in a traditionally conservative district, Jacques' unique brand of leadership was embraced across a spectrum of ideologies - allowing her to work on both sides of the aisle for important changes on behalf her constituents. After serving 12 years in the Massachusetts State Senate, Jacques took the helm of the nation's largest gay civil rights organization, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

As a State Senator, Jacques was a leading advocate on civil rights, consumer protection, criminal justice and victim's rights. Her successful leadership of a bi-partisan coalition of legislators in defeating the so-called Defense of Marriage Act in Massachusetts blocked the conservative movement's effort to overturn the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court's landmark decision legalizing same sex marriage. The Massachusetts' marriage decision helped pave the way for successful passage of marriage equality in more than 10 states and Washington, D.C. As President and Executive Director of the Human Rights Campaign, Jacques led HRC through the successful defeat of the anti-gay Federal Marriage Amendment. Under her leadership, HRC experienced significant growth in fundraising and membership, including a record $30M budget and a membership that exceeded 600,000. She vastly increased the organization's internal and external diversity and established a strong national presence with record media coverage.

Before her six terms in the State Senate, Jacques served as an Assistant District Attorney and an Assistant Attorney General in the Trial Bureau of the Attorney General's Office. For over twenty years she has been an Adjunct Professor of Law at a number of colleges and universities including Suffolk University Law School and The George Washington University Graduate School of Public Management. Jacques has also served on many national, state and local boards.

Cheryl Jacques with her family Jacques (right) with her spouse Jennifer, and their boys, Tim, Matthew and Tom.

Cheryl Jacques is a sought after national speaker on gay civil rights and politics. She appears frequently as a commentator on such shows as the CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, ABC's World News Tonight, The O'Reilly Factor, CrossFire, ABC's Good Morning America, Nightline, Fox News, CNN, NPR and many other television and radio broadcasts.

Jacques lives with her spouse Jennifer, the Executive Director of the Family Equality Council - the nation's largest organization dedicated exclusively to advocating on behalf of gay parents and their children. They live in Boston, MA, where they are raising their three boys Tim, Tom and Matthew.

Awards and Affiliations

  • Fellow—Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government's Institute of Politics
  • Honorary Doctorate in Public Service from Simmons College
  • Adjunct Professor at Suffolk University School of Law
  • Member of the Massachusetts and Florida Bar Associations
  • Member of the Lambda national LGBTQ Advisory Network for the Child Welfare League of America
  • Named by Boston Magazine as one of the 100 most powerful women in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Named by OUT Magazine as one of the 100 influential gay leaders in the country.
  • Adjunct Professor George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management