Client Spotlight: Attorney and LGBTQ Advocate Charlie Spiegel Discusses How to Prepare for Growing Your Family

Written by Hayley Thompson, Managing Director, First Republic Bank

Charlie Spiegel began his career in real estate law, but a passion for helping people in the LGBTQ community and others navigate the complexities of getting married and forming families — whether through adoption or surrogacy — inspired him to move full time into family law over a decade ago. The founding Executive Director of Our Family Coalition, the San Francisco-based attorney recently received the organization’s Groundbreaker Award for his lifelong advocacy on behalf of LGBTQ families.

We recently chatted with Charlie about what couples considering adoption or surrogacy can expect, how they can prepare for what he calls a “marathon of sprints,” and how the LGBTQ adoption and surrogacy landscape has changed over the years.

Read the full article on First Republic Bank website

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Press Release: Our Family Coalition Celebrates 21 Years

PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION
April 24, 2017

CONTACT:
Polly Pagenhart, Policy & Communications Director
(415) 981-1960, polly@ourfamily.org

OUR FAMILY COALITION CELEBRATES 21 YEARS

ADVOCATING FOR LGBTQ FAMILIES AT NIGHT OUT GALA

Congresswoman Barbara Lee, AT&T CA President Ken McNeely,

and Noe Valley Attorney Charlie Spiegel to be honored

SAN FRANCISCO – On Friday, May 12, 2017, Our Family Coalition (OFC), California’s premier LGBTQ family organization, brings together 400 attendees to celebrate the organization’s 21 years of advocacy, education, and community-building. The gala event brings together elected officials, corporate sponsors, community partners, and major donors, many of whom are LGBT people with children.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee will receive the Notable Ally Award at the gala, and  President of AT&T California Ken McNeely will receive the Luminary Award.

Noe Valley neighbor and attorney Charlie Spiegel will receive the Groundbreaker Award. His legal practice includes prenuptial planning, divorce and custody mediation, adoption, surrogacy and real estate matters.  His lifelong advocacy on behalf of LGBTQ families–much of which stems from his practice, and much of which is above and beyond it–will be recognized at the gala.

Charlie helped co-found Our Family Coalition, which emerged as a single non-profit serving the Bay Area from a merger of San Francisco-based All Our Families Coalition and Berkeley-based Our Family.  Charlie has also served as Co-Chair of the National Board of Lambda Legal, and has been a longtime organizer of Gay Future Dads, a Northern California group supporting prospective and current gay fathers. Over the course of several decades, he has helped countless LGBTQ people on their family-building journeys.

“I am honored Congresswoman Barbara Lee will be there and honored as well–though I am more likely the ‘as well,’” jokes Spiegel.  “Michelle Meow is the usually hilarious political comic MC.  The work I’m being recognized for has been about helping make sure LGBT couples are included fully in family law settings.  That work goes hand-in-hand with the number of LGBT families who OFC has supported in coming and being out, being legally protected, and thereby changing the political landscape for marriage equality.  That work is now redoubled by OFC and all of us.”

Now in its 9th year, Night Out has established itself as the only event exclusively supporting LGBT families with children in the Bay Area. The general public is warmly invited to this adults only event. Tickets are on sale now at ourfamily.org/give-back/night-out.
# # #
Our Family Coalition advances equity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) families with children through support, education, and advocacy. We seek to create an inclusive and just world where all LGBTQ families with children have visibility and opportunities to thrive as valued participants in our schools, institutions, and communities.

Our mailing address is:
Our Family Coalition
1385 Mission St., #340
San Francisco, CA 94103

Downloadable PDF version

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May 10, 2017 : The Happier Side of Family Law Practice? Adoption & Surrogacy Event

The Family Law Section of the Barristers Club presents
Young lawyers and those in transition often think of adoption and surrogacy as the happier side of family law-we examine.

