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Launching a New Blog

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

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For more than eight years, Marriage Equality Watch was the blog for the Purple Unions Wedding Directory.

But this month, we are launching a brand new blog, celebrating the weddings of our friends in the LGBTQIA community. You can find it here:

https://www.purpleunions.com/weddingblog/

And we’re posting our own wedding first. We’re thrilled to have marriage equality across the US, and hope many other countries will soon follow, with many happy couples gaining the right to marry.

In the meantime, we will keep Marriage Equality Watch up as a resource for the community, with its eight and a half year history of articles spanning the LGBTIQA rights movement and the fight for marriage equality.

So come join us on this new journey, and let us rejoice in the victories!

–Scott & Mark

Marriage Equality Round-Up – April 28th

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

Here’s our daily round-up of the marriage equality / LGBT rights stories from all around the internet. If we missed anything, let us know. Enjoy!

PEOPLE: Noted Republican Caitlyn Jenner posted a video of herself trying to look very daring by using what appears to be a single-person bathroom at a Trump hotel in New York. The stunt is likely in response to remarks Trump made last week that Jenner would be allowed to use the bathroom at one of his properties. full story

POP CULTURE: Six athletes at Yale have decided to come out together and form a support group for LGBTQ athletes on campus. full story

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EGYPT: An Egyptian court has sentenced 11 men to prison for between three to 12 years for the ‘crime’ of being gay. full story

SINGAPORE: A court has blocked the Home Office’s bid to deport a Singapore trans woman – who faces being drafted for compulsory military service as a man in her home country. full story

UK, NORTHERN IRELAND: Same-sex marriage will be an election issue when Northern Ireland goes to the polls on May 5, campaigners have said full story

USA: Footage has surfaced alleging to show police officers forcing an unidentified woman to leave a women’s restroom facility, once again proving the dire impact of the recent swath of anti-LGBT laws across the country. full story

USA: A gay rights group sued the Justice Department on Wednesday for failing to produce hundreds of pages of documents related to a 1953 order signed by President Dwight Eisenhower that empowered federal agencies to investigate and fire employees thought to be gay. full story

USA: The U.S. Census Bureau should be demanding more information about “gender identity,” leading liberal lawmakers said Wednesday, asking for more probing questions to get at the increasingly complex family dynamics in America. full story

USA: Stephen Colbert doesn’t like that legislators in North Carolina and elsewhere are legislating which bathrooms transgender people can use. He even called them “weirdos” on Tuesday night’s show. “To all those lawmakers out there who are so obsessed with who’s using what bathroom and what plumbing they’ve got downtown?” Colbert said. “Newsflash: You’re the weirdos.” full story

USA, ALABAMA: Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, flanked by his hate group leader wife and Liberty Counsel head Mat Staver, this afternoon held a press conference to denounce the mentally ill “atheists, homosexuals, and transgenders” who conspired with the SPLC to file ethics complaints against him with the state Judicial Inquiry Commission. full story

USA, NORTH CAROLINA: Small businesses in North Carolina are already losing valuable business because of the new state law limiting protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. full story

USA, NORTH CAROLINA: Transgender stars Alexandra Billings and Jeffrey Tambor say North Carolina’s anti-LGBT bill is “founded on intution, and not facts.” full story

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USA, NORTH CAROLINA: In a 6-6 vote this afternoon, the majority of the Emerging Issues Committee voted against SJR 39. full story

USA, NORTH CAROLINA: Headlined by 98 Degrees, the tour showcaseIN fellow boy band O-Town, girl group Dream and solo singer-songwriter Ryan Cabrera is cancelling its NC dates because of HB2. full story

USA NORTH DAKOTA: A Fargo, North Dakota graphic design firm told St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, a gay-friendly place of worship, to take their business elsewhere after the church asked it to design a logo with a rainbow on it full story

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PENNSYLVANIA: Governor Tom Wolf, a Democrat, on Tuesday said that he would veto a bill that prohibits transgender people from using the bathroom of their choice full story

USA, TENNESSEE: Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has signed an anti-LGBT bill that will allow counselors and therapists in the state to turn away clients based on “sincerely held principles.” full story

USA, TENNESSEE: Connie Britton, who stars as singer Rayna James on the series, spoke out about the state’s pending anti-LGBT laws to The Hollywood Reporter, saying “In general, the language in that bill is some of the most discriminatory that we’ve seen, certainly in my lifetime, and to take on that kind of stigma in our state as a legislator, that would not be a very great way to represent the people.” full story

Marriage Equality Round-Up – April 7th

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

Here’s our daily round-up of the marriage equality / LGBT rights stories from all around the internet. If we missed anything, let us know. Enjoy!

