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Featured Gay Friendly Wedding Vendor: Weddings A La Heart, Kailua-Kona, Big Island, Hawaii

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

Weddings A La Heart

Periodically we’ll feature one of our vendors here to let our readers know about some great people who can help you plan the perfect wedding.

Gay Wedding Officiants in Kailua-Kona, Big Island, HI, USA. Aloha Gay beloveds. I warmly welcome you to Weddings A La Heart and eagerly await creating a one-of-a kind sunset soul ceremony for you both, to touch your hearts deeply. Complete wedding services and civil unions with gracious personal service from beginning to end. Gorgeous private and public Hawaiian beach venues. We also travel anywhere in the world bringing the sacred and romantic traditions of the gay Hawaiian ceremony to you.

See the Weddings A La Heart Expanded Listing on Purple Unions Here

Gay Friendly Wedding Vendors in Hawaii

Iraq War Veteran confronts Anti-LGBT petitioner in #Plano, Texas:

Friday, January 16th, 2015

Plano-hatred

Originally seen at SeanSala.com

As some of you may know and have been following, a group called “Plano Citizens United” has been seeking to overthrow and repeal a nondiscrimination ordinance recently voted on and approved by the Plano, Texas city Council and Mayor.

This organization solely formed to target the LGBT community is spreading lies on what the ordinance does and why it was enacted. Of course they are leaving out some key details - it also protects women and Veterans from job place discrimination. Of course they’re not talking about that.

Sean Sala who is an Iraq War Veteran confronted the anti-gay, anti-women and anti-Veteran petitioners today outside of a post office in Plano, Texas.

The group supporting equal rights for all Texas can be found HERE

You can view the video HERE

 

Young #LGBT #Texans must rise up! – State Officials are ready to rain hate:

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

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Originally seen at SeanSala.com

I drove the long twenty hour drive from San Diego, California to Dallas, Texas with a flurry of emotions in my gut. I had lived in San Diego for almost ten years and anywhere I live I get the “ten year itch.” There were many reasons as to why I was moving back but a couple of big ones that were not “suggestions” to move back – they instead were a call of duty.

While I was in San Diego the fight for equal rights was avid and alive. I had organized the first active duty Military March in a Pride parade in History while Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was still law. The next year I pressured the Pentagon to certify Uniforms in a Pride parade for the first time in US History. I had helped spring board the American Military Partner Association which eventually led to a major shift in Veteran’s Affairs treatment of LGBT troops. I had sat face to face with Alan Chambers the President of the largest “Gay conversion therapy” clinic in the World and demanded on Lisa Ling’s documentary “God and Gays” that he end his lies and shut down. I had partnered with a iconic Transgender Navy SEAL, Kristin Beck to combat the Transgender Ban in the Military. My blog became nationally syndicated. I worked with an Oscar winning producer to screen “God loves Uganda.” I had the distinct honor among many other things locally and nationally to be on the forefront of. I remember though, the day that I thought about that vast land I came from. I remember the pain I had been subjected too as an LGBT teen and I knew that one day… I had to go back. You see, being an activist in California had become “easy.” Much was accomplished in my nine years there, but as an activist I know that my duty is not to just go where it is easy – but to go where it is hard.

The decision had confused many people. I had people here and there coming up to me so confused “why would you go there?” “That place is a crazy Republican State” and “they will kill you there!” I had someone very close to the Speaker of the California Assembly, Toni Atkins fervently try to persuade me to stay.  The decision had been made though. The State of Texas needs a “great awakening” of the LGBT community. Specifically the young LGBT community. I am one among a handful of activists State wide who have been longing to see that day and moment. If I can be one more piece of the puzzle to add to that vision, that is all that matters. I am one of many in the this State longing for a new era of Equality. To stay in a comfortable California seat would have been the most cowardly thing I could have done. In the end I must be able to say to myself that I stood there in the hard times in California and I stood there in the hard times in Texas.

I am often moved by the story of Harriet Tubman. A woman who during her plight was not only less privileged due to the color of her skin, her gender too was a huge boundary to her equal treatment as a person as well. When she finally escaped her slave master her own husband out of fear refused to go with her to escape. She ran alone through the dogs, the lanterns in the distance hunting her down, the cold wooded nights to freedom. She had an opportunity to live in her new life in the North. Instead she turned right back around, began the Underground Railroad and  after escaping hell she ran right back into hell to take others out. To LGBT Texans scattered abroad. To former Evangelical LGBT people. To those who are scorn by the wayside by how this State and it’s Government has treated us. To all LGBT afar. We must answer the call of Harriet. We must turn around, return and we must fight back. It is a hard thought but it is our sacred duty.  If we do not fight now against the discrimination soon to be poured unto us by the Theocratic tyranny of Greg Abbott and the State legislature – many more will suffer.

