Archive For The “Philadelphia Gay News” Category

PhillyGayLawyer on America Weekend: Gay Marriage Update

By | June 30, 2014

  Last week marked the one year anniversary since the Supreme Court decisions on same-sex marriages were made from the Edie Windsor case. In just on year so much has already happened and yet, there is much more to come! Take a listen to my discussion on America Weekend for an update of the same-sex […]

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The future of marriage equality cases in the United States

By | June 6, 2014

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We have entered a new era. Every single state with a ban against same-sex marriage has a lawsuit in place — now that the nation’s last unchallenged state, North Dakota, has lost that status. A lawsuit was filed last week to challenge that state’s bans, along with ones in Montana and South Dakota. While we in Pennsylvania are celebrating our hard-earned victory for marriage equality, the battle is just beginning in these and other states. But, these state-by-state battles are securing that an inevitable Supreme Court ruling will be in our favor.

The same-sex marriage movement has enjoyed a streak of more than a dozen victories in federal courts since Windsor v. United States. In six states we’ve had clean wins: New Jersey, Hawaii, Illinois, New Mexico, Oregon and Pennsylvania. Federal judges have invalidated bans in six other states — Utah, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia, Michigan and Idaho — but those decisions have been stayed pending appeals. Lastly, in Arkansas, a state judge struck down that state’s ban; the ruling has been stayed and is under appeal. Regardless of the process, since Windsor, no state ban against same-sex marriage has survived a court challenge and the last two cases, in Oregon and Pennsylvania, were delivered with governing officials in both states saying they would not appeal. Same-sex couples are now allowed to legally marry in 19 states, and more than two in five Americans live in such states.

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Giving a voice to our ‘Gen-Silent’ LGBT seniors

By | May 8, 2014

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Respect your elders. It’s one of the early cornerstones of manners that we are taught as kids. Yet LGBT elders don’t always automatically receive this same respect. Our LGBT elder trailblazers came out under fire, grew up when being gay was considered a mental-health disorder and survived everything from intense bullying to living closeted the majority of their lives to the AIDS crisis to police brutality — all so that they could be whom they are and love whom they love. In my opinion, they have more than earned our respect: They have earned our awe and admiration.

However, as our LGBT seniors age, they become a severely underrepresented demographic within the community — whom we name “Gen-Silent,” reflecting their tendency to be forced into the closet again later in life and their inability to fight discrimination on their own behalf. Thankfully, Philadelphia is showing its LGBT seniors respect and addressing one of their most crucial and immediate needs: housing.

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Navigating real estate without rights

By | April 4, 2014

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Home may be where the heart is, but having a roof over one’s head is one of the most basic of human needs. Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights includes “housing” on its list of essentials that everyone should have access to, alongside food, medicine and social services. Federal law in the United States largely agrees. Title VIII of the Civil Rights act of 1968, known as the Fair Housing Act, states that “it shall be unlawful to refuse to sell or rent … or otherwise make unavailable or deny, a dwelling to any person because of race, color, religion, sex, familial status or national origin.” Great! That means that no landlord or Realtor can ever discriminate against a person seeking a place to live based on who they are and what they look like … right? But what about LGBT people? Could a landlord or Realtor discriminate against a potential tenant or buyer based on his or her sexual orientation? What about based on gender identity? The answer in more than half of America — including in most of Pennsylvania — is, unfortunately, yes. This is a real problem.

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Same-sex marriage battle is simply history repeating itself

By | March 12, 2014

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Regardless of the year, June 26 is a date that LGBT Americans will never forget. On that day in 2003, the Supreme Court of the United States found Texas’ anti-sodomy laws unconstitutional in Lawrence v. Texas and, 10 years later, the top court gave us another huge victory when it ruled that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional because it violated our Fifth-Amendment rights.

It was a palpable moment where our government validated and deemed equal the love shared between two people in the LGBT community. But the tears of joy have long since dried, the rainbow flags have been folded and put away and here we are in Pennsylvania still waiting for our state to acknowledge us. I don’t know about you, but as state after state (TEXAS?!) begins to stand on the right side of history, my patience for Pennsylvania is wearing thin. Yet, as we look back 50 years ago to the not-too-distant past, the timeline for same-sex marriage is shockingly on par with that of the anti-miscegenation laws overturned to fully legalize interracial marriage.

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Olympics and Beyond

By | February 7, 2014

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Undeniably, 2013 was a landmark year for LGBT rights in the United States, yet as we celebrate the many victories at home for LGBT citizens, other countries are not faring as well. And as the world comes together on the Olympic stage, all eyes are on Russia, which is currently undergoing a homophobic renaissance under President Vladimir Putin’s ban on “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations.”

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N.J. trans birth-certificate bill one step closer

By | January 6, 2014

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Very few people know the ramifications, consequences and freedoms that come with a birth certificate.

Let’s say for a minute that you are a transgender person — an individual who was born the wrong gender. You’ve seen a doctor and received hormone-replacement therapy, opting not to get gender reassignment for your personal reasons. The day you’ve been waiting for has finally come where you get to update your legal documentation to reflect who you are. Perhaps you hire a lawyer to help you navigate the arduous and antiquated laws of legally changing your name, or you seek out the assistance of one of our local nonprofits like Mazzoni Center. You get an affidavit from your doctor that confirms your hormone-replacement therapy, in order to change your records with the U.S. State Department. And yet, when it comes time to change the ultimate form of identification — your birth certificate — you are unequivocally unable to do so without undergoing gender-reassignment surgery.

The birth certificate is where all forms of identification originate and it is considered to be the gold standard of documentation.

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