June 1 marked the beginning of Pride Month, but it ultimately passed without the usual fanfare. While it was known globally that COVID-19 would upend Pride celebrations everywhere, what we could not foresee was the tragic and unjust murder of George Floyd and most recently, Tony McDade, a black transgender man shot by police in Tallahassee, Florida.
By 2020, Pennsylvania will join a growing number of pioneering states including Washington, Arkansas, Nevada and Maine allowing driver’s license holders to choose from three gender options, male, female and the gender-neutral option of X.
November 3rd at 7pm The American Law Journal presents: Fired for being gay: LGBT Rights at the Workplace
In case you missed it the first time, Philadelphia’s CNN affiliate is re-airing the segment we did on LGBT Rights in the Workplace TONIGHT, Monday Nov. 3 at 7PM on WFMZ-TV. It was a remarkable show to be a part of as Dan Miller, someone who was fired for being Read more…
What does it mean to be married? How is it different? Join Giampolo Law Group on November 18th from 6-9pm for an information session on what living in a post-DOMA world means for you and your family. The event is being hosted by 1352 Lofts in Philadelphia! Come enjoy wine and light fare Read more…
On November 6th join myself and Ryan Fuller at The Cub Room in New Hope for an informative LGBT seminar to learn what living in a Post-DOMA world means for you and your family. Enjoy complimentary hors d’oeuvres and great company while we discuss the progress that has been made Read more…
On Sept. 11, two gay men, ages 27 and 28, were brutally gay-bashed, allegedly by a group of young people who were dining earlier that evening at La Viola in Philadelphia. The two men went to the hospital with injuries, one with a broken jaw that needed to be wired shut, all of which police say was preceded by disparaging remarks about their sexual orientation. Since then, it has been a whirlwind; after two weeks of investigation and through the help of social media, three of the alleged 15 assailants were charged with crimes associated with the incident—simple assault, aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person and criminal conspiracy—but shockingly, hate crimes are missing among the charges listed. (more…)
The fight for marriage equality has entered into a new phase garnering a different perspective with respect to legal strategy. Pennsylvania joined the ranks (becoming the 19th state) on May 20 when U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III of the Middle District of Pennsylvania declared that Pennsylvania’s version of the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional, ruling in favor of the plaintiffs in Whitewood v. Wolf, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68937 (May 20, 2014). The elation was palpable in Philadelphia, as hundreds of LGBT individuals and their allies gathered on the steps of City Hall to celebrate no longer being second-class citizens in Pennsylvania, alongside the American Civil Liberties Union, the Whitewood legal team of Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller and several of the plaintiffs.
Of the same-sex marriage rulings that occurred in other states so far this year—Utah, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia, Michigan, Oregon, Arkansas and Idaho—seven (except for Oregon) had their rulings stayed pending appeal, and thus those cases have been kicked up to their respective circuit courts. Unlike most other marriage equality cases, Pennsylvania’s decision was not appealed.
The fight for marriage equality in Pennsylvania may finally be coming to an end. There are multiple same-sex marriage cases that have been filed in Pennsylvania, but the American Civil Liberties Union and Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller’s Whitewood v. Wolf, No. 13-1861-JEJ, filed a motion for summary judgment April 21 that was not contested. The case was brought on behalf of 21 plaintiffs (10 couples and one child) alleging that Pennsylvania’s state Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment and argues that the law substantially effects the fundamental right to marry and discriminates based on sex and sexual orientation. Originally set to be heard in June, we could have a ruling from U.S. District Judge John E. Jones of the Middle District of Pennsylvania as early as today.
The legal landscape for LGBT people today is quickly changing and hard to predict, but the trend over the last few years has been overwhelmingly positive—from the U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8 being ruled unconstitutional, to the growing legion of states that have come to recognize same-sex marriage either by legislation or litigation. However, the work is far from done and marriage equality is only one front of the war—and potentially not even the most important.
What is truly at the center of the LGBT human-rights movement is the effort to advance state and federal legislation protecting people from workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The effort has crystallized around the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which has been introduced in every session of Congress since 1994 except one. If, after 20 years of congressional limbo, it’s signed into law, ENDA would bar employers from firing or not hiring someone because of their “actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.”