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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Here’s how you can help change the world

Dear Families and Friends,

charlie2After September 11, 2001, I didn’t know how to parent my then 4-year old daughter if the country’s tallest skyscrapers could be made to “fall down.” A wise educator gave me advice I followed for many years, explaining we had to provide our children with the illusion of security, and as adults, remember it was only an illusion.

After November 9, 2016, I think we need to do more of the same—provide our kids the illusion of security, while remembering it is only an illusion. As adults, we need to do even more and support institutions that protect our community and change the world. That’s where supporting and strengthening Our Family Coalition (OFC) comes in. I hope you will join me in making a special tax-deductible contribution to OFC right now so they can expand their work to support LGBTQ families.

LGBTQ families are surely at risk in this uncertain future just as we were during Proposition 8, California’s anti-gay marriage initiative. OFC fought to have LGBTQ parents front and center in the campaign, successful years later, to change public opinion, in large part because our family members go into institutions where undecided fellow citizens are, and can change minds there one person at a time.

charlieanddaughterToday feels the same. Our families must be even more visible and engaged in order to change the hearts and minds of people, one by one. A strong Our Family Coalition helps make that change happen.

OFC’s work making California schools welcoming and affirming of family diversity provides the safety and warmth that helps shape our children into their own best advocates. At the same time, OFC’s work training parents to be effective media spokespeople, linking what happens politically to the day-to-day safety of our families, is crucial right now. And OFC provides the fun social spaces and activities that gives us all the strength for these fights.

Fifteen years ago, I parented by providing my daughter an illusion of safety. Now she’s 3,000 miles away, a sophomore in college, and there is no illusion that I can protect her from the difficult national environment we face. Instead, my sense of security comes from knowing she is a strong advocate for herself and others, and that her pride in her family will allow her to be confident, visible, and an advocate among families and students with less apparent diversity and understanding of differences.

I credit Our Family Coalition with providing each of us the spaces, tools and events to create, nurture, celebrate—and effectively advocate for– our families. That’s what our tax-deductible contributions to OFC support—now when the need is even greater.

bigdonatebutton-rectangle-whitebgI know you are part of this movement and this moment, and that this movement will succeed. I hope you can support OFC financially to the greatest extent possible for the months and years ahead.

Our Family Coalition makes that difference; please join us in changing our world, some more!

Charlie Spiegel, Esq. SF
Proud Our Family Coalition Member

PS: One of my strongest takeaways from this election is that a new generation of diverse activists will lead and win this fight in a world that is constantly changing. We saw 11 years of Judy Appel’s leadership wrapping up in September of this year, and see new possibilities again with Renata Moreira as Interim Executive Director. My tax-deductible donation to Our Family Coalition is specifically made to support Renata and all the employees of OFC to be our next generation of LGBTQ pioneers! I hope you will too. Thank you.

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Congregation Sha’ar Zahav, San Francisco

View The Jewish Gaily Forward as pdf.

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Professional Advisors Series, “Marriage Matters – Nuanced Advising of LGBTQ Clients in Relationships”

See the event on horizonsfoundation.org

October 27, 2016 @ 11:30 am – 2:00 pm

Transamerica Pyramid, 48th Floor
Transamerica Pyramid
600 Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA 94111


The Supreme Court’s marriage equality rulings were game-changes for the LGBTQ community. However, navigating tax, estate, and legal issues still requires special expertise and sensitivity. This discussion will help advisors provide nuanced advice to their LGBTQ clients, with a particular focus on tax, estate planning, and legal considerations, which may be specific to them.

11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – Lunch & Networking
12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. – Learning Session
1:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. – Questions & Networking

Please be prepared to show identification to building security. This event requires advance registration; due to building restrictions, we are unable to accommodate guests who have not registered. Registration will close 24 hours prior to event or when we have reached capacity.

Please contact us at events@horizonsfoundation.org or at 415.398.2333 ext. 115 if you have have any questions or to make changes to your registration.


