I am the Legal Editor for Towleroad, the widely-read and award winning LGBT news and politics website. I write weekly general audience columns on LGBTQ legal issues in order to inform and educate my community. All of my posts can be found here. Below, please find a small selection. Unless co-authors are explicitly noted, all work is my own.
If you have a question about what you’ve read or a question about gay rights, in general, please send an email to email@example.com.
If you are a law student interested in this area of law or a lawyer who works on behalf of the LGBT community and have an idea or proposal for a future column, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Fall of Brendan Eich Happened Without Us (April 7, 2014)
Brendan Eich is no longer the CEO of Mozilla. His tenure was short. But if you believe the media swarm surrounding his quick departure, you would think he left in a blaze of burned bridges and violent protests. I must have missed all that. Mr. Eich was asked to step down because the members of his board of directors made the decision that he could no longer govern their company. That’s how boards are supposed to work.
There was no mainstream gay rights organization calling for his head. No one “bullied” Mr. Eich out of Mozilla’s headquarters. To say so is an insult to those of us who have been bullied in real life. And no cabal of intolerant gays proclaimed that disagreement with us merits unemployment. That seems to be a bogeyman conjured up in the prolific brain of Andrew Sullivan.
Although this was a legitimate board decision, … (Continued here).
When Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed an odious discrimination bill that would have allowed private individuals and companies to deny service to and otherwise discriminate against gay persons, most people breathed a collective sigh of relief. Many Republicans were happy to erase this stain from their brand, though conservatives in several states have other plans. Most Americans were just happy Jim Crow was not coming back.
Not everyone was so pleased. … (Continued here).
A Win For Marriage Equality in Texas: Summary and Analysis (February 26, 2014)
A federal judge in Texas issued an opinion today declaring that the state’s refusal to allow gays to marry violates the federal constitution. At its core, this case — De Leon v. Perry — looks a lot like some of our other recent federal marriage equality cases. Some have been broader than others, but most, like De Leon, make two conclusions: First, that denying gays the right to marry violates the Due Process Clause because marriage is an important right that cannot be taken away light and, second, marriage discrimination violates the Equal Protection Clause because a state cannot treat opposite-sex and same-sex couples differently for no good reason. … (Continued here).
Denial of Second-Parent Adoption Puts Same-Sex Parental Rights in Jeopardy (February 3, 2014)
Earlier this month, in a ruling that rocked the worlds of same-sex couples and attorneys alike, a Brooklyn court denied the non-biological mother of a child born to a married lesbian couple the right to legally adopt her child.
This seemingly arcane quadrant of family law matters because this process of adoption has, traditionally, been the only legal tool protecting gay families when they travel to marriage discrimination states. … (Continued here).
Gay Jurors and Marriage Equality: The Common Legal Thread (January 22, 2014)
The narrative of marriage equality progress is bound up with a recent story out of the Ninth Circuit, in which a three-judge panel of the appellate court found that you cannot exclude a person from a jury simply because that person is gay. More to the point, the court not only concluded that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation demanded heightened scrutiny, but cited Windsor in support!
This is big news. Windsor did not really say anything about scrutiny levels; it kept the unclear status quo from Lawrence despite lower court nudges toward heightened scrutiny. If Windsor takes on this broader, though still eminently reasonable, interpretation, the case has the potential to pave the way for full equality under the law. … (Continued here).
Why We Welcome Rob Portman (March 15, 2013)
… After his now 21-year-old son came out as gay, it took Senator Portman (R-OH) two years and several conversations with religious leaders and numerous personal consultations with the Bible to finally do some coming out himself: as the first Republican senator to support the freedom to marry. …
What Rob Portman did was neither heroic nor brave, but that doesn’t mean we should manifest whatever latent bitterness we have about being a discriminated minority by thinking him selfish or without sympathy. We should welcome him with open arms, thank his son for his bravery, and rededicate ourselves to creating a world in which the Will Portmans of the world feel comfortable coming out.
The reflection and evolution that changed the Portman family are the same changes and evolutions going on in countless families across the world right now, as more bright young men and women come out and live open lives. Only our most vocal and strident opponents are haters; most mothers and fathers just can’t relate. They see one man’s attraction to another man as more weird and different than disgusting and diseased. But, as soon as they learn that their child or their friend is gay, they put a human face to the phenomenon and suddenly, being gay doesn’t seem so strange.
And, that’s really what’s going on here: learning. … (Continued here).