Winning the Right to Grieve

Written by scott on August 27th, 2014

Midori and Kris - via ACLULife is full of unexpected ups and downs. Sometimes our greatest joys are followed by our deepest sorrows, and through the good times and the bad we turn to our loved ones to guide and comfort us. But for same-sex couples, all too often the best and worst of life’s moments become reminders of the second-class status that same-sex relationships are relegated to in many states.

For Midori Fujii and Kris Brittain, the magic of their marriage and wedding was followed by tragedy. In 2008, after 11 years together, Midori and Kris were married in California. Sadly, shortly after they returned to their home in Indiana to continue their life together as spouses, Kris learned that she had ovarian cancer. Through the surgeries, hospitalizations, treatments, and everything else, Midori stood by Kris’s side, and they found comfort in each other and their home.

In Kris’s final days, she was plagued with worry over what would happen to Midori after her death because they would be treated as legal strangers in their home state of Indiana. The trauma and sadness of being seen as “less than” consumed her as she and Midori prepared to say goodbye. The couple did what they could to protect themselves, drafting wills and other legal documents that would allow Midori to make medical and financial decisions for Kris. But nothing can stand in for the recognition of a marriage.

When Kris died in October 2011, Midori lost the love of her life. And in the most painful moments of grieving, she had to fight to be recognized as a part of Kris’s life. At first she was told that she could not authorize Kris’s cremation because she was not a spouse. Then, like Edie Windsor, who successfully challenged the constitutionality of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act in United States v. Windsor, Midori was saddled with a $300,000 tax bill on the property that she and Kris shared. She would have owed nothing had they been an opposite-sex married couple.

Authored By Chase Strangio – See the Full Story at The Advocate

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Seriously? What Marriage Equality Opponents Are Saying

Written by scott on August 27th, 2014

Seriously?Here’s the the latest in our ongoing series of some of the crazy things the anti-gay marriage equality opponents are saying and doing around the world.

Your Mothering is Turning Your Son Gay

In an unintentionally hilarious response to woman who is worried that her son may be gay, televangelist Pat Robertson basically threw the woman under the bus:

“His attraction is now toward other men because he’s [being] raised by a woman. I would get him male companions. I’d get him some man to help him, some mentor, someone who cares about young men. He is being raised by a single woman and that is skewing his orientation.

At some point, you have to ask yourself if these people really believe this bullshit they’re spewing. I mean, come on, do you really think this kid is gay because he has a single female parent? And seriously, the way to turn him not gay is to have them spend more time with men? It would be laughable if this idiot that has such a large audience.

full story

It’s the Kind of Fast Where You Eat Food

The Family Foundation, a Virginia-based anti-gay group, is preparing a 40 day fast to encourage the US Supreme Court to rule against marriage equality:

Join us for 40 Days of Prayer, Fasting and Repentance for Marriage from August 27 through October 5, 2014. Our 40 Days will culminate on October 5th just before the court begins their session.

However, this is a special kind of fast – the one where you eat food:

We are asking the entire Body of Christ to join us for this feast – giving up physical food isn’t necessary – but feeding on the spiritual food provided is vital.

So to recap, if you want to show your die-hard support for anti-gay bigotry, all you have to do is feast on spirituality. Oh, and you can have as many Big Macs and french fries as you want. Wow, such a strong showing dedication and privation should really impress the big guy upstairs.

full story

Married Bisexuals Should Stay in the Closet

Showing remarkable lack of insight into what it means to be bisexual, advice columnist Eimly Yoffe advised the bisexual woman to keep quiet about her orientation:

Let’s say you discovered a late breaking interest in plushophilia, or you now realized you were turned on by being a dominatrix. This would not be news you’d be required to announce at the next Thanksgiving gathering. You are confusing your personal sexual exploration with a social imperative.

Alexandra Bolles of GLAAD had a better response than I’d ever be able to write:

People who are bisexual experience higher rates of anxiety, depression, mood disorders, and tobacco use compared to gay, lesbian, and straight folks. Bi erasure like what Yoffe perpetuated this morning is thought to be strongly tied with these health disparities. Stereotypes that mock or invalidate bisexuality are also often invoked in times of interpersonal violence, which people who are bi face at an alarming rate. Indeed, sometimes invalidating a person’s identity simply because they are not in a same-sex relationship can have life-threatening consequences.