Speaker
Charles Spiegel, Esq.
CharlesSpiegelLaw

May 10, 2017
12:00 – 1:30 p.m.
MCLE: 1 Hour
Event Code: B171266
BASF Conference Center
301 Battery Street
3rd Floor
San Francisco, CA

Register and Learn More

Topics

Adoption and surrogacy are often thought of as the happier side of family law. Charlie Spiegel, divorce and custody mediator and collaborative practitioner, discusses how that may or may not be the case.
• Different types of common adoptions
• International adoption and surrogacy – challenges and risks
• Interstate differences
• Advocating for the kids: open adoption, open surrogacy?
• “Contact after” agreements
Barristers Family Law Section Co-Chairs: Amanda Gordon, Dora Larson, and Anna Rudman Santos

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May 12, 2017 : Our Family Coalition’s Annual Night Out Event

View the press release here

Early bird tickets available for 14 days!
Purchase your tickets here today.
This event will sell out.

For more information, email us at NightOut@OurFamily.org

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This revolution will not be televised

President Barack Obama. Photo: Rudy K. Lawidjaja

Originally posted on the Bay Area Reporter

“The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” the title and refrain written by Gil Scott-Heron in 1970, is far better known than its last line: “[t]he Revolution will be live.” In fact, 1970 was also the year I finished elementary school knowing I was different and “wrong,” without knowing how and why.

The leaders in the revolution to overcome Trump and Trumpism won’t be as old as me, you will be young, a thought first from my brother in the days after this 2016 election. Our generation, with many others, brought LGBTQ rights from Harvey Milk to marriage equality, yet likely does not have the ingenuity (never mind energy!) to lead the fight to overcome this defeat. But I am sure another younger generation does. What’s then an older person to do?

Milk and Martin Luther King Jr. each gave us thoughts on how we can mentor and support, and inspire this next generation, which I remembered at the first post-election Friday night service at Congregation Sha’ar Zahav. The regular weekly service was expanded to include small groups talking about the election, and I was paired with a 20-something man, who said he didn’t have any hope. My immediate response, which I stick to even today: my generation can afford not to have hope, but your generation can’t afford not to.

“… [T]he young gay people in Altoona, Pennsylvania, and the Richmond, Minnesotas, who are coming out and hear Anita Bryant on television and her story. The only thing they have to look forward to is hope. And you have to give them hope. Hope for a better world, hope for a better tomorrow, hope for a better place to come to if the pressures at home are too great. Hope that all will be all right. Without hope, not only are the gays, but the blacks, the seniors, the handicapped, the ‘us-es.’ The ‘us-es’ will give up. … And you and you and you – you have to give people hope.” – Supervisor Harvey Milk, June 24, 1977, San Francisco.

In 1977, after my first mostly unhappy year, I left college without knowing the cause, but knowing I could no longer only fantasize for the high school then college lacrosse (swimming, track, etc.) team. Away, I found real flesh and blood gay men.

On November 18, 1978, nine days before his death, Milk predicted “… I cannot prevent some people from feeling angry and frustrated and mad in response to my death, but I hope they will take the frustration and madness and instead of demonstrating or anything of that type, I would hope that they would take the power and I would hope that five, ten, one hundred, a thousand would rise. I would like to see every gay lawyer, every gay architect come out, stand up, and let the world know. That would do more to end prejudice overnight than anybody could imagine. I urge them to do that, urge them to come out. Only that way will we start to achieve our rights. … All I ask is for the movement to continue, and if a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door …”

In the fall of 1978, I came out to my parents in an Arby’s, not as gay but as president of the LGBTQ (for questioning) Student Alliance, and proceeded to be part of a generation who took the power Milk spoke of, whether as a “gay lawyer” (like me), or any other occupation or position. And of course, we demonstrated, over and over again.

At the same post-Trump election service at my synagogue, the other words that moved me most I remembered from King, himself, of course, a Baptist minister. “Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!” – Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., August 28, 1963, Washington, D.C.

I realized then, for me, President Barack Obama took us up to that mountaintop, and showed us the land beyond, we just thought we were already there. He is not guiding us the whole way there, and we now know it will be a much, much harder trip, but he has given us a vision of hope for what it will be like to get there, which we owe to share our confidence about with another generation.

In 1963, I was 5 years old, about to start kindergarten, carried on my father’s shoulders to see the Lincoln Memorial and King better, nearby the place where the Women’s March on Washington/Day of Justice will take place on Saturday January 21. Rather than attending the march herself, San Francisco lawyer Deborah Wald decided to raise funds to send a group of young women of color instead. She has partnered with Peer Resources, a group providing youth leadership development within San Francisco’s public high schools, and together they will be sending 16 young women of color and three chaperones to Washington. Costs are estimated at $1,500 per student, and any tax-deductible contributions are appreciated and payable to “CI/Peer Resources” (www.peerresources.org ).