Can you see it though? Through the darkness of the woods? Through the pale morning sky? Through the cold plains of Texas – can you see LGBT people living open and free? Not just in the big Cities, but in the small towns. In Plano, in Bridgeport, Galveston, Brownsville; can you see LGBT teens no longer being thrown into the prisons of Evangelical behavior modification? Can you see LGBT teens no longer being thrown homeless into the streets in numbers so high? Being thrown out by Churches who profess “Christ” to cover their bigotry. Can you see a generation of young LGBT people standing up in every city, every small town, every Church, every place and declaring that we are not a minority to be marginalized any more? Can you see the young people of this state fulfilling the cry of the late Harvey Milk… “come out… come out! You must come out!” Can you see the Theocracy of Evangelical tyranny crumble? We can’t “maybe” see it – we must see it. Today is the day our tone, tenure and resolve must be multiplied.

I remember sitting in the small chapel of (former) Victory Assemblies of God in Carrollton, Texas after I had “come out” about my “struggle” with being gay. Only to have the Church hierarchy squash me like a bug. They systematically removed me from leadership. A teenager in the Church openly called me a fag in front of other adults who stood by and said nothing. I remember looking up into the stained glass white dove in that Chapel which symbolized the Holy Spirit… and I wept. I wept so hard it hurt. I cried out more than I ever had in my life and I asked God, “why is this happening to me?”

Years later I have returned and finally understand the answer to that question.

It’s time for our young LGBT people to rise up.

It’s time to bring people through the underground railroad.

HS

“Looking” Returns for Season 2 – Win a DVD of Season 1

Monday, January 5th, 2015

looking-500HBO is partnering with Purple Unions/Marriage Equality Watch to announce the second season of Looking, the gay drama set in San Francisco. We’re giving away ten copies of the Season 1 DVD – just post a comment below with your name and email address. We’ll draw the winners from all the entries received by 1/11

There’s more out there in the all new season of the hit HBO series LOOKING starring Jonathan Groff and Frankie J. Alvarez. LOOKING focuses on current gay life in the Bay Area and on themes that everyone, gay and straight, can relate to: falling in love, finding professional fulfillment, forging an identity in a complicated world, and searching for happiness. Don’t miss the season premiere Sunday, January 11th at 10pm/9pm Central, only on HBO.

And now is your chance to catch up before the premiere with Season 1, available to own now on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD: http://amzn.com/B00HX3ZJOY

F.D.A. to Lift Lifetime Ban on Blood Donations by Gay Men in 2015

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

bloodThis just in from The New York Times:

The Food and Drug Administration announced on Tuesday that it would scrap a decades-old lifetime prohibition on blood donation by gay and bisexual men, a change that experts said was long overdue and could lift the annual blood supply by as much as 4 percent. The F.D.A. enacted the ban in 1983, early in the AIDS epidemic. At the time, little was known about the human immunodeficiency virus, which causes the disease, and there was no quick test to determine whether somebody had it. But science and the understanding of H.I.V. in particular has advanced in the intervening decades, and on Tuesday the F.D.A. acknowledged as much, lifting the lifetime ban but keeping in place a more modest block on donations by men who have had sex with other men in the last 12 months. In a statement, the agency said it had carefully examined and considered the scientific evidence before changing the policy. It said it intended to issue a draft guidance detailing the change in 2015.

So you’ll still have to wait 12 months without having sex to donate. But it’s a step in the right direction.

Response to Bigot “Pastor” @jackngraham in His Effort to Repeal Plano, Texas LGBT Protections:

Monday, December 22nd, 2014
Jack-Graham

Mega-Church Senior Pastor Jack Graham of Prestonwood Baptist Church

 

Originally seen on SeanSala.com

It was almost nine years ago that I left the Dallas metropolis to join the Military. Shortly thereafter I was thrust into the Naval campaign of the Iraq war, guarding the Iraqi oil platforms just off the coast of the nation. At that time I was closeted, still hiding from myself. Also the unconstitutional law known as DADT (“Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”) was in full affect – ruining the lives of many gay and lesbian servicemembers who were laying down their lives for our Country. When I returned from the war I was so broken physically and mentally. Not just because of the stress of being in a combat theater, but because DADT had caused me to be emotionally paranoid every day while under combat stress. The Dallas, Texas area as well had done it’s number on me. I was kicked out of Churches for admitting that I simply “struggled” with being gay. I was singled out, demonized and I underwent what is known as “Gay conversion therapy.” In the past I shared my story on “Our America with Lisa Ling.”  This story is just one of the many stories of the horrible persecution of growing up gay in the South. Months before I exited the Military I began my “righteous revenge” on the DADT policy. I began to fight the very system that demonized us. To this day I am still fighting on national level for the LGBT community – fighting for the rights that so many of us were denied, but so many of us laid our lives down for.