STEVE BRANTON, CFP®, Senior Financial Planner, Mosaic Financial Partners

Steve Branton specializes in the financial and legal issues faced by people whose financial situations don’t fit the mold, including married or domestic partnered same sex couples and couples who are in committed relationships but choose not to marry or register as domestic partners. He is a Senior Financial Planner at Mosaic Financial Partners, responsible for developing and implementing financial plans for his clients.

Prior to joining the team at Mosaic, he was an Associate Advisor at Hilltop Advisors LLC. He received a Bachelors in Economics from Tulane University and completed his financial planning studies at Southern Methodist University. He is a Certified Financial PlannerTM and also holds the Accredited Domestic Partner Advisor designation. Steve has been frequently interviewed in relation to the financial and legal implications of marriage to same-sex couples by the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Kiplinger’s magazine, Money magazine, and San Francisco Business Times, among many others, and is a frequent contributor to NerdWallet. He enjoys his involvement with the Horizons Professional Advisory Circle and participates widely in pro-bono financial planning events, including San Francisco Financial Planning Days.
Susan Jordan, CPA, Partner, Mowat Mackie & Anderson Partners

Susan specializes in the full realm of income tax compliance and planning services for individuals, trusts and estates. She has more than 20 years of public accounting experience. Specific individual services related to income tax planning include: coordinating services with a client’s other professional advisors, stock option planning, consolidating investment reports, IRA distribution planning and considerable experience with income taxing authority correspondence. Susan has a BA in Economics from UCLA and MS in Tax from Golden Gate University. She is a member of AICPA (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants) and CalCPA.

Susan also manages the preparation of complex estate tax returns, including fiduciary returns and advises and prepares income tax returns for charitable remainder trusts. She has substantial experience with elder clients under professional conservatorship requiring special income tax needs, including preparation of delinquent income tax returns and successful negotiation of penalty reductions and abatements on their behalf.

Susan has worked long term with a number of same sex couples, some married, some domestic parties and others unmarried or non-registered, and understands the many nuances of these relationships from a tax perspective, particularly as the rules have evolved over the years.
Linda Scaparotti, Attorney, Law Offices of Linda M. Scaparotti

Linda M. Scaparotti, a graduate of U.C. Davis King Hall School Of Law, licensed in California and Massachusetts, has been practicing law in the greater Bay Area for more than 35 years, heading her own firm. She is a renowned expert in estate planning (trusts, wills, advance health care directives, financial powers of attorney, tax planning) and transactional family law issues (adoptions, donor and parenting agreements, surrogacy, pre- and post-nuptial agreements), for same sex clients. Linda has worked with over 3,000 couples and individuals, helping them to clarify, structure, and protect their varied relationships, as well as writing and lecturing extensively on legal issues affecting LGBT people.

Linda was instrumental in the fight for marriage equality throughout the United States, including California, and donates over 500 hours a year to community and professional organizations.

Her volunteer and board activities, past and present, include: Human Rights Campaign (National Board); Brain Trust, National Center for Lesbian Rights; Education Committee, Horizons Foundation; Equality California; Past Chair of Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom; Past President of the San Francisco Trial Lawyers’ Association; Consumer Attorneys of California; California Women Lawyers; Alameda County Bar Association; Trusts and Estates Section, State Bar of CA, and is a former Human Rights Commissioner in the City of Oakland, where she helped pass the first domestic partner legislation.
Charlie Spiegel, Attorney and Mediator – Collaborative Practice, Charles Spiegel Law

Charlie Spiegel’s San Francisco practice includes prenuptial planning, divorce and custody mediation, adoption, surrogacy and real estate matters. Charlie served as Co-Chair of the National Board of Lambda Legal, and was a founding Executive Director of Our Family, the Bay Area’s LGBT family organization. He served on the Board of Directors for KidsTurn.org and Collaborative Practice California; and now serves on the Board of CP-SF.com.  Charlie co-wrote a state wide low cost divorce education course www.divorceoptionsinfo.org.

Charlie has had 20 years of wide experience in real estate since graduating New York University School of Law with honors. He received a Fammy award from San Francisco’s Jewish Family & Children’s Services in 2009 for his advocacy for families. He has lived and raised his family in the SF Bay Area since just before the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989.


