The LGBT Family Law Institute® (“FLI”), a joint venture of the LGBT Bar and the National Center for Lesbian Rights, is a year-round membership group which allows experienced LGBTQ+ family law practitioners to share collective wisdom and to discuss cutting-edge legal strategies for representing members of the LGBTQ+ community on such matters as family creation, assisted reproductive technology, ethics, interstate and international parentage issues, estate planning, collaborative law, transgender issues, dissolution of relationships, and elder law. The annual meeting of FLI is held on the Friday of the Lavender Law® Conference each year and is open only to dues-paying members of FLI and the LGBT Bar. Annual meeting sessions are not formal lectures, but rather are structured to encourage participation from everyone in attendance. Further, the annual meeting gives participants an opportunity to network with lawyers from other states in order to build a cadre of family law practitioners throughout the country. To create an environment that encourages the free flow of information, registration is limited to 125 FLI members. The meeting will be closed and the proceedings will not be recorded.
The LGBT Family Law Institute® annual meeting is restricted to FLI members only and is not open to law students. Experienced family law practitioners wishing to join FLI and attend the annual meeting must submit an application, undergo an interview, and join both FLI and the LGBT Bar as dues-paying members before being approved to attend the meeting. Click here to see more details about the FLI application process.
Please check back next year for the 2021 schedule. The Institute’s 2020 schedule is available below for reference.
2020 Program and Schedule
First half: Friday, August 14, 2020 starting at 11am ET/10am CT/8am PT
Please note that the schedule below is listed in Eastern Time.
|11:15am-12:30pm||Plenary Session – Born in the Age of COVID-19: Novel Challenges in Family Building
Assisted Reproductive Technologies and Surrogacy in the age of COVID-19 is teaching many lessons to practitioners, both legal and medical, not only applicable to the ART world, but also to any professionals assisting in family building. These challenges disproportionately impact our LGBTQ+ clients who often reply on ART for family building. Panelists will discuss how to practically navigate the legal and other waters with lessons learned.
Course planners: Deb Guston, Meryl Rosenberg
|12:30pm-1:45pm||Breakout Session 1 (two options)
Yes, we have no bananas
The reference is to the yes/no inherent contradiction of the phrase, which is the same as our yes/no patchwork quilt of protection for same-sex relationships. And with Justice Thomas now talking openly about getting rid of stare decisis, it’s not inconceivable that same-sex marriage – so recently won – could eventually go by the wayside, especially if the US Senate continues to install unqualified lawyers into federal judgeships. The constellation of benefits afforded opposite-sex married couples are being challenged when applied to same-sex married couples, despite the Supreme Court’s holding in Pavan. What then? What about other statuses? NMLRs are still occurring and have relevance in the realm of social security benefits, probate, and parentage.
Moderators: Adam Seidel and Karen Langsley
Fulton v. City of Philadelphia: The Challenge of Fighting BOTH Discrimination Against LGBT Foster/Adoptive Parents AND Excess State Removal of Children from their Parents
Discrimination against LGBT individuals and same-sex couples who want to foster and adopt is wrong. But so far the primary argument LGBT advocates make in opposing such discrimination is that there are so many children in need of foster and adoptive homes. Such an argument presumes that the children in the foster system are rightly there and that what is needed is more adoption, including by LGBT parents. But child removal is a vital matter of racial and economic justice, and this presumption clashes with the demands of activists to remove fewer children and reunite those who are removed. Research also shows that Black lesbian/bisexual mothers are four times more likely that Black heterosexual mothers to lose their children to the state. And so in the face of the racism and other injustices that result in child removal, including disproportionate removal from poor, Black lesbian/bisexual mothers, (how) is it possible to argue that discrimination against LGBT people who want to foster and adopt is wrong?
Moderator: Nancy Polikoff
|1:45pm-2:00pm||Closing for the Day|
Second half: Saturday, August 15, 2020 starting at 1pm ET/12pm CT/10am PT
Please note that the schedule below is listed in Eastern Time.
|1:05pm-2:15pm||The Future of FLI (Political, Courts, Litigation)
We will discuss the role that FLI members can play in making the gains we have made a reality for all families in the LGBTQ communities. In particular, we will address how to approach LGBTQ family law in an intersectional way that seeks to achieve both LGBTQ equality and racial and economic justice.
Moderators: Milan Pham, Cathy Sakimura
|2:15pm-3:30pm||Breakout Session 2 (two options)
Let’s Talk About Taxes
It's time for LGBTQ+ family lawyers to conquer their fear of tax law. How we can serve our clients with have tax issues without being tax experts ourselves.
Moderator: Bill Singer
Supporting Polyamorous, Multi-Partner, & Multi-Parent Families
All participants are invited to discuss their experiences with the most frequent legal scenarios impacting clients in partnerships of more than two or co-parenting groups of more than two, including challenges in providing for a 3rd partner with lesser legal status than a married spouse or a 3rd parent who isn't a full legal parent, and creative strategies to support these clients.
Moderator: Diana Adams
Programming for September
Born in the Age of COVID-19: Novel Challenges in Family Building: Participants will have the opportunity to brainstorm together details of impact on ART practice/share lessons and experiences. (Meryl Rosenberg, Moderator)
Uniform Laws Commission: What is Pending and How Can We Advance LGBTQ Interests Before the Commission – We will discuss how the Uniform Law Commission (ULC) functions; pending model legislation that impacts LGBTQ interests and how invited observers and other stake holders can impact the process. Among the pending legislation: Unregulated Transfers of Children; Rights of Unmarried Cohabitants; and an incoming recommendation on amendments to the Uniform Anatomical Gifts Act that would deal with posthumous donation of gametes. (Deb Guston, Moderator)