President Obama’s Statement on the Supreme Court Ruling

Here’s President Obama’s statement on the Supreme Court ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act 

President Obama released the statement below after the Supreme Court mades its ruling this morning on the Defense of Marriage Act. Check it out, then forward this message to share it with your friends. 

I applaud the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act. This was discrimination enshrined in law. It treated loving, committed gay and lesbian couples as a separate and lesser class of people. The Supreme Court has righted that wrong, and our country is better off for it. We are a people who declared that we are all created equal – and the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. 

 This ruling is a victory for couples who have long fought for equal treatment under the law; for children whose parents’ marriages will now be recognized, rightly, as legitimate; for families that, at long last, will get the respect and protection they deserve; and for friends and supporters who have wanted nothing more than to see their loved ones treated fairly and have worked hard to persuade their nation to change for the better.  

 So we welcome today’s decision, and I’ve directed the Attorney General to work with other members of my Cabinet to review all relevant federal statutes to ensure this decision, including its implications for Federal benefits and obligations, is implemented swiftly and smoothly. 

 On an issue as sensitive as this, knowing that Americans hold a wide range of views based on deeply held beliefs, maintaining our nation’s commitment to religious freedom is also vital. How religious institutions define and consecrate marriage has always been up to those institutions. Nothing about this decision – which applies only to civil marriages – changes that.   

 The laws of our land are catching up to the fundamental truth that millions of Americans hold in our hearts: when all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free.

DOMA and Prop 8 are Dead, But Same-Sex Marriage Bans Remain

by Kate Paine

Today, the United States Supreme Court issued two marriage-equality opinions that—though awaited by many—were surprising to few. In a 5-4 vote, the Court declared the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional, because it treats one category of legally-married couples (same-sex couples) differently than another category of legally-married couples (opposite-sex couples), for the  principal purpose of demeaning those in a lawful same-sex marriage.  Such absence of a legitimate purpose behind the discrimination violates the Equal Protection Clause to the United States Constitution.

 In another 5-4 vote, the Court found that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals lacked standing (i.e. power) to hear the appeal of the Prop 8 case in the first place, and so the Court made no decision regarding the constitutionality of Proposition 8, or similar state laws that prohibit same-sex marriage. The result of this decision is that same-sex marriage will likely once again be permitted in California, but states that do not yet permit same-sex marriage will not be required to do so.

 For more information, see:  (DOMA) and (Prop 8)


Assisted Reproductive Terminology


By: Maureen B. Cohon, Esquire

 Our firm represents many clients who are seeking our legal services to complete an adoption matter or who need a consultation in deciding on the many ways of “making the baby”.

There are now so many ways of reproduction that I am including a list of the various terminology that may be helpful to understanding what your choices are.

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

IVF is a process in which an egg is fertilized by sperm outside the body (in vitro). Fertilized oocytes (embryos) are cultured for 3-6 days and then transferred to the uterus with the intention of establishing a successful pregnancy.

Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD)/Pre-implantation Genetic Screening (PGS)

Pre-implantation genetic testing is a technique used to identify genetic or chromosomal abnormalities in embryos created through IVF before pregnancy.

Embryo Cryopreservation

Embryo cryopreservation is preserving an embryo at extreme sub-zero temperatures.  It is typically used when there are excess embryos from an IVF cycle,  Use of cryopreserved embryos allows patients to have an additional attempt at pregnancy without needing to undergo ovarian stimulation and oocyte retrieval.

Semen Cryopreservation

Semen cryopreservation is a procedure to preserve sperm.

Oocyte Cryopreservation

Oocyte cryopreservation (egg freezing) is a novel technology in which a woman’s oocytes are extracted, frozen and stored.  Later, when she is ready to become pregnant (or if the eggs have been donated for use by different intended parents), the eggs can be thawed, fertilized, and transferred to the uterus as embryos.

Sperm Donation

Sperm donation is donation by a man of his sperm with the intention that it be used to impregnate a woman who is not his sexual partner.  Sperm donation is now used widely.  Sperm is often donated through sperm banks, which are subject to FDA and varying state regulations, including restrictions on the number of offspring related to each donor, and screening for communicable disease.

Oocyte Donation

Oocyte donation is the process by which a woman provides several oocytes in order to help another woman achieve pregnancy.  Oocyte donation involves the process of in vitro fertilization as the eggs are fertilized in the laboratory, typically by the sperm of the oocyte recipient’s partner.

Embryo Donation

Embryo donation is defined as the giving – generally without compensation – of embryos remaining after one individual’s or couple’s IVF cycle, to another person or couple, followed by the placement of those embryos into the recipient women’s uterus to achieve pregnancy.


Surrogacy is an arrangement in which a woman carries and delivers a child for another couple in person.  The surrogate may be the child’s genetic mother (called traditional surrogacy), or she may be genetically unrelated to the child (called gestational surrogacy).  In a traditional surrogacy, the child may be conceived via home artificial insemination using fresh or frozen sperm or via intrauterine insemination performed in a medical setting.  Gestational surrogacy involves the transfer of embryos created using IVF.

This is from part of an article written by Jacqueline Gutmann, M.D., Reproductive Medicine Associates of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 

Copyright 2013 Pennsylvania Bar Institute.  Reprinted with permission. 




Pittsburgh’s Black PRIDE Celebration


Pittsburgh’s Black PRIDE Celebration will take place from Monday, July 22 through Sunday, July 28, 2013. The festivities will include various events around the city that include a variety of venues and culminating in the classic Rainbows in the Park PRIDE Cookout.  Additionally, this year they will be kicking off the weeklong celebration with an Opening Reception on Monday, July 22, 2013.

For more information, please please feel free to contact the Committee via email at or by accessing their website at


German High Court Declares Same Tax Benefits for Same-Sex Couples in Civil Unions


Gay rights campaigners won a victory over the German government.

To see the whole Washington Post story, follow the link below:

Oregon Ninth Circuit’s Standing Committee Finds DOMA Unconstitutional

A single Ninth Circuit judge, in his capacity as chair of the Circuit’s Standing Committee on Federal Public Defenders, recently ruled In the Matter of Alison Clark that the federal Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) and Oregon’s Measure 36 violate the United States and Oregon Constitutions by unlawfully discriminating against same-sex couples.

To read the full Lexology story, click on the link below: