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Why the Word “Marriage” Matters

Saturday, April 30th, 2016

Hands


“…I may yet live to see gay marriage
become a reality in the United States in my lifetime.
And wouldn’t that be something.”


This is the end, the last post on Marriage Equality Watch. For this occasion, we thought we would resurrect a column from the first week of MEW, back in January 2008, before Prop 8, before President Obama was elected, before Mark and I were married, when it was still GLBT instead of LGBT… and far before marriage equality became a reality in all 50 states.

How far we have come!

In the end, it wasn’t a President or a congress that brought us to the finish line. It was all of us together as a community that fought the hard battles, day in and day out, to get to the end. And Mark and I were lucky enough to witness it all.

It has been an honor to chronicle this struggle for you for the last eight years. It was a great run, and we love you one and all.

–Scott & Mark
Together 24 Years
Married for 7


January 3rd, 2008

So here we are, thousands of gay and lesbian couples standing by the altar, or in a field of daisies, or under a gazebo, waiting for our Democratic Prince (or Princess) to come and open the doors of marriage to let us in.

We lined up in San Francisco for the slightest promise of marital bliss. We lined up in Massachusetts for a glass half full – state marriage with no attached federal rights or responsibilities. And this week, we lined up again in New Hampshire for official recognition of our “civil unions”.

But somehow, the phrase, “Honey, remember the day we got civilly unified?” just doesn’t have the same feeling as “Honey, remember the day we got married?” – and it’s on that one word that the whole thorny issue spins.

Sometimes a single word or phrase can change the context of an argument, and which side controls those words often controls the spin. Look at the “war on terror”, for instance – who among us would be for terror? But flip it around as “an unjustified invasion of a sovereign nation”, and things look quite a bit different.

One of my favorite examples of this is the abortion argument. When I was younger, it was pro-abortion and anti-abortion, and the anti-abortion folks had the upper hand in the language war – after all, who really wants to be for something like abortion, a procedure that in the best of cases can be emotionally devastating. But somewhere along the way, those in favor of access to abortion for women re-framed the argument. Pro-abortion became pro-choice. Who would be against choice? That one change in the language had a huge effect on the ongoing debate, effectively deadlocking it by providing two symmetrically opposed arguments.

On the gay marriage front, “marriage” is the main verbal sticking point. Many folks who generally support GLBT rights simply can’t get around the phrase “gay marriage”, either because they have a religious affiliation with the word, or because it makes them confront their distaste for what GLBT couples for in the bedroom and clashes with their romantic views of marriage, or just because it’s such a new idea. Drop the word, and support for recognition of GLBT unions rises.

But here’s the rub. Civil unions and domestic partnerships are wonderful ideas that confer upon gay and lesbian couples some of the same basic rights as marriage, such as the right to visit your partner in the hospital. But these state-based laws do nothing for us on the Federal level – we still have to file taxes separately, don’t automatically inherit, and if we leave our home state, we may not even be able to visit our partners in the hospital.

But even if (and right now, it’s a big if) a Federal Civil Unions bill ever passed, granting us the same rights and responsibilities of marriage at the Federal level and at the State level, it still wouldn’t be marriage.

“Why do you have to call it marriage?” we’re often asked by straight friends. “Why not just settle for civil union?”

The answer is complicated.

Most of us grew up in a home where finding the right person and getting married was the ideal. We’re surrounded by the romantic iconography of marriage – I’ll date myself by saying I remember the hype around Luke and Laura’s wedding on General Hospital. Even gay boys and girls grow up wondering what it would be like to stand up there with that someone before all of your friends and families on what’s supposed to be our perfect day.

My partner Mark and I were there in San Francisco when they were offering gay and lesbian couples marriage licenses back in 2004. We got married in San Francisco on March 11th, the last day, maybe two hours before a judge shut the whole thing down. And yes, they called it marriage.

And you know what? Even though they told us later that the whole thing meant nothing, legally, the reality is that it did mean something.

