• International Webinar: Sochi 2014: A Legal and Personal Perspective

    January 30th, 2014
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    The opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics is just days away. As LGBT athletes from around the world converge on Russia, advocates, legal professionals and the LGBT community are asking: How will the Russian government’s anti-gay laws impact the games, the athletes and visitors? In June, Russia enacted an anti-LGBT propaganda law that drew international criticism. In recent days, as world media has questioned Vladmir Putin and the Russian government about the law’s implementation during the Games, officials’ responses have done little to quell serious concerns among human rights advocates and monitors. Speakers included Dmitri Bartenev, who is currently practicing law and teaching international law and human rights at St. Petersburg State University; Arkady Gyngazov, former manager of Central Station Nightclub in Moscow who is seeking asylum in the United States; Michael Sisitzky, a staff attorney for Immigration Equality; and Robert Wintemute, a professor of Human Rights Law in the School of Law, King’s College, University of London where he teaches European Union Law, Human Rights Law, and Anti-Discrimination Law.

  • National Call-In: Religious Exemptions for Corporations

    December 12th, 2013
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    The National LGBT Bar Association hosted a call-in on the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court cases regarding whether corporations can refuse to offer insurance coverage for contraceptives based on the religious beliefs of the corporations’ owners. The issue of corporations refusing to adhere to generally accepted, national laws, could have broad implications, especially for the LGBT community. If the Supreme Court rules that the religious beliefs of corporations’ owners can override the implementation of standard regulations, will corporations also be able to discriminate against LGBT employees? Religious exemptions have long been a barrier to full equality. Speakers included Doug NeJaime, professor of law at UC Irvine School of Law; Jenny Pizer, Senior Counsel and Director of Lambda Legal’s Law and Policy Project; and Rose Saxe, a staff attorney at the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender and AIDS Projects.

  • National Call-In: Diversity in Corporate Legal Departments

    October 23rd, 2013
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    The National LGBT Bar Association’s Corporate Counsel Division hosted a call-in to build on discussions that began at the Corporate Counsel Institute at the 2013 Lavender Law® Conference & Career Fair. In-house counsel discussed managing outside counsel costs and how to increase the use of minority firms, with specific attention paid to LGBT-owned firms. Speakers reflected on their understanding of corporate legal departments and hiring outside counsel to explore two issues of great importance to all organizations. Speakers included Andrew Fossett, Senior Vice President of Corporate Transactions for the Legal Department of NBCUniversal; J.D. Fugate, Assistant General Counsel for Regulatory Affairs – Enterprise Privacy in Microsoft Legal and Corporate Affairs; Matthew Morningstar, Executive Director and Counsel in Morgan Stanley’s US Litigation Department; and John Myung, Chief Legal Officer of the International Insurance Law Division of Prudential Financial.

  • National Call-In: Managing Parental Conflict about Trans Kids

    August 7th, 2013
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    The National LGBT Bar Association, along with the LGBT Family Law Institute, hosted a call-in discussing managing parental conflict about trans kids. One of the most painful experiences for a gender nonconforming or transgender child or youth is getting caught in the crossfire between two (or more) parents who cannot come to an agreement about what will be best for their child. The fields of mental health and law have not always been effective at curbing parents’ confusion and mutual antagonism. However, it is possible for parents to minimize the harm to their child by focusing on their child’s best interests. Speakers included Diane Ehrensaft, Director of Mental Health of the Child and Adolescent Gender Center; Asaf Orr, a staff attorney with the National Center for Lesbian Rights; and Deborah Wald, the founding partner of Wald & Thorndal, PC.

  • National Webinar: LGBT Tax Law Following the Supreme Court Decisions

    July 9th, 2013
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    The National LGBT Bar Association hosted a webinar discussing the rapidly changing tax regulations for LGBT couples in the wake of the landmark Supreme Court ruling striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Federal recognition of same-sex marriages affects hundreds of laws and regulations and it is important to understand the implications of federal recognition, especially in an area as complex as tax law. Our speakers, leading tax law practitioners, discussed the effects of the Supreme Court’s ruling on LGBT tax law including how to file, changing regulations for LGBT taxpayers and next steps for relationship recognition. Speakers included Pat Cain, professor of law at Santa Clara University; Kate Fletcher, who provides tax and estate planning services to clients in Virginia; and Deb Kinney, a partner at DLKLawGroup.

