LGBTQ Legal Issues

Do you need a legal name change? Mazzoni Center Legal Services is teaming up with the Philadelphia Bar Association, its LGBT Rights Committee to host a Legal Name Change Clinic on the evening of Wednesday, January 25, 2016 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Folks who pre-register will meet one-one-one with volunteer attorneys to prepare Petitions for Legal Name Change and related documents. Space is LIMITED and you need to fill out a brief questionnaire beforehand, so please contact [email protected] to learn more and get started! More
The Superior Court of Pennsylvania has issued a unanimous opinion in the case of Neyman v. Buckley , marking the first time that a Pennsylvania appellate court has recognized civil unions. The decision resolves what had been a vexing issue for many couples who had entered into civil unions before same-sex marriage was legal, and found themselves unable to legally dissolve the relationship in the event of a break-up. Mazzoni Center Legal Services, along with local firm Jerner & Palmer, L.C., worked together over many months to reach this outcome. Civil unions were created as a separate... More
There is a lot of uncertainty in some areas that impact our LGBTQ community’s rights. We will need to fight to keep them, and to push forward. There have never been, and never will be, steps forward without some push back. We have a long way to go but also have come a long way. In many areas, individual LGBTQ members have the right and power to control aspects of our lives and our families. You can protect your partner, whether that’s by making them a spouse, or by ensuring that they inherit – regardless of marriage – by making out your will. You can protect your... More
Each year "Justice in Action" brings together legal professionals, law students, and others to raise funds for and awareness about Mazzoni Center’s Legal Services program, which is the only program offering free legal services tailored to address the needs of low-income LGBTQ Pennsylvanians. Our program assists individuals by providing information, advice, and representation that enables them to understand their rights, use the law to protect themselves and their families, and respond to... More
Most people would balk at a two and a half hour drive to visit their doctor. Christina Cleveland has a different story to tell. For a little over two years Christina has made the trip from her home in rural Pennsylvania, outside of Allentown, to receive care at Mazzoni Center Family & Community Medicine . Her story reflects the reality for many transgender individuals who live outside major cities. “Mazzoni has made a huge difference in my life,” she says. “In some ways you can say that it has saved it.”... More
Mazzoni Center was thrilled to welcome PA Physician General Rachel Levine, MD , to our offices on Monday, August 1. Dr. Levine, accompanied by Special Assistant Sarah Newman Boateng, met with members of our management team to discuss the recent changes in policy at the state level regarding insurance coverage for gender transition related healthcare, which will now be covered by PA Medicaid and CHIP plans. Dr. Levine and Mazzoni staffers discussed practical considerations surrounding the roll-out of... More
*This post was authored by Mazzoni Legal Intern Barri Friedland We reported last week on a major advance for trans and gender variant Pennsylvanians who rely on state-funded health insurance. The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services has lifted bans on insurance coverage for... More
Study after study has documented that many LGBTQ people experience psychological distress because of minority stress – in other words, the stress of being denied equality, whether because they are actively discriminated against or simply denied equal access to protections that straight or cisgender people take for granted. A new study by UCLA’s Williams Institute adds to the evidence that when these kinds of barriers are removed, physical and mental health benefits can and do follow. In this case, the authors were specifically looking at the right to marry. Among the key findings... More
Mazzoni Center Legal Services, in collaboration with our friends at the ACLU of Pennsylvania , have put together a two-sided flyer, explaining the legal rights of anyone involved in a protest. Side one of this flyer was prepared by the ACLU of PA, and outlines some basic do’s and don’ts to stay safe in an encounter with law enforcement officials. Side two provides additional considerations for trans and gender variant protesters, prepared by our team at Mazzoni Legal Services. This includes an outline of... More
The Supreme Court of the United States has issued its most significant ruling on abortion in nearly 25 years. By a vote of 5 to 3 the justices declared that a 2013 Texas law requiring abortion providers to meet a numbers of strict standards created an undue burden for women seeking to terminate their pregnancies and was therefore unconstitutional. Mazzoni Center CEO Nurit Shein said: “We are pleased that the court has reviewed this law and recognized that its true aim was restricting access to care, rather than protecting women.” “We believe that everyone should have access... More