We had been domestic partners for 7 years in the eyes of the State of California, but now, for the briefest of moments, we were Married. For a few minutes, under the dome of City Hall, we were just like everyone else. No better, no worse. And it was amazing.

So I’m sorry if I have a hard time giving up the word “marriage”, even if it might be politically expedient (and don’t kid yourself – even without the word, we’d still be attacked and opposed – witness the current attempt to repeal California’s Domestic Partner law, even though it specifically avoids the word marriage).

So what happens now? I look at the current crop of Democratic candidates, and I see a stronger field than I have in decades. Yet not one among the front leaders is for gay marriage – in the current political environment, it’s still considered a poison pill, and positions on the issue have to be carefully nuanced.

But if nothing else, I’ve learned patience these last seven years. I will hold on to my hope that positions will continue to evolve: that John Edwards, who is “not there yet”, will get there with the help of his wonderful wife. I will hope that Hillary will find her voice on this issue, and will remember her many gay and lesbian friends, including David Mixner, who helped get her husband into office. And I will hope that Barack Obama will continue to be “open to the possibility that my unwillingness to support gay marriage is misguided.”

And I thank both Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich for being man enough to stand up and say that gay marriage is a matter of basic equality. They give me hope that I may yet live to see gay marriage become a reality in the United States in my lifetime.

And wouldn’t that be something.

–Scott

Original Post

The Last Marriage Equality Watch – April 30th

Saturday, April 30th, 2016

MarkandScott

“…I may yet live to see gay marriage become a reality in the United States in my lifetime. And wouldn’t that be something.”

Those were the words I wrote when we first started Marriage Equality Watch back in January 2008: before Prop 8, before President Obama was elected, before Mark and I were married, when it was still GLBT instead of LGBT… and far before marriage equality became a reality in all 50 states. Now that we have come full circle to the end of this amazing project, I thought it would be appropriate to share that column with you once again:

https://purpleunions.com/blog/2016/04/why-the-word-marriage-matters-3.html

How far we have come in eight short years!

In the end, it wasn’t a President or a congress that brought us to the finish line. It was all of us together as a community that fought the hard battles, day in and day out, to get to the end. And Mark and I were lucky enough to witness it all.

We also want to thank our partner organization, Marriage Equality USA, which has long been supportive of our activism.

The battle for marriage equality in the US is all but over, but we recognize that the fight for LGBTIQA rights in general continues. And there are many countries around the world where we don’t have any rights at all. Some of the folks from MEUSA are going on to NEAT to fight for housing and employment rights:

http://www.marriageequality.org/neat_joins_ffaa

While others are continuing the fight for marriage equality globally:

Marriage Equality is a new organization with the continuing mission of education regarding the importance of marriage and LGBT equality in the United States and around the world. For more information, you can reach Marriage Equality leaders John Lewis and Stuart Gaffney, who were one of the plaintiff couples in the California case for marriage equality, at marriageequality.me@gmail.com.

Mark and I will continue to support queer-friendly wedding vendors through our PurpleUnions.com directory.

And I am personally involved in another same sex marriage project – a new book coming out from Dreamspinner Press on the Marriage Equality Day, June 26th. Called “A More Perfect Union”, the anthology will feature four wedding stories, each one written by an established, married gay author – myself, B.G. Thomas, Michael Murphy and Jamie Fessenden. If you want to be notified when it’s available, please join my mailing list here:

https://www.jscottcoatsworth.com/join-my-mailing-list/

I will also make an announcement to this list.

Mark and I wanted to thank all of you who fought for equality with us – it’s been an amazing journey. We will continue to maintain the blog on our site as a history of the struggle. If you are looking for an alternate daily LBTIQA news source, we suggest HRC’s AM Equality:

http://www.hrc.org/blog/topic/am-equality

It has been an honor to chronicle this struggle for you for the last eight years. It was a great run, and we love you one and all.

–Scott & Mark, Together 24 Years, Married for 7


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!