For many reasons I have returned to the Dallas area after almost nine years. One of the key reasons I have returned is so I can fight, advocate and speak out against the atrocities the “Christian Church” committed against me and many others for simply being born gay. I vowed to get settled down, then began to work to build a coalition to reach out to the Evangelical community. Seeking to bring more LGBT freedom to the State of Texas. Sadly to my surprise though I have to immediately address a grandly horrible, unethical and unchristian action that is currently being committed, targeting gay people in the area of Plano, Texas.

Dr. Jack Graham Pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church (a Church I used to attend,) has decided that in his position of Evangelical authority, instead of preaching a message about advocating for the poor, instead of preaching a message of reaching out to the widows and orphans of this world, instead of embracing the heart of Jesus (who never denied service to any person) – he has begun to lead a coalition to REPEAL a LGBT protection ordinance that was recently approved by the Plano City Council. This ordinance for the first time would embrace the full Constitutional body of our founding principles and it would protect people from discrimination based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. Much like it has been done time and time again for other groups such as African Americans, Women and even Christians. These groups currently enjoy Constitutionally protected laws that specifically lets them not be denied freedom and public services based on their race, gender or belief. What is purely disgusting about all of this is Graham has used the phrase “darkness” to portray gay people. He agrees that “Christianity” has been “criminalized” in Plano and other absolutely adolescent, ridiculous and unfounded claims. So for a man who helps head the Baptist National Convention and uses the phrase “Doctor” in this title, for a man who preaches the “grace” of God – let me address him as such:

Dr. Graham:

I know that being the Senior Pastor of such a large Church that fully funds your every need you must live “such a painful” life. I know that someone who uses the Gospel of Jesus Christ to bring in millions to live like a “Christian King,” building a grandeur huge building that uplifts your social platform you must be “so aware” of what painful persecution is. You live in the United States of America. Apparently though Plano, Texas with its sea of wealthy and well off white people (many of whom attend your Church,) to you it has literally become a “brutal dictatorship” against you personally. I mean, you can’t eat in restaurants because you are a Baptist right? You can’t get promoted in certain workplaces because you are Baptist right? You can’t fully know that you will keep your job simply because of the way you were born right? I am sure the money you rake in from book sales etc. are “in jeopardy” because you are “so discriminated against?” – WRONG.

I don’t know if you need a refresher course on US History, or the basics of a functioning Constitutional Republic, but allow me to educate you since you have forgotten what actual discrimination is. Actual discrimination is you actually being DENIED a right, service or equal protection as cited under the 14th Amendment. This is the same clause that deemed DADT, DOMA (The “so called” Defense of Marriage Act) and now only roughly thirty seven States’ gay marriage bans to be unconstitutional. These laws were struck down not by “crazy gay liberals.” You know the gays that you profile as Nazis who are coming to force you to actually (Gasp! Serve them food.) Many of these were Bush and Reagan era appointed Judges who are staunchly conservative figures. Because they unlike you, actually give a damn about full Constitutional protection for all people – not just your exclusive Baptist resort. They, unlike you actually practice this “magical” philosophy that you profess to practice yourself. I don’t know if you have heard about this man named Jesus? Have you heard of Him? Well, if not please allow me “Doctor” to fill you in on His way of life, philosophy and doctrine.

Now, I would like you to take out a pen from your nice office fully funded by your congregation. I know it must be very hard to attain basic office supplies, since you go out to Office Max and a attendant screams “Get that disgusting fag Baptist out of this store!” That has happened to you right? You have had a lifetime of hateful slurs thrown at you simply for being Baptist? You agree that Christianity has been criminalized. So when are you getting arrested? Back to my point, please carefully write down this phrase that Jesus defined. I’m sorry I asked you to use a sheet of paper. I know supplies must be scarce in the prison you’ve been thrown in. Are you ready?

“Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.” – Jesus

“Judge not lest ye be judged.” – Jesus

You may be in utter shock that actual Christianity calls for these “crazy” and ludicrous things like treating people with actual dignity and respect. I am happy to inform you though  that now you actually have a chance to live out your faith! You have the opportunity to actually lead people to the same Christ who offered water to a Samaritan woman. Someone who in Jesus’ day was deemed less than and filthy, simply because of her social status and gender. Yes! Jesus actually reached out to social minorities and social rejects of his day! Insane right?! The Jesus that you “claim” to serve actually demands that you treat people equally and you never deny them any sort of service.

