From harassment and hate crimes to entering into or dissolving domestic partnerships, Nevada’s gay lesbian and transgender communities face unique legal challenges that require experienced, proactive and compassionate attorneys to help.
Below, our Las Vegas LGBT lawyers provide a brief overview of how we protect and fight for the legal rights our gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer clientele in Nevada. Click on a topic to go directly to that section.
- 1. Discrimination victims: Such as prejudice, harassment, and bullying.
- 2. Personal Injury casualties: Such as of hate crimes, coercion, and sexual assault.
- 3. Family Law issues: Such as marriage, domestic partnerships, name changes, and child custody.
- 4. Immigration law: Such as asylum, humanitarian parole and spousal visas.
- 5. Criminal defense: Such as for people accused of domestic violence, solicitation, and indecent exposure.
1. Gay, Lesbian and Transgender victims of Discrimination
LGBT people routinely face discrimination at work, school, and even at home. The law entitles everyone to access to employment, education, and housing in an environment free of prejudice, harassment, and bullying. Las Vegas has various organizations where LGBT Nevadans may find helpful resources to learn about their rights, including The Gay and Lesbian Center of Southern Nevada and Pride Guide.
Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, businesses that employ 15 or more people are not allowed to disqualify a job applicant, fire an employee, or otherwise discriminate against an employee because of his/her sex (unless gender is crucial to the job). Even though Title VII does not explicitly protect sexual orientation or gender identity, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) believes that gender discrimination comprises sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination. Therefore, Nevadans who have been unfairly discriminated against in the workplace may be able to file a complaint with the EEOC.1
Any school that receives federal funding (which includes many Las Vegas private schools) may not discriminate against a student based on gender. Although Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 does not mention sexual orientation or gender identity, trans and gay discrimination victims can and do bring lawsuits against schools for not preventing or addressing prejudice, harassment, and bullying. This is a rapidly changing area of the law.
The Nevada Equal Rights Commission explicitly prohibits home sellers and landlords from discriminating against buyers and tenants based on gender identity or sexual orientation. Discrimination victims can file a complaint and possibly sue on other grounds.
2. Gay and Transgender victims of accidents and crimes
Homosexual and transgender people are at an elevated risk of harassment, assault, rape, and other hate crimes. Our Las Vegas personal injury attorneys assist in filing lawsuits all the responsible parties in an effort to recover the largest money damages possible in their cases, including medical bills, lost wages, and punitive damages in Nevada.
Being a crime victim takes a huge emotional toll, and sometimes it is hard to know where to turn or what your rights are. As a starting point, LGBT crime victims in Las Vegas can always call The Gay and Lesbian Center of Southern Nevada for resources. Victims upstate can call the Trauma Intervention Program of Northern Nevada. Other resources include:
- Nevada Victims of Crime Program
- FBI Victim Assistance
- Anti-Violence Project
Harassment takes many forms, including taunting, phone calls, and cyber-bullying. LGBT harassment victims in Nevada may be able to sue not only the harasser but anyone who knew of the harassment and failed in his/her duties to stop it, such as a school or employer or even internet provider.
2.2. Assault and Sexual Assault:
Assault and rape victims should always file a police report in an effort to get their attackers behind bars, but they can also sue in civil court for money damages. It may be possible to recover not only from the assaulter or rapist but also from any parties who aided and abetted or “cheered on” the crime. In some cases, a court may find that security guards or even the police are liable for neglecting their legal duties to keep the premises safe.
2.3. Hate Crimes:
Any criminal offense–not just harassment or assault–qualifies as a hate crime in Nevada if it is committed because of the victim’s perceived gender identity or sexual orientation. In addition to filing a police report, hate crime victims are encouraged to seek legal counsel in order to sue the perpetrators as well as any accessories to the crime or other responsible parties.2
3. LGBT family law issues in Nevada
Opposite-sex married couples with children no longer comprise the majority of American families. LGBT people can now marry whom they love and become parents the same as heterosexual couples. Contact our Las Vegas family law attorneys for help in navigating this new legal landscape.
Gay and lesbian marriage is now legal throughout the United States, including Nevada, and the parties’ rights and obligations are much different than if the couple was merely cohabitants. Learn more about same-sex marriage laws and prenuptial agreements in Nevada.3
3.2. Domestic partnerships:
Even though same-sex marriage is now legal, Nevada still recognizes the rights of both homosexual and heterosexual couples to enter into domestic partnerships, which are very similar to marriage. Learn more about domestic partnership laws.
Note that Nevada does not recognize “civil unions” for same- or opposite-sex couples.
3.3. Legal name changes:
People getting married, divorced, changing genders, or merely pursuing a fresh identity may want to change their first and/or last names. Learn about changing legal names in Nevada.
Although gay marriage is legal, judges may still hold primeval views regarding the fitness of gay parents in divorce, adoption, and surrogacy proceedings. Learn about adoption, child custody and surrogacy laws in Nevada.
4. Gay and Transgender Immigration Issues
In much of the world, being gay or transgender is grounds for imprisonment, torture, and capital punishment. Coming to America can make the difference between life and death. Contact our Las Vegas immigration attorneys for help.
Gay and trans foreigners who make it to America may be able to stay indefinitely if they can show it is too dangerous to live in their home countries. Learn more about asylum laws.
4.2. Humanitarian parole
Any foreigner who is facing a compelling emergency abroad may be able to travel temporarily to the U.S. for safety. Learn more about humanitarian parole laws.
4.3 Spousal visas
U.S. citizens and permanent residents may be able to immigrate their foreigner spouses to America permanently. Learn more about how to get a spousal visa.
5. LGBT people accused of crimes in Nevada
Nevada courts are glutted with cases where good people are wrongfully accused of crimes in Nevada. Contact our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys for help.
5.1. Domestic Violence
Many straight and gay couples fall prey to arguments that culminate with innocent accidents, legal acts of self-defense, or of one person falsely accusing the other of hitting him/her. Domestic abuse penalties can be extremely harsh, so the accused should never attempt to fight these charges without a lawyer. Learn more about battery domestic violence.
Las Vegas Metro Police routinely go undercover in bars and clubs to pretend to solicit prostitution from unsuspecting johns. These charges could be detrimental to the accused’s employment prospects, but an attorney may be able to get the charge reduced or dismissed. Learn more about solicitation of prostitution.
5.3. Indecent Exposure
Many arrests for allegedly exposing one’s privates occur at Las Vegas’s infamous swim parties and clubs. Often surveillance video can prove the cops wrong or else show there is insufficient evidence to support a conviction. Learn more about indecent exposure as well as pool party crimes and nightclub crimes.
Call our Las Vegas Gay and Trans attorneys…
If you or a loved one is gay or transgender and require a lawyer’s representation in Nevada, please call our Las Vegas LGBT attorneys for a consultation. Las Vegas Defense Group is here to serve the needs of Nevada’s LGBT community.