Rich-Vaughn-Blog-Supreme-Court-DOMA

DOMA Likely to Get Supreme Court Hearing This Session

The United State Supreme Court returned from its summer break to face the largest number of LGBT equality cases it has ever faced in a single term. Three critical cases have the potential to make significant changes in how the government embraces the LGBT community.

Case 1: Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), should same sex couples be recognized by the Federal government? Nancy Gill, a 21 year employee of the United States Post Office, receives “Self and Family” health insurance for herself and
two children she has with her female spouse, Marcelle Letourneau. However, she is unable to share her medical benefits and retirement with her spouse because their Massachusetts marriage is not recognized under U.S. law. (http://www.ca1.uscourts.gov)

This is just one of seven plaintiff stories presented in the Gill v. Office of Personnel Management case, and many similar cases are making their way up the ladder to the Supreme Court as well. Gay and Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) assisted Gill in filing a complaint with the federal district court arguing that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional based on the Fifth Amendment, equal protection, and it discriminates against gay and lesbian individuals married to someone of the same sex. This case has been in motion for years and now awaits a Supreme Court decision on whether same-sex and heterosexual married couples should be entitled to the same federal benefits such as medical insurance, Social Security retirement benefits, and tax benefits.

Case 2: Section O, allowing same-sex couples to continue medical benefits from the state. In 2008, Arizona’s administrative code was amended to extend state-employee benefits to qualified domestic partners, same or opposite-sex. However, with budgetary issues weighing heavily in the  balance, the state amended the benefits to include only employees’ spouses.

Because the state of Arizona doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage, state employees with same-sex partners enrolled in the state’s medical benefit plans were notified that their benefits would be ended due to the changes. Of primary concern is the damage to those now being denied health benefits: How will they obtain new medical coverage, and at what cost?  (http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov)

Case 3: California’s Proposition 8, banning same-sex couples’  legal marriage in California. In February 2012, the Federal Appeals Court ruled to strike down voter-approved Prop 8, which revoked the right of California same-sex couples to legally marry. Now the final decision on whether to uphold Prop 8 or to allow California same-sex couples to marry has been brought before the Supreme Court.

When will we know more? Unfortunately, things are still unclear. These three cases are still in limbo as of the most recent Supreme Court conference to fill the docket. The Supreme Court has announced its acceptance and denial of a variety of cases, but none of these three highly controversial cases were on the list, implying the Court will consider whether to take them at a later date. Some court-watchers suggest the Justices want to combine the DOMA and Prop 8 cases to hear them all in one sitting.

Former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement, who is defending DOMA before the Supreme Court, told a panel at University of Southern California’s Gould School of Law on Oct. 4 that he believes the court is likely to take the DOMA case this session. “I think it’s going to be very difficult for the court not to take the DOMA case,” Clement said, as quoted by the USC Daily Trojan. “When the Court of Appeals strikes down an act of Congress as unconstitutional, the court will generally take that case up.”

With no word yet on when or if the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the three cases, thousands of gay and lesbian Americans anxiously wait to learn when their equal rights will receive a court hearing.

References:

http://americablog.com/2012/10/how-might-votes-on-marriage-impact-the-supreme-court.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/08/jan-brewer-supreme-court_n_1657805.html

http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/opinions/view_subpage.php?pk_id=0000012142

 

Rich Vaughn
Richard Vaughn
rich@iflg.net

Attorney Rich Vaughn is founder and principal of International Fertility Law Group, one of the world’s largest and best-known law firms focused exclusively on assisted reproductive technology, or ART, including in vitro fertilization (IVF), surrogacy, sperm donation or egg donation. Rich is co-author of the book “Developing A Successful Assisted Reproduction Technology Law Practice,” American Bar Association Publishing, 2017.

Peiya Wang
PEIYA WANG(王培娅)
Paralegal (律师助理)

Peiya Wang joined IFLG as a paralegal in 2015, where she manages surrogacy, egg donation and parental establishment cases and provides translation services for many of IFLG’s international clients. Peiya received her bachelor’s degree from Beijing Technologies and Business University, where she majored in Marketing. She moved to the United States in 2012 to attend Northeast University in Boston, Massachusetts, receiving a Master of Science degree in Global Studies and International Affairs in 2014. Peiya moved to Los Angeles in 2015 and received her paralegal certification from UCLA Extension. When away from the office, Peiya is a dragon boat paddler and a ballroom dancer, where she favors Rumbas and Cha-chas. She is fluent in Mandarin and English.

