Members of the LGBTQ+ community and those who support them have fought long and hard for social acceptance and legal equality. Recent victories prove that their efforts have not been in vain; however, there is still work to be done. In support of President Biden’s recent recognition of June as LGBTQ Pride Month, Dallas family law attorney Rita M. Boyd discusses ways you can protect yourself or loved ones who are members of the LGBTQ+ community.
The White House Proclamation
President Biden officially recognized June as LGBTQ Pride Month with an announcement from the White House which read, in part, as follows:
The uprising at the Stonewall Inn in June 1969, sparked a liberation movement — a call to action that continues to inspire us to live up to our Nation’s promise of equality, liberty, and justice for all. Pride is a time to recall the trials the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) community has endured and to rejoice in the triumphs of trailblazing individuals who have bravely fought — and continue to fight — for full equality. Pride is both a jubilant communal celebration of visibility and a personal celebration of self-worth and dignity. This Pride Month, we recognize the valuable contributions of LGBTQ+ individuals across America, and we reaffirm our commitment to standing in solidarity with LGBTQ+ Americans in their ongoing struggle against discrimination and injustice.
LGBTQ+ Legal Battles
The LGBTQ community has faced societal and legal battles for decades. Recently, they finally started winning some of those battles. The Supreme Court, in Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), declared the right to marry to be a fundamental right, meaning same-sex marriage is now legal throughout the United States. The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act broadened the definition of hate crimes to include crimes motivated by sexual orientation or gender identity. President Biden signed an executive order combating discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation, reversed an existing ban that prohibited transgender people from serving in the military, and restored protections for transgender people seeking emergency shelter and homeless services. While all these hard-won legal victories are certainly a step in the right direction, members of the LGBTQ+ community continue to face discrimination and legal obstacles to equality.
Protecting Yourself and Your Loved Ones
Until we reach a point of true social and legal equality, members of the LGBTQ+ community need to take steps to ensure that they and their loved ones are protected. For example, if you were married in a state that recognized same-sex marriage prior to Obergefell and then separated in a state that did not acknowledge your marriage, you may – or may not – still be legally married. Before you can move forward with a new marriage, be sure to consult with a family law attorney about your current legal status. In addition, many LGBTQ+ spouses choose to enter into a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. Not only does this protect both spouses in the event of death or divorce, but it is yet another legal tool (in addition to a comprehensive estate plan) that can help ensure that your wishes are honored regarding your assets if a disapproving family member tries to intervene. If you and your partner decide to have children, one of you may need to legally adopt the children if you decide not to marry or you marry after the children are born. This ensures that you both have equal rights and responsibilities regarding the children. Finally, laws that impact LGBTQ+ families are changing rapidly. Be sure to consult with an experienced LGBTQ+ family law attorney on a regular basis to ensure that you and your family are protected.
Contact a Dallas Family Law Attorney
If you have additional questions or concerns about LGBTQ+ family law issues in Texas, contact an experienced Dallas family law attorney at Rita M. Boyd, P.C. to discuss your legal rights and options by calling 972-380-8000 to schedule your appointment today.