Despite the Supreme Court’s recent rulings on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), committed same-sex couples don’t enjoy the same legal protections that traditional marriages have in Louisiana, at least for now.
When it comes to matters of law, choosing an attorney that understands your concerns as a client should be a priority. Loyola Law School graduates and law partners Ryan Delaney and Brandon Robb certainly recognize and are addressing the underserved legal needs of the gay community. While there have always been LGBT-friendly attorneys, Delaney & Robb is the first law firm in the state of Louisiana that specifically markets itself as such. Although they’ve only been open since the first week of June, clients are already coming in, understandably emotional. “[They] almost start crying. [Our clients] never thought there would be a firm openly supporting them,” states Delaney. Being openly gay themselves, Delaney & Robb provides a comfort zone from which to work. “We have their best interests in mind because we are in the same boat [as our clients].”
Delaney & Robb offers the same types of services as traditional law firms, such as estate planning, family law, custody issues, medical powers of attorney, and real estate legalities. However, gay couples “don’t have the same legal avenues that traditional marriage have,” so it is necessary to utilize certain tools, such as power of attorney, when necessary.
Robb states that a common misconception is that gay rights “automatically refers to HIV, AIDS discrimination, and medical needs,” but is quick to point out that gay couples are just like everybody else and have the same concerns that straight couples do. People divert to discrimination, but he emphasizes that individuals need to look past their own religious views and “see the privileges that people lack.” For example, without the protections of marriage, your partner is no more than a “legal stranger” in the eyes of the law, which is pertinent in matters concerning adoption, purchasing a home, or any other important joint decision that would otherwise be protected for straight, married couples.
Unfortunately, “Since [gay] marriage isn’t legal here, it [the DOMA overturn] doesn’t do a whole lot for couples here,” states Delaney, but with the recent changes in gay rights, new questions arise. “If a couple got married in a legal state, what does that mean?” Delaney wonders. “Does the federal government extend tax benefits to them? On a whole, it was a pretty good step in the right direction. It’s a good moral standing, even if it doesn’t have a legal standing.”
Delaney is optimistic for the future of gay rights in Louisiana. “I think it’s going to accelerate progress. Local polls are showing people are in favor.” For now, he suggests that his clients take the legal steps that they can “in the absence of marriage equality in the state of Louisiana.”
For more information, visit DelaneyAndRobb.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (504)267-9700. The law firm of Delaney & Robb is located at 2800 Veterans Memorial Boulevard, Suite 213, in Metairie.