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Featured Gay Friendly Wedding Vendor: Ark Interfaith Services, Middle Island, New York

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

Rev. MarciaGrace - Ark Interfaith ServicesPeriodically 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.

Rev. MarciaGrace is Long Island wedding officiant, a graduate of The New Seminary and an ordained Interfaith minister. She has taught metaphysics and religion for almost thirty years and has spoken at various religious and secular groups throughout the New York metropolitan area. She has organized and led several spiritual retreats on Long Island, and has also been a chaplain at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset.

See the Ark Interfaith Services Expanded Listing on Purple Unions Here

Gay Friendly Wedding Vendors in New York

Presbyterian Church Approves Marriage Equality

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

Presbyterian ChurchAfter three decades of debate over its stance on homosexuality, members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted on Tuesday to change the definition of marriage in the church’s constitution to include same-sex marriage.

The final approval by a majority of the church’s 171 regional bodies, known as presbyteries, enshrines a change recommended last year by the church’s General Assembly. The vote amends the church’s constitution to broaden marriage from being between “a man and a woman” to “two people, traditionally a man and a woman.”

The Presbytery of the Palisades, meeting in Fair Lawn, N.J., put the ratification count over the top on Tuesday on a voice vote. With many presbyteries still left to vote, the tally late Tuesday stood at 87 presbyteries in favor, 41 against and one tied.

Authored By Laurie Goodstein – See the Full Story at The New York Times

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Marriage Equality Round-Up – March 18th

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

Gay Wedding - HandsHere’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!

TV: The CBS game show Let’s Make a Deal suprised audiences recently when one lucky gay couple pulled out of the audience took the opportunity to ask a very imporant question, as the crowd went wild. full story

USA: Dolce and Gabbana again tried to walk back their controversial statements on gay adoption, IVF and gay families, this time on CNN. full story

Australia: The Senate has supported a motion calling on all parties to allow a conscience vote on gay marriage. full story

Belize / Trinidad & Tobago: Prominent gay-rights activist Maurice Tomlinson is in court on Tuesday and Wednesday, challenging anti-gay laws that prevent LGBT people and other “undesirable people” from entering the countries of Belize and Trinidad & Tabago. full story

Ghana: Young men who have acted in gay porn films in Ghana are to be hunted down and arrested and possibly tortured, following a call from the country’s media. full story

Ireland: Tom Sykes at The Daily beast looks at the turn-around in attitudes about homosexuality in Ireland. full story

Italy: Giuliano Federico, the director of D&G’s magazine Swide, has resigned from his post of 17 years ober to his bosses’ comments about children and gay families. full story

Slovenia: Anti-gay factions in Slovenia are about to begin collecting signatures to try to force a referendum on repealing same-sex marriage. full story

UK: More needs to be done to tackle “specific issues of discrimination” against the trans community, Prime Minister David Cameron said. full story

UK: Gay and human rights activist Peter Tatchell will lead a demonstration outside the Dolce And Gabbana flagship store in London today. full story

UK: Senior Tory Eric Pickles slammed Dolce and Gabbana for their “offensive” remarks about same-sex parents, but says a boycott is not the best way to proceed. full story

USA: The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) on Tuesday released new polling data showing that 69% support a federal non-discrimination law protecting LGBT people from discrimination in employment, housing, access to public places and other areas. full story

USA: Jon Stewart dug into the recent rise in so-called “religious freedom” bills that would, contrary to how they are depicted by their advocates, enshrine into law a person’s right to discriminate against LGBT people. full story

USA: Gay Marriage is Europe’s fault, Rick Santorum says. full story

USA: Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wis.) and Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) reintroduced legislation in Congress on Tuesday to ensure married same-sex couples would be eligible for spousal Social Security benefits across the nation. full story

USA: CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley shed some much-needed light on transgender soldiers by telling the story of Landon Wilson, who was kicked out the U.S. military simply because he is transgender. full story

USA: Yesterday, in a historic move, the US Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) held its first briefing on the discrimination faced by LGBT Americans in the workplace. full story

