You are listening to an episode of Ask the Experts on Talk 860 WWDB AM with host Steve O and weekly guest, LGBTQ legal expert Angela Giampolo.
This week’s topics:
• Pride Month review
• Impact on the LGBTQ community of the Roe V Wade reversal
• Clarence Thomas’ threat to same-sex marriage
• How anyone (especially LGBTQ couples) can protect themselves and their families through Life Planning
• The card every LGBTQ couple should have with them while traveling abroad
HOW DID YOU DECIDE TO START YOUR LGBTQ LAW FIRM?
My law firm has been around since 2008 here in Philadelphia, serving Pennsylvania and New Jersey. I specifically saw a hole that I wanted to fill for the LGBTQ community to provide legal services for all of our legal needs, not just the legal needs that arise because we’re LGBTQ. There are these legal needs that just as Americans in society, everybody needs. But the LGBTQ community was left to have to fill those legal needs through random lawyers that may not necessarily be comfortable with the fact that they’re LGBTQ. Giampolo Law Group was founded in 2008 to provide that safe place for the community to get their legal needs serviced. Philly Gay Lawyer is the advocacy arm of who I am and what I do.
At first, all throughout college undergrad, I thought I was going to be an international human rights lawyer. And I did it. I made it. I was working in Beijing on human trafficking. From there, I moved to Tanzania and worked at the war crimes tribunal for the Rwandan genocide. After a year and some change of being out of the country and working in both human trafficking and genocide, I realized that I could do it.
But at the end of a career of doing that, I would have been a shell of a human being. I was looking at my bosses, my supervisors, my colleagues, and they were just shells of human beings. They could only date one another because nobody understood what it was like to go through that. It was just a life that I didn’t necessarily want to sign up for. So I came back to Philadelphia, and I was unsure of what I wanted to do. So it was, as most things in the LGBTQ community, over a martini that I was having with two gay guy friends of mine. They told me how they had met with a lawyer for their business needs, and the lawyer wasn’t necessarily comfortable that they were partners or part of the LGBTQ community. Yet these friends retained this lawyer anyway because they had a legal need. It came to me, that I could fill that need. I could be the good corporate attorney, be the estate planning attorney, be more than cool with the fact that you’re gay, and be a member of the community. That’s when Giampolo Law Group was born.
WHAT DID YOU DO FOR PRIDE MONTH 2022?
I’ve been involved in a ton of events, from dinners and Pride festivals. Tonight is gay night at the Phillies. Tomorrow, the LGBTQ chamber has its annual event. The LGBTQ legal group also has an event. Right up until the 30th, there’s events.
The Pride Festival itself had 50,000 people. But especially now with the last few with the Dobbs decision, really taking these last few days of Pride and any events that we have during Pride, and really turning the focus on that and educating. That’s what Pride Month, in my opinion, has always been about, because for me, Pride is every day. It’s what I do all day, every day. So I really focus pride month on educating allies. If I just focused on spending Pride Month talking to the LGBTQ community, I’m preaching to the choir. But for one month out of the year, straight allies are perked up a little bit. They know it’s Pride Month. Every company, every hotel has a Pride flag, whereas we live it all day, every day, regardless of the month. It’s nice to see the LGBTQ representation, but it’s also an opportunity to really educate our allies.
HOW HAS THE REVERSAL OF ROE V. WADE IMPACTED THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY?
The reversal of Roe has a lot of disastrous potential impacts. This is definitely an education moment for the LGBTQ community. There are a lot of people within the community that are reeling upon reeling. There are people within the LGBTQ community with uteruses, so the decision directly affects them. But additionally, as LGBTQ folks, their rights can be on the chopping block. We are dealing with these immediate overwhelming emotions, and people don’t know what to do next.
WHAT CAN LGBTQ PEOPLE DO TO PROTECT THEMSELVES AFTER THE REVERSAL?
