PhillyGayLawyer in Legal Intelligencer: Principle 6 Provides a Free-Speech Loophole at Sochi

When Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into Russian legislation a law that criminalized all conduct supporting, encouraging or positively portraying the LGBT orientation in June 2013, it sparked an international outcry that has been growing in intensity, especially leading into the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. This broad law specifically bans “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations,” making it illegal to distribute information on gay rights or even suggest that homosexual relationships are equal to their heterosexual counterparts. The law was originally conceived and enacted to protect the well-being of minors, but it has been enforced through countless brutal civil rights violations that have outraged human rights activists and world leaders alike.

Olympics and Beyond

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.”

PhillyGayLawyer on America Weekend with Paul Harris

Listen to PhillyGayLawyer on America Weekend with Paul Harris discussing same-sex marriage in Utah and Oklahoma, Gay Divorce, and Russia’s stance on homosexuality as we head into the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN: PhillyGayLawyer on America Weekend 01/19/14

PhillyGayLawyer in Legal Intelligencer: Reflecting on Victories and Losses for LGBT Rights in 2013

Will 2014 be the year when opponents of progress will finally stand alone on the wrong side of history? The forecast looks cloudy, at best. But as I look back at 2013—the battles we’ve won and the battles we’ve lost—I see tremendous potential for advances in LGBT equality in the New Year.

It is always difficult to quantify progress in struggles for increased basic human rights. Looking at 2013 cumulatively, though, there is no doubt that the United States is picking up momentum and moving toward LGBT equality faster than ever.

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

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.

One issue in which Phila. is on top with flying colors: LGBT equality

By Angela D. Giampolo

When I wrote an article in the Philadelphia Business Journal last year on the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) annual Municipality Equality Index (MEI), I had no idea it would become the first in a series. And yet, here we are after this year’s publication on Nov. 19 celebrating that Philadelphia has once again come out on top with higher than perfect score, 113, and New Hope has almost doubled its score and tallied 89 points. But what does this all mean?

HELLO my name is not

By Angela D. Giampolo

A person’s name says a lot about who they are. We can sometimes discern legacy, ancestry, and even religion from a person’s name. Most of us are lucky enough to feel comfortable with our given names – it’s a connection to the identity we grew up with. Not everyone is so lucky.

For transgender individuals who want to complete their transition or same-sex couples married in a state which doesn’t recognize their marriage, like Pennsylvania, a legal name change is necessary to receive updated legal documentation such as a driver’s license, passport, marriage certificate, or deed to real property.