USA: Attorneys representing all plaintiffs from the Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee marriage lawsuits on Tuesday submitted a proposal to the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) requesting that argument time be divided equally among the cases from the four states. – See more at: full story

USA: Robert Oscar Lopez called Elton John and his husband horrible, disgusting terrorists because they adopted children. full story

USA: Can the Methodist Church reconcile its differences over marriage equality? full story

USA: Justin Jones at The Daily Beast profiles Edie Windsor. full story

USA, Alabama: A few days ago the state of Alabama was briefly available for purchase on eBay because of the state’s opposition to marriage equality. full story


USA, Alabama: The 85-member Madison Baptist Association voted Monday night to dismiss Weatherly Heights Baptist Church from its group, following the stance of church leaders in favor of same-sex marriages. full story

USA, Alabama: Caleb Moore, the 24-year-old son of Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore who was arrested on drug charges, blamed the media and marriage equality supporters for his arrest. full story

USA, Alabama: The Federal judge in the state’s marriage equality case has ordered the Attorney General to respond in potential class-action challenge to state’s same-sex marriage ban by March 23. full story

USA, Alabama: In a brief sent to the Court, Gov. Robert Bentley told the Supremes that same-sex marriage is a social experiment that undermines the rights of children. full story

USA: Substantially more marriage licenses were issued in February than in the same month a year ago at the Jefferson County courthouse, as many same sex couples married. full story

USA, Florida: A proposed bill that would bar people from using restrooms that align with their gender identities has cleared another hurdle, passing the Government Operations Subcommittee after hours of testimony in opposition. full story

USA: Franklin Graham urged pastors to continue speaking out against gays at the Awakening Conference in Florida. full story

USA, Indiana: A right to discriminate bill advanced further in Indiana yesterday, with a committee in the state House of Representatives approving it and moving it to the full House for consideration. full story

USA, Iowa: The Senate Voted to bans “conversion therapy”, but the bill is likely to die in the House. full story

USA, Louisiana: Fifty same-sex couples from Louisiana will gather on the state Capitol steps Saturday for a marriage equality campaign dubbed “Louisiana Loves.” full story

USA, Massachusetts: Recently-elected GOP Governor Charlie Baker is facing accusations of betrayal from within his own party over his lobbying of the US Supreme Court in favor of gay marriage. full story

USA, Ohio: Next Door Stories, a video production business, denied a lesbian couple services for their upcoming wedding full story

USA, Oregon: The Oregon House has voted overwhelmingly to outlaw “conversion therapy”, which purports to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of young people. full story

USA, Texas: Three gay military couples allege that the Texas National Guard refused to process benefits for them last week. The Guard says it was a mistake. full story

USA, Texas: At least 20 anti-LGBT measures were introduced prior to last week’s filing deadline. That’s more than what is believed to be the previous record of 16 in Oklahoma this year. full story

Marriage Equality Round-Up – March 17th

Tuesday, March 17th, 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!

Advertising: Jazz Jennings, a 14-year-old transgender activist, has been named one of the faces of the “See The Real Me” campaign for Clean & Clear skincare products. full story

Literature: The groundbreaking 1989 children’s book Heather Has Two Mommies has been updated for the present day, with one important change: Heather’s parents are now married. full story

TV: Sen. Ted Cruz and Seth Meyers politely debated gay marriage on Late Night last night. full story

Indonesia: Indonesia’s most prominent Islamic clerical body has issued a fatwa proposing a host of punishments for “homosexual crimes” – including the death penalty. full story

Ireland: A priest in the west of Ireland has broken ranks with the Catholic church’s anti-gay agenda by announcing that he will vote in favor of May’s marriage equality referendum full story

Ireland: As part of the #RingYourGranny campaign ahead of Ireland’s same-sex marriage referendum on 22 May, members of Trinity College Dublin called members of their family for an honest chat to get them thinking about how they’ll be voting – and even change their minds if possible. full story

Italy: Premier Matteo Renzi told a meeting on civil rights of lawmakers from his center-left Democratic Party (PD) on Monday that his government wants a bill on civil unions approved, ideally before May regional elections. full story

