LGBT Fast Friday News 1/18/13

Fast Friday is a weekly feature in which I provide links to news items and other resources of interest to the LGBT community.

Check out my tongue-in-cheek DOMA Rap on the law office’s YouTube page. It was written the night before my guest lecture on same-sex marriage and LGBT rights to a group of family law paralegal students. Just for fun .. and hopefully to teach them something about DOMA.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel for informational videos on a variety of legal topics to be posted this year. http://www.youtube.com/user/IreneOlszewskiLawCT

Man Discharged Under DADT Named Co-Chair of Obama’s Inaugural Committee

Lawyers From LGBT Group to Join Supreme Court Bar

Mayor Emanuel signs Illinois marriage equality petition

CT LG Blog FB Image

For those who do not have access to Facebook or haven’t had the time to log recently, here is a sampling of the week’s posts from our Connecticut Lesbian and Gay Law Facebook page:

Smallest state becomes big battleground on same-sex marriage as RI House holds hearing

Vicco, Kentucky, called smallest town in America with gay-rights protections

French leaders unmoved by march against marriage equality

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Stay connected with our Social Media Pages:

Connecticut Lesbian and Gay Law blog on Facebook for all blog posts from this blog as well as additional stories and links of interest to the LGBT community. 

Attorney O’s Midnight Musings Blog on Facebook for all blog posts from that blog as well as other legal news.

Law Offices of Irene C. Olszewski, LLC on Facebook

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Disclaimer: The information, comments and links posted on the blog do not constitute legal advice. I will not respond to any specific legal questions in the comments section of this blog.  Read my entire disclaimer.

copyright 2013 Irene C. Olszewski, Esq.

Looking Back on 2012: A Banner Year for LGBT Rights

As 2012 comes to a close and I write my final post of the year. I can’t help but feel a sense of gratitude for all of the accomplishments realized by the LGBT community.  It has truly been a banner year.

Same-sex couples in Maine, Maryland and Washington won the right to marry at the ballot box this November while voters defeated a ban against gay marriage in Minnesota.   Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was repealedPresident Obama came out in support of same-sex marriage.

Tammy Baldwin, the first openly gay member of the U.S. Senate, will be sworn in this January and an unprecedented number of LGB legislators won or kept seats in Congress.

More celebrities have joined the cause in support of gay rights, including Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman.

Court battles were won and more than one court held DOMA to be unconstitutional.  Best of all, the United States Supreme Court has agreed to hear the DOMA cases this term.

Professionally, I had a wonderful year as well.  As a result of this blog, I was invited to be a panelist at the Secrets of the Legal Bloggers event hosted by the Young Lawyers Section of the Connecticut Bar Association.   There, I met two aspiring bloggers with an interest in LGBT issues.  I was interviewed by the Connecticut Post in May about President Obama’s support of same-sex marriage.  This blog turned 3 in July (my Attorney O’s Midnight Musings blog turned 3 in June).  In September, I had the opportunity to be a guest lecturer at a family law paralegal class at Manchester Community College on the topic of same-sex marriage and LGBT rights.  For fun (and to hopefully engage the students), I wrote and performed a tongue-in-cheek rap song about DOMA that I hope to post on this blog sometime in 2013.

I was elected vice-president of the Collaborative Divorce Professionals, in September, which was quite exciting as I am such a firm believer in the collaborative divorce process.  I was contacted by the BBC in London to give an interview on the Boy Scouts’ discriminatory policy banning gays from the organization.  Although that interview never materialized due to a major world crisis that preempted the story, it was gratifying that my opinion had been sought by a reporter.  In October, I was privileged to attend the Diversity Award dinner for my mentor and colleague, Judge Maureen M. Murphy, a tireless advocate for LGBT rights who worked for marriage equality in Connecticut and was part of the groundbreaking Kerrigen case that ultimately won same-sex couples the right to marry in this state.   Finally, I ended 2012 with an interview for a piece on DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) that is supposed to run in the Hartford Courant.

All in all, it was an exciting year for me and for LGBT citizens in general.

To the wonderful clients who entrusted me with their legal matters this year, thank you for the opportunity to work with you and to learn from you.  Whether working with clients wishing to draft Wills and documents of protection, wanting to protect their families by going through the step-parent adoption process, seeking divorce or working with the Probate process for a loved one’s estate, it was a gratifying year to have met so many wonderful people.  I thank you for the many conversations, for your displays of courage and humor and tenacity in the face of adversity.  You are all to be admired.

As 2013 approaches, I am optimistic that we will continue to see advances in LGBT rights and protections.  There will be opposition, to be sure — but I choose to believe that the LGBT community will ultimately prevail.