Luis Sosa
LUIS SOSA
Paralegal

Luis R. Sosa joined IFLG as a paralegal in 2016, where he enjoys pursuing his passion for family and reproductive law. While working toward his bachelor’s degree at Florida International University, Luis worked as a paralegal and legal assistant for family law litigation firms in Miami and Washington, D.C. As a paralegal and case manager for IFLG, Luis, who is bilingual in English and Spanish, manages surrogacy, egg donation and other reproductive law cases. In addition to spending time with husband Randy and dog Marty, Luis enjoys being outdoors and appreciating the arts.

Toni Hughes
TONI HUGES
Paralegal

After receiving her B.S. in Business Management, Toni joined IFLG to pursue her dream of working in the legal field. As a Paralegal with over 10 years of experience in the assisted reproduction technology field, Toni is our Managing Paralegal, responsible for training and managing our paralegal staff. From drafting legal documents to assisting our clients with post-birth matters, Toni embraces the challenge of learning something new in this field each day. Besides spending time with her son, Jordan, Toni enjoys exploring new things, cooking, spending time with family and friends, and serving as a Youth Advisor for “Next Generation.”

Miesha Cowart
MIESHA COWART
Financial Coordinator

Miesha Cowart joined IFLG as a financial specialist in 2014 following a successful career in development and business finance. Miesha previously worked for 10 years in the construction industry as a controller and for 13 years as Development Coordinator for the non-profit U.S. Fund for UNICEF. In her free time, Miesha works with “Next Generation” at her church. “They are my heartbeats!” she says of the youth in her community.

Kim
KIM DEVEREAUX
Paralegal

Kim has over 25 years of experience in the legal field and has worked exclusively in surrogacy and assisted reproduction law since 1999. Kim is a senior case manager of surrogacy and egg donation cases, and is also responsible for managing parental establishment cases and interacting with IFLG’s Of Counsel attorneys across the country. With three children of her own, Kim understands the importance of family and finds working in this area of law a rewarding experience.

Rich Vaughn
RICHARD B. VAUGHN
Founder

Attorney Rich Vaughn combined his personal passion as a father of twin boys born via assisted reproductive technology (ART) with more than 20 years of experience in business and technology law to build International Fertility Law Group. Today IFLG is one of the most successful and best-known law firms in the world focused exclusively on fertility law, helping thousands of intended parents through empathetic listening, compassionate guidance, and unmatched legal expertise. As an advocate for reproductive freedom, Rich also contributes his knowledge and time to improving the understanding and practice of ART law, most recently as a founder of and speaker at the first Cambridge University International Surrogacy Symposium held in June 2019, as immediate past chair of the American Bar Association ART Committee, and as a popular presenter to law schools, faculty and advocacy organizations all over the world.

Elizabeth Tamayo
ELIZABETH TAMAYO
Paralegal

Elizabeth received her Bachelors of Science degree in Criminal Justice from California State University of Los Angeles. Shortly after graduating, she continued her education at the University of California, Los Angeles where she obtained her Paralegal certificate. Elizabeth is fluent in Spanish and has been in the legal field since 2009. She is excited to be a part of the IFLG Team helping families realize their dreams.

Sunny Chien
SUNNY CHIEN
Paralegal

Sunny joined IFLG as a paralegal in 2017, where she manages surrogacy, egg donation and parental establishment cases for many of IFLG’s international clients. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from California State University of Los Angeles, where she graduated cum laude. Sunny is bilingual in English and Mandarin and has extensive experience as a legal assistant and paralegal at Los Angeles-area law firms. She is excited to be part of the IFLG team. In her spare time, Sunny enjoys spending time with her family and their dog, going to the beach, cooking, and being outdoors.

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MOLLY O'BRIEN
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Fertility law attorney Molly O’Brien began working in the field of assisted reproduction technology (ART) in 2005, at an egg donation agency and a surrogacy agency where she became familiar with all aspects of in-vitro fertilization, egg donation and the financial aspects of surrogacy. Since becoming an attorney in 2011, Molly has drafted and negotiated surrogacy, egg donation, sperm donation embryo donation agreements for hundreds of her clients all over the world.