The Advantages of Being “Out at Work”

In 1995, at a time when there were very little to no legal protections whatsoever for LGBT employees, studies were being conducted clearly demonstrating the benefits of coming out in the workplace far outweighed the benefits of staying the closet.   For example, people who come out in the workplace tend to rank higher in social well-being and psychological adjustment. More recently, the Harvard Business Review reported that 85% of Fortune 500 companies have protective Read more…

Status of Heightened Judicial Scrutiny for Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation

For those who are underrepresented or misrepresented in their political process, there are channels and avenues available to them through which they can have their voice heard and affect change.  But what happens, as is the case with the LGBT community, when misrepresentation is a systematic and historical exclusion from the political process?   In 1980, John Hart Ely published Democracy and Distrust, a work that forever altered public perception of how much protection the Read more…

A Step Forward for LGBT Hospital Visitation Rights

On Tuesday, January 19th, the Obama Administration announced plans to implement new hospital visitation regulations. These new regulations extend to same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples. Under the new regulations, patients being treated at nearly all hospitals, specifically those that accept Medicare and Medicaid, will now be allowed to make their own decisions as to who has visitation rights and who can make medical decisions on their behalf.   The Secretary of Health Read more…

Immigration and LGBT Platforms – United or Divided?

The modern gay rights and current immigration movements may seem like two dissimilar issues; however, the two issues have much more in common than what initially meets the eye.  The push for human dignity, respect, and equality under the law are dominant themes underlying both minority movements.   And, with a large population of gay immigrants seeking refuge in the United States, the LGBT community cannot afford to shy away from ever present immigration concerns. The Read more…

Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009

On the afternoon of October 28, 2009, President Barack Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 (18 U.S.C. Section 249) into law.  The Act is named after two victims of bias-motivated crimes.   The hate-crime that captured the world’s attention happened to Mathew Shepard, a student in Laramie, Wyoming who, in 1998, who was tortured and murdered because of his perceived sexual orientation.   The less well-known namesake hate-crime happened Read more…

Domestic partnerships, civil unions and gay marriage

While the quest for marriage equality goes forth, many wonder (justifiably) what the differences are among domestic partnerships, civil unions and marriage. Throughout the years, dictionaries have struggled to define “marriage.” The 2010 American Heritage Dictionary defines marriage as “[t]he legal union of a man and woman as husband and wife and, in some jurisdictions, between two persons of the same sex, usually entailing legal obligations of each person to the other.” The 2005 online Read more…

Out Law: The pre-prenup

As states move slowly to adopt same-sex marriage, couples are turning to other legal mechanisms to govern their relationships. One such tool is the Cohabitation Agreement or “Living Together” Contract.  A Cohabitation Agreement is a legal agreement reached between a heterosexual or same-sex couple who have chosen to live together (cohabitate) but are not married.  It establishes each party’s legal rights and responsibilities in the event of a break-up or death. For much of American Read more…

Top 5 Reasons Canned Legal Forms Fail Small Business Owners

ONE SIZE DOESN’T FIT ALL! Like people, every business is unique.  Having standard legal documents that are meant to fit every business is similar to a person filling their entire wardrobe with “one size fits all” clothing.  Realizing that starting and maintaining a business is costly, a business owner should not try to save money where legal compliance is involved. COST! On the surface, it appears that a business is saving money using template legal Read more…

6 Questions LGBT would-be parents should ask themselves when thinking about Adopting

Do our employee benefit plans extend to our adopted child? Do foreign countries treat LGBT parents differently when seeking a foreign adoption? If we choose to use a surrogate, are we fully aware of the surrogate’s rights to the child? How do adoption agencies view LGBT couples when deciding a proper home for a child? Are our estate planning documents sufficient to provide for a newly adopted child? We are a lesbian couple and one Read more…