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November 5, 2016

Elizabeth Schwartz Talks Legal Guide To Marriage and LGBT Equality (AUDIO)

Huffington Post
By Charlotte Robinson
This week I talked with attorney Elizabeth Schwartz about her best-selling new book Before I Do: A Legal Guide to Marriage, Gay and Otherwise published by The New Press. In this must-read book leading gay and lesbian rights attorney Elizabeth Schwartz spells out the range of practical considerations couples should address before tying the knot. She explores the fundamental rights marriage provides and those it does not. With cameos from some of the most prominent LGBT professionals, Schwartz explains all of the implications of marriage from name changes and getting a license to taxes, insurance, Social Security and more. There are also substantial chapters on estate planning, pre-and post-nuptial agreements and organizing finances making Before I Do relevant for all couples, young and older and a crucial handbook for anyone considering marriage because as this book maps out, just because you can get married does not mean you should. I talked to Elizabeth about her inspiration for writing Before I Do: A Legal Guide to Marriage, Gay and Otherwise and her spin on our LGBT issues.

With the presidential election just days away, when asked what her personal commitment is to LGBT civil rights Schwartz stated:

Right now I’m really focused on this election. I’m really focused on the ways which electing a Democratic president and taking back the Congress, the ways in which that is extremely important on so many levels for the LGBT community, for broader progressive values, for the communities with whom we stand in solidarity. There are so many important aspects to this election up and down the ballot, but certainly as an attorney and activist in the LGBT legal community, I’m extremely focused on our Supreme Court. The statistics show that the next president is likely to appoint up to three Supreme Court Justices just sort of based on the math. Certainly we know we have one vacancy and it’s likely that there will be another two in the next four or eight years. So I say to folks who aren’t sure, or who may not be in love with Hillary, or who think she’s got it on lock and are not worried, or they were Bernie people or they are just not so sure, I say to please just think about the Supreme Court because that is so incredibly important. So yes, four years or eight years are going to go by in a heartbeat but of course the Supreme Court, they’re appointed for life and that’s a long, long time.

Elizabeth Schwartz has been practicing law since 1997 and is a nationally recognized advocate for the legal rights for our LGBT community. Elizabeth also serves as co-chair of the national board of SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders). She is a member of the National Family Law Advisory Council of NCLR and has served as pro bono counsel in several cases that helped overturn Florida’s bigoted 1977 ban forbidding gays and lesbians from adopting children. Elizabeth received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania in 1993 and her Juris Doctor, cum laude, from the University of Miami in 1997. Elizabeth lives in Miami Florida with her wife writer Lydia Martin.
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