Rich-Vaughn-Blog-Family-Equality-Council-Night 2014

Family Equality Council Grew With Number of LGBT Families

Tommy and I had the privilege of serving on the host committee of the Family Equality Council’s recent gala event, Night at the Pier, in New York, NY, and to join FEC in honoring three individuals who have been leaders in advocating for the equality of the 3 million LGBT parents living in the United States and their 6 million children. The event honored country music star Chely Wright, activist and author Lauren Blitzer-Wright, and Gerald P. Mallon, DSW, Julia Lathrop Professor of Child Welfare and Executive Director of the National Center for Child Welfare Excellence Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College in New York City.

Wright rose quickly to country music fame: following her debut album in 1994, the Academy of Country Music named her Top New Female Vocalist of 1995. She went on to make seven more studio albums selling more than 1,000,000 copies in the U.S. with more than 15 singles on the Billboard charts. The release of her eighth album, “Lifted Off the Ground,” on May 4, 2010, coincided with the publication of her memoir, “Like Me” (Random House), in which she made history by becoming the first country music star to come out publicly as gay. In her book, and in numerous subsequent television appearances and interviews, spoke of her concern for victims of hate crimes and bullying, particularly LGBT Youth, and of her personal struggles in growing up closeted.  The album and memoir made national headlines.

Today Wright is an LGBT activist and national spokesperson for the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), a non-profit organization that organizes support groups of students and teachers in K-12 schools to promote personal values and respect for everyone regardless of a sexual orientation or gender identity and expression. In March 2011 Wright launched the LIKE ME foundation, a nonprofit organization serving the LGBT community by providing support, resources and education to individuals, families and friends.  The first LIKE ME Lighthouse was opened in Kansas City, Missouri, to provide staff, counseling and in-house resources for LGBT youth and adults seeking support for coming out, bullying, harassment and gender identity issues. Wright and wife Lauren Blitzer-Wright, who is currently Director of Marketing for Sony Entertainment, are parents to twin boys born in 2013.

Dr. Mallon, who has worked as a child welfare practitioner, advocate, educator and researcher for more than 38 years, was one of the first child welfare professionals in the U.S. to research, write about, and create programs for LGBTQ youth in child welfare settings. He is senior editor of the professional journal, Child Welfare, and author or editor of more than 23 books. His most recent publication is Child welfare for the twenty-first century: A Handbook of practices, policies, and programs published by Columbia University Press in 2014. He has traveled throughout the U.S. and internationally to teach and lecture about child welfare issues, including the unique challenges of LGBT youth.

Thanks to honorary “Night at the Pier” co-chairs Nick Scandalios, executive vice president of the Nederlander Organization theatre production company, and Daryl Roth, producer of seven Pulitzer Prize-winning plays: Bruce Norris' Clybourne Park; Tracy Letts’ August: Osage County; Nilo Cruz’s Anna in the Tropics, David Auburn’s Proof; Margaret Edson’s Wit; Paula Vogel’s How I Learned to Drive and Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women. Scandalios serves as chairman of The Broadway League Board of Governors, as a board member for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, and as vice chair of the Family Equality Council.

The Family Equality Council evolved from a 1979 gathering of gay dads, then called the Gay Fathers Coalition, who made a commitment to reach out to and support others like themselves. In 1986 the group expanded to include lesbian moms and changed its name to Gay and Lesbian Parents Coalition International (GLPCI). In 1990, GLPCI launched and eventually spun off a group for children and youth, Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere (COLAGE), which became an independent organization in 1999. In 1998, GLPCI changed its mission to include bisexual and transgender parents and changed its name to Family Pride Coalition. In 2007 the organization took the name Family Equality Council.

The evolution of Family Equality Council and its mission mirrors the changes in the LGBT community and in society as a whole, as LGBT people have become increasingly empowered to form families of all different kinds, and as societal acceptance of those families has grown. Tommy and I are so proud to be part of this wonderful organization and to support the important work it is doing in ensuring that other families like ours receive the encouragement and support they deserve.

Rich Vaughn
Richard Vaughn

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
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 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

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
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 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

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 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 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

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.