A Quick List Of Discriminatory Laws

Scales of JusticeI am a member of the Gay and Lesbian Rights Committee of the Pennsylvania Bar Association. The Committee has undertaken a project that seeks to identify the differences in state and federal laws that discriminate against the gay community.

It is an astoundingly long list and I hope to address in detail over the coming months many of these issues in future blogs.

For today, I want to share with you the preliminary list compiled by the Committee and as set forth in the Committee’s Newsletter, “Open Court,” Volume 2, Number 2, Summer 2012:

• Duty to support one’s spouse financially

• Insurance law

• Employment benefits and retirement planning

• Impact of marriage on federal income tax benefits

• Parental responsibilities during marriage

• Property and financial interests

• Federal transfer taxes

• Torts and civil procedure

• The Family and Medical Leave Act

• Public benefits

• Rights and duties upon the incapacity of a spouse

• Rights to the assets of the deceased spouse

• Right of a surviving spouse to occupy housing

• Right to claim decedent’s remains and to make anatomical contributions

• Domestic violence and access to the courts

• Bankruptcy

• Requirement of divorce and annulment to dissolve marriage

• Judicial determination of support and property rights upon dissolution of the marriage

• Post-separation rights and obligations with regard to children

• Criminal law and spousal privilege

• Immigration status of spouses

The push for equality in marriage must continue.


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Ellen S. Fischer of the Law Office of Ellen S. Fischer has been working closely with individuals and families throughout the greater Philadelphia region for more than 20 years. Ellen received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Temple University and returned to earn a Juris Doctor degree from the Temple University School of Law. Ellen serves on a number of leadership committees and is a member of Gay and Lesbian Lawyers of Philadelphia (GALLOP). In addition to LGBTQ services, Ellen's practice areas are family law and personal injury.