Italy: In defense of their homophobic remarks, Dolce and Gabbana have appropriated the “je suis Charlie” slogan that was used after the Paris attack on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo that left twelve people dead. full story

Italy: One gay dad decided to put his thoughts on paper (or screen, as it were) in an open letter to Dolce and Gabbana. full story

Italy: NOM is stepping into the D&G fray, calling the men “wonderful advocates for the true definitions of marriage and family.” full story

Italy: D&G thanked Robert Oscar Lopez and other crackpot alleged children of gay parents after they posted a public letter praising his vile stance against LGBT families. full story

Je Suis D&G

Peru: Ruben Condori Cusi, a congressman for the right-wing Nationalist Party, said he was inspired by Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf to block civil unions for same-sex couples. full story

UK: 24-year-old reached an out-of-court settlement with a Devon nightclub that kicked him out of the men’s restroom and ordered to use the “disabled” restroom full story

USA: David Cameron said the bullying of LGBTI pupils changed his mind about same-sex marriage. full story

USA: Think Progress looks at the intersection of LGBT rights and religious conservatism. full story

USA: The Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver says obeying a nationwide marriage equality ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court would be the equivalent of turning a Jew over to the Nazis. full story

USA: A group of anti-gay activists and listed hate group members are calling for parents to keep their children out of school on this year’s anti-bullying “Day of Silence” campaign full story

USA, Arizona: Arizona judges who perform wedding ceremonies in Arizona are being told by a state ethics committee that they cannot turn away gay couples who want to marry. full story

USA, Alabama: Judge Granade has issued an order in Strawser v. Strange, the challenge to Alabama’s same-sex marriage ban being litigated by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), refusing to put the injunction on hold. The probate judge in Mobile County, who is caught between conflicting orders from the judge and the state Supreme Court, had asked for the hold. full story

USA, Alabama: HRC has launched the Equality is Our Business Program in Alabama. full story

USA, Alabama: Family values defender and Chief Justice Roy Moore’s son has just been busted again on drug charges. Typical. full story

USA, California: Equality California has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president. full story

USA, Florida: An Oviedo middle school student says that her teacher would not allow her to give a speech on gay rights for a 4H contest, however the school board is standing with the student. full story

USA, Florida: One meeting with notorious anti-gay activist John Stemberger and state representative Dennis Baxley (R-Ocala) no longer supports a bill that would strike Florida’s gay adoption ban language from the books. full story

USA, Florida: A bill that would discriminate against transgender Floridians and force employers and business-owners to police the use of their restrooms will get a second committee hearing in the Florida House on Tuesday morning. full story

USA, Idaho: 25 LGBT rights activists were arrested at the Idaho Capitol for protesting lawmakers’ refusal to pass anti-discrimination protections, this time refusing to leave the state’s bill-drafting offices. full story

USA, Indiana: An Indiana House committee today approved right to discriminate legislation 9-4. full story

USA, Indiana: he coalition that led last year’s campaign against adding a same-sex marriage ban to Indiana’s constitution is now trying to build public opposition to a proposal that supporters say would allow those with religious objections to refuse services for same-sex weddings. full story

USA, Massachusetts: Lawyers for a transgender inmate convicted of murder asked the U.S. Supreme Court Monday to overturn a ruling denying her request for sex-reassignment surgery. full story

USA, Missouri: A Missouri legislator has introduced two bills aimed at restricting public restroom use by transgender and gender non-conforming individuals. full story

USA, Tennessee: A church sign in Knoxville compares gays seeking equal rights to Satan. full story

Church Sign

USA, Texas: Texas’ unconstitutional sodomy law shouldn’t be removed from the books because it upholds a “moral standard” and “can even cover bestiality,” according to one state lawmaker. full story

USA, Texas: The anti-gay group “Texas Values” is calling for a Christian army to defend the state’s ban on marriage equality. full story

USA. Utah: An LDS apostle reaffirmed recently that Mormons who support gay marriage are not in danger of losing their temple privileges or church memberships — even though the Utah-based faith opposes the practice. full story

USA, West Virginia: Two right to discriminate bills and one bill to invalidate local LGBT rights ordinances died this weekend when the legislative session ended. full story

Featured Gay Friendly Wedding Vendor: Ruth Ellen Hasser, St. Louis, Missouri

Monday, March 16th, 2015

Ruth Ellen Hasser

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.