Jeremy Yost, Partner, Apercen Partners LLC

Jeremy Yost serves as a partner at Apercen Partners LLC , a tax consulting firm offering high net-worth individual clients a full spectrum of income and multi-generational tax planning and compliance services.

Jeremy has extensive experience with complex individual income taxation, complex S corporation issues including, excess net passive income, accumulated earnings & profits, redemptions, deemed dividends, and analysis of shareholder basis.

Previously Jeremy has served as a member of the Horizons Foundation Professional Advisors Circle and the Board of Governors for StartOut.  He has instructed on LGBT Income Tax issues at the Out & Equal Workplace Summit as well as during national training weeks for Deloitte Tax in the US and India. Jeremy was also a founding board member of First Graduate, a San Francisco charitable organization that helps young people finish high school and become the first in their families to graduate from college.

Jeremy holds a BS degree from California State University Long Beach in Business Administration and earned his Master of Science with High Honors in Taxation from Golden Gate University.  A member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, he received his California CPA license in September 1996.  He lives in San Francisco with his partner, Drew, and his greyhound, Molly.

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Tips for LGBT Divorce Work (California)

By Ann Buscho, Ph.D and Charlie Spiegel, Esq. for Collaborative Practice California.

  1. Some wonder if now 1 year after the US Supreme Court extended marriage equality nationwide, if our practices with same gender couples divorcing are now all the same as with mixed gender (straight) couples? Here are some tips of some of the things that remain specific to all our work with LGBT people in our practices.[Moved Up.] How comfortable are you asking questions such as “What gender do you identify with?” and “What pronoun would you prefer me to use?” See #5 below. Know your own capabilities and skills, experience and biases, and ask yourself if your biases might get in the way. If so, refer!
  2. Focus on the parentage of any children. You need to ask – the US Supreme Court decision gave equality to marriage in all U.S. States but did NOT give equality to parentage. Do all the people the child psychologically considers as parents have the legal status of parents? The birth certificate is useful but not determinative of this question. If needed, you can look at step-parent or second-parent adoption for both gay and straight couples. You should inquire into any pre-birth orders or adoption papers. If there is no adoption, a parent can be made legal as part of the divorce proceeding, to establish legal parentage before talking about custody. This way both people can have the “child conversation” from the status of both being parents. By statute in California a child can have more than two parents under certain circumstances, not limited to LGBT parents.
  3. What is the legal status of the relationship between the adults when they walk into your office? They may have been, or not been married, registered domestic partners (“RDP”), or under civil union (“CU”). This may be similar to unmarried couples in the straight world who want to separate as if they were married or have nonmarital “palimony” claims. Not all those RDP/CU options nor are recognized for straight couples in California, and no common law marriage exists in California for gay or straight couples. Determine their legal relationship status, or even whether they may have multiple legal statuses, from different states or even different countries. Make sure that what you are doing in CA considers and will terminate all of these statuses.
  4. What is the start date of the adults’ legally recognized relationship? Was marriage legal where they lived when their relationship started and significantly progressed? Professionals from all 3 disciplines would want to help the partners look at when the partners feel they were entering into what kinds of a committed relationship at what point. For example, at what point did they merge their finances and how merged? This question is important if they want to apply CA marital law before marriage was legalized in CA for the purpose of determining community property and/or spousal support. This is a choice every couple has.
  5. Figure out the respectful words to use. Professionals should use the words that the couple chooses and prefers to use. Most consider it respectful to ask them how would they like to be referred to? People may want to be referred as “spouse” if married or “partner,” or with a transgender person, “what pronoun would you like me to use?” For example, you may ask “Is it appropriate to refer to you as “she” and “her” in my legal documents?” Ask about “Dad” distinct from “donor” as these also may have emotional charge in a lesbian couple, mixed couple or even in a gay male couple.
  6. Look at financial transactions to see if any were done before legal recognition was available. Be aware that some transactions may have been done because of trust and estates planning before marriage was legal. Their intentions may have been different if they meant it for what was to happen at their death, but perhaps they did not intend it to cover a possible future divorce.
  7. If your clients divorced before marriage equality, then their spousal support may not have had the same tax treatment as straight people’s divorce. They might want to go back and amend their divorce for tax advantages.
  8. We’ll give future tips for: Transgender kids of straight people, and transgender adults getting divorced. Also there is a workshop on this topic by Laura Ward and Mariette Geldenhyus at IACP October 2016 conference in Lake Las Vegas. www.collaborativepractice.com

Tips for LGBT Divorce Work (California) – for NY Assoc. of Collaborative Professionals October 13, 2016 presentation in NYC.