USA: A columnist for the Sun newspaper has written a column in which he demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of gender identity, whilst shutting down arguments for gender-neutral toilets. full story

POP CULTURE: Video game developers for “Baldur’s Gate” have spoken out against tides of horrific personal abuse – after the inclusion of a transgender character in an expansion pack. full story

FRANCE: France has finally backed down following a stand-off with the Vatican over the nomination of a gay ambassador. full story

MALAYSIA: An out gay Malaysian student has been given refugee status in Canada after receiving threats. full story

NETHERLANDS: Gay couples from outside the Netherlands who wish to take advantage of liberal Dutch marriage laws cannot come here just to get married, ministers said on Wednesday. full story

UK, NORTHERN IRELAND: Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party has promised to keep blocking equal marriage in their 2016 Assembly manifesto. full story

USA: Watch as trans men and women are forced by law into the wrong bathroom. full story

USA: Attorney General Loretta Lynch made a reference to transgender rights in a speech she delivered at the White House. full story

USA: The anti-gay group Family Research Council has told its supporters to boycott PayPal… can you guess what they use to take donations? full story

USA, ARIZONA: A top House Democrat on Wednesday blasted Republican leaders for refusing to update laws that effectively give preference to heterosexual couples in adopting children — or even agree to debate the issue. full story

USA, KANSAS: The state of Kansas is attempting to change regulations on legal gender change, to make it harder for trans people to have documents reflecting their gender identity. full story

USA, KANSAS: A Care2 petition with over 22,000 signatures is demanding the Kansas legislature reject two bills that would penalize transgender students for using a bathroom that does not correspond with their physical anatomy. full story

USA, KANSAS: A brave Methodist pastor is facing potential removal from her church – because she revealed she is in a lesbian relationship after 25 years in the closet. full story

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USA, MAINE: Voters in Maine could be asked to remove protections from discrimination based on sexual orientation from the Maine Human Rights Act if a new ballot initiative is successful. full story

USA, MISSISSIPPI: Funny or Die has very graciously produced an epic tourism ad to help sell the state to potential vacationers as the perfect gay-free holiday destination. full story

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USA, MISSISSIPPI: Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has signed an Executive Order banning official City of Seattle travel by employees to Mississippi in response to that state’s passage of a bill to revoke protections for LGBTQ people. full story

USA, MISSISSIPPI: Washington employees were banned from most government-related travel to Mississippi because of that state’s new law allowing businesses owners to refuse service to gay, lesbian and transgender customers for religious reasons. full story

USA, MISSISSIPPI: The state of Vermont is banning for now official travel to Mississippi because of that state’s passage of a law that allows religious groups and some private businesses to refuse service to gay couples. full story

USA, MISSISSIPPI: Mark Dayton, in response to Mississippi making it legal for people there to be denied service based on sexual orientation, instructed Minnesota state employees to refrain from any nonessential travel to that Southern state. full story

USA, MISSISSIPPI: Mississippi may face cuts if a federal investigation finds that their anti-LGBT law is discriminatory. full story

USA, MISSISSIPPI: Lambda Legal released a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) guide for the LGBT community in Mississippi after Governor Phil Bryant signed HB 1523, an anti-LGBT bill that invites a broad range of individuals, private businesses and medical and social services agencies to discriminate against anyone in Mississippi based on religious beliefs about marriage, non-marital sexual relationships, and conformity with gender stereotypes. full story

USA, MISSISSIPPI: The Jackson, Mississippi City Council has passed a resolution reacting to the Religious Liberty Accommodations Act signed into law by Governor Phil Bryant on Tuesday. full story

USA, MISSISSIPPI: Transgender actress Candis Cayne appeared Tuesday on CNN to discuss a Mississippi law that targets the LGBT community. full story

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USA, MISSISSIPPI: Ellen Degeneres spoke out about Mississippi‘s new law on her show, but her comments apply to any of the twelve states that have considered or passed similar legislation.full story

USA: With word that Mississippi has gone forward and passed its own anti LGBTIQA law, the tech industry is speaking out again. full story

USA, MONTANA: Gov. Steve Bullock and U.S. Sen. Jon Tester invited the company to consider bringing the 400 jobs to Montana. full story

USA, NORTH CAROLINA: With businesses pulling out left and right in North Carolina due to the state’s governor signing a bill that prohibits municipalities from protecting their LGBT citizens, a plethora of companies will now be wandering the deserts looking for a new tolerant town to call home. Enter the mayors of St. Petersburg and Tampa. full story

USA, NORTH CAROLINA: The production of a Hulu comedy series has been moved out of North Carolina over the state’s new anti-LGBT law. full story

USA, NORTH CAROLINA: CNN’s New Day program pitted North Carolina Rep. Paul Stam against Human Rights Campaign attorney Sarah Warbelow on live television. full story