POP CULTURE: Star of the X-Men movies franchise Shawn Ashmore has said he would play his Iceman character if he were gay. full story

BANGLADESH: The killing of two gay rights activists in the Bangladeshi capital has driven the country’s already secretive and small gay community underground, wondering if they can trust a government that considers their status to be criminal, rights groups said. full story

FAROE ISLANDS: Faroe Islands, a self-governing archipelago part of Denmark, has passed same-sex marriage. full story

ITALY: Two lesbian Italian women have won the right to adopt each other’s children in a legal first for the country. full story

USA: MoveOn has launched a #StandWithTarget petition to counter the petition authored earlier this week by the AFA. From the MoveOn petition: “I pledge to support Target and any other business that stands up for transgender rights and accommodates transgender people in their restroom use.” full story

USA: A list of religious schools in the US which receive public money but are exempt from LGBT discrimination laws has been published. full story

USA: A college applications system used by hundreds of institutions across the US is changing the way it deals with gender. full story

USA: At a Commonwealth Club of California town hall on Friday, John Kasich was confronted by 62-year-old Kelly Bryan, who asked the Ohio governor and presidential candidate whether he believes that people are born gay. full story

USA, CALIFORNIA: A Los Angeles county judge has ruled that gay sex stings carried out by Long Beach police are discriminatory and “indicative of animus toward homosexuals.” full story

USA, ILLINOIS: A transgender student at Williamsville High School in central Illinois who was born female but identifies as male will be able to use the men’s bathroom. full story

USA, MISSISSIPPI: The law is specifically intended to subjugate people who might be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. And if that isn’t bad enough, it doesn’t stop there. full story

USA, MISSISSIPPI/NORTH CAROLINA: The owners of the rights to West Side Story announced today that it would not issue licences in the two states for the musical to be performed. full story

USA, NORTH CAROLINA: AC Transit will boycott a national transportation conference set to take place next month in North Carolina due to the state’s enactment of an anti-LGBT law. full story

USA, SOUTH CAROLINA: A South Carolina school district has announced plans to adopt new policies on bathroom use after a transgender student was suspended for using the bathroom matching his gender identity. full story

USA, TENNESSEE: The Bonnaroo Music & Arts festival is denouncing anti-LGBT legislation recently signed into law by Tennessee Governor Bill Hallam. full story

USA, TEXAS: Tracy Murphree, the Republican candidate for Denton County sheriff who grabbed headlines late last week with a Facebook post implying he would use violence against transgender women in public restrooms, has cancelled a planned meeting with representatives of Equality Texas and Denton County couple who have a transgender child. full story

Marriage Equality Round-Up – April 29th

Friday, April 29th, 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!

COMMENTARY: Ending our culture’s obsession with what’s “male” and what’s “female” will be our salvation, writes Riki Wilchins. full story

PEOPLE: Whenever I’m told that I seem too gay to be a bisexual man I always respond the same way: “Name me five male bisexual celebrities.” full story

POP CULTURE: Seth Meyers last night took a deep dive into the world of anti-trans “bathroom bill” legislation, calling out extremist right-wing hucksters like FOX News, their “doctor” Keith Ablow, Ainsley Earhardt and others for pushing dangerous myths. full story

COLOMBIA: Colombia’s highest court on April 28, 2016, formally legalized same-sex marriage in the South American country. full story

EUROPE: The Eurovision Song Contest has warned fans not to wave their rainbow flags in a “political” manner. full story

JAPAN: To mark the beginning of Tokyo Rainbow Week, Freedom to Marry’s Evan Wolfson recorded a message about marriage equality for the LGBTIQA community. full story

JORDAN: A Lebanese rock band was told they could never perform in Jordan again because the lead singer is gay and they believe in religious and sexual freedom. full story

NIGERIA: According to a ‘Wanted Person’ advertorial carried in the Daily Times Newspaper on April 28, a young lady identified as Chinyeaka Immaculata Onwuzurike, was declared wanted because she is bisexual. full story

