With the recent election of a Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice who had made extremely incendiary and bigoted comments as a college student about the LGBT community, clients have posed various questions about navigating the legal system. Here are a few of the most common (answered in broad terms – of course, you should ask your attorneys about your specific situation).
Q: I haven’t disclosed my LGBT status to many people. Will I have to do so in a lawsuit over my car accident?
A: No – this is not a relevant question to whether you were hurt in a car accident. If an opposing lawyer asks the question, not only can we object, we can contact the judge for protection from the question. But please be open with your attorneys – the more we know about you and understand you, the better we can help you through the process. Remember, the things you disclose to us are confidential.
Q: I am married to a same-sex partner – does s/he have the right to bring a claim?
A: Yes – as Wisconsin’s horrible constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage was finally overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, your spouse has the right to bring a “Loss of Society and Companionship” claim like all married persons.
Q: How do juries react to the claim of a same-sex spouse?
A: The short answer is, we really don’t know yet. Because same-sex marriage was prohibited in Wisconsin for so long, we really don’t have a feel for how juries have reacted to claims. These cases are starting to enter the system more and more, and I expect we will have a better answer in a few years. For right now, you will want to discuss your particular situation with your lawyer.
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