USA, NORTH CAROLINA: Anti-trans north carolina is home to Martine Rothblatt, the visionary trans woman who leads a pharma company. full story

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USA, NORTH CAROLINA: Ohio’s most populous county is banning its employees from non-essential government travel to North Carolina after that state enacted its anti-LGBTIQA law. full story

USA, PENNSYLVANIA: Gov. Tom Wolf says he’ll sign an executive order to prohibit discrimination by state contractors against people who are lesbian, gay or transgender. full story

USA, SOUTH CAROLINA: A Republican state senator from South Carolina has introduced legislation he says mirrors North Carolina’s discriminatory HB 2: “The bill actually only mirrors the anti-LGBT portion and does not include the minimum wage and employment discrimination portions…It also specifically targets transgender students.” full story

USA, TENNESSEE: Tennessee’s House of Representatives have passed a “religious liberty” law that will allow therapists to turn away clients who are gay full story

USA, TENNESSEE: Legislation that would ban students in public schools and colleges from using the bathroom or locker room that matches their gender identity has been resurrected in the legislature. full story

USA, VIRGINIA: George Mason University’s law school made an announcement last week that it would be rebranding itself “the Antonin Scalia School of Law” (ASSoL) in order to honor the Former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court full story

USA, WASHINGTON DC: D.C. Council member David Grosso (I-At-Large) and six of his Council colleagues introduced a bill on Tuesday that would prohibit city government funding for travel to any state that adopts a law sanctioning discrimination against LGBT people. full story

Two Photographers for Two Brides

Monday, April 4th, 2016

I learn something new every wedding, but same-sex weddings have offered me some creative twists in my wedding planning education. The first time I had a lesbian wedding with two diva brides, I learned the hard way.

With a bride and a groom, there’s no competition for the photographers – the groom only wants to be in as many pictures as the bride puts him in. He’s not looking to have a lens in his face while he’s dressing. But when you have a same-sex wedding with two brides wearing wedding gowns — or even two brides who are divas in their own right — you need more than one camera shooting in two places at the same time.

Check out my blog in Pridezillas that explains my experience and my logic behind this recommendation. Learn from my mistakes, don’t repeat them.

Happy wedding planning from Sandy Malone Weddings & Events!

Sandy Malone is the owner of Sandy Malone Weddings & Events, a full-service traditional home and destination wedding planning company, and Do-It-Yourself wedding planning consulting service for DIY brides and grooms. Sandy is the star of TLC’s reality show “Wedding Island,” about her destination wedding planning company Weddings in Vieques. She is an internationally syndicated wedding blogger for The Huffington Post and BRIDES, as well as a reality-TV blogger for Monsters and Critics.

Sandy’s new book “How to Plan Your Own Destination Wedding: Do-It-Yourself Tips from an Experienced Professional,” was published in March of 2016, and is available everywhere books are sold. Her podcast “Wedding Reality Check with Sandy Malone” is posted twice weekly on iHeartRadio. Sandy Pink Dressnew

 

How to Handle Invitations to your Same-Sex Wedding for Unsupportive Family Members – Sandy Malone’s Blog in BRIDES

Friday, September 11th, 2015

Do you have to invite people who don’t support your gay or lesbian marriage to the biggest day of your life so far? We’re in murky waters here for some brides and grooms planning their weddings.

Click here to check out my blog in BRIDES with tips on how to handle the gay wediquette on this one!

Until next time, happy wedding planning from Sandy Malone Weddings & Events and Weddings in Vieques!

Sandy

Sandy Malone is the owner of Sandy Malone Weddings & Events, a full-service traditional home and destination wedding planning company, and Do-It-Yourself wedding planning consulting service for DIY brides and grooms. Sandy is the star of TLC’s reality show “Wedding Island,” about her destination wedding planning company Weddings in Vieques. She is an internationally syndicated wedding blogger for The Huffington Post and BRIDES, as well as a reality-TV blogger for Monsters and Critics.

Sandy’s book “How to Plan Your Own Destination Wedding: Do-It-Yourself Tips from an Experienced Professional,” will be released on March 1st, but is available online for pre-orders now where books are sold.

Sandy and her team (including her husband Bill, a retired SWAT team commander) have planned and executed almost 500 weddings in the United States and the Caribbean. Sandy is a veteran event planner from Washington, DC, with years of experience planning large and small weddings, press conference, and corporate and political events. She has planned countless events on Vieques Island, beginning with her own wedding back in 2004.  Since that time, her professional staff has executed large and small weddings of all styles, including elopements, vow renewals and fabulously posh events at multi-million dollar waterfront villas. She has also planned family reunions, destination baby showers, corporate retreats and a variety of other events for clients from all over the United States and Canada. She is considered the “Queen of Gay Wediquette” and has been rated “Five Rainbows” by her happy gay clients!