As a Celebrant, I create beautiful and customized ceremonies with couples who want their wedding to be a reflection of their love, their beliefs, their hopes and their dreams for a life together. Long or short, formal or informal, civil or spiritual, interfaith or non-religious, I will work with you to create a unique and personalized ceremony at your location of choice, and I will officiate at your wedding with professionalism, warmth, and joy!

See the Expanded Listing on Purple Unions Here

Gay Friendly Wedding Vendors in Missouri

Laws to Stop Marriage Equality Grow Increasingly Weird

Monday, March 16th, 2015

Matt BaumeTexas is pushing a proposed law that would let the state overrule the Supreme Court.

There’s just one problem: they can’t actually do that.

Alabama judges have decided that they don’t have to obey federal courts either, except that in reality, they do.

And Oklahoma politician wants to switch from marriage licenses to marriage certificates, which would accomplish … not very much.

Authored By Matt Baume – See the Full Story at AFER

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Marriage Equality Round-Up – March 16th

Monday, March 16th, 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!

Cameroon: Alice Nkom, a Cameroonian lawyer and LGBT rights advocate, is profiled. full story

Ireland: Independent senator Fidelma Healy Eames claimed that Mother’s Day will be banned if the country passes same-sex marriage, just like it has been in some US states (which it hasn’t). full story

Ireland: Out Magazine profiles drag queen Panti Bliss, the drag persona of Rory O’Neill, who is helping top lead the fight for marriage equality in the country. full story

Italy: Hate groups are thrilled that Dolce and Gabbana have come out against marriage equality and gay parenting. full story

Italy: Dolce and Gabbana tried to backtrack on anti gay statements the two gay men made about marriage equality and LGBt families, saying “it was never our intention to judge other people’s choices. We do believe in freedom and love.” full story

Peru: Thousands of Peruvians rallied in Lima’s Plaza San Martin on Saturday following last week’s rejection of a civil unions bill by the national legislature.
full story

Lima Rally

USA: The partisan divide over same-sex marriage at the US Supreme Court among top elected officials remains stark, with Democrats overwhelmingly on record in favor and Republicans mostly silent so far. full story

USA: Queerty has a list from 1964 of sex crimes around the country published by the Mattachine Society, and their penalties. How far we’ve come! full story

USA: US Reform Judaism has appointed the first lesbian woman as a top rabbi. full story

USA, Alabama: Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy S. Moore pulled out an old favorite of the religious right, insisting that gay people already have the right to marry, provided they marry a person of the opposite sex.
full story

USA, Alabama: Gay alumni won’t leave millions to the University of Alabama because of state’s war on same-sex marriage. full story

USA, Massachusetts: Two LGBT groups, OutVets and Boston Pride, marched in Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade on Sunday for the first time in the event’s 114-year history. full story

USA, Michigan: After Pastor Clint Echols (right), of First Baptist Church in Zeeland compared gays to axe murderers, LGBT activists picketed the church. full story

USA, Ohio: The Yellow Springs village council will vote on a resolution confirming its support and recognition of same-sex marriages tonight. full story

USA, Puerto Rico: The government of Puerto Rico is contemplating withdrawing its support for the Puerto Rican statute that recognizes marriage only as the union between a man and a woman. full story

USA: A bill passed unanimously by the D.C. Council in December that bans mental health professionals licensed by the city from performing “conversion therapy” on minors became law on March 11 after clearing its required review by Congress. full story

USA, Washington DC: The D.C. Center for the LGBT Community organized the first LGBT contingent in the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Washington, D.C. full story

Marriage Equality Round-Up – March 14th

Sunday, March 15th, 2015

Gay WeddingHere’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!

