Monthly Archives: December 2016

Here’s how you can help change the world.

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by Charlie Spiegel, Esq. SF
Proud Our Family Coalition Member

Dear Families and Friends –

 After September 11, 2001, I didn’t know how to parent my then 4-year old daughter if the country’s tallest skyscrapers could be made to “fall down.” A wise educator gave me advice I followed for many years, explaining we had to provide our children with the illusion of security, and as adults, remember it was only an illusion.

charlie2After November 9, 2016, I think we need to do more of the same—provide our kids the illusion of security, while remembering it is only an illusion. As adults, we need to do even more and support institutions that protect our community and change the world. That’s where supporting and strengthening Our Family Coalition (OFC) comes in. I hope you will join me in making a special tax-deductible contribution to OFC right now so they can expand their work to support LGBTQ families.

LGBTQ  families are surely at risk in this uncertain future just  as we were during Proposition 8, California’s anti-gay marriage initiative. OFC fought to have LGBTQ parents front and center in the campaign, successful years later, to change public opinion, in large part because our family members go into institutions where undecided fellow citizens are, and can change minds there one person at a time.

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Today feels the same.  Our families must be even more visible and engaged in order to change the hearts and minds of people, one by one. A strong Our Family Coalition helps make that change happen.

OFC’s work making California schools welcoming and affirming of family diversity provides the safety and warmth that helps shape our children into their own best advocates. At the same time, OFC’s work training parents to be effective media spokespeople, linking what happens politically to the day-to-day safety of our families, is crucial right now. And OFC provides the fun social spaces and activities that gives us all the strength for these fights.

Fifteen years ago, I parented by providing my daughter an illusion of safety. Now she’s 3,000 miles away, a sophomore in college, and there is no illusion that I can protect her from the difficult national environment we face. Instead, my sense of security comes from knowing she is a strong advocate for herself and others, and that her pride in her family will allow her to be confident, visible, and an advocate among families and students with less apparent diversity and understanding of differences.

I credit Our Family Coalition with providing each of us the spaces, tools and events to create, nurture, celebrate—and effectively advocate for– our families. That’s what our tax-deductible contributions to OFC support—now when the need is even greater.

bigdonatebutton-rectangle-whitebgI know you are part of this movement and this moment, and that this movement will succeed. I hope you can support OFC financially to the greatest extent possible for the months and years ahead.

Our Family Coalition makes that difference; please join us in changing our world, some more!

Charlie Spiegel, Esq. SF
Proud Our Family Coalition Member

PS: One of my strongest takeaways from this election is that a new generation of diverse activists will lead and win this fight in a world that is constantly changing. We saw 11 years of Judy Appel’s leadership wrapping up in September of this year, and see new possibilities again with Renata Moreira as Interim Executive Director. My tax-deductible donation to Our Family Coalition is specifically made to support Renata and all the employees of OFC to be our next generation of LGBTQ pioneers!  I hope you will too. Thank you.

Legal advice for LGBTQ families post-election

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Legal advice for LGBTQ families post-election

The information in this post is also available as a PDF.

Most of us are worried about the future of our families, communities and country. Now more than ever we need our LGBTQ family community. Our Family Coalition remains a strong voice for LGBTQ caregivers in California and we will continue to advocate for the rights of our families.

What does this mean for parental rights?
We cannot say this enough: it is highly recommended that non-biological parents complete a second-parent adoption or parentage judgement. Being on the birth certificate or being married to the child’s biological and/or legal parent does not ensure parental rights. By completing a second-parent adoption the parental legal relationship is secured in states outside of California. We understand that this process can be expensive for working class families and encourage you to contact the National Center for Lesbian Rights for referrals to attorneys who may be able to offer pro bono services and/or reduced fees to those who may qualify.

What does this mean for trans parents?
The federal rights of transgender students and employees should remain secure as those are based on federal statutes and the U.S. Constitution. It is recommended to get your ID documents updated while choosing your gender marker is an option. This includes passport, state ID, social security.
What does this mean for healthcare?
While it is not yet clear what will happen with the Affordable Care Act, any changes will take time. Check to see where your insurance plan is from and if it is covered by the Affordable Care Act and if any LGBT provisions may be affected.

How will the election affect undocumented immigrant people & families?
We encourage folks to contact a legal services provider to be screened for any possible immigration options immediately. The Immigration Advocates Network maintains a national directory of more than 950 free or low-cost nonprofit immigration services providers in all 50 states. We are also collecting stories of LGBTQ immigrant families who may wish to support advocacy campaigns. Please email policy@ourfamily.org if interested in participating.

What does this mean for marriage rights?
It is highly unlikely that marriage equality will be overturned. The process would take years and include replacing several Supreme Court judges and working a case through the Supreme Court. It is also very unlikely that married couples would see their marriages overturned. The law has strong protections against valid marriages being invalidated by subsequent changes law. “For individuals who are not currently married but who may wish to marry in the future, it is also highly unlikely that the fundamental right of same-sex couples to marry will be challenged or that the Supreme Court would revisit its 2015 holding that same-sex couples have that fundamental right.” We highly recommend anyone who counters any problem with your marriage being fully respected to contact our partners at the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

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Our Family Coalition hosted a LGBTQ Family Post-Election Community Call on 12/8, answering questions from the community on LGBTQ family issues including marriage, adoption, immigration, and gender and name changes. A huge thanks to our amazing legal partners Chelsea E. HaleyNelson, partner at HaleyNelson & Heilbrun, LLP, Ora Prochovnick, Director of Clinical and Public Interest Law Programs and professor of law at John F. Kennedy University, and Charlie Spiegel, www.CharlesSpiegelLaw.com, for being present on the call.

Download an audio recording of the conference call here (unedited): MP3, WAV

OFC in-person LGBTQ Family Post-Election Family Forum
1/12 6-8pm, at Laurel Bookstore in Oakland
Our Family Coalition is hosting an in-person Post-Election LGBTQ Family Forum to discuss the potential impact of a Trump administration on LGBTQ families. Emily Doskow, Linda M. Scaparotti and Angela Bean, attorneys with decades of experience working with LGBTQ families and immigration issues, will be onsite to speak and answer your questions and concerns.

Share Your Family Building Stories – LGBTQ Family Visibility Project
Our Family Coalition and SprOUT Family are gathering voices of LGBTQ families in California to assist with support, education and advocacy in the upcoming year. Sharing your family’s story can help move hearts and minds. We welcome stories from LGBTQI parents and caregivers, prospective parents, donors, children of LGBTQI parents, siblings and extended families (PFLAGers). All stories will be edited in collaboration with you and featured on Our Family Coalition and SprOUT Family websites. Email policy@ourfamily.org if you want to share your family’s story to build support for LGBTQI families.

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