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.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently filed its first suits challenging sexual-orientation discrimination as sex discrimination — one comes from Pennsylvania and the other Maryland. In the lawsuits, the agency charges that a gay male employee and a lesbian employee were subjected to hostile work environments because of their sex.

North Carolina is truly a state of Tar Heels — they are stuck in the past. I’m sure I wasn’t the only person who couldn’t help but think of the LGBTQ individuals in the state of North Carolina as the NCAA Championship game was on, reflecting on how the University of North Carolina men’s basketball team's success this season was overshadowed by the reckless actions of their governor, Pat McCrory, and state lawmakers in passing HB 2, the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act.

Cooler heads prevailed on Tuesday, when South Dakota’s governor vetoed a bill that would have made it the first state in the country to approve a law requiring transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that match their sex at birth. Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard, who initially reacted positively to the proposal, retracted and instead said he needed to research the issue further. He ultimately rejected the bill after the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Campaign insisted it was discriminatory. In his veto message, Daugaard said the bill “does not address any pressing issue” and such decisions were best left to local school officials.

The financial and legal impact of being married is significant. There are 1,138 identified federal provisions in which marital status is a factor in receiving benefits, rights and privileges. While it is absolutely advisable for married people or those with children to work with a wills and trusts lawyer, it is just as important for single adults.

As 2015 draws to a close, let’s review the many ways in which the fight for equality has made historical progress, as well the areas where fundamental rights of LGBT people are increasingly under siege.

Generally, a name defines an individual. It is a sense of who you are and how you present yourself in the world. However, when a person feels that his or her name no longer represents who he or she is as a person, one must undergo the arduous legal process of a name change in order to officially correct legal identity documents, including a driver’s license, passport, marriage certificate and deeds to real property.

On July 17, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) ruled in a 3-2 decision that sexual-orientation discrimination is illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 because it’s a form of “sex” discrimination, which is explicitly forbidden. The EEOC is relying on its previous decision finding that Title VII bars discrimination on the basis of gender identity, protecting transgender employees, but this groundbreaking decision effectively declares that employment discrimination against gay, lesbian and bisexual workers is unlawful in all 50 states.

The historic June 26 U.S. Supreme Court decision on marriage equality has given the LGBT community and our country a new civil right, placing the ruling firmly alongside Brown v. Board of Education and Loving v. Virginia in history. Unfortunately, equality does not mean acceptance and the reality is that the SCOTUS ruling will likely produce new conflicts and intensify old ones.

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