It’s now been nearly two weeks since the terrible tragedy at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub, and after an initial outpouring of support for the victims and the survivors, we’re beginning to see the story fade from our collective consciousness. Investigators are still trying to determine what the killer’s real motivations were, with some questions about how motivated by jihad he really was, but those stories are getting less and less attention. The Senate held votes for new gun laws earlier this week after a filibuster inspired by the tragedy, but none of those proposed laws were actually passed.
We do know two things – first, the person responsible for these unspeakable crimes targeted many members of the LGBTQ community, and second, it’s not the first time that LGBTQ community members have lost their lives due to the hatred of others.
I hope that what happened in Orlando will result in positive change, where more of us come to accept that love is love, and that LGBTQ people deserve the same rights and the same dignities as straight people.
In my 35 years of practicing family law in San Antonio, I’ve worked with families to resolve their disputes, no matter how those families are composed. I’ve seen remarkable changes over the years. I still remember how horrified I was the first time I tried a civil case involving domestic violence between two men, and overheard the judge chuckling about details. I remember how challenging it once was to work on same-sex adoptions, or to help couples divide estates who were married body and soul if not in the eyes of Texas state law.
Thanks to the Supreme Court, marriage is now possible in the United States for any two people who love each other, be they gay or straight, and I believe that change in the law is something that will ultimately bring us to a better understanding of one another.
But this change doesn’t eliminate challenges for the LGBTQ community. Some of the couples who do marry in this new era will ultimately seek divorce, and there are questions that LGBTQ divorces will raise. There’s more awareness and acceptance for transgender people, but there are also legal challenges that come with determining what gender you identify as.
Whether it’s helping clients through gay or lesbian divorce, a custody case involving LGBTQ parents, or cases involving legal and medical issues for transgender people, I’ve been proud to help LGBTQ clients with their family law needs throughout their career. When it comes to divorce, I believe that families are families, and that while divorce might change what a family looks like, it shouldn’t destroy it. And when it comes to all family law issues, I believe all my clients are deserving of my compassion, my ability to resolve disputes, and my ability to fight when necessary.