The Virginia Equality Bar Association

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  • 11 May 2016 9:26 AM | Bary Hausrath (Administrator)

    Yesterday, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring released an opinion concluding that, to the extent existing federal law barring discrimination in employment on the basis of sex prohibits, by implication, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, Virginia's Human Rights Act also prohibits that discrimination.

    The Virginia Equality Bar Association applauds and thanks the Attorney General for issuing this thorough, cautious, and helpful opinion.  While Attorney General's opinions are not binding on the courts, they are considered persuasive authority.  Historically, opinions from the Office of the Attorney General help to advance the understanding of existing Virginia law.  Even if the reasoning of the opinion is not ultimately adopted by the courts, the debate it prompts may spur further legislative action.  

    VEBA welcomes this debate. As these issues unfold in the courts and general assembly, VEBA will continue its work to secure equality for the LGBT community and to oppose discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. 

    You can read the entire opinion here.


  • 04 Apr 2016 10:42 AM | Bary Hausrath (Administrator)

    Known throughout the world for his human rights work, Edwin Cameron is a Justice from the Constitutional Court of South Africa. He is the author of Witness to AIDS, a book about his personal experience with the disease, and was the recipient of the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights in 2000.

    Justice Cameron is a well-known advocate for LGBTI issues in South Africa, and we're excited to welcome him to Richmond Law to explore that topic with students, alumni, and members of the community. 

    Tuesday, April 19, 2016, 4 p.m.

    University of Richmond School of Law Moot Courtroom

    Reception to follow. No cost to attend. 

    Please register in advance.


  • 16 Mar 2016 3:50 PM | Bary Hausrath (Administrator)

    We are thrilled to be welcoming an outstanding team of experts for our first ever Spring CLE Symposium.  

    The Symposium will allow attendees an opportunity to receive 4 hours worth of LIVE CLE, including 1 hour of ethics credit.  In addition, we have a celebrity lunchtime panel to discuss the intersection of LGBTQ rights and claims to religious freedom, featuring:

    • Jim Obergefell, the named plaintiff from the United States Supreme Court case that is now synonymous with marriage equality.
    • Paul M. Smith, Partner at Jenner & Block, Former Board Member of Lambda Legal, counsel in Lawrence v. Texas
    • Claire Guthrie Gastañaga, Executive Director of the ACLU of Virginia
    • John Pagan, Professor at the University of Richmond School of Law

    CLE programs include "State of LGBT Equality under the Law of Virginia," "Issues in Employment Litigation and Discovery," "Ethical Issues in Representing LGBT Clients," and "Respecting Sexual and Gender Diversity in the Workplace."

    The Symposium will be held at Williams Mullen in downtown Richmond, at 200 S 10th St, Richmond, VA 23219.  Registration is here.  Paid parking is available in the James Center II parking deck (enter off 10th). Boxed lunch selections are made during the registration process.  Boxed lunches include a side dish and cupcake. 

    Registration is available for the full day's programing or lunchtime panel only.  The Symposium is free to VEBA members.  Non-member registrations are also available on a limited basis.

    *Virginia MCLE credits are pending



  • 16 Mar 2016 2:18 PM | Bary Hausrath (Administrator)

    VEBA is pleased to once again offer a Name & Gender marker change clinic in Hampton Roads!  

    If you need help with getting your name or gender marker changed on your ID, we'll be at the LGBT Center of Hampton Roads from 6-9 p.m. on April 2. 

    For our lawyer friends in the area, join VEBA now to be kept up to date on our newest clinics.  We hope to soon announce an additional Hampton Roads clinic with CLE and additional services like DD-214s.


  • 26 Jun 2015 6:53 PM | Bary Hausrath (Administrator)

    Do you promise to support LGBTQ youth and work for safer and more affirming schools so that children are free from bullying and harassment and so that youth find loving and supportive adults as alternatives to suicide and self-harm?

     

    WE DO.

     

    Do you vow to continue to fight for affordable, equitable, safe, and informed health care, specifically for transgender people and people living with HIV-disease as well as care facilities for LGBT seniors?

     

    WE DO.

     

    As we were reminded last week by the events in Charleston, violence driven by hate is a very real problem in our country and while any of us are unsafe, none of us are safe. Do you vow to build safer, healthier communities and relationships free of violence and abuse and to fight for full equality for all persons of color?

     

    WE DO.

     

    It is now legal in Virginia to deny employment based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Do you promise to support efforts to criminalize such discrimination?

     

    WE DO.

     

    Do you vow to support the voices of transgender people, especially trans women of color and acknowledge and address the disproportionate levels of discrimination and violence that they experience?

     

    WE DO.

     

    Because spiritual violence is an issue facing our community, do you promise to engage in meaningful dialogue with churches, synagogues, mosques, and other communities of faith?

    WE DO. 

     

    Do you promise to fight for a just and fair system that addresses the needs of immigrants?

     

    WE DO


    With these vows, do you recommit yourselves to building a better Virginia, a better United States, and a better world? Will you be with us tomorrow when the wedding cake is gone, the glitter is swept away, and the celebration is over?

