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VICTORY! Same-Sex Spouses Nationwide Gain Equal Access to Social Security Survivor's Benefits

Posted On: September 15, 2020

This is a tremendous victory for same sex couples who lost a spouse, only to find they were not married for the required 9 months (although they may have been together for decades before marriage was legal) and were denied social security survival benefits!

While the number of states that allowed same-sex couples to marry gradually increased from 2004 until 2015, when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down all remaining state bans, that freedom came too late for many couples. Even where same-sex couples married as soon as they could once their state marriage bans were lifted, many were unable to be married for nine months before one spouse died, and SSA denied them benefits for not being married for long enough.

Selected excerpt(s), photo and linked article courtesy of Lambda Legal.

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7 Black Queer Couples Share Their Best Relationship Advice

Posted On: August 03, 2020

Black lesbians are probably the most marginalized communities in the US.  This is a refreshing article on the positive outlook of black lesbian relationships as well as their best advice on how it works and how to make it last.  For most of us, what we learned in school about history actually reflected only white male history.  Minorities, including women (and especially the lesbian community), as well as the minority communities within the lesbian community, are extremely marginalized and were never part of mainstream education.  It's time for us all to embrace diversity. 

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock.

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Victory! Court Rules State Department Violated Law in Denying Passport to Married Same-Sex Couple’s Daughter

Posted On: September 08, 2020

A federal court in Georgia recently ordered the Trump Administration to recognize the U.S. citizenship since birth of Simone Mize-Gregg, the two-year-old daughter of a married same-sex couple, and to issue her a U.S. passport. The U.S. State Department had refused to recognize Simone as a U.S. citizen, even though both of her parents, Derek Mize and Jonathan Gregg, are U.S. citizens and children born abroad to heterosexual married U.S. citizens are automatically considered U.S. citizens themselves.

Click here to read more about this landmark victory!

Selected excerpt(s), photo and linked article courtesy of Lambda Legal.


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Can CNY Christian Adoption Agency Exclude Gays, Unmarried Couples? NY Law Faces High-Profile Court Test

Posted On: December 09, 2019

To piggy back off of last week's post, NY now has its own hot profile case on the LGBTQ adoption issue.

A Syracuse Christian adoption agency says it doesn't take gay or unmarried couples as adoptive parents because it's not "in the best interests of children." New York has said New Hope Family Services will face closure if it doesn't comply with the state's anti-discrimination law.

New York in 2013 issued new regulations to adoption agencies, prohibiting them from discriminating against applicants who sought their services. The anti-discrimination rules covered everything from race to religion, sexual orientation to marital status. In the fall of 2018, after New York’s anti-discrimination regulations had been on the books for a few years, New York’s Office of Child and Family Services came to Syracuse for a routine inspection of New Hope. Thereafter OCFS told New Hope it would have to comply with state regulations. It would have to begin placing children with same-sex and unmarried couples. New Hope refused on religious grounds and OCFS made it clear in subsequent emails and letters it was delivering an ultimatum: Change the policy of not accepting certain couples, or shut down. New Hope filed suit and its case is now on appeal. New York says New Hope isn’t forced to do anything. The state insists that New Hope can always stop participating in public adoptions. But if it wants to continue this work, it simply must cooperate and follow the state’s rules.  Here, the law is concerned not only with New Hope’s religious freedom and discrimination against prospective adoptive parents -- but adoption is a heavily regulated process, in which a child’s rights and future is also at stake.

The New York attorney general, defending the state, also argues the case is different because adoption is conduct, not speech.

Selected excerpt(s), photo and linked article courtesy of Julie McMahon of Syracuse.com

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Divorce OUTSIDE The Court System For The LGBTQ Community

Posted On: July 07, 2020

Just because it's July doesn't mean we have to stop celebrating June Pride month!

Going through a divorce outside the Court system is critical for the LGBTQ community not only for confidentiality reasons, but also for comprehensive consideration of the relationship, which the Courts are limited to accomplish.  The Long Island Collaborative Divorce Professionals are proud supporters of the LGBTQ community, and I am a proud member!  We are dedicated to helping all couples but are also highly experienced in helping LGBTQ families.  Anyone seeking more information about how we can help families in conflict, during divorce or separation, please reach out.

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The LGBTQ Rights We Gained—and Then Lost—This Decade

Posted On: January 05, 2020

As we look at the end of last year and the end of a decade, this article really gives a good perspective and highlights many points with respect to the LGBTQ Community and the rights we have gained and lost over this past decade.  It is definitely a good read and highlights some of the significant things that have happened over this past decade.  It also gives us pause, to know that so many rights have been lost that took so long to obtain.  There is a lot of work ahead of us in the decade to come.

Selected excerpt(s), photo and linked article courtesy of Lisa Needham of Rewire News & Getty Images

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Nearly Half of LGBTQ Americans Haven't Come Out at Work

Posted On: November 11, 2019

Most people are unaware that discrimination in employment is not protected unless it comes under a clearly defined class protected by law.  Employment in New York as in most states, is “at will”.  Therefore you can be fired at any time for any reason.  Although these issues have recently been argued before the Supreme Court, no decision has been made as to whether the LGBTQ community will be protected.  As this article demonstrates, many people, more than 50%, are not out in their workplace for fear that they may lose their job. Many people also experience discrimination and intolerable treatment from co-workers.

Selected excerpt(s), linked article and/or photo courtesy by Julia Carpenter, CNN Business

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In Landmark Case, Supreme Court Rules LGBTQ Workers Are Protected From Job Discrimination

Posted On: June 23, 2020

The Supreme Court ruled last week that existing federal law forbids job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or transgender status, a major victory for advocates of gay rights and for the nascent transgender rights movement — and a surprising one from an increasingly conservative court.

By a vote of 6-3, the court said Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which makes it illegal for employers to discriminate because of a person's sex, among other factors, also covers sexual orientation and transgender status. It upheld rulings from lower courts that said sexual orientation discrimination was a form of sex discrimination.

Click here for more information on this landmark case!

Selected excerpt(s) courtesy of Pete Williams, NBC News.  Photo courtesy of The Atlantic.

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