Legal seminar covers important topics

Lesbian attorney presents 'Gay Law 101'

by Matt Comer  Editor  editor@goqnotes.com
Published: October 3, 2009 in A&E / Life&Style

In America, the law is supposed to offer equal protection to all citizens. For LGBT individuals and couple alike, the law is often an enemy.

The majority of LGBT couples don’t have equal access to civil marriage. In some states, including North Carolina, LGBT employees aren’t protected from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender-identity. LGBT parents find it difficult to navigate adoption statutes and procedures.

Charlotte attorney Connie Vetter plans on helping community members answer some of the challenging legal questions affecting their daily lives. On Oct. 15, she’ll present “Gay Law 101” at the Lesbian & Gay Community Center in Charlotte.

“It is going to be a bit of a potpourri with a little bit on a lot of different things,” she said. “We’ll talk about doing wills and healthcare power of attorney agreements, give an update on adoptions and in particular second parent adoptions.”

Vetter’s colleague, Chris Connely, will be present to talk about criminal issues, especially those affecting gay men.

“I imagine we’ll also touch on gay marriage,” Vetter said. “We get a lot of that in my office. Questions about what that means in North Carolina.”

North Carolina does not recognize marriage between same-sex couples and has a statute specifically banning such recognition. The state doesn’t have a constitutional amendment addressing the topic.

That’s good news for couples entering into joint healthcare power of attorney agreements and wills. In some states with constitutional amendments defining marriage, some challenges have been filed claiming joint power of attorney agreements can’t be recognized.

“I’m not aware of any problems people have had in North Carolina,” Vetter said.

The “Gay Law 101” presentation isn’t meant to be an in-depth study of the law, the attorney said, but she’ll try to give an overview of as many topics as she can. She also wants to leave time for a question and answer period.

She said her Oct. 15 presentation will be of benefit to a wide range of people, but that it will specifically focus on gay and lesbians and couples.

“It really is such a short amount of time,” Vetter said. “I’ve done full seminars just on transgender issues.”

The program will be held Oct. 15, 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m. at the Lesbian & Gay Community Center of Charlotte, 820 Hamilton St., Suite B11. For more information, visit www.gaycharlotte.com or www.cjvlaw.com.