Marriage Equality Round-Up – September 5th

Saturday, September 5th, 2015

Here’s our daily round-up of the marriage equality / LGBT rights stories that don’t warrant a full posting on the blog, or that we didn’t have time to add. We’re able to get more news and analysis to you this way every day – enjoy!

GENERAL: Dot429 looks at five misconceptions society has about pansexuals. full story

POP CULTURE: Oscar-nominated Hollywood actress Kathleen Turner has been cast a new play exploring transgender issues. full story

POP CULTURE: Trans people react to UK’s new trans sitcom Boy Meets Girl. full story

POP CULTURE: Nearly 7,000 people have called on Brewdog, a British craft beer company, to remove a fundraising advert many are considering transphobic. full story

POP CULTURE: Ellen DeGeneres confronted Caitlyn Jenner on being a Republican and gay marriage. full story

POP CULTURE: ESPN’s Israel Gutierrez came out publicly, and announced that he’s getting married. full story

Israel Gutierrez

POP CULTURE: A television star has said he was blocked from appearing on the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing after he requested a male dance partner. full story

AUSTRALIA: If Australia were to hold a referendum on same-sex marriage, it could weaken federal power to legislate on marriage, top legal experts have warned. full story

MALAWI: A spokesperson from the Malawian Government has quashed the notion that it has plans to hold a referendum on the country’s law criminalizing homosexuality or on whether to legalize same-sex marriage just days after President Peter Mutharika appeared to indicate that one would be held. full story

IRELAND: Ireland’s government has given the green light for its revolutionary new Gender Recognition Act to come into effect – meaning transgender people can gain legal recognition from next week without seeing a doctor. full story

USA: Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wis., urged Attorney General Loretta Lynch to ensure same-sex couples face no barriers to receiving marriage licenses. full story

USA, ALABAMA: Several Alabama probate judges made the same decision Davis made and could also be jailed if sued in federal court for refusing to issue marriage licenses. full story

USA, GEORGIA: Leaders of an Atlanta museum want the space focused on modern and historic civil rights to contribute to a national push to ensure LGBT rights, particularly in southern states. full story

USA, KENTUCKY: Deputy clerks in Rowan County, Kentucky have begun issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. James Yates and William Smith Jr were the first same-sex couple to receive a license, after five previously unsuccessful attempts. full story

USA, KENTUCKY: At least three gay couples received marriage licenses Friday in Rowan County, embracing and celebrating as the defiant clerk sat remained jailed. full story

USA, KENTUCKY: The Advocate collected the most heartwarming images from today’s long-overdue victory. full story

USA, KENTUCKY: Dozens of protesters gathered outside the clerk’s office: One group cheered on the gay couple who got the license, while the other group preached and supported the clerk on Friday. full story

USA, KENTUCKY: At least one religious protester called out “perverts” as same sex couples received their licenses. full story

USA, KENTUCKY: The husband of a Kentucky court clerk jailed for refusing to grant marriage licenses to gay couples says she won’t resign and will stay in jail for as long as it takes. full story

USA, KENTUCKY: Davis’s husband also greeted gay couples arriving at the clerk’s office with a sign that said “Welcome to Sodom and Gomorrah”. full story

USA, KENTUCKY: Kim Davis will appeal the contempt of court ruling against her by the end of the day, her attorney told reporters today at a press conference outside the detention center where she is being held. full story

USA, KENTUCKY: Kentucky Republicans have wasted no time in capitalizing on Kim Davis’s incarceration for their own political gain, lashing out at Democratic Governor Steve Beshear. full story

USA, KENTUCKY: According to hate group leader Mat Staver, Kim Davis has declared from her jail cell that the marriage licenses issued today in Rowan County are invalid without her signature. full story

USA, KENTUCKY: Mat Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel, on Wednesday compared Kim Davis’ plight to that of a Jew living in Nazi Germany. full story

USA, KENTUCKY: The Anti-Defamation League has condemned comments by the lawyer of Kentucky clerk Kim Davis – after he compared his client’s treatment to the gassing of Jews in the Holocaust. full story

USA, KENTUCKY: Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is scheduled to visit a Kentucky jail next week to meet with a county clerk imprisoned because she ignored repeated court orders to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. full story

USA, KENTUCKY: Huckabee also bought the domain name FreeKimDavisNow.com to use for money begs. full story

USA, KENTUCKY: Donald Trump hedged on the Davis situation – “I’m a believer in both sides of the picture.” full story

USA, KENTUCKY: Presidential hopeful Ted Cruz fired off a statement defending the antigay Christian martyr and calling for “every lover of liberty to stand with Kim Davis.” full story

USA, KENTUCKY: Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal took to Twitter to blast Trump for not condemning the jailing of Davis who is against same-sex marriage on religious grounds. full story