Have a fabulous night as you celebrate the end of 2012 and the start of 2013.  Be safe in whatever you choose to do.

I wish you joy, love and prosperity in the coming year.  I also wish each of you great peace.

Happy New Year and thanks for reading.

Happy New Year 2013

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Stay connected with our Social Media Pages:

Connecticut Lesbian and Gay Law blog on Facebook for all blog posts from this blog as well as additional stories and links of interest to the LGBT community. 

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Be sure to LIKE our pages and become a follower!

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Disclaimer: The information, comments and links posted on the blog do not constitute legal advice. I will not respond to any specific legal questions in the comments section of this blog.  Read my entire disclaimer.

copyright 2012 Irene C. Olszewski, Esq.

LGBT Fast Friday News 11/16/12

Fast Friday is a weekly feature in which I provide links to news items and other resources of interest to the LGBT community.

Supreme Court conference for Prop 8, DOMA moved to November 30

Phoenix DJ Austin Head’s Assault Designated as Anti-Gay Hate Crime

MassResistance: Marriage Equality was Victorious because Religious Right Activists weren’t Anti-Gay Enough

UPS ceases funding for Boy Scouts of America due to anti-gay policy

Gay man chosen to lead Wash. state Senate

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Stay connected with our Social Media Pages:

Connecticut Lesbian and Gay Law blog on Facebook for all blog posts from this blog as well as additional stories and links of interest to the LGBT community. 

Attorney O’s Midnight Musings Blog on Facebook for all blog posts from that blog as well as other legal news.

Law Offices of Irene C. Olszewski, LLC on Facebook

Law Offices of Irene C. Olszewski, LLC on Google+

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Be sure to LIKE our pages and become a follower!

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Disclaimer: The information, comments and links posted on the blog do not constitute legal advice. I will not respond to any specific legal questions in the comments section of this blog.  Read my entire disclaimer.

LGBT Fast Friday News 11/2/12

Fast Friday is a weekly feature in which I provide links to news items and other resources of interest to the LGBT community.

I am hoping everyone who was in the path of Hurricane Sandy is safe … thoughts and prayers go out to you and your families.

Romney: ‘Some Gays Are Actually Having Children. It’s Not Right on Paper. It’s Not Right in Fact.’

Supreme Court to decide on Prop 8, DOMA cases in late November

VIDEO: Mainers United make final push for marriage equality vote

GOP TV ad links RI congressman to child molester

Ex-Gay Activist’s Warning Of Threats To ‘Heterosexual Rights’ Mirrors Other Anti-Gay Organizations

Religious Right Rabbi Blames Hurricane Sandy on Gays, Marriage Equality

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Stay connected with our Social Media Pages:

Connecticut Lesbian and Gay Law blog on Facebook for all blog posts from this blog as well as additional stories and links of interest to the LGBT community. 

Attorney O’s Midnight Musings Blog on Facebook for all blog posts from that blog as well as other legal news.

Law Offices of Irene C. Olszewski, LLC on Facebook

Law Offices of Irene C. Olszewski, LLC on Google+

Law Offices of Irene C. Olszewski, LLC on Twitter

Be sure to LIKE our pages and become a follower!

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Disclaimer: The information, comments and links posted on the blog do not constitute legal advice. I will not respond to any specific legal questions in the comments section of this blog.  Read my entire disclaimer.

copyright 2012 Irene C. Olszewski, Esq.

LGBT Fast Friday News 9/21/12

Fast Friday is a weekly feature in which I provide links to news items and other resources of interest to the LGBT community.

I’m pleased to announce that I was elected vice president of the Collaborative Divorce Professionals on Tuesday night for the 2012-2013 term.  Here’s a piece from my other blog, Attorney O’s Midnight Musings, that I’d like to share with you:

A Lawyer’s Reflection on the Collaborative Divorce Process

Who Said What About DADT Repeal, and What Are They Saying Now? [Huffington Post]

Chick-fil-A agrees to end anti-gay donations, mandates equal treatment of gays [Chicago Phoenix]

Freedom to Marry changes course, launches Md. marriage PAC [Washington Blade]

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg predicts gay marriage law will come before Supreme Court [Washington Post]

For those who have yet to join our Facebook and Google+ pages, here are a few of the links posted on my pages this week:

Rupert Everett On Gay Parenting: ‘There’s Nothing Worse Than Being Brought Up By Two Gay Dads’ [Huffington Post]

GOP touts opposition to marriage equality at anti-gay summit [Washington Blade]

And some of this week’s best pics posted on my Facebook page:

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Stay connected with our Social Media Pages:

Connecticut Lesbian and Gay Law blog on Facebook for all blog posts from this blog as well as additional stories and links of interest to the LGBT community. 

