Here is our interview with Philadelphia based lawyer Angela D. Giampolo. She is the founder of PhillyGayLawyer.com and Giampolo Law Group whose practice focuses on, among LGBT law, corporate transactions, civil rights, employment discrimination, real estate, domestic and international adoptions, and estates. We spoke with her about the SCOTUS decision and what we can expect to happen now.
Where did you grow up and where do you live now?
I grew up in a small town in Quebec and live in Philadelphia now after having lived in Beijing and Tanzania working on human rights issues.
How long have you been a lawyer specializing in LGBT rights?
The whole time I’ve had my firm – so 8 years. I created GLG to provide a safe place for LGBT individuals to have all of their legal needs serviced – especially those that impact them negatively because they’re gay.
Are you in a state that allowed gay marriage? Are you married?
Yes, PA legalized it last year but no, I’m not. I come from a long line of straight people (Canadian) that never got married and it hasn’t been something I grew up wanting. But I want to have the right – and I think that’s what makes me a great marriage advocate.
Did you feel hopeful that SCOTUS would do the right thing or were you skeptical?
I knew they would do the right thing but I’m skeptical about the future. Gay rights is like the Wackamole game – every time we win on one issue, they pop up somewhere else! I think the next wave of litigation is going to be around the First Amendment and the line between people’s religious liberties and my right to live as an LGBT person in the US.
How does it feel to have this ruling come down?
Even if the opposition begins to chip away at this latest decision, gay marriage aside, what is the next big battle in the world of LGBT rights?
The next big battle (aside from marriage equality) for the LGBT community is employment non-discrimination. Getting married is a choice – and one that not everyone wants to make. But 99.9999% of Americans HAVE to go to work every day and to not be able to take your WHOLE self to work is highly detrimental. Studies show that affirming work places have more productive employees – they are happier, come to work more often and exhibit less “absenteeism” – in my opinion it behooves companies to not have an open and accepting work environment because if it makes dollars, it makes sense! Here is a great It Gets Better video that we did that speaks to this.
Do you sometimes feel like the way politics have turned so religious has a lot to do with the lashing out against LGBT rights?
The religious turn that took place a decade ago, or maybe even earlier, has everything to do with the main divide in the US around LGBT rights. LGBT rights was literally a man-made issue and so is religion – so it makes sense.
You’re a Canadian living in the US, has it been frustrating to see them lag so far behind while in your home country gay weddings have been legal for so long. ten years?
Absolutely! And not just frustrating personally while living here in the US but every time I went home, I saw how it could be. I saw the thriving and supportive LGBT community – I saw how straight people loved being involved and allies were everywhere. My brother’s favourite week of the year is gay pride even through he’s a 38 year old straight guy. Why? Because everyone is happy and the music is great, he says!