In 2013 Kate founded a group called Ordain Women to advocate for gender equality in the Mormon Church. She was convicted of apostasy by 3 male Mormon leaders & excommunicated from the church in June 2014 for speaking out against the institutional oppression of women. But, Kate’s work for women’s equality continues unabated. Thanks to her work with Ordain Women, and her outspoken advocacy, Kate has a Wikipedia page accompanied by a disambiguation term she is proud of: Kate Kelly (feminist).
Human Rights Attorney
As an attorney focused specifically on international human rights litigation Kate has worked with clients from Peru, Ethiopia, Dominican Republic, Western Sahara, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Egypt, Cuba, Mexico and Somalia, as well as the United States.
- She helped win protective measures for 48 Dominicans of Haitian descent and their 32 children
- She researched and wrote a report on ongoing human rights violations in Western Sahara
- She planned and moderated a panel at Georgetown Law on Women’s Rights in the MENA region
- She presented at an International United Nations Association conference in Copenhagen, Denmark on the Conflict in Western Sahara
- She worked on an accountability project for sexual abuse in Somalia
- She interviewed asylum seekers in the U.S. for the UNHCR report Women on the Run
Kate has experience with the United Nations Committee Against Torture, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
Kate has worked with clients operating under strict security protocols and in very low-infrastructure environments. In addition to research and writing, she has interviewed clients and conducted fact-finding missions in-country.
Kate has been an outspoken activist for social justice working on causes such as immigrant rights, torture abolition and the campaign to end violence against women. In 2012, Kate helped plan a conference in DC for LGTBQIA Mormons and their allies and was featured in the Washington Blade as an ally. In 2013 Kate founded a worldwide grassroots organization to fight gender inequality within her faith tradition called Ordain Women. The movement combines both effective, worldwide social media campaigns and in-person direct action to organize Mormon women, magnify their voices, and speak out against gender inequality. In March of 2013 Kate constructed the website ordainwomen.org using the WordPress platform and the site has received, to date, nearly 4 million page views. The movement has grown from a small handful of courageous women to hundreds of active participants, and thousands of supporters worldwide. A few links about Kate’s gender equality activism in the Mormon Church: • New York Times article • BBC World Service radio documentary • My Op Ed in The Guardian • ‘Feminism in Faith’ from BuzzFeed • Article in The Atlantic
In January 2017 Kate helped plan the Utah contingent of the Women’s March on Washington and planned, executed and emceed the largest march in Utah State history on the Capitol in Salt Lake City on January 23. Kate and her co-founders captured the momentum of the women’s marches into a permanent, grassroots group called Utah Women Unite. Utah Women Unite exists to protect and advance the rights of all Utah women, girls, marginalized, and non-binary people in all communities.
For additional links to media coverage about Kate’s activism, visit her Press page.
Women’s rights march in Honolulu, Hawaii
Planned the largest march in Utah State history on the Capitol. January 23, 2017.
At a rally for the Equal Rights Amendment
Kate is proud to be a graduate of American University Washington College of Law. At WCL she had world class training in international human rights law from some of the best human rights lawyers of our time. Her graduating year she was honored to receive the school’s top honor for public service, the Peter M. Cicchino Public Service Award. In the Washington College of Law International Human Rights Clinic she successfully represented an East-African client in an asylum case in court before an Immigration Judge in Virginia and represented a group of Peruvians erroneously labeled, and punished as terrorists under the Fujimori regime in their petitions before the Inter-American Commission. She was very active in her student National Lawyers Guild chapter, serving as Student Chapter Chair from 2009 – 2012, working on issues such as death penalty abolition and the intersection of Hip Hop music and social justice organizing.
Kate has many interests… too many to count! She loves travel, vegetarian and international cuisine, the outdoors, hiking, yoga, collecting folk art, ethical fashion and is a wax-print fabric & mid century modern enthusiast. Most of all, she loves meeting, and talking with, new and interesting people. ¡Además, ella habla español!
[T]he only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones that never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars… – Jack Kerouac
To follow some of Kate’s personal adventures, find her on Instagram!