For me, I’ve had the honor to share these thoughts with a group of 40 20-something people (as part of Keshet at a Moishe House in San Francisco). I’m supporting a young transgender man and speaking out about trans rights – from my relatively secure position as a gay man – where trans people may now be rightly more afraid. I’m encouraging tax-deductible contributions before year end for national LGBT legal groups and for Our Family Coalition (www.ourfamily.org). It’s now being run by the young firebrand, interim Executive Director Renata Moreira-Bilella, who fits the bill of a new generation of leadership.

The week of Monday, January 16 is the holiday dedicated to King and it will have particular meaning: King’s legacy will be celebrated on the first day of the last week of our first African-American president’s term in office. Let’s mark our calendars to come out as everything we are, and be out those ways that day and after. Let’s celebrate both of their legacies, and our progress as a generation and a nation, with our President Obama, how far we must go and smile at least just a little about these journeys and fights. Look out for your own mentees and whether you can be one to supply some of the support they want, or need.

Charlie Spiegel, Esq., is an attorney who lives in San Francisco. For more information, visit www.charlesspiegellaw.com.

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Facebook Page of Charles Spiegal, Attorney and Mediator

Follow Charles Spiegal on Facebook

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Community Boards

Community Boards operates the oldest public conflict resolution center in the United States. We have an excellent reputation for supplying high-quality programs in the community for forty years.

ADVISORY COUNCIL
Tracy Lemmon, Chair | Terry Amsler | Bob Bailey | Kathleen Coogan | Jon Eldan | Bill Hafferty | Fred Lambright | Joseph Ragazzo | Gail Sadalla | Julia Salinas | Elizabeth Shwiff | Teri Sklar | Charles Spiegel | Marion Standish | Michael Tobriner

http://communityboards.org/about/who-we-are/

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LGBT Legal Community Contacts

The BASF Equality Committee’s subcommittee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues, Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF) and the National Association of Law Placements (NALP) Committee on Gay/Lesbian/Bi Issues have compiled a list of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT)-sensitive contacts at legal employers throughout the Bay Area.

View all LGBT contact at the SF Bar Association website.

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San Francisco Waldorf School’s Professional Directory

Spiegel, Charles (Alumni Parent)

Charles Spiegel Law
842 Elizabeth Street, Suite #1
San Francisco, CA 94114
Phone: (415) 644-4555
charlesspiegellaw@gmail.com
www.charlesspiegellaw.com

Family Law and Real Estate Attorney and Mediator

Friendly Family Law Attorney, Mediator and Collaborative Practitioner. Working in the following areas: Real Estate, Custody and Divorce, Adoption and Surrogacy, Pre and Post Nuptial Planning and Agreements with Straight and Gay Couples, Domestic Partner Registrations and LGBT Rights

See Waldorf’s full directory.

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Enormous election loss

We need not to lose track that margins of victory were razor thin in the presidential race (20,000 votes in Wisconsin, 70,000 votes in Pennsylvania) and that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote nationwide. That means that more than half those who voted nationally believe what we believe.

Third party candidates got 10 times the winner’s margin in Wisconsin and three times the margin in Pennsylvania. All that in an election manipulated by WikiLeaks and Russia to get the more destabilized USA they wanted. And the FBI director’s effect? And amid the right wing’s active voter suppression efforts in states nationwide.

The margins are large only compared to how we wanted the country to reject Donald Trump. We lost and a loss is enormous, but the rejection is only large compared to what we wanted to think we knew about our politics. Let’s be careful that we don’t message and overblow the thought that we and liberal values are being rejected by large margins of citizens. Not true.

Do join me in wearing black ribbon armbands to show our solidarity and embarrassment, particularly to the undocumented. Time to go to Cliff’s.

Charlie Spiegel, Esq.
Former Co-Chair National Board of Directors
Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund
San Francisco

From the Letters to the Editor at The Bay Area Reporter

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