LINK” target=”_blank”>full story


Marriage Equality Round-Up 8/27/14

Written by scott on August 27th, 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!

Australia: As we reported yesterday, the World Congress of Families is having a difficult time finding a venue for its conference scheduled to begin this weekend. Now, Mike Huckabee and Tom Delay have thrown their support behind the group. full story

Australia: Australia’s Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Union will be investigated by the Human Rights Commission over allegations of discrimination against LGBT people. full story

Italy receipt

Italy: A waiter has been fired after handing patrons a bill which had “I warn you they’re faggots.” full story

Macedonia: Parliament is considering a bill that would ban same-sex marriage in the country. full story

USA: A new study finds a lifting the ban on transgender servicemembers would not be difficult. full story

USA: The Associated Press has a nice recap of where the fight against marriage equality bans stands in various states. full story

USA, Arizona: The city of Tempe is set to vote on an LGBT anti-discrimination ordinance. full story

USA, California: The Hon. Nabilah Naggayi Sempala, A female member of Uganda Parliament, will attend the human rights meeting at the LGBT community center in San Francisco. full story

USA, North Carolina: Equality North Carolina is pressuring Gov. Pat McCrory to stop defending the state’s ban on marriage equality. full story

USA, Ohio: The city of Cincinnati will start covering the costs of medically necessary transition-related procedures for city employees next year full story

USA, Utah: The 10th circuit just granted the state’s request for an additional 30 days to file its appeal in the same-sex marriage recognition case. The plaintiffs had opposed the delay. full story


Seventh Circuit Hears Indiana, Wisconsin Marriage Equality Cases

Written by scott on August 27th, 2014

Although the Seventh Circuit is comprised of seven Republicans and three Democrats, the three-judge panel randomly chosen to hear the Indiana and Wisconsin marriage equality cases leans Democrat.

Think Progress reports:

The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit is a very conservative court. Seven of its ten active judges are Republicans, and these Republicans include some committed allies of the conservative Federalist Society. Nevertheless, anti-gay conservatives are likely to have little to celebrate once the Seventh Circuit hands down its closely watched decision in a pair of marriage equality cases the court will hear Tuesday. The Seventh Circuit just announced the three-judge panel who will hear this case — Judges Richard Posner, Anne Claire Williams and David Hamilton — and that appears to be very good news for Team Equality.

Judge Posner is the sole Republican on the panel — he’s served on the Court since President Reagan appointed him in 1981 — but he is a highly idiosyncratic judge who has grown increasingly critical of his fellow partisans in recent years. In a 2012 interview, for example, Posner complained that “there’s been a real deterioration in conservative thinking. And that has to lead people to re-examine and modify their thinking.” He added that he has personally “become less conservative since the Republican Party started becoming goofy.”

The three judges appeared very skeptical of state claims defending the bans.

The Washington Blade reports:

Based on the skepticism these judges expressed regarding marriage bans in these states, the panel seems headed toward deciding 3-0 in favor of marriage equality. Posner was most aggressive in the questioning of attorneys defending bans on same-sex marriage. The judge asked Indiana Solicitor General Thomas Fisher repeatedly why the state would want children with same-sex parents to be worse off than children with opposite-sex parents, then grew frustrated when the attorney could not provide a satisfactory answer.

When the attorney mentioned that opposite-sex marriage enables procreation because a “fleeting moment of passion leads to the creation of children,” Posner asked why sterile opposite-sex couples should be allowed to wed. Posner was similarly frustrated with Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General Timothy Samuelson when the lawyer couldn’t answer why allowing same-sex couples to wed might have a negative impact other than by observing the institution of no-fault divorce led to an increase in the dissolution of marriages.

ABC News profiles some of the plaintiffs in Indiana:

Amy Sandler and Niki Quasney didn’t plan to get married until they could tie the knot in Indiana. Cancer changed that. The two women, inseparable since they met in 2000, were happy together as they moved around the country, finding acceptance in such places as St. Louis, Las Vegas and Chicago. But Quasney’s 2009 diagnosis with ovarian cancer sent the couple in 2011 to her hometown of Munster, Indiana, so their daughters, now 3 and 1, could grow up near Quasney’s family. In Indiana, people weren’t as accepting. They were told they couldn’t obtain a family membership from a gym and when they took one of their daughters to a hospital for a blood test, staff members questioned who Quasney was.

