LGBTQ+ Legal Services


LGBTQ+ Legal ServicesLaws can often be more complicated for the LGBTQ community. Jobs, relationships, and daily activities for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer couples or individuals can mean coming in regular contact with laws and rules. The ever-changing legal landscape surrounding LGBTQ means folks need to be stay up to date with current legislation.

Attorneys at SBEMP (Slovak, Baron, Empey, Murphy & Pinkney) law firm provides professional legal advice and services to clients in Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage, Inland Empire, Orange County, Coachella Valley, Costa Mesa, San Diego, New Jersey, New York, and surrounding locations.

Understanding Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Sexual orientation discrimination occurs when an employer discriminates against an employee based on their sexual orientation. For instance, it is discrimination when an employer:

  • refuses to hire transgender or gay employee
  • fires a lesbian employee for marrying her same-sex partner
  • removes gay employees from positions that involves customer contact

It is discriminatory when employers base employment decisions on sexual orientation of heterosexual employees as well. For instance, bars or restaurants that have a large gay clientele cannot refuse to hire a straight bartender or waiter.

Same-Sex Marriage Is Recognized By the Federal Government

The federal government recognizes valid same-sex marriages. In fact, the decision made by the US Supreme Court in US v. Windsor on June 26th, 2013 has paved the way for same-sex married couples to acquire federal benefits.

The Supreme Court while hearing the Windsor case struck down a federal act section that limited marriage to between a man and a woman. The alteration was made to the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)

Legally married same-sex couples, as a result, can now qualify for federal benefits. However, this is only for the most part since rules of eligibility differs between federal agencies.

Child Adoption for Same-Sex Marriage Couples

There are many states that allow gay and lesbian couples to adopt children jointly. This makes both parents legal at the same time. These adoptions are generally through adoption agencies – domestic and internationally. They can also be done independently where the birth parents and adopting parents speak directly with an attorney or another intermediary present.

In lesbian couples, one partner can give birth to the children and the other can adopt the child through a stepparent or second parent adoption.

Terminating Registered Domestic Partnership or Same-Sex Marriage

You may need to do nothing more than fill out a form if you are registered with a business or local government as domestic partners to end the registration. However, if you are married, you would need to follow the resident state’s divorce procedures.

The same holds true for dissolving the domestic partnership. Most states treat these dissolutions as divorces and you would have to file in a family court.

Handling Gender or Name Changes

LGBT individuals may want to change their names legally to better reflect their life changes. Sometimes, a person may seek to change the gender in their identity documents. Experienced counsel can make it easier to navigate the system and achieve those changes.

Lawyers at the SBEMP law firm serve clients from Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage, Inland Empire, Orange County, Coachella Valley, Costa Mesa, San Diego, New Jersey, New York, and nearby locations for a range of legal practice areas.

Have any legal questions? Contact the Attorneys at SBEMP Law Firm: 

For more information or to request a consultation please contact the law offices of SBEMP (Slovak, Baron, Empey, Murphy & Pinkney) by clicking here. 

SBEMP LLP is a full service law firm with attorney offices in Palm Springs (Palm Desert, Inland Empire, Rancho Mirage, Indian Wells), CA; Indian Wells, CA; Costa Mesa (Orange County), CA; San Diego, CA; New Jersey, NJ; and New York, NY.

DISCLAIMER: This blog post does not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by reading it. This blog post may be considered ATTORNEY ADVERTISING in some states. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Additional facts or future developments may affect subjects contained within this blog post. Before acting or relying upon any information within this newsletter, seek the advice of an attorney.

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