There is a lot that can be done, and it obviously depends on your particular situation. Do you have a family? Are you single? If you have a family, have you done second parent adoptions? If you haven’t, get them done from an estate planning perspective. Estate planning is the most important thing. Regardless of what happens with marriage equality, we have been using estate planning to recreate marriages for 100 years prior to being given the privilege and the rights and the benefits to marriage equality. I tell people all the time, marriage is great, marriage is wonderful: it bestows upon you 1138 state and federal rights. But estate planning documents give you power.
As an LGBTQ community, we’ve been doing it for years because it recreates our marriage. You may be availing yourself to the estate planning process out of fear right now, and that’s unfortunate, but I’m here to educate you and empower you. These are good documents, powerful documents that will be beneficial for you and your relationship moving forward. You’ll be better off for having done them.
WHAT ARE THE LGBTQ ESTATE PLANNING DOCUMENTS?
First and foremost, we have the last will and testament from an LGBTQ perspective. We also do a Revocable Living Trust. You each have your own wills, and then you have a joint revocable trust that ties the two of you together. That is what we use to create a marriage prior to marriage equality, and it protects you. Should anything happen two to three years from now, you have your Revocable Living Trust that recreates a marriage and has more power than a marriage. Everyone needs a will, but not everyone has an RLT.
The other documents include the durable power of attorney, the healthcare power of attorney, the living will, and the pet care document, which is my favorite document. The hospital visitation authorization form is the other very LGBTQ specific form. This is critical not only to allow your chosen family to be allowed into a U.S. hospital, but also if you are traveling in a foreign country that does not recognize your marriage. Each of these documents protects you and gives you legal power, not only know but if additional rights are taken away. Estate planning is an important process for all Americans, but especially the LGBTQ community.
Speaker 1 (00:05)
Hey, good morning, Philadelphia, and welcome to another Ask the Expert Show, where we bring you Philadelphia’s top experts in the field of legal, health, financial, and home improvement. As always, our first show is our legal show, and our second show today will also be a legal show with Michael. According to I want to apologize to everybody the last week because I got sick. Probably caught it from Angela. I actually just wanted to see her smile. And we have the famous clock behind us today, which means Angela is home in Philadelphia. Yes. Philadelphia. You’re not in Arizona. And where is there? Angela is showing us her cute little dog that just sits there. The whole show doesn’t cause any problems at all. Boy, you got him trained well.
Speaker 2 (01:12)
All day, every day. This is what he does.
Speaker 1 (01:15)
So, Angela, first of all, good to see you.
Speaker 2 (01:18)
It’s been way too long.
Speaker 1 (01:19)
Angela is with us. We’re so lucky to have her that she’s the first show every week at 10:00, ten to 1030. And I guess we’re going to get into a little bit of politics today. She’s smiling.
Speaker 2 (01:37)
We’re going to focus on the legal ramification of politics, but we’re going to focus on the legal results and legal ramifications of politics as opposed to politics itself.
Speaker 1 (01:50)
Well, first of all, I can’t wait to hear some of your responses. And I’ve got some questions for you, too.
Speaker 2 (01:57)
You always do.
Speaker 1 (01:58)
Yes. Angela, because we’ve been gone for the last couple of weeks, let’s just remind everybody who you are, what you do about your firm. I think it’s so important. And folks, I got to tell you something, folks got it sounding so Texas. Now, if we could just touch one person each show, I mean, we are accomplishing what Angela wants to do. So tell everybody about yourself and your law firm.
Speaker 2 (02:34)
Sure. So my law firm has been around since 2008 here in Philadelphia or Pennsylvania and New Jersey. I specifically saw a hole that I wanted to fill for the LGBTQ community to provide legal services for all of our legal needs, not just the legal needs that have to do with the fact that we’re LGBTQ+. So, in other words, we slip fall, we form businesses, we own real estate. Everyone in the United States is a.
Speaker 1 (03:09)
State of family law.
