Recently, the nine U.S. Supreme Court justices went behind closed doors to consider California’s Proposition 8 and determine whether gay and lesbian couples have a right to marry in the United States.
In 2008, California passed Proposition 8 with 52 percent of the vote. The ballot initiative, premised on “traditional standards of marriage,” overturned California legislators’ earlier decision to authorize gay marriage.
Leaders and activists from around the nation voiced their opinions, calling Proposition 8 unconstitutional. On February 7 of this year, the 9th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals struck down the Proposition, opening up the doors for the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in.
On this contentious issue, the voices and advocacy of a few key leaders, like attorney Bill Handel, are working to change the game for the LGBT community’s rights.
Handel, an attorney and co-owner of the Center for Surrogate Parenting, has been a pioneer in assisting same-sex couples achieve equal rights. He was the first in the world to help a gay couple conceive through surrogacy 28 years ago. His advocacy work has earned him a worldwide reputation amongst gay couples, including Elton John and his partner David Furnish.
Not only has Handel dedicated his entire legal career to advocating for LGBT rights issues, but he has taken his voice to the radio and continues to share his insight and experience with millions of listeners throughout the southwestern United States. His captivating passion and legendary influence on gay rights has led him to become the most listened to radio talk show host at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Los Angeles’ station, KFI AM 640.
Gay marriage will continue to be on hold in the state of California until the Supreme Court rules. In the interim, gay and lesbian couples in the Golden State are allowed to form domestic partnerships, which offer nearly all state-level rights of marriage. And a little more than one month ago, legislative history was made when California Governor Jerry Brown signed AB1217, which afforded same-sex couples conceiving children through surrogacy the same parental rights and protections as other parents in the state.
Regardless of how the Supreme Court rules, the LGBT community of Los Angeles can count on Bill Handel to advocate against discrimination of same-sex couples, leading a pathway to rights inclusive of all Americans.