As an out and proud member of our community I take an extra special interest in the laws and issues that face Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered individuals. I have been lucky in that I have been able lead most of my adult life as an open gay male and have tried by example to show to others that it is not only possible, but it is a rich, rewarding and wonderful life. And by my presence present to the rest of the outside world that we are here and are vital contributing members of our society and deserve and demand equal protection and recognition under the law. Click on the “Playbill” cover below to see the New York Times Wedding announcement of my marriage to my husband, Bradley Schiel.
Unfortunately as we are well aware equal protection and recognition of legal status of our loves and labors does not always exist. Tremendous strides have been made in a short time of the Gay movement’s history. Just think how groundbreaking and heartbreaking a play like “Boys in the Band” was just prior to Stonewall. We had no examples of ourselves, nothing to identify with or look up to. Today, we’re as common place in the media’s eye as a street corner with a Starbucks. From “Glee”, “Modern Family” and “The Good Wife” to the Logo Television Network, we can take pride in seeing our lives move into its proper place in the public eye. The law however, is sometimes slow to evolve and change. This is an area that we not only have to work on developing ( see some of my links for further information and ways of getting involved) but in the meantime must actively work to find whatever means exist within the law to protect ourselves, our jobs and our relationships.
One of the services that my firm has concentrated its efforts in over the years, is that of putting into place, legal protections for GLBT individuals in order to give them some if not most of the protections they seek and need but are not readily available under the type of statutes that currently exist for other members of society. This can be something as simple as executing a Health Care Proxy, so that same sex partners may freely visit and/or make medical decisions for significant others in times of medical emergencies. This normally is a right that is extended only to immediate family members and without it, you may have been with your partner for twenty years but could still be treated like strangers at a hospital in times of real need. Another document to consider putting in place is a Life Partner Agreement which deals with many of the financial variables that need to be addressed in couples lives. Further, special attention should be paid to the structure of Wills and Trusts, living arrangements, including leases, deeds or other conveyance instruments and of course, if children are involved, parental rights, guardianship etc.
Dealing with these issues require very personal decisions and consultation to arrive at solutions that best meet you and your family’s needs. I pride myself on offering the type of one-on-one service that makes you, the client, feel at ease, able to clearly and objectively examine your needs and goals and which offers a comfortable, understanding and comforting environment in which to make these important decisions.