By Tressler Attorney Matthew J. O'Malley | June 1, 2022
It’s June, and Tressler LLP is again recognizing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride Month. In 2020, I first shared my story of coming out of the closet. This year, I want to continue that reflection with the realization that adversity drives us to a better place and can propel our communities toward a more just society. Nowhere is this more evident than when we examine LGBTQ legislative history.
Click here to view this timeline in full-screen mode.
While the above timeline towards progress is far from exhaustive, it shows incredible bravery these litigants had in order to fight for equality. This June, I cannot help but reflect on these people and their contributions. It has a considerable impact on the quality of my life and the lives of millions of LGBTQ Americans. In fact, if it had not been for the Obergefell v. Hodges ruling (a mere seven years ago), I would not have been able to get married last year.
When my husband and I were planning our wedding ceremony, we wanted to honor its importance. We had the following message read at our ceremony:
“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. Marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”
My husband and I are living testament that the laws in this land have a direct impact on the persons subject to them. Further, as a lawyer, I recognize that I am in a direct position to promote justice and take that duty seriously. I implore you that if you are in the position to advocate for minorities (of all kinds) and in whatever roles you serve, you do so. It remains clear that this work impacts lives for the better.
In closing and given the recent legislation being passed in several states, I ask you to think about these three questions. Why is it “inappropriate” for children in K-3rd grade to learn about the existence of gay people? Is it inappropriate for them to learn about the existence of straight people at that age? What does this say about our society?
Happy Pride Month!
Supporting the LGBTQ Community: How You Can Help
LGBTQ Pride Month also serves as an important reminder that we need to continue to strive to be better and remember that not everyone is as fortunate. I encourage you to join this effort personally and/or within your community. If you can, please support the various organizations that do this essential and admirable work daily. There are many local and national ones to choose from, but some of my favorites include:
The Night Ministry is a Chicago-based organization that works to provide housing, health care and human connection to members of the community struggling with poverty or homelessness. They provide these vital services to LGBT+ youth who are disproportionately impacted by poverty and homelessness often times because of unsupportive or even dangerous living environments. Click here to donate.
Equality Illinois is an organization that works to build awareness by advancing equal treatment and full acceptance of the LGBTQ community. Volunteering for them is made easy – click here to fill out an application.
Given some of the adversity I have faced, The Trevor Project is near and dear to my heart. It is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ young people. Click here to donate.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Matt O'Malley is a member of Tressler's Litigation Practice Group and Diversity & Inclusion Committee. He advises his clients on litigation strategies, skillfully representing them through all phases of litigation. Matt has a track record of success in both bench and jury trials. He focuses on the client’s resolution goals, whether that is achieved through trial, settlement conference, mediation or arbitration. Matt serves his clients in a variety of complex litigated and non-litigated matters, including actions for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, indemnity and contribution, professional malpractice, personal injury, general corporate, LGBTQ issues, employment discrimination and civil rights violations. Matt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABOUT TRESSLER LLP
Tressler LLP is a national law firm headquartered in Chicago, with eight offices located in five states - California, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Tressler attorneys are experienced counselors and advocates who appear in state and federal courts, and in governmental proceedings, throughout the United States. Many Tressler attorneys devote their practice to the representation of the insurance industry in coverage analysis and resolution, litigation, underwriting consultation, product development, claims management and reinsurance. Tressler attorneys also represent clients in commercial litigation, employment, local government law, corporate transactions and intellectual property law. Contact us to learn more.