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 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 However, when a person feels that his or her name no longer represents who he or she is as a person, one must undergo the arduous legal process of a name change in order to officially correct legal identity documents, including a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.

After coming off a couple years of strong LGBT-equality wins, the LGBT community is dazed and confused with loss after loss at the polls and in state legislatures. In the last two months, we’ve witnessed a wave of anti-LGBT bills filed by state legislators across the country aimed at enshrining LGBT discrimination under the guise of religious liberty.
As of this week, more than 100 anti-LGBT bills have been filed in 29 state legislatures, effectively rolling back so much of the progress we’ve made in the last several years — and all in the name of religion.

You almost expect states like Indiana, Oklahoma and Alabama to rage against the progress made in the fight for LGBT equality, but California? The anti-LGBT-rights movement reached a new extreme last week when a ballot measure was proposed, titled the Sodomite Suppression Act, which authorizes the public to shoot “practicing” gays and lesbians in the head. Yes, in the very state of California, we are dealing with a proposed law making being gay punishable by death.

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