About Abby Rubenfeld

Abby Rubenfeld

Abby R. Rubenfeld is an attorney in Nashville, Tennessee. Her general practice includes an emphasis on family law, LGBT and AIDS-related issues, and civil rights cases. She is currently Chair of the newly-formed Tennessee Bar Association Section on LGBT Rights. Ms. Rubenfeld also was an Adjunct Professor at the Vanderbilt University Law School in Nashville for seven years, teaching a course on Sexual Orientation and the Law. She served for seven years on the Board of Directors of the Human Rights Campaign, a national civil rights organization and the largest lesbian and gay political organization in the world, and for many years on the Board of Directors of the ACLU of Tennessee. She has also served as Chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities (IRR–now called the Section on Civil Rights and Social Justice) and as Chair of the Nashville Bar Association Family Law Committee. From 2007 to 2009, she was appointed by the President of the ABA to serve on the then-newly created ABA Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. She was also formerly a member of the Tennessee Bar Association Committee on Racial and Ethnic Diversity and on the Executive Committee of its Family Law Section. In 2014, she was honored to be inducted into the YWCA Nashville Academy of Women of Achievement. She is extremely proud to have been co-counsel for the Tennessee plaintiffs in Obergefell v. Hodges (Tanco v. Haslam), the cases that brought full marriage equality to the United States on June 26, 2015. She was named Nashvillian of the Year for 2015 by the Nashville Scene magazine, along with Tanco co-counsel Bill Harbison.

In 2014, she was honored with a Legacy Award from Nashville Black Pride. In 2015, she was also honored with several awards, including the Justice Award from the National Center for Lesbian Rights (given to the plaintiffs and attorneys from Tanco v. Haslam, the successful companion case to Obergefell that brought marriage equality to the country) and the Bill of Rights Award from the ACLU of Tennessee (also given to the Tennessee plaintiffs and attorneys from Tanco v. Haslam). In 2016, she is also receiving the Stonewall Award from the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Commission of the American Bar Association.

Abby resides outside Nashville with her spouse, Helia Rethmann and their many rescued animals. She also has two daughters; Lily of California and Sarah of Tennessee and a step-daughter, Laura who attends college in Wisconsin.