    YES WE WILL!

  • 26 Jun 2015 11:28 AM | Bary Hausrath (Administrator)

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    VIRGINIA EQUALITY BAR ASSOCIATION

    CONTACT:    Christine Svoboda, President

                            (804) 822-0805

    Day of Decision Press Conference

    Richmond, VA - Today the Supreme Court of the United States announced its decision in Obergefell v. Hodges.  The Virginia Equality Bar Association (“VEBA”) and other community organizations will hold a press conference at 5:30 pm at The Byrd Theatre at 2908 W Cary St in Richmond, Virginia to discuss the impact of the decision.  Fellow organizers include Virginia Pride, Fan Free Clinic, Richmond Triangle Players, Friends of Rosmy, Diversity Richmond, University of Richmond, MCC Richmond, Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities, ACLU of Virginia, Richmond Business Alliance, and Virginia Anti-Violence Project.

    VEBA is thrilled the Supreme Court has seen fit to recognize the fundamental right to marriage for LGBT people across the United States.

                                                    ##


  • 28 Apr 2015 1:47 PM | Bary Hausrath (Administrator)

    Today's historic oral arguments on the marriage equality cases at the US Supreme Court have concluded!  Initial reviews suggest that the court is divided, but leaning towards recognizing the fundamental dignity of same sex couples.

    Click here for the complete audio.   Question 1 deals with whether states must issue marriage licenses to same sex couples.  Question 2 deals with whether states have to recognize marriages between two persons of the same sex legally entered into in another state.

  • 12 Feb 2015 11:39 AM | Bary Hausrath (Administrator)
    Yesterday, Senator Jeanne Shaheen and Congresswoman Susan Davis re-introduced the Jury Access Act (S. 447) and the Juror Non-Discrimination Act (H.R. 864), respectively. These companion bills are critical pieces of legislation that would help to end anti-LGBT juror discrimination. The LGBT Bar is proud to help lead the effort for the passage of these bills, and to bring the power of the legal community to Capitol Hill in support of it. 
     
    And together, we're making real progress; today's re-introduction is bipartisan, with GOP Senator Susan Collins offering her leadership and support to this important effort.
     
    Now, we need your help, too; please call on your Senators and Representatives to sign on as co-sponsors of the Jury Access Act and Juror Non-Discrimination Act. Visit www.Senate.gov to find your Senators' contact information and www.House.gov to find your Representative's, or call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Call three times in order to be connected with both of your Senators and your Representative, and tell them you're a member of the legal community and support Senator Shaheen's and Congresswoman Davis' legislation.
     
    Jury service is critical to ensuring our legal system works. And yet, as recently as last month, attorneys in Houston asked a judge to allow them to inquire about potential jurors' sexual orientation as a way of eliminating LGBT people from the final jury. 
     
    That's wrong, and it should be illegal. Sexual orientation and gender identity have no bearing on a juror's ability to serve. And when LGBT jurors are disqualified, there is no jury of our peers.
     
    So please, take a moment and call your Congress Members today. Ask that they co-sponsor the Jury Access Act (S. 447) in the Senate and the Juror Non-Discrimination Act (H.R. 864) in the House and work for it's swift passage. With your help, we can bring Republicans and Democrats together to end juror discrimination.
  • 04 Feb 2015 3:36 PM | Bary Hausrath (Administrator)

    The Virginia Equality Bar Association welcomes action taken by Virginia’s Registrar for Vital Records to ensure that the children born to same sex married couples have the same legal protections of children born to opposite sex married couples. Janet Rainey, the Registrar for Vital Records, sent a letter instructing a hospital in Suffolk. instructing that the birth certificate of a child born to two women who are married to each other should list both parents on the birth certificate. A copy of the letter can be found here

    In a separate but related story, amended Virginia birth certificates will be available for all Virginia-born children whose two moms were married at the time of the birth, even if the birth occurred before the marriage was legally recognized in Virginia and even if there is no order of adoption.  In response to a letter from the ACLU of Virginia that you can find here, Rainey is also accepting applications to amend birth certificates to reflect both moms as parents, if the moms were married at the time of the birth, and even if the birth occurred prior to the February, August, or October 2014 court decisions requiring Virginia to recognize those marriages.

    These two stories bring meaningful change for the wives of birth mothers, who for years have been denied the presumption of parentage afforded to similarly situated straight men whose wives gave birth following artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization.

    The modification of birth certificates requires submitting a certified copy of the marriage certificate along with a new “Acknowledgment of Parentage” form, signed by both parents, indicating that both of them recognize Victoria as a parent.  Review the letters linked above for additional information about how to ensure that the form is properly processed.

  • 26 Jan 2015 11:25 AM | Bary Hausrath (Administrator)

    On February 15, 2015 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. VEBA will host a brunch at the Richmond home of board member Jeff Jacobs and his husband.  The topic of discussion will be the Supreme Court's upcoming consideration of marriage equality.  An evite has been sent to all of our members and other select guests.  If you would like to put on a similar program in your part of the state or if you would like to attend the brunch but did not get an invitation, please email info@vaequalitybar.org

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