Law school professor co-authors “Same-Sex Legal Kit”

Widener Law professor John G. Culhane has co-authored a new book in the “Dummies” line of publications that will serve as a legal resource for people in same-sex relationships.

“Same-Sex Legal Kit for Dummies,” published by John Wiley & Sons, is a compilation of useful information on everything from financial and estate planning to wills and trusts to employment benefits and the tax consequences of being in a domestic partnership.

The book comes with a CD containing sample forms for things like tenant agreements, co-parenting agreements, and medical power of attorney. The disc also provides state-by-state marriage recognition laws, adoption and surrogacy laws and more.

It is now available in print and electronic-reader formats. Culhane wrote the book with Carrie Stone, a West Virginia lawyer who owns and operates rainbowlaw.com, an online legal information and document-preparation resource designed specifically for the LGBT community. Culhane is a nationally recognized expert on the legal rights of same sex couples; Stone represents same-sex couples as an attorney and is an activist for LGBT equality.

After years of scholarly legal writing, Culhane wanted to expand his horizons so that his work would reach a wider audience of the general public.

“They wanted something that had practical everyday solutions to problems,” said Culhane, whose writing style is often humorous and always readable. “I’m glad I did it.”

Culhane handled sections of the book involving marriage equality, civil unions, domestic partnerships, building a family, how immigration affects same-sex couples, what the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” means for same-sex couples and how to become an activist. Stone handled the bulk of the business issues.

Culhane said the project was fulfilling, because it has allowed him to provide a resource for people – particularly couples – who are often ill-equipped to navigate a complicated system. He has been a member of the Widener Law faculty on the school’s Wilmington, Del. campus since 1987 and serves as the director of Widener’s Health Law Institute.

He will do a book signing at Giovanni’s Room bookstore, 345 S. 12th St. in Philadelphia on Dec. 15 at 6:30 pm.

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