July 2016 – LGBT rights

There have been profound and dramatic positive changes for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (“LGBT”) community in the past year. The most important of which is the landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court in the case, Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. ___ (2015), which legalized same-sex marriages in the United States.

Despite this legal victory, discrimination and bigotry toward the LGBT community has not abated. This has never been made more apparent than the recent shooting at Pulse Nightclub, in Orlando, Florida, when 49 innocent people were murdered and an additional 53 people were injured. The June 12, 2016, shooting was the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history and the worst terrorist attack in the U.S. since September 11, 2001.

The perpetrator of this heinous act allegedly pledged his allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (“ISIS”) and specifically targeted the LGBT community for his deadly rampage. In the days, months and years to come there will be numerous investigations and much finger-pointing concerning who is to blame, how this tragedy could have been averted, and what should be done to make sure this type of tragedy never happens again. Regardless of what any individual believes is the answer to these questions, what remains paramount is that there was tragic and senseless loss of life where a group was targeted for no other reason than hatred and intolerance.

The light that shines during this dark time is that there has been an outpouring of support to help those in need as a result of the Orlando shootings. Numerous non-profit organizations have set up fund-raising mechanisms for making donations to aid the victims and their families. Individuals throughout the United States and the world have pledged their support, as well.

At this time our heartfelt prayers go out to all those affected by this tragic event.

For information on current LGBT laws/guidelines in same-sex marriages, look for our upcoming blog series for the month of July, 2016, which will focus on same-sex marriage and its implications on spousal maintenance, child support, property rights in dissolution of marriage and estate planning.