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UK: For the first time ever, the UK has granted a transgender woman from Singapore asylum so that she does not have to go back to her country and do compulsory military service as a man. full story

USA: The NCAA Board of Governors has adopted a new requirement for sites bidding on its events. They must “demonstrate they will provide safe environments free of discrimination. full story

USA: Republicans in the US House of Representatives are conspiring to nullify Barack Obama’s executive order on LGBT rights – via an amendment to a vital armed forces bill. full story

USA: Amid consternation over the newly enacted state laws enabling discrimination against LGBT people, congressional democratic lawmakers have renewed their push for comprehensive LGBT non-discrimination legislation at the federal level. full story

USA: A pastor with ties to Republican Presidential hopeful Ted Cruz has claimed that Girl Scouts leaders should be drowned because they’re too pro-gay. He also said: “Yeah, I know homosexuals love each other. And cannibals love their victims. They taste good. And the Nazis loved their children, but that’s not love.” full story

USA: Today, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act, a companion bill to HR 2450, introduced in the House of Representatives by Ted Lieu in 2015. full story

USA: The anti-gay National Organisation for Marriage has declared a funding crisis for the second time in six months – claiming a critical shortfall in cash comes from being “too successful”. full story

USA, ALABAMA: State Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore referred to a transgender activist as a “known transvestite.” “We’re in a serious time in this country,” Moore continued. “We’re at a time when people who just a few years ago would have been described as having a mental disorder … today, that person can violate and has violated a court order and is bringing complaints against the chief justice.” full story

USA, CALIFORNIA: Despite overwhelming support from their classmates, a high school in Redding, California, is refusing to allow a lesbian couple to be nominated as prom queens. full story

USA, LOUISIANA: Senators advanced a proposal to ban employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, moments after an initial vote appeared to stall the measure in committee. Sen. Regina Barrow, D-Baton Rouge, changed her vote Thursday to move the bill out of the Senate Labor Committee and to a full Senate debate. With Barrow’s switched vote, the committee advanced the measure with a 4-3 vote. full story

USA, MISSOURI: A former student in Missouri State University’s counseling master’s program has filed a federal lawsuit against the school, claiming that he was wrongfully dismissed from the program because of his religious beliefs. The belief that he felt was violated was his unwillingness to counsel same-sex couples. full story

USA, NORTH CAROLINA: FOX News anchor Megyn Kelly might be the first major anchor to really grill North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory on the “bathroom” elements of his state’s anti-LGBT HB 2 law. full story

USA, NORTH CAROLINA: State Senate Democrats’ proposal to repeal House Bill 2 appears to be dead just a day after it was filed – after leaders referred it to the Ways and Means Committee, which hasn’t held a meeting in years and is widely known as the graveyard of the Senate full story

USA, NORTH CAROLINA: A billboard opposed to legislation in North Carolina passed recently to limit the rights of LGBT people has obviously touched a nerve with some bigots, who decided to deface it. full story

Lynn

USA, NORTH CAROLINA: The country’s top LGBT legal organizations urged federal officials on Thursday to make it clear that passing anti-LGBT laws like one in North Carolina will jeopardize their federal education funding. full story

USA, NORTH DAKOTA: A strip club in Williston, North Dakota — in the heart of the shale — announced plans to become an LGBTIQA nightclub. full story

USA, SOUTH CAROLINA: A South Carolina bill that targets transgender people appears to be dead for this legislative session. full story

USA, TEXAS: Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick has launched a boycott of businesses, like Target, that allow transgender people to use the bathroom of their choosing and says he would support legislation to stop it. full story

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 27th

Wednesday, April 27th, 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!

