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Fighting a battle against homophobia in 1980, Rosemary Dempsey earned national media attention when she won custody of her two children. Since then, Dempsey's actions have paved the way for hundreds of homosexual couples and adults to gain guardianship and legal custody of children. Her actions have been represented on popular television shows like "L.A. Law," and have risen to the public eye through various news reports. In July 1990, Dempsey took that determination and dedication and assumed the position of vice president for action for the National Organization for Women. Dempsey, a 20-year NOW member, has been involved with several other civil rights groups as well. She began her activist career during the student anti-war and civil rights movements in the 1960s. Since then she has worked for a number of women's groups in New Jersey and held several administrative positions within NOW. NOW was born in June 1966 by 28 women attending the Third National Conference of Commissions on the Status of Women in Washington, D.C. Today, NOW is the largest women's rights organization in the U.S., with more than 250,000 members in 750 chapters nationwide. Since its founding, NOW has worked toward securing women's equality and dignity. The group has attacked issues such as discrimination in education, credit and employment. NOW has worked to improve recognition for women who choose to stay at home, and has championed the rights of women in marriage and divorce. NOW has planned a national march on Washington, D.C. for April 5, 1992, titled "We won't go back . . . March for Women's Lives." Dempsey has spent the last few weeks touring college campuses across the country to raise awareness of NOW's mission and to gain support for the April event. Dempsey was a founding member of "New Jersey Women Take Back the Night," an organization which generated public awareness and lobbied legislators to gain support to fight violence against women. She also worked to form a battered women's shelter in New Jersey called Womanspace. On other civil rights fronts, Dempsey chaired a statewide coalition to pass lesbian and gay rights legislation in New Jersey. She was also a National Board member of the LAMBDA Legal Defense and Education Fund. Educated at the College of New Rochelle in New York, where she earned a B.A. in Sociology, Dempsey went on to earn a law degree at Rutgers University Law School. She is a founding partner of the feminist law firm McGahen, Dempsey and Case, and was a trustee of the women's rights section of the New Jersey Bar Association for four years. Along with her life companion Kim Costanza, Dempsey owns "The Lighted Tree" a restaurant, bar and guest house in Pass-a-Grill Beach, Florida.

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