And in Wisconsin:

Garth Wangemann had a new health care power of attorney form drawn up before undergoing surgery for lung cancer in 2011. He and his partner, Roy Badger, had older forms, but Wangemann feared they might be out of date. When Wangemann developed complications that required doctors to put him in a medically induced coma for more than a month, Badger decided to keep him on life support. Wangemann’s father wanted him removed and spoke to an attorney about trying to override Badger’s power of attorney. The issue became moot when Wangemann woke up.

In Indiana, Tippecanoe County Clerk Crista Coffey says she is ready for the court’s ruling, whatever it is.

JC Online reports:

As a 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals hearing approaches Tuesday in the challenge of Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriage, Tippecanoe County Clerk Christa Coffey said her office is prepared if the federal court rules Indiana’s law is unconstitutional. “Whatever the law is, we’ll follow it,” Coffey said Monday morning. Tippecanoe County issued 33 marriage licenses to same-sex couples on June 26 and 27, two of the three dates when same-sex marriage was legal in Indiana. That compares to 32 traditional marriage licenses issued that same week in Tippecanoe County.

Joe.My.God has quotes from the state cases that got us here:


Joe.My.God has the audio of the hearings.

Now it’s all over but the waiting.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Indiana.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Wisconsin.


Marriage Equality USA Conference Call Tonight After 7th Circuit Hearing

Written by scott on August 26th, 2014

MEUSA Conference CallPlease join Marriage Equality USA and our partners, Indiana Equality Action, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), Hoosiers Unite for Marriage, and Fair Wisconsin for our national COMMUNITY CALL this evening, Tuesday, August 26th. We will discuss today’s events surrounding the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals marriage equality case hearings.

7pm MT / 8pm CT / 9pm ET

Sign up for the call now!

Today the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago will hear oral arguments in the marriage equality cases Baskin v. Bogan (consolidated with Fujii v. Dept. of Revenue and Lee v. Pence) from Indiana, and Wolf v. Walker from Wisconsin.

The hearing will begin at 9:30am ET.

You are invited to our COMMUNITY CALL to discuss what happened in the courtroom, to hear community reaction, and to ask questions about where we go from here. This call is open to all supporters of marriage equality and allies — feel free to share this info! (NOTE: Media reps please note, you are welcome to attend the call, however, the call discussion and Q&A is off-the-record.)

Participants on the call will include Chris Stoll, Senior Staff Attorney at National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR); Larry Dupuis, Legal Director at ACLU Wisconsin; Karen Celestino-Horseman (IN), of Counsel, Austin & Jones, P.C.; host Thom Watson, MEUSA’s Social Media Manager and Court Watcher; and, moderator Brian Silva, MEUSA’s Executive Director.

To receive the call in information, sign up at All attendees will be emailed the call information today, Tuesday, August 26.


Bisexual Identities Often Erased in Rush to Marriage Equality

Written by scott on August 26th, 2014

Robyn Ochs and Peg PrebleRobyn Ochs and her partner, Peg Preble, tied the knot after the ban on same-sex marriage was overturned in Massachusetts, the first U.S. state with marriage equality. Ochs and Preble were happily together for seven years before racing to the altar in a mad dash to beat any further legal challenges by then-Gov. Mitt Romney or others opposed to marriage equality. They wed May 17, 2004 making national news and history as one of the first same-sex couples to marry.

Ochs and Preble’s photo was used nationally and they were labeled a lesbian couple repeatedly, even by The Washington Post, to which they gave an exclusive interview headlined, “A Carefully Considered Rush to the Altar: Lesbian Pair Wed After 7 Years Together.” The pair quickly became poster children for “gay marriage.” The problem? Ochs not only identifies as bisexual but is a renowned bisexual activist.

Ochs taught classes at Tufts University on bisexual identity and sexual politics, something that was mentioned in the original Post article, and has dedicated her career to educating straight and LGBT people alike on the bisexual community. She is known for speaking nationally on bi erasure, biphobia, and monosexism (the idea that heterosexuality or homosexuality is superior to non-monosexual orientations). Yet the very thing Ochs works to eradicate happened to her.

