By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
Woven, LLC, an Oklahoma City-based company, has launched its new website, www.livewoven.com. The site provides legal and financial resources to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community throughout the U.S.
The website includes educational content and a national provider directory with attorneys, financial advisors, tax and insurance professionals. Those listed have demonstrated expertise in working with the legal and financial issues faced by LGBT couples and families.
The site was launched on October 11.
“It seemed fitting for us to ‘come out’ with a unique, ground-breaking resource for the LGBT community on National Coming Out Day,” said Woven founder and chief executive officer Melinda Olbert.
“The day carries great significance in promoting a safe world for LGBT individuals. Here at Woven, we’re dedicated to providing easy access to the services people need to have a secure future.”
A financial advisor herself, Olbert recognized a need for a national online resource that would empower members of the LGBT community to establish necessary financial and legal tools.
Olbert has recruited metro area resident Kristin Davis as president of the new company due to her previous startup and management experience.
“I feel it’s essential to ensure that all Americans have access to even the most basic legal rights that many take for granted,” said Davis. “Same-sex couples have complex needs, and it doesn’t help that the legal landscape is changing at breakneck speed. Woven makes it easy to find highly dedicated experts who understand the issues.”
One obstacle for LGBT couples residing in states that do not recognize same-sex marriage, like Oklahoma, is the issue of parental rights.
When Oklahoma resident Alison Callahan became pregnant, she wanted to ensure that her partner, Jamy Snyder, would have the ability to make medical decisions on behalf of the baby and herself.
“I’m looking at our future and want to protect Jamy,” said Callahan. ”She should have the exact same rights as the parent of our baby as I do. We need her to be able to make decisions,”
Callahan and Snyder contacted local attorney Kevin Miller, who has experience working with LGBT clients and understands the complexity that can arise.
Miller informed the couple that under Oklahoma law, Snyder has no parental rights except through a co-parenting agreement. The state does not allow second parent adoption, which makes starting a family difficult for same-sex couples both legally and emotionally.
“With gay and lesbian couples, you really have to be on your toes and think further ahead,” Miller said. “It’s much more complicated than with heterosexual couples who automatically have legal rights with marriage.”
In addition to a co-parenting agreement, the couple worked with Miller on establishing a durable power of attorney, advance medical directives and their wills.
After traveling to New York to marry legally, Snyder wanted her name changed to match that of her wife and baby. She was able to change her name to Jamy Callahan on a federal level, and after receiving a new social security card, she attempted to get a new driver’s license.
Being the first in Oklahoma City to make such a request, the local tag agency, although apologetic, was not prepared to help with the name change. Miller quickly filed for Jamy’s name change in Oklahoma County District Court.
With Miller’s help, during a court hearing, Jamy was granted her name change by the judge. She now officially has Alison’s last name becoming Jamy Callahan.
Alison and Jamy’s story is just one example confirming the protection that the expertise of the right legal and financial representative can give.
“Unfortunately, I think Alison and Jamy’s story is common for gay and lesbian married couples who are living in states that don’t recognize their marriages,” Davis said. “It’s wonderful how they found the legal help they needed through Kevin Miller, a local Woven approved provider.”
For more information, visit www.livewoven.com or contact Kristen Davis at [email protected] or 405-887-2323.
OKC based Woven ‘comes out’ with new LGBT online resource
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