USA, KENTUCKY: The Human Rights Campaign has launched a new digital campaign asking Jeb Bush, Scott Walker and Donald Trump to take a position regarding the Davis situation. full story

USA, KENTUCKY: Breitbart legal editor Ken Klukowski criticized Davis for trying to force her will on other employees full story

USA, KENTUCKY: Matt Baume looks at the Kim Davis controversy. full story

USA, KENTUCKY: Queery has a handy flow chart for deciphering Davis’s marriage past. full story

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USA, KENTUCKY: John Gallagher looks at why the right loves Kim Davis, despite (or because of) her hypocritical past. full story

USA, OREGON: Marion County Judge Vance Day, a former chairman of the Oregon Republican Party, has requested his clerks send same-sex couples planning to be married to other county judges. An ethics investigation has been launched as a result of his decision. full story

USA, TEXAS: A chef at a Dallas-area Hilton hotel who allegedly refused to cater a gay couple’s wedding no longer works at the property. full story

USA, TEXAS: Texas should be ordered to pay almost $741,000 in legal fees after losing the court fight to preserve its ban on same-sex marriage, lawyers told a federal judge Friday. full story

Vatican: HRC condemned the Catholic Church for its “harmful” decision to deny trans people the right to be godparents. full story

Marriage Equality Round-Up – August 6th

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

Here’s our daily round-up of the marriage equality / LGBT rights stories that don’t warrant a full posting on the blog, or that we didn’t have time to add. We’re able to get more news and analysis to you this way every day – enjoy!

POP CULTURE: Would a family ever disown their gay son for NOT having a ‘Gay Wedding’? Matthew Ware created a comedy sketch exploring what would happen if a gay couple refused their supportive family’s demand to plan a wedding. full story

POP CULTURE: As Jon Stewart prepares to sign off for the last time, Queerty looks at the six gayest moments on the Daily Show. full story

Daily Show Gay

AUSTRALIA: Same-sex couples are barraging Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott with wedding invites – as he decides whether to block equal marriage. full story

NORWAY: Children as young as seven years old will be able to change their legal gender with parental consent under new legislation proposed by the Norwegian government. full story

USA: On Monday, President Obama echoed remarks made in favor of gay rights during a recent trip to Africa while addressing a group of young African leaders, equating racial discrimination to anti-gay discrimination. full story

USA: The Nielsen research team gathered data from around the United States and discovered that LGBT shoppers make ten percent more trips to the cash register than straight people. They also found that LGBT shoppers opened their wallets to spend $4,135 on average in retail stores in 2014. That’s seven percent more than non-LGBT consumers. full story

USA: Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) announced that it is launching a new social media campaign featuring Ohio native Jim Obergefell, asking candidates to #StandwithJim and defend his marriage in advance of the debate Thursday in Cleveland. full story

USA: Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz has made Betty and Richard Odgaard, the couple who plans to put 1,000 anti gay billboards up around the US, part of his Iowa leadership team. full story

USA: The Republican National Committee has nixed a pair of controversial anti-gay resolutions that were proposed for consideration during its summer meeting. full story

USA: A auto rental company jumps on the Caitlyn exploitation bandwagon. full story

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USA: A mother of a bisexual teen reacted perfectly to anti gay graffiti sprayed on the family’s garage door. full story

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USA, ARKANSAS: Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge says that justices of the peace could use the state’s new religious objections law as a defense if they refused to preside over a gay wedding ceremony, but it’s unclear whether such a defense would prevail in court. full story

USA, INDIANA: Advance America, led by Eric Miller, is working overtime to hold back LGBT rights in towns across Indiana. full story

USA, KENTUCKY: Anti-gay Rowan County, Kentucky clerk Kim Davis has filed a lawsuit against the state’s governor, Steve Beshear, alleging that by forcing her to obey the law of the land and grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples he violated her so-called “religious freedom.” full story

USA, MISSOURI: The Ridge Haven Chalet in Hawk Point turned away a lesbian wedding. full story

USA, OHIO: A local radio host is taking aim at Caitlyn Jenner’s transition on a new billboard ad – in a town where a trans woman was nearly beaten to death last year. full story

Star 105 Billboard

USA, OHIO: The billboard was taken down today. full story

USA, SOUTH CAROLINA: Attorney General Alan Wilson says the state shouldn’t have to pay legal fees for a couple who challenged the state’s gay marriage ban because he was merely defending the law of the land as it stood before the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling on gay marriage in late June.. full story

USA, TEXAS: The Houston City Council continued to support the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) today, rejecting a move to repeal the nondiscrimination protections and instead sending it to the ballot for a vote this Nov. 3. full story
USA, TEXAS: The state of Texas is facing not one but two likely lawsuits for failing to issue accurate vital records to same-sex couples in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges. full story