Speaker 2 (03:10)
Right. I was just going to say, everyone in the United States could potentially go through divorce, gay or straight. Right. So there are these legal needs that just as Americans in society, everybody needs. But the LGBTQ community was left to have to fill those legal needs through random lawyers that may not necessarily be comfortable with the fact that they’re LGBTQ plus. So providing that safe place for the community to be able to get their legal needs service. We were founded in 2008, and Giampolo Law Group is the law firm, and Philly Gay Lawyer is the advocacy piece, the advocacy arm of who I am and what I do. So the person who does radio shows and writes books and does podcasts and all that stuff was sort of like Philly Gay Lawyer as an advocate, if you will. At first, all throughout college undergrad, I thought I was going to be an international human rights lawyer. And I did it. I made it. I was working in Beijing and China and human trafficking. And from there, I moved to Tanzania and worked at the war crimes tribunal for the Rwandan genocide. And after a year and some change of being out of the country and working in both human trafficking and genocide, I realized that I could do it.
Speaker 2 (04:43)
But at the end of a career of doing that, I would have been a shell of a human being. I was looking at my bosses, my supervisors, my colleagues, and I mean, they were just shells of human beings. They could only date one another because nobody understood what it was like to go through that. And so it was just a life that I didn’t necessarily want to sign up for. So I came back to Philadelphia, and I was confused. I’m like, So here’s what I’ve worked the last ten years, all of college, two years after college, then all of law school, building up for this international human rights career. And then I got there and realized it’s not what I wanted to do. So it was, as most things in the LGBTQ community, over a martini that I was having with two gay guy friends of mine. And they were like, oh, I met with one of your kind today. And I was like a lesbian. And they’re like, no, not a lesbian, a lawyer. I’m like oh, my God. I’m sorry. Why would you meet with a lawyer? That sounds horrendous. And they owned a business together.
Speaker 2 (05:54)
One of them was in the United States illegally, didn’t have any documentation, and marriage equality was a long ways away. We’re talking 2007, if I open up the firm in 2008. So no idea that that was in our future. So being business owners, they went to a corporate attorney to do legal documents around the business and estate planning documents in order to recreate a marriage that they never thought that they’d be able to do, especially since the one would potentially never be able to become a citizen, which, 15 years later, I’m happy to report that he is a citizen. Then they started describing what meeting with that lawyer was like. They were like, It was fine. Skyscraper, 37th floor. We walked in, and the guy was like, oh, you’re brothers? No. You’re business partners? And they’re like, no. Friends. Another set of years? No. Oh, brothers? No. And they just kept saying, no. And then finally the air quotes came up, and his voice went down, and he’s like, Partners. Partners. And if ever you say something where air quotes come up and your voice goes down, just know that whatever it is you’re about to say is bigoted in some way, shape or form, and just don’t say it.
Speaker 2 (07:24)
And so I was like, well, you know what? Don’t worry about it. I know a few attorneys, corporate attorneys that are totally fine with LGBTQ community and be a lot better experience. And they said, no, we’ve cut him a retainer check for $5,000 regardless. And I said, even though it was so awkward? And they’re like, we don’t have a choice. He’s a good corporate attorney. It’s unfortunate that he’s not cool with us being gay, but we have a legal need. And so it was like, ding, ding, ding. I could solve both of those. Be the good corporate attorney, be the estate planning attorney, be more than cool with the fact that you’re gay, be a member of the community. And that’s when Giampolo Law Group was born.
Speaker 1 (08:06)
Angela we’ve talked about this on the show before because we’re in six other cities, too. And I have noticed in the last year, attorneys have added as part of their shingle that they deal in LGBTQ communities. And I don’t really believe them. I don’t really believe that’s where their heart is like it is with you. I think it’s a way to find new business. And if I’m wrong, I’m wrong. But you know what? I would rather put my trust in someone who understands and doesn’t just put up a shingle. And that’s what you do, right?
Speaker 2 (08:52)
Absolutely. I mean, post marriage equality, especially, a ton of lawyers have put the online version of shingle as a landing page and thrown up a landing page, put LGBTQ+ everywhere from an SEO perspective, so that when people are googling LGBTQ lawyer near me, that maybe they fall upon them. But I feel like we as a community, we’ve been pandered to, I should say a lot from outside groups wanting the LGBTQ dollar, if you will. And so we’re very astute. And I feel like as a community, we’re very astute at seeing through that. And even if they are straight allies, there’s nothing wrong with straight allies. There’s a couple of lawyers that I refer. I always tell my clients, it’s okay, they’re straight, but we joke. So it’s totally amazing. There are straight allied attorneys out there that mean it, but there’s a large percentage of just throw up a landing page to try to your point, get.