Attorney O’s Midnight Musings Blog on Facebook for all blog posts from that blog as well as other legal news.

Law Offices of Irene C. Olszewski, LLC on Facebook

Law Offices of Irene C. Olszewski, LLC on Google+

Law Offices of Irene C. Olszewski, LLC on Twitter

Be sure to LIKE our pages and become a follower!

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Disclaimer: The information, comments and links posted on the blog do not constitute legal advice. I will not respond to any specific legal questions in the comments section of this blog.  Read my entire disclaimer.

copyright 2012 Irene C. Olszewski, Esq.

Social Security Benefits and The Defense Of Marriage Act: Can I Do Anything Now To Preserve My Rights?

This is a must-read publication from Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD):

Social Security Benefits and The Defense Of Marriage Act: Can I Do Anything Now To Preserve My Rights?

Note that it is a large .pdf file that may take a few moments to load.

Here’s an important excerpt:

“If you would meet the qualifications for the spousal benefit but for DOMA, you have two possible courses of action: you can apply now to try to preserve your claim back to the date of application or wait to see if DOMA is repealed or found unconstitutional in court and then apply.”

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Stay connected with our Social Media Pages:

Connecticut Lesbian and Gay Law blog on Facebook for all blog posts from this blog as well as additional stories and links of interest to the LGBT community. 

Attorney O’s Midnight Musings Blog on Facebook for all blog posts from that blog as well as other legal news.

Law Offices of Irene C. Olszewski, LLC on Facebook

Law Offices of Irene C. Olszewski, LLC on Google+

Law Offices of Irene C. Olszewski, LLC on Twitter

Be sure to LIKE our pages and become a follower!

————————————

Disclaimer: The information, comments and links posted on the blog do not constitute legal advice. I will not respond to any specific legal questions in the comments section of this blog.  Read my entire disclaimer.

copyright 2012 Irene C. Olszewski, Esq.

LGBT Fast Friday News 9/14/12

Fast Friday is a weekly feature in which I provide links to news items and other resources of interest to the LGBT community.

Let’s go VIRAL!! I posted the following pic of Herb and the DOMA issue on my Facebook page yesterday … then thought perhaps it’s time to make our voices heard loud and strong on this issue.  I challenge every one of you to hit the SHARE button and post it on every FB and Google+ and Pintrest page you can! (And any other pages for that matter). Stand up for what’s right. DOMA is discriminatory, hurtful and damaging. Are you up for the challenge????  Also, FB users should reposition the pic so your readers can see the last line …

Giuliani Disavows Former Aide Over Homophobic Mailer [Advocate]

Gov. Romney Didn’t Know Gay People Had Families [Advocate]

An Ally’s Guide to Issues Facing LGBT Americans [M.A.P.]

The First “Approve Referendum 74″ TV Ad Airs Statewide in Washington [Washington United for Marriage]

Marriage Fact Check [Washington united for Marriage]

UPDATE 2:00 p.m.  The following posts were added on my Connecticut Lesbian and Gay Law blog Facebook page today:

USA: Gay and transgender discrimination in the public sector [PSI]

One Big Event – Hartford Gay & Lesbian Health Collective Gala

LGBT Equality Is an Economic Issue [The Bilerico Project]

Senators introduce bill to ban same-sex marriages on military bases [SD LGBT Weekly]

Extremist Christian Group Publishes Hateful, Anti-Gay Pamphlet…for Kids [HRC]

Dems call on Thompson to fire senior adviser who gay-baited Tammy Baldwin [Wisconsin Gazette]

Brendon Ayanbadejo says 70 percent of NFL players support gay marriage. Here are 27 of them [NBC Sports]

D.C. Office of Human Rights Unveils Groundbreaking Transgender Ad Campaign [HRC]

Churches Need Protection From Gay Marriage ‘Coercion’, Says Eric Pickles [Huffington Post]

Mark Grisanti, New York State Senator, Targeted In Anti-Gay Marriage Attack Ad [Huffington Post]

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Stay connected with our Social Media Pages:

Connecticut Lesbian and Gay Law blog on Facebook for all blog posts from this blog as well as additional stories and links of interest to the LGBT community. 

Attorney O’s Midnight Musings Blog on Facebook for all blog posts from that blog as well as other legal news.