USA, TEXAS: Following the refusal of a Texas agency to amend the death certificate of a deceased gay man to reflect his same-sex marriage, a federal judge on Wednesday ordered the state to make the change — and directed officials to appear before court to possibly hold them in contempt of court. full story

USA, WISCONSIN: Business is booming at the Wisconsin restaurant Gracie’s Gyros and Wraps, after its owner schooled an antigay commenter on Facebook. full story

Marriage Equality Round-Up – July 26th

Sunday, July 26th, 2015

Here’s our daily round-up of the marriage equality / LGBT rights stories that don’t warrant a full posting on the blog, or that we didn’t have time to add. We’re able to get more news and analysis to you this way every day – enjoy!

AUSTRALIA: A group of Canberra young people are planning to give federal Parliament a wake-up call on marriage equality on Sunday, with hundreds expected at a walk around Lake Burley Griffin. full story

AUSTRALIA: Labor leader Bill Shorten will move to legalise same-sex marriage in his first 100 days if he becomes prime minister. full story

AUSTRALIA: At the same time, the Labor Party has confirmed its MPs will be given a free vote on upcoming same-sex marriage legislation – and will not be forced to vote in favour. full story

ITALY: Italian activists say civil unions aren’t enough, and are calling for full marriage equality. full story

KENYA: At a joint news conference with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in Nairobi today, President Obama made good on his plan to discuss the issue of gay rights in Africa. full story

USA: The Boy Scouts of America is set to confirm on Monday that it will end its ban on openly gay adult leaders. full story

USA: GOP presidential hopeful Ted Cruz was all doom-and-gloom at his sparsely attended congressional hearing about the dangers of ‘judicial tyranny.’ full story

USA, GEORGIA: Openly gay Pastor Rick Sosbe, whose church was vandalized with anti-gay phrases, said his church will continue to “spread the message of God’s inclusive love” by welcoming all to worship, feeding the homeless and doing volunteer work in the community. full story

USA, ILLINOIS: Earlier this week, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed HB 3930, an enhanced hate crime protections law that explicitly includes crimes against transgender people. full story

USA, MICHIGAN: Lawyers for a Hazel Park couple who helped legalize same-sex marriage across the nation asked a federal judge Saturday to force the state to pay more than $1.9 million in legal fees. full story

USA, MICHIGAN: The Citizens Research Council of Michigan, a respected group that publishes reports on public policy, believes it’s time to ask voters to erase parts of the constitution that are dead, including the ban on same sex marriage. full story

USA, NEW YORK: A gay couple living in Wynantskill, New York had their home and car struck by vandals this week, including the phrase “Jenner Fags”. full story

Jenner Fags

USA, NORTH CAROLINA: A mixed-race couple who was denied a marriage ceremony in Forsyth Co. decades ago thinks that history is repeating itself. full story

USA, OREGON: In an interview with Willamette Week, Rachel Cryer and Laurel Bowman, the lesbian couple turned away by Melissa’s Sweet Cakes, finally break their silence on the story and detail the shame and embarrassment felt after being turned away from Sweet Cakes owners Melissa and Aaron Klein. full story

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USA, SOUTH CAROLINA: In a heartwarming new video from Mashable, trans teen Chase Culpepper and her mother Teresa recall the conversations they’ve had together over the years as the two of them came to terms with who Chase really is. full story

VATICAN: The Pope’s approval rating has plummeted among US citizens – after the Church ditched planned to ‘welcome’ gay people and rallied against same-sex marriage. full story

Marriage Equality Round-Up – Supreme Court Edition – June 27th

Saturday, June 27th, 2015

Here’s our daily round-up of the marriage equality / LGBT rights stories that don’t warrant a full posting on the blog, or that we didn’t have time to add. We’re able to get more news and analysis to you this way every day – enjoy!

OVERVIEW:

MAP: The last US marriage equality map. full story

marriage equality map

MAP: Well, not quite – we also have this beautiful, simple time lapse map. full story

Marriage Equality time lapse map

FULL TEXT: Read the full text of yesterday’s US Supreme Court Ruling. full story

GUIDE: Six LGBT advocacy organizations launched a joint website http://MarriageEqualityFacts.org to provide answers to same-sex couples and their families as they navigate accessing the rights, benefits, and protections that marriage affords. full story

POP CULTURE:

CARTOONS: Joe.My.God rounds up some of the best political cartoons full story

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CORPORATIONS: Joe also wraps up some of the best corporate responses. full story

Jello Love

CELEBRITIES: The Huffington Post rounds up some of the celebrity reactions. full story

FASHION: The Observer rounds up the response from the fashion world. full story

ICE CREAM: Ben & Jerry’s is renaming one of its ice cream flavors, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, to “I Dough, I Dough” at participating stores. full story

