Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2016-02-03
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Attorneys chair national committee focused on LGBT families
by Charlsie Dewey
2012-11-21

facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


Although Maine, Maryland and Washington state joining the growing list of states that allow same-sex marriage, there are still more than 30 states that have constitutional amendments banning marriage equality. Additionally, many states do not allow same-sex couples to adopt children.

And, because of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), states do not have to acknowledge a couple's legal marriage or co-parenting status that another state granted.

This inconsistent treatment from state to state can sometimes result in devastating consequences. One group besides the LGBT community that sees these consequences play out up close every day are attorneys, particularly those who specialize in family law.

That is one reason the governing board of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) voted last year to publicly support gay marriage. As a result, the 1,600-member organization (with chapters in nearly every state) recently formed a LGBT/alternative family committee. It is charged with working with other committees within the organization as well as outside groups to create or improve laws that address the issues facing alternative families.

Out Michigan attorneys Richard Roane, a partner with the law firm Warner Norcross and Judd, and Connie Thacker, of Miller Johnson, have been selected to co-chair the organization.

Roane also serves as the president of the Michigan chapter of the AAML and serves as the Michigan delegate to the national board of governors. He has been a family law attorney for 25 years and is the first openly gay partner at Warner. He sees his work on the new committee as his first foray into activism and is excited by the prospect of the committee helping to make an impact on the national level.

The committee held its first meeting in Chicago earlier this month and began to outline its goals, which will be focused on advocacy and education.

"We talked about how we can collaborate within the organization, working with other committees, and with outside organizations," Roane said.

Internally, the committee expects it will work with the AMICUS and legislative committees, while externally it has compiled a list of possible partners in the marriage equality fight, including the Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal Defense Fund, ACLU, Freedom to Marry, National Center for Lesbian Rights and the National Center of Commissions on Uniform State Laws.

Roane pointed out that the portability of marriage license is a key issue for the committee.

He explained that when a couple gets married in a state that allows same-sex marriage, another state does not have to acknowledge the marriage. In fact, because so many states have banned marriage equality in their constitutions, those marriages cannot be legally recognized.

"The problem that we have with the country right now is that we have a patchwork of different laws in different jurisdictions that don't equally treat gay couples the same way," Roane said. "We don't have that patchwork of laws that affect heterosexual couples across the country. They are all treated the same.

"For example, if you have a gay couple that gets married in New York and they don't end that relationship but they break up and then one of them remarries someone else and moves to Michigan, is Michigan going to recognize the first marriage, no. What if, as result of that first marriage under New York law that person is entitled to certain beneficiary benefits or certain inheritance benefits?

"Let's say that there was no new estate plan done. If one of the partners dies you could end up with a very complicated mess in probate court where things are contentious, and things are always contentious when people are fighting over their money, and what is divorce and probate about? Money. Who gets what they had. So you can end up with probate litigation in New York and in Michigan. You could have family members from all over the place, a great big mess, because of the patchwork of laws that unequally treat people throughout the country."

Roane believed that the problems created by this patchwork of laws are just beginning and complications will only grow without federal marriage equality.

Roane said it does not end with marriage licenses either, citing a Michigan custody case where a lesbian couple could not adopt as a couple in Michigan so they established residency in Chicago, adopted children, returned to Michigan. Then, after several years, their relationship ended. Because the couple legally were not seen under Michigan law as co-parents the custody hearing became particularly complicated, and Michigan ended recognizing and giving what is called "full faith and credit" to the valid adoption in Illinois. It then issued orders concerning custody.

These are just a few examples of what Roane has seen during his 25-year family-law career. He said that it has been very frustrating having to tell clients that they have little to no recourse when their deceased partners' families are trying to evict them from their home, or when their spouses who are seeking divorces have been the breadwinners for the decades they were together and are now trying to take all of the property and accumulated assets.

"If we have marriage equality, you are not going to have kids that were adopted ending up in two or three years of litigation with their parents, and that's good for children not to be in litigation," Roane said. "You are not going to have the guy who survived his partner's death and then got kicked out of the house he'd been in for 20 years."

Roane is optimistic that DOMA will be repealed.

"It's right to repeal a law at the federal level that purposely targets and discriminates against a huge class of people including a huge amount of children," he said. "For people who think that this doesn't affect families or you have a choice to decide who your spouse is going to be and if you want to choose a same-sex spouse live with the consequences, what about the children that are in the mix. They don't choose and these families do have children. There are many reasons to repeal DOMA and I am hopeful that Obama, being given a second chance, there is a lot that he can do and that he ought to do."


facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Tax guide launched to help LGBTQ taxpayers 2016-02-05
HRC releases state equality index 2016-02-03
EI releases LGBT adoption guide 2016-02-03
The Child Soldier: From the Congo to Chicago 2016-02-03
First trans murder of 2016 in Texas 2016-02-03
Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of Chicago names Cecilia Horan President 2016-02-02
New Report connects religious exemptions to historic efforts to deny civil rights 2016-02-01
Large anti-gay rally takes place in Italy 2016-01-30
One Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration bill stopped, another advances 2016-01-28
Hastert sentencing rescheduled for April 2016-01-28
Indiana Senate committee stops 'Super RFRA' 2016-01-27
Relationships & the Law Today: Divorce considerations following marriage 2016-01-27
MOMBIAN LGBTQ parents creating change 2016-01-27
World: Russian pro-LGBT move; anti-trans incidents; Biden in Switzerland 2016-01-26
Drag performers allege discrimination at beauty-supply store 2016-01-26
Survey shows Indiana lost $60M in convention money over religious objections law 2016-01-26
Lambda Legal to Indiana Legislators: Reject these Bills! 2016-01-25
Petition seeks day of no murder 2016-01-20
South African jurist to speak at NU Jan. 20-21 2016-01-20
Thousands expected for Creating Change 2016-01-20
National roundup: Murderer sentenced; Eric Fanning; Montana's pro-LGBT move 2016-01-19
Gay couple among those displaced by fire 2016-01-17
ACLU responds to reports on decrease in pedestrian stops by CPD 2016-01-15
Dold first Republican to back Equality Act 2016-01-15
Friday: BYP100 to lead symbolic funeral procession, honor Black lives lost 2016-01-15
Saturday: BYP100 to march to reclaim MLK and build Black futures 2016-01-15
Michigan murderer sentenced to 30-60 years 2016-01-15
Recap: Brief on anti-trans law; Gay media; Tutu's daughter; Chamber partnership 2016-01-13
ASK LAMBDA LEGAL What's next for the LGBT-rights movement? 2016-01-12
National: Marriage milestone; gay man at SOTU; 'they' prevails; Stanford program 2016-01-12
World: AIDS conference; Grindr and China; Estonia partnership law 2016-01-12
Gov. Rauner to seek end of consent decrees, ACLU responds 2016-01-12
CPD makes push for LGBT recruits 2016-01-11
Anti-LGBT state, local legislation previewed by HRC 2016-01-08
Out at CHM series kicks off with "Are We Still Fabulous?" 2016-01-08
Indiana measure excludes trans people 2016-01-08
Lambda to 11th Circuit: Law prohibits discrimination against lesbian employee 2016-01-07
House rejects safeguarding protections for LGBT employees of federal contractors 2016-01-07
Mayor calls for more tasers, Black Youth Project 100 responds 2016-01-07
YEAR IN REVIEW Transgender murders increased in 2015 2016-01-06
 



Copyright © 2016 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.