Speaker 1 (10:03)
One business you know, we’re going to be talking about. First of all, I guess now Pride Month is over.
Speaker 2 (10:13)
We have two more days. Don’t take our time away.
Speaker 1 (10:17)
You’ve been very involved in that.
Speaker 2 (10:20)
Speaker 1 (10:22)
Tell us what you’ve been doing this last month.
Speaker 2 (10:25)
A ton of events from dinners and Pride festivals. Tonight is gay games at the Phillies. So gay night at the Phillies tonight. Tomorrow, the gay chamber. The LGBTQ chamber has its annual event there’s also the LGBTQ legal group has an event. So I mean, right up until the 30th, there’s events.
Speaker 1 (10:50)
Has it always been a month long? Yes. Okay. You did just start.
Speaker 2 (10:55)
Yeah, we take our whole month.
Speaker 1 (10:58)
Okay. Is it different this year than it was last year?
Speaker 2 (11:05)
The Pride Festival itself had a ton of people at it, 50,000 people, and I think a lot to do with that. But especially now with the last few days ending with Pride just to sort of segue the Roe v. Wade reversal and its impact on the LGBTQ community, really taking these last few days of Pride and any events that we have during Pride, and really turning the focus on that and educating. That’s what Pride Month, in my opinion, has always been about, because for me, Pride is every day. It’s what I do all day, every day. And so I really focus pride month on educating allies. Right. The LGBTQ community. If I just focused on spending Pride Month talking to the LGBTQ community, I’m preaching to the choir. But for one month out of the year, straight allies are perked up a little bit. They know it’s Pride Month. Every company, every hotel has a Pride flag that they shared in yesterday big Pride flag. The Palomar. Big pride flag. Home Depot. Big pride flag. So everywhere you go these days, the big companies Google, when you go to Google, it’ll have its Pride. So straight allies are seeing it.
Speaker 2 (12:37)
We live it all day, every day. So it’s nice to see, oh, wow, we’re reflected there. But for our street counterparts, for them, it’s like, who is that person on Google? Because they always have historical people, right. So then they Google the person. So it’s an opportunity to really educate our allies. And especially with the reversal of Roe v. Wade and its impact on the LGBTQ community, it’s future potential impact is definitely an education moment for both the LGBTQ community. There are a lot of people within the community that are reeling upon reeling. Right. Because there are people within the LGBTQ community with uteruses. So just the decision in and of itself is impactful as humans within the LGBTQ community, but then as LGBTQ folks whose rights additionally can be on the chopping block. So they’re reeling upon reeling, and they don’t necessarily know what they need to do. And then same with our straight allies. That’s definitely been an interesting Pride Month, for sure.
Speaker 1 (13:54)
You just led me into my first question to you. How offended were you by Clarence Thomas? Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, I believe it was yesterday he came out and now he’s going to a whole another level.
Speaker 2 (14:14)
Yeah, I would say.
Speaker 1 (14:18)
Because you fought so hard to get these rights correct.
Speaker 2 (14:21)
Yeah, offended is definitely one word. But again, first and foremost, just on the decision itself, disgusted on the overturning of Roe v. Wade. RBG quotes. She’s deceased now, but looking back at old quotes from justices around women’s rights to their own body, right. And just everything that goes into it. And this is sort of the political piece, regardless of how you fall. There used to be a time in this country where we could just have debates and people could voice opinions, and it wasn’t offensive. It is if you’re Supreme Court justice. You’re not meant to have personal ones. You’re meant to write opinions that are based on the law. You’re not meant to have personal opinions. But as far as, like, you and I and any of the listeners, wherever the cookie crumbles, right, on your personal opinions, that’s what makes us the melting pot of the United States of America. On the overturning of Roe v. Wade, generally, absolutely disgusted, terrified. It’s barbaric. Biden’s at G7 Summit, and the six other leaders are looking at him completely baffled. Like, what’s going on? I’m Canadian originally. My family is like, what’s going on down there?