I Dough I Dough

MEMES: Queerty rounds up some of the best marriage equality memes of the day. full story

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FACEBOOK: You can now rainbow your profile pic on the social media giant. full story

IN THE STATES:

NATIONWIDE: The Advocate gathers some of the places that went rainbow yesterday to celebrate marriage equality. full story

Rainbow Niagara Falls

ALABAMA: The state’s Chief Justice has vowed to block US Supreme Court’s ‘illegitimate’ marriage equality ruling. full story

ALABAMA: All couples in Mobile were allowed to pick up marriage licenses once again on Friday when the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage. full story

ARKANSAS: Marriage equality has returned to the state as the first new same sex marriage license was issued. full story

ARKANSAS: Gov. Asa Hutchinson said the state will obey the ruling. full story

COLORADO: Hundreds gathered at the State Capitol to celebrate the Supreme Court decision, full story

GEORGIA: Same sex couples married in a mass ceremony in Fulton County. full story

INDIANA: Indiana celebrates the ruling. full story

LOUISIANA: Arch-conservative Governor Bobby Jindal and GOP presidential candidate is doing what he can to stop same-sex weddings in his state. full story

MICHIGAN: See the reaction of the Michigan plaintiffs. ” target=”_blank”>full story

MICHIGAN: The Kent county clerk started taking applications for same-sex marriage licenses. full story

MISSISSIPPI: Attorney General Jim Hood is in no hurry to allow marriages in his state, preferring instead to wait until he absolutely has to. full story

NEW YORK: NYC celebrates the ruling. full story

NEW YORK: Celebration at the Stonewall Inn, where it all began. full story

PENNSYLVANIA: Great meme from Brian Simms. full story

Simsquote

PENNSYLVANIA: In Philadelphia’s gayborhood, there was elation over the US Supreme Court ruling. full story

TEXAS: The Dallas Voice liveblogs the various counties as they start to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples (or don’t). full story

TEXAS: Dallas County issued 170 marriage licenses on Day 1 of marriage equality in Texas, according to Dallas County Clerk John Warren. full story

TEXAS: Texas Governor Greg Abbott has said he will continue to defend religious freedom after the Supreme Court ruled in favour of same-sex marriage. full story

TEXAS: Chad Mantooth took photos at the rally and march in Dallas celebrating the Supreme Court’s ruling upholding marriage equality nationwide. full story

TENNESSEE: The first gay marriage license was issued in Shelby County around 11:30 Friday morning. full story

WASHINGTON DC: Watch the crowd the moment they heard the news outside the US Supreme Court. full story

WASHINGTON DC: The White House lit up with the rainbow. full story

Rainbow White House

WASHINGTON DC: President Obama called Ohio paintiff Jim Obergefell to congratulate him. full story

USA: The Advocate gathers some of the best photos from DC on Decision Day. full story

Obergefell_decision_day_at_Supreme_Court_insert_4_c_Washington_Blade_by_Michael_Key

ANALYSIS

MATT BAUME: Matt Baume has a new video out – what you need to know full story

SUNNIVIE BRYDUM: The Advocate reporter looks at what the ruling actually says. full story

JORDAN WEISSMAN: Justice Anthony Kennedy closes his opinion with one of the most beautiful passages you’ll likely read in a court case. full story

ZACK FORD AND JUDD LEGUM: Think Progress looks at some of the more ridiculous arguments in the Supreme Court dissents. full story

TARA CULP-RESSLER: There’s still work to be done. full story

ZACK FORD: No, the Supreme Court did not just ‘redefine’ marriage. full story

SUPPORTERS

PRESIDENT OBAMA: President Obama spoke passionately on Friday morning about the Supreme Court ruling legalizing national marriage equality. full story

HILLARY CLINTON: Hillary Clinton has reflected on the just-issued opinion by the US Supreme Court on same-sex marriage, saying she is “proud” of the “historic victory” for the country. full story

TIM COOK: “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do,” the Apple CEO wrote on Twitter. full story

JOE BIDEN: According to his wife: “Joe is running through the halls with a rainbow flagged tied on like a cape high fiving everyone.” full story

OPPONENTS

JOHN ROBERTS: The Chief Justice’s dissent said that the Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage in all 50 states completely undermined America’s democratic process. full story

ANTONIN SCALIA: The Supreme Court Justice compared the ruling to a fortune cookie. full story

CLARENCE THOMAS: The right-wing justice denied that gays had their dignity taken away by anti gay marriage laws, making offensive statements about slaves and those in internment camps. full story

BOBBY JINDAL: The Louisiana Governor and presidential candidate: “I will never stop fighting.” full story