  • National Call-In: Relationship Recognition and the Supreme Court (Part 3)

    June 27th, 2013
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    Building on our previous two call-ins, held on March 19 and April 9, our expert litigators discussed the landmark decisions in the two relationship recognition cases heard by the Supreme Court – Windsor v. United States and Hollingsworth v. Perry. analyze the opinions written by the justices and the impact the decisions will have on the LGBT community. Speakers included Mary Bonauto, Civil Rights Project Director at Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD); Shannon Minter, Legal Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR); and Paul Smith, Partner at Jenner & Block.

  • National Webinar: Talking About Marriage

    June 18th, 2013
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    Given the upcoming Supreme Court decisions and the increasing number of states granting full relationship recognition to same-sex couples, the LGBT community must now fully consider the issues that accompany a marriage proposal. Our expert speakers will ask the difficult questions about topics such as prenuptial agreements, estate planning and social security. As leading tax law professionals, they will discuss the many issues surrounding taxes for LGBT couples that will impact families for years to come. Additionally, topics such as the differences between marriage and domestic partnerships will be analyzed.  Speakers included Pat Cain, professor of law at Santa Clara University; Kate Fletcher, who provides tax and estate planning services to clients in Virginia; and Deb Kinney, a partner at DLKLawGroup.

  • National Call-in: Montana Decriminalizes Sodomy

    April 22nd, 2013
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    Steve Bullock, Montana’s Governor, signed a bill decriminalizing sodomy on Thursday, April 18, 2013 after the House and Senate passed the bill with bipartisan support. A surprising 19 states still have a law criminalizing same-sex intimacy despite the landmark ruling in Lawrence v. Texas in 2003, legalizing same-sex sexual activity in all states. Speakers will discuss current issues and legislation surrounding sodomy laws in the United States. Additionally, Montana’s efforts to pass this legislation will be examined. Speakers included Greg Nevins, Supervising Senior Staff Attorney at Lambda Legal; Brian Simons, Associate at Saul Ewing LLP; and Shane Vannatta, Past-President of the Montana State Bar Association.

  • National Call-in: Relationship Recognition and the Supreme Court (Part 2)

    April 9th, 2013
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    Building on our previous call-in, held on March 19, our knowledgeable speakers discussed the oral arguments in the two relationship recognition cases heard by the Supreme Court – Windsor v. United States and Hollingsworth v. Perry. The call focused on any insight the arguments gave towards possible Supreme Court rulings and how the decisions could impact the LGBT community. Additionally, the call analyzed the questions posed by the justices and the varied interpretations that have arisen following the arguments. Speakers included Mary Bonauto, Civil Rights Project Director at Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD); Shannon Minter, Legal Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR); and Paul Smith, Partner at Jenner & Block.

  • National Call-in: Relationship Recognition and the Supreme Court

    March 19th, 2013
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    The call discussed the pending relationship recognition cases in the Supreme Court – Windsor v. United States andHollingsworth v. Perry – and the potential impact the decisions could have on the LGBT community. The call focused on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the constitutional conflicts that arise when the federal government’s definition of marriage conflicts with state definitions. Speakers discussed possible Supreme Court rulings and what the varying decisions could mean for same-sex couples. Additionally, California’s Proposition 8 was examined, especially in terms of how a broad ruling could impact other states across the country. Our speakers, experienced legal practitioners, used their first-hand knowledge of the Court and these cases to look ahead to a potential watershed moment for the LGBT community. Speakers included Mary Bonauto, Civil Rights Project Director at Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD); Shannon Minter, Legal Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR); and Paul Smith, Partner at Jenner & Block.

