NEWS AND UPDATES
THOUGHTS ON THE LGBTQ EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION CASES AND THE POLYAMORY COMMUNITY
June 15, 2020
As an attorney involved in advocating for the LGBTQ community and the polyamorous community, I have often been asked about employment discrimination in the LGBTQ and polyamorous communities in the United States. Though I primarily practice family law and don't do employment discrimination work, I address this as a big picture issue of concern to my clients and others I speak with.
Until today, many states have had no protections at all against workplace discrimination of the LGBTQ; this matter has been addressed on a state by state basis over time, as members of the LGBTQ community have lobbied state legislatures to protect them explicitly.
Many people in the polyamorous community have shared concerns about risks to their employment if they are out that are similar to those expressed by members of LGBTQ communities. The motivations for protections are similar: a belief that people should be able to openly live their lives without fear of discrimination, particularly in the realm of sexuality. There are many overlaps in the interests of the communities. (And of course, there are substantial overlaps in the communities themselves.)
There are currently in the United States no laws anywhere in the country which ban discrimination based on polyamorous relationship structure or orientation. The hard-fought wins of LGBTQ communities have been seen as the model for polyamorous communities seeking similar protections. So where do today's Supreme Court's rulings in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia and its companion cases leave the polyamory rights movement? About the same place as they were yesterday.
The Court's decisions rely entirely on the Civil Rights Act of 1964's prohibition of employment discrimination "on the basis of sex." Sex here means male or female. The extension of this law's protections to the LGBTQ community were not intended when the law was drafted, but the logic is clear and compelling enough to win over two of the Court's five social conservatives: When you fire a man because he has or desires sexual relationships with a man, but you wouldn't fire a woman for doing the same, you discriminate based on sex. When you fire someone assigned male at birth for identifying and dressing as female, but you would not do the same for someone assigned female at birth, you discriminate based on sex.
Polyamory provides no comparable rationale to hook onto the existing protections of any of the classes of people protected by the Civil Rights Act. So this huge win for the LGBTQ community does not provide clear new opportunities to remedy discrimination against the polyamorous. Maybe someday a more liberal Supreme Court will extend discrimination protections on the basis of constitutional cases like Lawrence vs. Texas, which established a right to sexual privacy. But in the foreseeable future, the emerging polyamory rights movement will need to continue its initial steps on the path taken by the LGBTQ community up until today, gradually convincing city governments to ban employment discrimination, and eventually working up to state legislatures.
MIC.COM ARTICLE FEATURES QUOTES FROM JONATHAN
June 4, 2018
Mic.com has released an unfortunately-titled but information-rich article on polyamory, marriage, and alternatives to marriage which features extensive quotes from Jonathan Lane of JD Lane Law.
JONATHAN FEATURED ON PODCAST "MULTIAMORY"
April 17, 2018
The podcast Multiamory has released an episode titled Polyamory and the Law, which consists of an interview with Jonathan Lane of JD Lane Law. The podcast recording and a transcript are available on the Multiamory site.
JD LANE LANE SUCCEEDS IN THREE PARENT CUSTODY CASE IN MARYLAND
December 21, 2017
In December 2017 Jonathan Lane of JD Lane Law and co-counsel Jennifer Kent of FreeState Justice won custodial rights and legal recognition for the non-biological parent of a five year old girl in a rural Maryland county. The client, who was formerly in a romantic relationship with the child’s biological mother, had been an active parent throughout the child’s entire life, and as of early this fall had the child living with her five days a week. But the client was at risk of having her child taken away from her after the biological father filed a custody case against the biological mother in which he sought sole custody of the child. We intervened in the custody case on her behalf, relying on the Maryland Court of Appeals’s 2016 adoption of the doctrine of “de facto parenthood.” We were then able to negotiate an agreement with the biological parents that met our client’s goals. After the Judge entered an order adopting the terms of the agreement, our client was not only able to maintain her relationship with her child, but also was granted status as a legal parent, with joint physical custody and joint legal custody. This case represents a milestone in JD Lane Law’s advocacy for the rights of diverse families.
JONATHAN CERTIFIED IN DIVORCE MEDIATION AFTER EXTENSIVE TRAINING
November 19, 2017
Jonathan has now been certified as a divorce mediator. He completed two courses in divorce mediation this fall - a 40 hour general divorce mediation course, and a 20 hour follow-up course specifically on mediating financial issues in divorce. This training builds on his experience in divorce and separation mediation. He is now prepared to mediate cases which involve substantial financial disputes regarding issues such as property division and alimony.
JONATHAN BECOMES CERTIFIED IN COLLABORATIVE PRACTICE
September 16, 2017
Jonathan became certified in Collaborative Practice after a two day training. Jonathan can now offer representation to clients seeking divorce who want legal representation but want to avoid the great expense and emotional turmoil of litigation.
The International Academy of Collaborative Professionals explains the process briefly on their website:
"Collaborative Practice is a voluntary dispute resolution process in which parties settle without resort to litigation.
In Collaborative Practice:
1. The parties sign a collaborative participation agreement describing
the nature and scope of the matter;
2. The parties voluntarily disclose all information which is relevant and
material to the matter that must be decided;
3. The parties agree to use good faith efforts in their negotiations to reach
a mutually acceptable settlement;
4. Each party must be represented by a lawyer whose representation
terminates upon the undertaking of any contested court proceeding;
5. The parties may engage mental health and financial professionals
whose engagement terminates upon the undertaking of any contested
court proceeding; and
6. The parties may jointly engage other experts as needed.
Collaborative Practice provides you and your spouse or partner with the support and guidance of your own lawyers without going to court. Additionally, Collaborative Practice allows you the benefit of coaches, child and financial specialists all working together with you on your team.
In Collaborative Practice, core elements form your commitments to this process, which are to:
Negotiate a mutually acceptable resolution without having courts decide issues.
Maintain open communication and information sharing.
Create shared solutions acknowledging the highest priorities of all."
Contact Jonathan if you might be interested in pursuing divorce through Collaborative Practice.
JONATHAN SWORN INTO MARYLAND BAR
June 20, 2017
I was sworn into the Maryland Bar in a ceremony in Annapolis on June 20, 2017. I can now represent clients in any Maryland or DC case.
MILESTONE THREE PARENT CUSTODY CASE IN NEW YORK
March 13, 2017
A judge in New York state granted joint custody to a third parental figure involved in the child's upbringing, which was an exciting development. This case does not have direct impact on Maryland or DC cases, but could become influential. You can read the judge's decision here.
JD LANE LAW LAUNCHED
JD Lane Law was formally launched in March of 2017, building on my more than six years of experience as an attorney, including years representing pro bono clients in family law and other areas.
JONATHAN BECOMES LICENSED TO PRACTICE SOME PRO BONO CASES IN MARYLAND
In the fall of 2016, I became licensed to practice some pro bono cases in Maryland as an out-of-state attorney, under the supervision of the Montgomery County Bar Foundation. This has allowed me to build experience in Maryland courts while waiting to become licensed in Maryland. (I took the February 2017 Maryland Bar Exam and am waiting on results as of April.)