MIKE HUCKABEE: Governor Mike Huckabee didn’t waste any time in attempting to put a downer on the Supreme Court’s decision to legalise same-sex marriage across the US, branding it “tyranny”. full story

LINDSEY GRAHAM: The presidential candidate struck a conciliatory note, calling for everyone to move on. full story

RICK SANTORUM: “…leaders don’t accept bad decisions….” full story

TED CRUZ: Sen. Cruz proposed a constitutional amendment that would subject members of the Supreme Court to a retention election every eight years. full story

TONY PERKINS: The leader of the FRC says it ain’t over yet. full story

KEN PAXTON: The Texas Attorney General says the ruling will lead to more “displays of hate and intolerance against people of faith.” full story

ALLIANCE DEFENDING FREEDOM: The badly mis-named group reacts. full story

JONATHAN SAENZ: He thanks the totally unnecessary “Pastor Protection Law” for stopping the Federal Government from forcing pastors and churches to perform same sex weddings. full story

BRYAN FISCHER: The AFA’s radio host says he “saw Satan dancing with delight” and “the twin towers of truth and righteousness were blown up by moral jihadists.” full story

BRIAN BROWN: The head of NOM called the decision “completely illegitimate.” full story

JIM GARLOW: California pastor Jim Garlow on Wednesday equated reversing gay marriage gains to ending slavery full story

JOSH ROBINSON: The Minnesota Vikings player compared marriage equality to pedophilia and incest. full story

A Transgender Soldier pens President Obama – .@POTUS @OnlyShaneOrtega

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

Sergeant Shane Ortega

 

Originally seen on MilitaryFreedomCoalition.org:

To the Honorable President, Mr. Barack Obama:

My name is Sergeant Shane Ortega. I serve in the United States Army and I recently stepped forward into the public light via the Washington Post – to show our country what an active serving transgender military member looks like. So here I am. I have been working on LGBT policy in the military almost as long as I have been serving. It has been ten years this June. Today, like it was before the repeal of Don’t As Don’t Tell I am still fighting against discrimination and lack of equal opportunity protections for all LGBT military personnel. Unfortunately this discrimination doesn’t stop there, it has also permeated into our national legislation as well. In many states it is a criminal act to be your “authentic” self and use a restroom, one of the most basic of human needs.

I joined the military of our nation because I wanted to be an active citizen. I felt that the American freedoms I was fortunate to be born into were not to be met with a sense of entitlement. I have always known that someone before me has suffered and possibly died to make them tangible realities. The good fortune of being born in a democratic country is that it shapes your entire destiny and the quality of life you may lead. Therefore I honor that privilege by serving and giving back to our nation and it’s people the best I can. That means also working on human rights issues for LGBT people; who are often the smallest of heard voices in the crowd. I swore to defend the Constitution. That means, liberty for all.

I created awareness on the negative affects of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and now I want to help open transgender military inclusion and LGBT Equal Opportunity protections. Our nation’s military has some of the finest human beings, which I consider lucky to have the good fortune to serve with. These heroes are highly adaptable and cohesive team players. Our military is a diverse group made up of members of our society from different backgrounds. We evolve with the base knowledge of our society and the global scenarios of combat arenas. That is what makes us the best trained military forces. Without fail the American military has always developed and used the right tool for the right task. We are more knowledgeable and powerful when we encompassed our different experiences and perspectives into a unit to accomplish a mission. The force has gone through desegregation, women’s inclusion, equal pay for both sexes, repeal of DADT and equality benefits for gay married couples – all ahead of the nation on this and not a single failure. We are a “no-fail” organization. As such we learn how to use the new tools we are given and we move forward to greatness. That is who we are. That is our American fighting force.

Sir, as I near the middle of my career, the question comes up – should I stay or should I go? Can I keep serving authentically? Can I continue to live the values of a warrior – integrity, honor and selfless service? Can I do this while I continue to be mis-gendered and without discrimination protections? I have kept my word, my honor and commitment true for ten years now. I want to continue to serve our nation to the best of my ability. We need immediate action on this issue for our service members and our citizens. Daily I receive correspondence from both active service members and citizens that just want to serve the country they love as the person they are. Some of the active service members are desperate, alienated, alone and suicidal. They range from field grade officers to new privates. Everyone is fighting an internal war that no one wants to speak up for. I love this nation and it’s people more than anything in the world. It’s all that I have to show for my time spent on this planet.

Mr. President, I beg you please use your power as Commander-In-Chief to immediately halt transgender military discharges and begin a review to repeal the transgender military ban. I respect your office to the highest extent and thank you for how far you have lead the LGBT cause.

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others” – Nelson Mandela

Respectively and Sincerely,

Shane Ortega
SGT, US ARMY

 

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SGT Ortega is a three-tour combat veteran who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He is a former Marine and current Army Soldier.