I also want to take some time to explain to you some simple concepts that even a child can understand. Imagine this as your “School House Rock” moment. You can follow along and hum the repetitious beat if you get lost. It goes like this:

You are a registered business with the State and with the National Government

– You pay taxes to operate as a business to the public, therefore you have to do this thing called “providing a service” to the public.

- BREAKING NEWS: LGBT people are part of the public!

Ludicrous isn’t it? I know I thought the same thing! Sadly for you and your “dazzling” Baptist palace, the truth of the matter is there are billions of people in the world. There are thousands of religions, many genders, many sexual orientations and many races. I regret to inform you that the World is not all heterosexual white males. I imagine you just fell out of your leather office chair but don’t worry! Pick yourself up and dust off your brand new tailored suit! After all, it must be hard to get your suit tailored because of all the Baptist discrimination you suffer. After getting beat up in all those hate crimes, you must be famished. Embrace the good news though! You live in the United States of America. You esteem to be a follower of Jesus and you actually are asked, nay demanded by Him to treat people equally.

Since you have been discriminated against so fervently, you have a chance to right a wrong in this world. The real “darkness” – a hypocritical Christianity that uses liturgical and religious dogma to demonize a group of people and shut out God’s Kingdom to them. So since you lead a congregation of thousands, I am hoping you have the balls as a man, as a Christian and as an American to actually tell them that discrimination is wrong. I hope you have the bravery to tell them that purposely trying to repeal a law that protects a minority, is the farthest thing from the Christian faith. I hope you realize that when you deny service to someone who is LGBT you are denying service to a mother, a father, a professional, a Veteran, a Active Duty Military member, a brother, a sister a police officer, a firefighter and yes to a gay Christian – and so on. You also are denying service to Jesus Himself:

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home.  I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’

 “Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons.  For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’

 “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’

 “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’

– The Book of Matthew

Until then, I am so sorry for your “horrific Baptist persecution.” Remember, you don’t choose to be gay but you do choose your religious belief. So let your hair down out of your ivory tower and allow some sense to climb into your space.

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Marriage Equality Round-Up – December 11th

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

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

Chile: A marriage equality bill was formally introduced on Wednesday. full story

Finland: Finland Interior Minister Paivi Rasanen has vowed to challenge last Friday’s decision by MPs to legalize gender-neutral unions. full story

India: It’s exactly one year since India recriminalized same-sex relationships. full story

Romania: Slate has a report on what it’s like to be gay in the country. full story

South Korea: Seoul Mayor Won Soon Park has agreed to meet with activists occupying city hall, to discuss his decision not to proclaim a new human rights charter over concerns that it has caused “social conflicts.” full story

Syria: ISIS posted photos of militants throwing a man reported to be gay from a roof and stoning him to death. full story

UK: The Chairman of Grassroots Conservatives says Prime Minister David Cameron’s support for marriage equalitymeans the party “has little chance of winning a majority at the general election”. full story

USA: A new map shows US states that have marriage equality, and states that have no LGBT employment protections. full story

Marriage equality and employment protections map

USA: Sen. Jeff Merkley (D) announced that he will introduce a sweeping federal LGBT rights bill that will cover employment, housing, credit, and public accommodations. full story

USA: The top civilian leader of the Air Force says she supports allowing transgender people to serve openly in the armed forces, and expects a review of the issue to take place soon. full story

USA, Arkansas: Outgoing Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe says he remains opposed to marriage equality, but might support civil unions. full story

USA, Arkansas: Marriage equality plaintiffs delivered a petition urging AG McDaniel to not appeal the case. full story

USA, Arkansas: The Advocate has a great primer on the fight for marriage equality in the state. full story

USA, Arkansas: HRC asks why TLC is still supporting the Duggar family after their successful transphobic repeal campaign against Fayetteville’s LGBT protections ordinance. full story

USA, Florida: AG Pam Bondi is being mum about her plans to deal with the expiration of a stay on a marriage equality case on January 6th. full story

USA, Maryland: NerdWallet.com crunched some numbers, and its analysis indicates that Maryland netted $52.7 million from same-sex nuptials. full story

USA, Missouri: A judge in Jackson County has rejected an attempt by the Missouri General Assembly’s GOP leadership to stop Kansas City from recognizing same-sex marriages from other states. full story

USA, South Carolina: Attorney General Alan Wilson will appeal a prominent lawsuit that resulted in same-sex marriages from other states being recognized in the state. full story

Vatican: Vatican officials are once again polling the world’s Catholics about their opinions on controversial “family issues” such as abortion, divorce, and homosexuality. full story

Sean Sala blasts Pastor who called for the execution of gays for an “AIDS Free Christmas”

Friday, December 5th, 2014
collage665

Arizona “Pastor” Steven Anderson (Left) and National LGBT Policy Activist Sean Sala (Right)

Originally seen on SeanSala.com

Arizona Pastor Steven Anderson “rung in” the holiday season by calling for the execution of all gays, saying it would give the world an “AIDS FREE CHRISTMAS.”