  • National Call-in: Reauthorization of an Inclusive Violence Against Women Act

    March 13th, 2013
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    On March 7, 2013, President Obama made history by signing into law a fully inclusive Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) that had been passed by Congress. One in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime and VAWA helps victims get the help and support they need and also works towards preventing domestic violence altogether. This reauthorization marks the first time that VAWA has included protections for LGBT individuals, including gay men and the transgender community; Native American women; and immigrant victims who are not yet United States citizens. Additionally, it is the first time that LGBT individuals have had explicit protection from domestic violence and non-discrimination protection. Speakers included Rebecca Henry, the Deputy Chief Counsel of the Commission on Domestic Violence at the American Bar Association; Terra Slavin, the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center’s lead staff attorney in its Legal Services Department and Project Manager of its Domestic Violence Legal Advocacy Project; and Sharon Stapel,Executive Director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project.

  • Spanish-Language National Call-in

    February 5th, 2013
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    Lawyers from Spain, Mexico and New York discussed being out in their communities and how it has affected their lives and their law practices. They described the LGBT legal situation where they live and work, including recent developments and cultural changes.  They then discussed the importance of Spanish language fluency for LGBT lawyers and trends for the future. Our speakers were Manuel Ródenas, who works for the Comunidad de Madrid; Abril Rodríguez Esparza, an associate with Tron Abogados Mexico; and Carlos Dávila-Caballero, the manager of diversity and inclusion at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.

    en español
    Abogados abiertamente LGTB de España, México y Nueva York discutirán ser LGTB en la profesión y en sus respectivas comunidades y cómo ser LGBT ha afectado sus vidas y desarrollo profesional. Los panelistas describirán la situación LGTB legal donde viven y trabajan, incluyendo desarrollos recientes y cambios culturales. Ellos discutirán la importancia de ser abogados LGTB que hablan Español y tendencias para el futuro. Los panelistas fueron Manuel Ródenas, que trabaja para la Comunidad de Madrid, Abril Rodríguez Esparza, asociado con Tron Abogados México, y Carlos Dávila-Caballero, Director de la diversidad y la inclusión en Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.

  • National Call-in: Issues in LGBT Immigration

    January 28th, 2013
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    The call focused on the general topic of LGBT immigration. Speakers discussed how the Defense of Marriage Act is especially debilitating for same-sex couples in the context of US immigration and nationality law and how rulings in the upcoming Supreme Court cases will affect LGBT families. Additionally, new developments in LGBT asylum were analyzed, including what is working and what is not in terms of keeping families together. The call was co-sponsored by Immigration Equality, a national organization fighting for equality under U.S. immigration law for the LGBT community. Victoria Neilson, executive director of Immigration Equality; Lavi Soloway, partner at Masliah & Soloway; and Scott Titshaw, a professor at Mercer University School of Law discussed the many issues that LGBT families and individuals face when it comes to immigration.

  • National Call-in: Current Issues Affecting Adoption by Members of the LGBT Community

    November 28th, 2012
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    November is National Adoption Month. More than 100,000 children are currently in foster care, waiting to find permanent, loving families. Unfortunately, there are numerous barriers in place that prevent LGBT families from adopting these children. Experts on adoption law will discuss the laws that impede same-sex couples from creating families as well as recent litigation challenging those policies and allowing LGBT couples to become loving parents. Speakers will cover topics such as the Indian Child Welfare Act, the Adar decision and state by state laws for adoptive parents. This call was co-sponsored by the Family Equality Council, a national organization committed to supporting LGBT families across the country, and featured speakers from the Family Law Institute, a group of experienced law practitioners jointly supported by the LGBT Bar and the National Center for Lesbian Rights. Jennifer Chrisler, executive director of the Family Equality Council; Debra Guston, managing partner of Guston & Guston LLP; and Denise Seidelman, partner at Rumbold & Seidelman raised awareness about adoption law and helped promote National Adoption Month.