Law Offices of Irene C. Olszewski, LLC on Facebook

Law Offices of Irene C. Olszewski, LLC on Google+

Law Offices of Irene C. Olszewski, LLC on Twitter

Be sure to LIKE our pages and become a follower!

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Disclaimer: The information, comments and links posted on the blog do not constitute legal advice. I will not respond to any specific legal questions in the comments section of this blog.  Read my entire disclaimer.

copyright 2012 Irene C. Olszewski, Esq.

GLAD Gears Up for Supreme Court Showdown

I received the following press release:

GLAD Gears Up for Supreme Court Showdown

DOMA Challenge Likely to be Heard in Coming Session

Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) is gearing up for an historic year in which one of its two challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), Gill v. Office of Personnel Management or Pedersen v. Office of Personnel Management will likely be heard at the United States Supreme Court. Legal observers have called Gill a “blockbuster”, “game-changer”, and the “the case to watch” in the drive to knock out DOMA.

To support the effort, GLAD has launched the Supreme Court Showdown campaign, pledging to Knock Out DOMA. GLAD will raise funds to support legal preparations for the groundbreaking cases, as well as to educate the public about the harms caused by DOMA.

“We have been preparing since May 17, 2004, the day that marriage became a reality for same-sex couples in the United States,” said Lee Swislow, Executive Director of GLAD. “Right then and there we began crafting our legal challenge to DOMA. We have a smart strategy, the best possible legal team, inspiring and committed plaintiffs, and the right case at the right time.”

GLAD filed Gill in March 2009. Two federal courts – the Massachusetts District Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit – have ruled that DOMA is unconstitutional and that Gill plaintiffs deserve to be treated equally under the law and have their marriage respected by the federal government. GLAD filed Pedersen in November 2009, and on July 31, 2012, Judge Vanessa Bryant of the U.S. District Court of Connecticut also ruled in those plaintiffs’ favor finding DOMA unconstitutional. GLAD has now petitioned the Supreme Court for certiorari before judgment in Pedersen.

The First Circuit called Supreme Court review of GLAD’s Gill DOMA case “highly likely” in its unanimous ruling against the law. The Supreme Court will likely decide by the end of October whether it will review either case.To sign up for text alerts about this and other case developments, visit www.glad.org/text-alerts.

The plaintiffs in Gill and Pedersen are legally married same-sex couples and widowers, all of whom have been denied a federal marriage-related right or benefit because of DOMA. “Our plaintiffs have shared the details of their lives and their relationships with judges, with the media, and with total strangers. They’ve waited patiently and courageously,“ said Swislow. “It’s time they were treated the same as their married friends and neighbors.”

GLAD’s victory in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health in 2003 made Massachusetts the first state in which same-sex couples could marry. Goodridge opened the door to marriage equality in other subsequent states, and positioned GLAD as a strategic leader in the marriage equality movement. GLAD also won the Kerrigan v. Department of Public Health case in 2008, which brought marriage to Connecticut, and co-counseled in the Baker v. Vermont case which brought civil unions to that state in 1999.

Developments in Gill and Pedersen can be followed at www.glad.org/DOMA.

Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders is New England’s leading legal organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, HIV status, and gender identity and expression.

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Stay connected with our Social Media Pages:

Connecticut Lesbian and Gay Law blog on Facebook for all blog posts from this blog as well as additional stories and links of interest to the LGBT community. 

Attorney O’s Midnight Musings Blog on Facebook for all blog posts from that blog as well as other legal news.

Law Offices of Irene C. Olszewski, LLC on Facebook

Law Offices of Irene C. Olszewski, LLC on Google+

Law Offices of Irene C. Olszewski, LLC on Twitter

Be sure to LIKE our pages and become a follower!

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Disclaimer: The information, comments and links posted on the blog do not constitute legal advice. I will not respond to any specific legal questions in the comments section of this blog.  Read my entire disclaimer.

copyright 2012 Irene C. Olszewski, Esq.

GLAD Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Pedersen DOMA Challenge

I received the following press release today:

GLAD Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Pedersen DOMA Challenge

Today, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) asked the Supreme Court to review Pedersen v. Office of Personnel Management, a lawsuit challenging Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which prohibits federal recognition of the marriages of same-sex couples. GLAD is representing six married couples and a widower, from Connecticut, Vermont, and New Hampshire, who have all been denied critical federal benefits because of DOMA.

“With each passing day, DOMA denies ordinary marital protections and heaps disrespect on our plaintiffs’ families, and thousands of married same-sex couples across the country,” said GLAD’s Mary L. Bonauto, co-lead counsel in Pedersen.