Speaker 2 (15:53)
What are you guys doing? It makes no sense. And so it’s really just crazy where we found ourselves. And so how can I be offended, right, that Clarence Thomas would just take it an inch further from what already happened? Like, how offended can I be? It’s like it’s like complete common sense. Actually, all he did was vocalize it, articulate it in a concurring opinion, which is baffling in and of itself, because, again, these opinions, they’re called opinions, but they’re meant to be legal opinions and in no way be based on personal opinion. And then the baffling piece with him himself as justice just player, and Thomas, it’s like, have you forgotten who you are? Look in the mirror as a black man in this country married to a white woman. Right. The whole basis of your marriage is based on Loving v. Virginia, which has provided the right privacy in your bedroom, in your home, which you’ve put in writing, you want to seek to overturn. There are studies done psychologically that wealthy people or people that become untouchable, like, they just rise with certain class in society, that they just feel that the rules don’t apply to them.
Speaker 2 (17:15)
But when that happens to the Supreme Court justice literally talking about a law that impacts him, but in a way that is oblivious to the fact that it impacts him, it’s just, from psychoanalysis standpoint, baffling that he could be coming at the right to privacy knowing that Loving v. Virginia is based on it and his own marriage to his wife is based on it.
Speaker 1 (17:54)
First of all, give everybody your phone number.
Speaker 2 (17:56)
Sure. Yeah. We need to go to break. 215-6452 416. You can email me at [email protected] and my website is giampololoaw.com.
Speaker 1 (18:08)
I just want to preface this, and we don’t have a lot of time, and we’re going to get back into it again next week when you’re with the show. This is not a debate. I’m going to ask you some questions, and I really want you I’m doing this because I want people to hear your opinion, which I have so much respect for, but I’m not debating this at all. Curious, laws are changing, but is abortion really being taken away? Is it more it’s going to be on a state level and it’s up to the state, but people can if they don’t like it, they can vote these people out.
Speaker 2 (19:09)
Right? So why don’t we do this just because we only have eight minutes and we don’t really go to 30.
Speaker 1 (19:14)
We need 3 hours today.
Speaker 2 (19:16)
Right. Being an LGBTQ show and only having about five to six minutes, I’m going to ignore that question because it won’t help the LGBTQ community ultimately. So what I want to focus on is what can people do just from an LGBTQ standpoint? Right? So Roe v. Wade, the reversal. Let’s talk about that more next week in terms that particular question. But if you’re listening and you’re part of the LGBTQ community and you’re upon reeling from the decision, just as a human in American society, but then also personally as an LGBTQ person, what do you do? And there’s a lot that can be done, and it obviously depends on your particular situation. Do you have a family? Are you single? If you have a family, have you done second parent adoptions? If you haven’t, get them done from an estate planning perspective. Estate planning. Estate planning. Estate planning. Regardless of what happens with marriage equality, we have been using estate planning to recreate marriages for 100 years prior to being given the privilege and the rights and the benefits to marriage equality. So I tell people all the time, marriage is great, marriage is wonderful.
Speaker 2 (20:44)
It bestows upon you 1138 state and federal rights. I never thought I’d agree with Rand Paul on anything, but if you wanted to make marriage a religious institution, then you should have tied 1138 state and federal rights to it. So the Supreme Court didn’t say, I’m not going to he double hockey sticks. I may very well be going there, but I’m going with 1138 states and federal rights. Okay? And that’s what the Supreme Court said, is you cannot deny those rights from this group to this group. Okay? But either way, those are rights, benefits and privileges. They do not give you power. I got passionate around this topic, around the Terry Schaivo case. A woman, Pennsylvania couple, born and raised Pennsylvania, married, moved to Florida. She got injured in Florida, and they didn’t have these documents. So here’s a married straight couple in the 90s, early 2000s, did not have these documents. Healthcare, power of attorney, living will, advance directives, all things. And she sat on life support for twelve years. Why? Because the husband had no more power than the mother. Okay? So they were married, and that marriage brought them 1138 state and federal rights and privileges, benefits.