“I contacted the journalist after the otherwise beautiful story came out and she apologized, saying she didn’t have anything to do with writing the headline,” Ochs said.

What happened to Ochs is more than just a useful anecdote for her talks all over the country about bisexual erasure. It’s an example of how bisexuals are left out of marriage even when fighting for it on the front lines.

Authored By Eliel Cruz – See the Full Story at The Advocate

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Image via Robyn Ochs and Peg Preble


Marriage Equality Round-Up 8/26/14

Written by scott on August 26th, 2014

Gay WeddingHere’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!

Australia: The World Congress of Families will hold its annual convention in Melbourne next week. Many are urging the venue to cancel the event. full story

Ireland: n estimated 8,000 people marched for marriage equality in Dublin. full story

Jamaica: 25K marched against marriage equality in St. Thomas. full story

Lithuania: Broadcasters are refusing to air a gay PSA because of the country’s anti gay “propaganda” law. full story

USA: Dot429 looks at the difficulties LGBT officials have in local governance. full story

USA: Ex-Gay awareness month is happening on 10/3 and 10/4 – will anyone notice? full story

USA: A new poll shows that LGBT Americans, especially women, report lower levels of well-being than non-LGBT adults. full story

USA: The Affordable Care Act helps transgender people, but there is still work to be done. full story

USA, Missouri: Jennifer Scott Stevens, a radio host in Springfield, Missouri, says she was fired for being gay. full story

USA, Pennsylvania: Newly released emails show that a middle school cancelled a production of Monty Python’s Spamalot because it included a same-sex wedding. full story


Seriously? What Marriage Equality Opponents Are Saying

Written by scott on August 26th, 2014

Seriously?Here’s the the latest in our ongoing series of some of the crazy things the anti-gay marriage equality opponents are saying and doing around the world.

Gays Can’t Marry Because They Can’t Conjugate, Just Like Kids

Robert George, a co-founder of the National Organization for Marriage thinks gays shouldn’t be allowed to marry because they can’t conjugate:

Just as the distinction between eighteen-year-olds and twelve-year-olds is relevant to the purpose of marriage – because the former but not the latter are actually able to form the union that is marriage – in the same way, the distinction between opposite-sex couples and same-sex partners is relevant to the purpose of the marriage statute, because the former but not the latter can actually form the kind of union that marriage is. Two people of the same sex cannot truly be married, any more than a pair of twelve-year-olds can be married – they are unable to form the kind of union marriage is: a conjugal union.

I just looked up the definition of conjugate: “to become temporarily united in order to exchange genetic material.” Hmm, Mark and I can do that! Are you sure that’s what you want to hang your “traditional marriage” hat on?

full story

Anti Gay Bigotry is a Sexual Orientation

WorldNetDaily founder and editor-in-chief Joseph Farah has a novel new argument in the fight against marriage equality – of you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em:

Let me pose a hypothetical intellectual challenge: The law that forms the basis for the action against the Giffords in New York is a provision that bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Yet, isn’t that precisely what is happening to the Giffords? Are they not being coerced to accept and approve someone else’s sexual orientation? Are they not permitted to hold their own sexual orientation, one that acknowledges their God’s definition that marriage is a union of one man and one woman?

Seriously? Hey, maybe my love of Apple products is actually a religion. After all, I attend “church” on a regular basis, and tithe money to the organization… Do I qualify for a tax exemption?

full story

Gays Are Just Like Serial Killers, Rapists, and Pedophiles

Pastor Kevin Swanson thinks forcing a bakery to make a wedding cake for a same sex couple is equivalent to a number of heinous things:

The forcing of wedding cake bakeries to produce wedding cakes for homosexual marriages, or photographers, or bridal shops, not unlike serial killers walking into like a trophy shop requesting a plaque that indicates the accomplishments of the serial killer… it’s my position that the trophy shop should have the freedom to reject that service… a rapist has a party in which he requests a representative from the toastmasters to present a speech in favor of what these rapists are doing. or here’s another one. This may be a little closer, a little more realistic. A NAMBLA representative… a club, a local chapter of the NAMBLA organization, shows up at a Chuck E. Cheese in Denver… for a party involving 8-12 year old boys in Thailand.