  • National Call-in: Election Day Relationship Recognition Victories

    November 13th, 2012
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    On November 6, four states featured relationship recognition measures on their ballots. In all four states –Maryland,Minnesota, Maine and Washington– voters awarded major victories to same-sex couples. In Minnesota voters struck down a ban on marriage equality. Maryland, Maine and Washington became the first three states to legalize marriage for same-sex couples through a ballot referendum. However, Arizona was the first state to reject a ballot initiative that would have banned forms of relationship recognition for same-sex couples, doing so in 2006. Experts from all four states will join us to discuss how victory was achieved and what the results mean for the LGBT community. Mary Bonauto, director of the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD)’s Civil Rights Project; Carrie Evans, executive director of Equality Maryland; Jamie Pedersen, Washington State Representative and vice president and general counsel of McKinstry; and John Sullivan, corporate secretary of Minnesotans United for All Families examined how victory was achieved and what the results mean for the LGBT community.

  • National Call-in: Voter Suppression Laws in Florida

    September 21st, 2012
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    National LGBT Bar Association is hosting a national call-in that will discuss the voter suppression laws in Florida. Florida passed a law that reduced the early voting period from 14 days to 8 days and eliminated early voting the Sunday before the election. Also, voters are no longer able to update their registration at the polls if they have moved within the state. Another Florida law stipulated that all voter registration groups must register within the state. Parts of that law have been blocked, but many are still in effect. These laws unfairly target low income and minority populations who take advantage of early voting and often do not have the time or resources to fill out additional forms. Julie Ebenstein, policy and advocacy counsel for the ACLU of Florida; Diana Kasdan, counsel for the Brennan Center of Justice’s Democracy Program; and Uzoma Nkwonta, staff attorney for the Advancement Project discussed the many ongoing cases in Florida and how they will impact upcoming elections. This is the final part of a lecture series that will examine voter suppression laws in three states across the country.

  • National Call-in: Voter Suppression Laws in Ohio

    September 19th, 2012
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    National LGBT Bar Association is hosting a national call-in that will discuss the voter suppression laws in Ohio. Last year, Ohio shortened the early-voting period from 35 days to 17 days and eliminated early voting three days before an election. Minority and low-income voters are most affected as they often choose to vote early because their jobs do not allow them to take time off to vote. Also, transportation might not be stable or reliable enough to allow them to vote on Election Day.Jennifer Brunner, former Ohio Secretary of State; Susan Becker, board president of the Ohio ACLU; and Lawrence Norden, deputy director of the Brennan Center for Justice’s Democracy Program discussed these laws and how they will impact the upcoming election. This is part of a lecture series that will examine voter suppression laws in three states across the country.

  • National Call-in: Voter ID Law in Pennsylvania

    September 11th, 2012
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    National LGBT Bar Association is hosting a national call-in that will discuss the recent enactment of strict voter ID laws in Pennsylvania. Transgender individuals who may not have an ID that accurately reflects their gender or appearance, and low-income and elderly voters without access to updated forms of identification are most affected by these laws. David Rosenblum, director of legal services for the Mazzoni Center; Larry Felzer, director of development and finance for SeniorLAW Center; and Witold Walkczak, legal director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania discussed the new voter ID law and its ramifications. This is part of a lecture series that will examine voter suppression laws in three states across the country.

  • National Call-in: A Day in the Life of a JAG Officer

    July 10th, 2012
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    It was not even a year ago that the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT)” law was officially ended. Since then, openly lesbian, gay and bisexual service members no longer have to worry about being discharged for who they are. Military recruiters Captain Laura DeSioLieutenant Colonel Mary Card-Mina and Lieutenant Tashinda Richardson, all of whom have extensive experience speaking with the National Association of Law Placement, will explain the opportunities for lesbian, gay and bisexual service members and a day in the life of a JAG officer.

  • National Call-in: Updates on Recent Challenges to DOMA

    June 18th, 2012
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    On May 31, 2012, the First Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. This is just the latest victory against the 1996 law forbidding the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages.  Mary Bonauto, Civil Rights Project Director for GLAD, Maura Healeychief attorney for the Civil Rights Division at the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General, and Bill Eskridge, John A. Garver Professor of Jurisprudence at Yale Law School, will discuss the First Circuit Court’s decision and the future of the case.