National LGBT Policy activist Sean Sala, went on the Fox News KFYI Arizona’s talk show “The Voice of Merrill.” Sala called the the Pastor a “Blithering Idiot,” citing his inadequacies in Biblical and Health Statistical facts. Sala also mentioned that Anderson is inciting “everything that Jesus hated.”

See minute 32:00 for the beginning of the segment: HERE

Thanksgiving Hiatus

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

Turkey for ThanksgivingHey all,

It’s been a crazy year for marriage equality – especially the last few months since the US Supreme Court issued their non-decision decision. Since then, 16 states have come on board, with more to follow soon.

We’re thrilled with all this, but we’re a bit worn out. So we’re taking a short hiatus for the Thanksgiving holiday (barring any huge developments).

We’ll be back on Sunday with a recap of anything we missed during the break.

Happy Turkey Day!

:)

–Scott & Mark
Marriage Equality Watch

A #Texas Family Defies the Haters and Loves their Gay Son – A #Holiday Message:

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014
Nymont Final

Nancy K. (Middle)

We loved our Gay son – period | Originally seen on SeanSala.com

“Celebrate Me Home,” for the Holidays. – By Nancy K. 

This weekend I’ve been busy taking down my Thanksgiving decorations in order to fill the house with my wonderful obsession; the Christmas Holidays!

While doing so, of course I had to play my Christmas music to begin my joyful tradition!

My first choice of the season…”Celebrate Me Home” by Kenny Loggins.

As I was singing along at the top of my voice, “Home for the Holidays, I believe I’ve missed each and every face – let’s turn on every love light in the place”   I just stopped after carefully setting out my childhood Santa’s  that spelled out “J O Y”, I stared at those words and just listened to the entire song.

All my heart could think about was everyone, absolutely everyone being home for the Holidays and turning on every love light.   For me, the term “Love Light” means being open to pure truth and acceptance – love with no conditions.    You see, I am the proud mom of a Gay son. When he comes to visit he will be home for the Holidays surrounded with love.   The Love Light in our family has always been turned on. As the song says, “he will find himself totally surrounded in our circles.”

As I stood there staring at that simple 3 letter word “JOY” and listening to the words “Celebrate Me Home” I thought of the many kids that were facing hatred, unacceptance and very conditional type love, because they are gay.  They do not have this Joy in their soul. Joy doesn’t just happen, it is acquired from acceptance for the beautiful spirit that they are.   Are they being celebrated home this holiday season?  It is time for this acceptance, surround them in your circle with Pride.

When our son was just a 3 years old, we knew.   His dad and I always embraced his differences.  At Christmas time, we honored all of his wishes.  After all, for children it is a time of magic, wonderment and they are watching to see if Santa “listened” to their hearts desire!

One Christmas our son’s heart desire was a very special order – a pink Convertible electric car!

This was a mission my son’s  dad was determined to accomplish.  It took a lot of work, but on Christmas morning, my son awoke to the magic of seeing his pink Convertible electric car sitting right under that tree! Naturally, we would  love and honor our son  for who he is.  Gender expression is something we should cherish, even if it’s against the status-quo.

There is one song that my son will always remember, “True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper.  It was my lullaby to him, dancing on my toes as I sang to him this song! I wanted for him to know, before he knew, that his True Colors would always shine through.  When the day came that he wanted to share with us his True Colors, we were so happy for him!   We knew almost his whole life.  We made the condition that it would be on his terms. We loved him for who he was – period.

Parents – there is a line in this wonderful holiday song that stands out, “It is a very uneasy highway,” yes it is.   Our job as parents is to make sure that this uneasy highway leads them to a home that is celebrated with complete love.  This is the season, right now to turn your love light on. If your relationship is dark, do not allow your child to sit in this darkness one minute more.  They are only waiting for that phone call from you. Please, bring JOY into your child’s life.   This will be the greatest gift you could give at this beautiful season of love.

All your child wants, all any of us want is to be Celebrated Home!

It’s time

Celebrate them home