Ireland: The country’s only out lesbian senator has challenged an opponent to a public debate, ahead of the country’s referendum on same-sex marriage. full story

UK: Sir Elton John has announced he will boycott fashion house Dolce & Gabbana – after the founders spoke out against same-sex families. full story

USA: The Family Research Council is calling on marriage equality opponents to fast and pray for 21 days before the SCOTUS marriage equality hearing. full story

USA, Alabama: The state’s only openly-gay legislator voted against a right to discriminate bill. full story

USA, California: Out State Sen. Ricardo Laraseeks to disbar attorney Matthew McLaughlin, who wanted to place an initiative on the ballot calling for gay people to be shot to death. full story

USA, Kentucky: The plaintiffs in the state marriage equality case are profiled. full story

USA, New Jersey: Patricia Jannuzzi, the New Jersey Catholic high school teacher whose anti-gay Facebook rant about the gay “agenda” drew swift condemnation from celebs like Susan Sarandon and Real Housewives cast member Greg Bennett, has been placed on administrative leave. full story

USA, Texas: The daily newspaper in Fort Worth, the state’s most conservative big city has begun publishing same-sex wedding announcements. full story

Fort Worth wedding announcement

USA, Texas: Out lesbian state Rep. Celia Israel introduced a bill that would ban “conversion therapy” for minors. full story

USA, Wisconsin: A survey of 1,071 Wisconsin voters conducted last weekend by Public Policy Polling showed 70 percent of all respondents saying last year’s court decisions removing the state’s ban on same-sex marriage didn’t affect them personally. full story

US Territories: While more than 70 percent of U.S. states now allow same-sex marriage, the waves of change have yet to reach America’s far-flung and socially conservative territories in the Caribbean and Pacific. full story

76% Plan to Vote for Marriage Equality in Ireland

Saturday, March 14th, 2015

titleA new poll released this week shows that 76% intend to vote yes in Ireland’s marriage referendum.

A Red C poll was carried out earlier this week to assess voting intentions in Ireland ahead of the country’s referendum on same-sex marriage, which will be held on May 22.

With the highest percentage so far, 76% said they would vote in favour of equal marriage, 21% said they would vote against, and 3% said they did not know. With undecided voters excluded, the yes vote percentage showed 78% of those polled were in favour, with 22% against.

See the Full Story at Pink News

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Discrimination is Not Religious Freedom

Saturday, March 14th, 2015

Reverend Irene MonroeA movement is afoot in state legislatures across the country to disenfranchise LGBTQ Americans. There are a surprisingly number of bills being introduced in state legislative session, which outrightly sanction and enforce LGBTQ discrimination. These bills are called “Religious Freedom Restoration Acts” (RFRA), but don’t be fooled. These lawmakers are looking to codify LGBTQ discrimination.

This week the Georgia Senate, with a vote of 37-15, approved controversial RFRA (House Bill 1023). The bill doesn’t want the state’s Christian religious conservatives, fundamentalists and evangelicals to “substantially burden” their personal religious practices and beliefs. What, you may ask, could possibly be such a burden to Christians in Georgia that a state law is necessitated? Burden, according the bill, is defined as:

“‘Burden’ means any government action or implementation or application of any law, including, but not limited to, state and local laws, ordinances, rules, regulations, and policies, whether statutory or otherwise, that directly or indirectly constrains, inhibits, curtails, or denies the exercise of religion by any person or that directly or indirectly pressures any person to engage in any action contrary to that person’s exercise of religion, including, but not limited to, withholding benefits, assessing criminal, civil, or administrative penalties, and exclusion from government programs or access to government facilities.”

But let’s be clear, the only religious folk lawmakers hope to protect from a “substantially burden” is Christians. Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and other non-Christian Georgians don’t merit protection. As a matter-of-fact, these demographic groups — along with atheists and LGBTQs — can easily be subject to egregious forms of discrimination, bigotry and hate crimes under the guise of religion.

Authored By Reverend Irene Monroe – See the Full Story at SDGLN

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