The other unidentified voice in the audio also likens gays requesting services to celebrating the killing of puppies. And these folks wonder why we’re not “tolerant” of their views? Why we can’t have a civilized discussion about this? Seriously????

full story

Send Gays to Prison for 10 Years of Hard Labor

Michael V Williams, another loving “Christian”, had this to say about the gays:

“Whereas homosexuality used to be a felony in every state — referred to as sodomy — it has now been decriminalized, and homosexuality is allowed to be openly expressed in public. While Christians are becoming increasingly tolerant of homosexuals, homosexuals are becoming increasingly intolerant of us…. The only way to do this and keep it beyond the reach of activist judges and unaccountable bureaucrats is to create a constitutional amendment…’ Williams said… there should be an amendment to the US Constitution declaring the ‘United States of America is a Christian nation with Judeo-Christian ethics, morals, principles and values. This will descree the ‘practice of homosexuality in the United States of America and in all its territories and possessions, and in all its States, Counties and Cities shall be a felony punishable by ten years in prison at hard labor”

So let me see. While these folks are whining about having to make a wedding cake, calling gays intolerant, and claiming they will be sent to “re-education camps”, which has never happened in the history of LGBT rights, some of them are calling for us to be sent to prison for 10 years of hard labor for the new “crime” of being gay. Hypocritical much?

full story


New HRC Report Exposes World Conference of Families’ Anti Gay Bigotry

Written by scott on August 25th, 2014

World Congress of FamiliesA new report from the Human Rights Campaign profiles the anti gay activities of the World Conference of Families.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

The report by the HRC Foundation, the educational arm of HRC, documents: WCF’s origins and founding members; a timeline of its major international events; affiliations with prominent American officials, political groups, and religious organizations; engagement and lobbying with leaders and lawmakers abroad; and the primary regions in which the group has been most active. According to the report, the WCF and its affiliates are connected to anti-LGBT advocacy in Uganda, Russia, Nigeria, and many other countries. “This organization and their affiliates’ global advocacy have corresponded with a dangerous rise in anti-LGBT laws, discrimination, and even violence around the world,” said Cobb.

See the full report here.

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Indiana, Wisconsin Marriage Equality Hearing Tomorrow

Written by scott on August 25th, 2014

Seventh CircuitTwo more states, Indiana and Wisconsin, will go before an appeals court this week.

WLFI reports:

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments in the Indiana gay marriage case in a Chicago courtroom Tuesday morning beginning at 10:30 Lafayette time. There will be 20 minutes set aside for attorneys for same sex couples and another 20 minutes for the state. Solicitor General Thomas Fisher will make those arguments. Then, both sides in a Wisconsin case will get the same opportunity. A three judge panel that will be drawn from the 10 judges in the 7th Circuit will decide the case. Seven of them were appointed by Republican Presidents, Three by Democrats.

Ten states are urging the judges to uphold the bans.

Chicago pride reports:

Ten states have joined in filing an amicus brief in support of gay marriage bans in Wisconsin and Indiana. The states are urging the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago to uphold restrictive marriage bans in two challenges to be heard before the court on Tuesday… States involved in the brief include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota and Utah.

The Wisconsin plaintiffs got a send-off in Madison.

WBAY reports:

Two gay couples suing for the right to marry are off to Chicago to listen to oral arguments before a federal appeals court. Carol Schumacher and Virginia Wolf and Judi Trampf and Katy Heyning boarded a bus Monday morning after a send-off at the OutReach LGBT Center in Madison. About two dozen people showed up to see them off.

So did the Indiana plaintiffs, in Indianapolis.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

Gay couples heading to Chicago to challenge Indiana’s same-sex marriage ban told supporters Monday that they believe they are on the right side of history. Nearly 100 supporters at a rally sponsored by Hoosiers Unite for Marriage gathered at the City Market in downtown Indianapolis to wave off the four couples as they left to attend legal arguments before a federal appeals court on Tuesday. The couples planned to attend other rallies in support of same-sex-marriage along the way in Lafayette, Munster and Chicago and said they hoped supporters and plaintiffs would join their convoy en route.

All eyes are on the Seventh Circuit tomorrow.

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