“Joanne Pedersen still cannot enroll her wife on her health insurance plan like other retirees from federal service. Lynda DeForge, like other workers whose spouses have serious medical conditions, still can’t take Family and Medical Leave Act leave to care for Raquel Ardin. Jerry Passaro continues to struggle without access to his late husband’s pension. The Artis, Kleinerman-Gehre and Savoy-Weiss families are each raising three children, but under DOMA pay extra federal income taxes or health insurance costs. DOMA even intrudes into the New Hampshire State Retirement System in denying a retired school teacher a health insurance subsidy for her spouse,” Bonauto added. “These plaintiffs need to hear definitively from the Supreme Court whether or not the federal government will ultimately respect their love, commitment and legal bonds.”

In a decision issued July 31, Judge Vanessa L. Bryant of the U.S. District Court of Connecticut ruled in Pedersen that DOMA Section 3 unconstitutionally discriminates against our plaintiffs. GLAD filed what is known as a petition for “certiorari before judgment”— giving the Supreme Court an opportunity to immediately review the district court decision.

Among the arguments GLAD makes in petitioning the Supreme Court for immediate review in Pedersen are:

  • the case raises a question of national importance;
  • continued delay exacerbates the stigma and economic burdens on plaintiffs’ families and children;
  • Congress has no legitimate interest in overriding state marriage policies where states license marriages and not the federal government;
  • there is a practical need for a Supreme Court decision as there are conflicting decisions on DOMA’s constitutionality in various federal courts and additional challenges are pending;
  • the Obama Administration is not defending the law in court but is still enforcing it, resulting in ever more lawsuits against DOMA; and
  • Pedersen is an exceptionally good case for the Court’s review because it demonstrates DOMA’s impact on a range of important federal programs like federal income tax, Social Security, federal employee and retiree benefits, and federal statutes (e.g. the Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

GLAD’s petition for certiorari in Pedersen comes after the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG), the congressional leadership body that is defending DOMA, and the Department of Justice each requested certiorari in our First Circuit Court DOMA challenge, Gill v. Office of Personnel Management. DOJ also filed a petition for certiorari before judgment in Golinski v. Office of Personnel Management, a DOMA challenge from the Ninth Circuit Court. Plaintiff Edith Schain Windsor also filed a petition for certiorari before judgment in her DOMA challenge, Windsor v. United States, currently pending in the Second Circuit Court.

You can read the petition here.

Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders is New England’s leading legal organization dedicated to fighting discrimination based on sexual orientation, HIV status, and gender identity and expression.

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Stay connected with our Social Media Pages:

Connecticut Lesbian and Gay Law blog on Facebook for all blog posts from this blog as well as additional stories and links of interest to the LGBT community. 

Attorney O’s Midnight Musings Blog on Facebook for all blog posts from that blog as well as other legal news.

Law Offices of Irene C. Olszewski, LLC on Facebook

Law Offices of Irene C. Olszewski, LLC on Google+

Law Offices of Irene C. Olszewski, LLC on Twitter

Be sure to LIKE our pages and become a follower!

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Disclaimer: The information, comments and links posted on the blog do not constitute legal advice. I will not respond to any specific legal questions in the comments section of this blog.  Read my entire disclaimer.

copyright 2012 Irene C. Olszewski, Esq.

GLAD’s Legal Team Scores Another Victory in the DOMA Challenge!

This just in …  GLAD, the legal team representing the Plaintiffs in the Pedersen v. Office of Personnel Management case challenging section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) has scored another victory!  According to their media advisory, Judge Vanessa L. Bryant of the United State District Court, District of Connecticut today issued a decision to grant the Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment and denying the Defendant’s motion to dismiss.

“[Section 3 of DOMA]  therefore violates the equal protection principles incorporated in the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution,” wrote Judge Bryant.

Read today’s court decision here.

For more on the Pederson case, visit GLAD’s website here.

One case at a  time, folks.  One case at a time.

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Stay connected with our Social Media Pages:

Connecticut Lesbian and Gay Law blog on Facebook for all blog posts from this blog as well as additional stories and links of interest to the LGBT community. 

Attorney O’s Midnight Musings Blog on Facebook for all blog posts from that blog as well as other legal news.

Law Offices of Irene C. Olszewski, LLC on Facebook

Law Offices of Irene C. Olszewski, LLC on Google+

Law Offices of Irene C. Olszewski, LLC on Twitter

Be sure to LIKE our pages and become a follower!

————————————

Disclaimer: The information, comments and links posted on the blog do not constitute legal advice. I will not respond to any specific legal questions in the comments section of this blog.  Read my entire disclaimer.

copyright 2012 Irene C. Olszewski, Esq.