Out Law by Angela Giampolo

Angela D. Giampolo, principal of Giampolo Law Group, maintains offices in New Jersey and Pennsylvania and specializes in LGBT law, family law, business law, real estate law and civil rights. Her website is www.giampololaw.com and she maintains a blog at www.phillygaylawyer.com. Reach out to Angela with your legal questions at 215-645-2415 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


While acceptance of LGBTQ individuals has been growing rapidly in the last decade, there are still subsets of people who abhor any orientation other than heterosexual. Coming out is never an easy process for LGBTQ people, no matter their age. For teens experiencing same-sex attraction, particularly those whose families are deeply religious, there are added fears: “What if they kick me out?” “What if they disown me completely?” “What if they make me ‘pray the gay away?’”

When the U.S. Supreme Court passed marriage equality in 2015, LGBTQ citizens and their allies rejoiced. But it did not mean full equality in the eyes of the law. There are still questions surrounding LGBTQ civil rights, particularly around children. These questions most often arise when LGBTQ couples with children dissolve their relationship or marriage and the court must make custody determinations.

Ohio’s House of Representatives is considering legislation that forces educators, therapists and social workers to out transgender minors to their parents or face fourth-degree felony charges. For those who display characteristics in opposition to their assigned gender at birth, or who openly question their gender, the stakes are nothing short of life and death.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court ruled narrowly in favor of Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips in his anti-LGBTQ discrimination case. In the 7-2 opinion, the court ruled Phillips had not received fair treatment for his religious beliefs by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The majority justices held that, based on the language used by the CCRC in formal public hearings, the Commission held animus against Phillips’ religious belief that he could not bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, calling his beliefs rhetorical and despicable, and comparing them to defenses against slavery and the Holocaust.

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