The future of marriage equality cases in the United States

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.

Let the gay wedding bells ring

Independence Day has come early in Pennsylvania! LGBTQ individuals are no longer second-class citizens in Pennsylvania and will be legally recognized as wholly legitimate and equal citizens; same-sex marriage is legal in the commonwealth! Judge John E. Jones III declared yesterday that Pennsylvania’s Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional, ruling in Read more…

PhillyGayLawyer in Legal Intelligencer: Decision Day in Pennsylvania’s Fight for Marriage Equality

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.

PhillyGayLawyer in Legal Intelligencer: Protecting the Rights of LGBT People in the Workplace

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.”

Preeminent LGBT Lawyer Explains Transgender Athletes’ Rights

Sports are often a mirror of society — the good and the bad. Yet while sports is often the one area where talent overrides racial, gender, and religious biases and prejudices, transgender athletes are still battling for acceptance.

A recent lawsuit filed by a California woman against CrossFit illustrates the challenge that transgender athletes face when attempting to compete in sexually divided sports. Chloie Jonsson, a personal trainer, charges the CrossFit company with discrimination, intentional infliction of emotional distress and unfair competition for prohibiting her from competing in a strength competition as a female. She is seeking $2.5 million in damages.

Ms. Jonsson’s struggle to compete as a woman after undergoing sexual reassignment surgery and hormone treatment raises many difficult legal questions about how athletic organizations should handle transgender athletes’ requests to compete in a given gender classification. To answer some of those questions I turned to the top LGBT lawyer in Philadelphia, Angela Giampolo. Ms. Giampolo, who runs PhillyGayLawyer.com, specializes in Corporate Law, Real Estate, International Law (Asia and Africa), Civil Rights, LGBT Law, and Estate Planning.

Employment Non-Discrimination Act: Is it ENDA or SPLENDA?

By Angela D. Giampolo Original Source: http://www.bizjournals.com/philadelphia/blog/guest-comment/2013/11/employment-non-discrimination-act-is.html On Nov. 7, more than 60 Senators — the number required to avoid filibuster — voted to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), breathing life into a bill that has equality advocates ecstatic about what positive implications it will have for the LGBT community. Read more…