Ann Buscho, Ph.D.



(415) 456-0952

FAX: (415) 295-7382

Clinical Psychologist and Collaborative Law Coach


Divorce & Custody Mediation
Collaborative Practitioner
Adoption & Surrogacy
PreNuptial Planning

Real Estate
(415) 644 4555

842 Elizabeth St Suite #1

San Francisco, CA. 94114

(Also in Flood Bldg. Market @Powell)

Collaborative Practice California – www.cpcal.org

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The Family Law Section of the Barristers Club presents Premarital Agreements in California with Charles Spiegel


Charles Spiegel
Charlie Spiegel Law


• How psychotherapy and Mediation can assist in creating, drafting, and executing a Pre-Marital Agreement in California.
• Basics of California Family Law as it applies to Pre-Marital Agreements
• How to counsel clients on whether they should ask for a Pre-Marital Agreement prior to marriage.
• The importance of including psychology and Mediation in counseling clients about Pre-Marital Agreements

Barristers Family Law Section Co-Chairs: Amanda Gordon, Gordon Family Law & David Korsunsky, Law Offices of David Korsunsky

January 26, 2016: 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm

The Event on SFbar.org

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Charlie Spiegel interviewed on KQED – What Happens to San Francisco’s Recycling Once It Leaves the Curb?

Take a trip to Recology’s Recycle Central, where San Francisco’s waste is sorted and sent off for processing. This week on Bay Curious, we answer a question from Noe Valley resident Charlie Spiegel, who wondered where his recycling ends up.

Charlie Spiegel is one of those people obsessed with getting recycling right.

“Like the peanut butter canister. If I throw this into the recycling — this plastic thing that’s got peanut butter in it — I have no idea what they do with it,” he says, as he stands in the kitchen of his Noe Valley home.

Read and Listen to full segment

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Noe Valley Guide – 2016 Edition

Guide to San Francisco’s Noe Valley neighborhood and membership directory for Noe Valley Merchants & Professionals Association. Charles Spiegal is a member of the Merchants & Professionals Association.

View the 2016 Noe Valley Guide

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Ruth Spiegal Dies at 88

Ruth Helen Weinstein Spiegel died Oct. 22 at the Cohen-Rosen Residence at the Hebrew Home of Greater Washington in Rockville, Md., according to her family. She was 88 and died of “old age” her family said.
Two of Spiegel’s three sons were gay and she had “multiple LGBT descendants” according to her son, Charles Spiegel of San Francisco. She marched in Capital Pride parades with PFLAG and had a pink granite triangle installed at the family plot at Congressional Cemetery.

Read the full article at Washington Blade.

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Legal Issues Series, Part 1: LGBTQ Family Protections

Sunday, November 8, 2015 at 10 AM – 2 PM
Children’s Council
445 Church St, San Francisco, California 94114

Legal life post-marriage equality: Legal experts discuss what the Supreme Court marriage equality ruling does – and does not – provide for. We’ll also get updates on the status of other California state and federal laws governing adoption, relationship, and family protection.

SF attorneys Linda Scaparotti and Charlie Spiegel will answer your questions like: What has changed for LGBTQ families? What’s the same? Does marriage equality mean we should marry? What about existing or new domestic partnerships? When is a premarital agreement useful? Can we use the Modern Family Act to do our married/RDP couple adoption more cheaply and easily? Why adopt?

Light breakfast, coffee, tea and juice provided. Childcare provided upon request through advance registration.

Friendly OFC staffer: Shareena Clark. Contact shareena@ourfamily.org or 415-981-1960 with questions or comments.

We strive to make our programs accessible to all families. Please register for accommodations that would help your family participate to the fullest.

Original Event page

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