Speaker 2 (22:05)
Whatnot? But these documents give you power. And so without those documents, he had no more power than the mother to pull the plug because they were young. They didn’t think they needed documents.
Speaker 2 (22:19)
Well, yeah, I mean, all the reasons why they did it, so many people, they owned the home. They should have had the documents. But 27% of straight people do estate planning. It’s not a high percentage at all. It’s just something that a lot of people don’t do. We’ve been doing it for years because it recreates our marriage. So all to say that you may be availing yourself to the estate planning process out of fear right now, and that’s unfortunate, but I’m here to educate you and empower you so that you understand that you should have availed yourself to the process earlier, that it’s a good thing that you should do from an eyebrow up standpoint and not a fear based protectionist standpoint. Like, these are good documents, powerful documents that will be beneficial for you and your relationship moving forward. There are estate planning reasons forget LGBTQ protection of your marriage reasons, but just purely estate planning reasons that you’ll be better off for having done them. So what are the estate planning, LGBTQ estate planning documents? First and foremost, we have the last will and testament, obviously, from an LGBTQ perspective. We also do a Revocable Living Trust.
Speaker 2 (23:37)
We’ve been doing? Revocable living trust. So you each have your own wills, and then you have a joint revocable trust that ties the two of you together. And that is what we use to create a marriage prior to marriage equality. So we would do that now. So you’re protected. You have all the benefits of a Revocable Living Trust. And should anything happen two to three years from now, you have your Revocable Living Trust that recreates a marriage and has more power than a marriage. Okay, but everyone needs a will. Not everyone has an RLT. LGBTQ folks. You’re going to get an RLT, and you’re good. The durable power of attorney, the healthcare power of attorney, the living will, the pet care document, which is my favorite document, and I think I said the living will. Hospital visitation authorization form is the other very LGBTQ specific form. I’d be doing those documents even if Hillary Clinton had won, because while in the United States and still have marriage equality, hospital visitation is not a concern for married couples. So even if marriage was not on the chopping block, you are only considered married in 29 countries out of 197 or whatever it is that fly a flag.
Speaker 2 (24:57)
So you slip fall on the Great Wall of China, you’re not considered married. You get nipped by a lion. In Tanzania, it’s illegal to be gay. You don’t want to be yelling, that’s my husband. That’s my wife. Right? So it’s a hospital visitation authorization form that we shrink down. Laminate. You hold on to one another’s, and it’s a little bit larger than a credit card, smaller than a passport, and it’s your passcode collect $200 and get in that hospital room. You can’t make any decisions. No power. You’re texting me to fax or email over the healthcare power of attorney, but at least you’ve got a number. So all before the end of the show, that is what you can do.
Speaker 1 (25:40)
And I want to touch on this one next week and we’ll go into this more next week also because I think the subject is going to be around for a while. Angela, I love doing the show with you and I just think that when you have so much respect for someone as I do with you, and we can share that with our listeners, it just gives our listeners new tools to work with that they probably never even knew about. And that’s what’s so special about you Angela. Give everybody both your phone number and your website address.
Speaker 2 (26:21)
Sure. 215-6452 415 and giampololaw.com is the website. And feel free to email me directly at [email protected].
Speaker 1 (26:32)
And see her head never gets big after I get through with my spiel. We’re glad you’re safe and back home and next week, and it will be another great show.
Speaker 2 (26:43)
Speaker 1 (26:44)
What is his name?
Speaker 2 (26:46)
Niko. N-I-K-O. Yes.
Speaker 1 (26:49)
Nico is your co star. Angela, thank you. We’ll see you next week. Be sure to tune in every Tuesday at 10:00 a.m., when Angela Giampolo is the guest on Ask The Experts on 860 Wwdbam and [email protected].