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Scott McCoy 

Deputy Legal Director for LGBTQ Rights & Special Litigation
Scott McCoy

Scott D. McCoy is the deputy legal director for LGBTQ rights and special litigation at the Southern Poverty Law Center. His work focuses on LGBTQ people, their families and the communities in which they live, particularly communities in the Deep South.

McCoy was a member of the trial team in the landmark Ferguson v. JONAH case which resulted in a unanimous jury verdict that found conversion therapy — a dangerous practice that purports to change a person’s sexual orientation – is consumer fraud under New Jersey law. He has worked across the country to bar conversion therapy for minors.

McCoy’s duties also include bringing cases designed to disrupt and counter hate and extremist groups as well as cases on behalf of people targeted and victimized by such groups.

Before joining the SPLC, he was a senior litigation associate at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton in New York City. Earlier, he served as the first openly gay member of the Utah State Senate, representing portions of Salt Lake City. McCoy also served on the Utah Sentencing Commission and chaired the Salt Lake City Police Civilian Review Board.

He was a board member of Equality Utah, the state’s LGBTQ advocacy group. In 2004, he ran the statewide campaign against Amendment 3, Utah’s anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment.

He was a clerk for Associate Chief Justice Leonard H. Russon of the Utah Supreme Court. McCoy also served as legislative director for U.S. Rep. Tom Latham of Iowa. Additionally, he was the professional staff and committee liaison to U.S. House leadership for the House Committee on Agriculture.

McCoy earned a bachelor’s degree from William Jewell College and a Master of Arts degree in international affairs from the George Washington University. He is a graduate of Cardozo School of Law, earning his law degree in 2001.