COMMENTARY: However, while we’ve discussed the great strides in how gay, lesbian and trans people are represented in the media, it’s very apparent there’s one section of the community who are still pretty much invisible in showbiz – bisexual men. full story

NATURE: A rainforest bird known as the sapayoa often lives in commune-like extended family groups where members engage in both opposite-sex and same-sex mating, finds new research on the colorful birds. full story

NATURE: A pair of male vultures are caring for an egg at the Tierpark Nordhorn Zoo in Lower Saxony, Germany, after the egg accidentally fell two meters from a tree into the mud. full story

vulture

PEOPLE: Since I won the Mr. Gay Denmark in 2012, and thus became the first Muslim participant in Mr. Gay Europe and Mr. Gay World 2013, there have been many different reactions. Furthermore I won the title Mr. Congeniality in Mr. Gay Europe and the ‘activist prize’ in Germany in 2013. full story

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SWEDEN: The Swedish government will shell out compensation to transgender people who were victims of forced sterilization, it has been confirmed. full story

UGANDA: The Ugandan Constitutional Court has finally allowed argument, for a second time, in a case which has been waiting to be heard for the past 8 years, despite the Defendant’s absence. full story

UK: Gay men are half as likely to suffer from depression if they live with a boyfriend, a new study has found. full story

UK, NORTHERN IRELAND: Sinn Fein’s first act in the next Assembly term will be to propose legislation to allow same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland. full story

UK, ISLE OF MAN: The Isle of Man has finally approved same-sex marriage – meaning Northern Ireland is set to be the last place in the Isles without marriage equality. full story

ZIMBABWE: Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the head of the Church of England, has reportedly told President of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe that homosexuality is ‘morally wrong’. full story

USA: From the Democratic National Committee: “As Republican legislators and governors continue their assault on LGBT Americans through Right to Discriminate laws, even many prominent conservatives think they’ve gone too far. Watch what they and others have to say.” full story

USA, ALABAMA: Following North Carolina’s example, Oxford, Alabama wants to lock up transgender people for going to the bathroom. full story

USA, CALIFORNIA: Equality California Monday announced seven bills comprising its 2016 legislative package. full story

USA, CALIFORNIA: San Francisco would have to stop entering into contracts with companies based in states that bar civil-rights protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people under legislation introduced Tuesday at the Board of Supervisors. full story

USA, HAWAII: A bill passed Tuesday by the House of Representatives prohibits denying, canceling or limiting coverage based on a person’s gender identity. full story

USA, MARYLAND: Members of the Montgomery County Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution that calls for a ban on official travel to jurisdictions with anti-LGBT laws. full story

USA, NORTH CAROLINA: If state Sen. Buck Newton (R) has his way, North Carolina will be known as the “straight” state. “Go home, tell your friends and family who had to work today what this is all about and how hard we must fight to keep our state straight,” the AG candidate said at a rally Monday, according to video posted by Progress North Carolina Action. full story

USA, NORTH CAROLINA: On Thursday, Governor McCrory said he suspected that the entire HB2 had been orchestrated by Democrats and the Human Rights Campaign, a national gay rights group, to give Democrats an advantage in a tight governor’s race. full story

USA, NORTH CAROLINA: The seventh-largest philanthropic foundation in the US has canceled plans to hold a $1.5 million conference in North Carolina because of the state’s anti-LGBTI law. full story

USA, NORTH CAROLINA: A bill that would add California’s clout to the unofficial boycott of North Carolina is making its way through the California Assembly. full story

USA, NORTH CAROLINA: Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan echoed his franchise’s statement of a month ago when asked for remarks about North Carolina’s HB 2. full story

USA, NORTH CAROLINA: The American Institute of Architects has canceled a conference that would have brought $1 million in revenue to Wilmington, North Carolina over the state’s passage of anti-LGBT HB 2 full story

USA, NORTH CAROLINA: Senator Tom Apodaca, who controls the fate of a bill to repeal North Carolina’s anti-LGBT HB 2, would like to see it on the ballot as a constitutional amendment. full story

USA, OHIO: Ohio state Rep. John Becker wants a North Carolina-style anti-trans “bathroom law” in his own state. full story

USA, OREGON: Aaron and Melissa Klein, who refused to provide a cake for a same-sex couple’s wedding, are appealing a state agency’s finding that they committed unlawful discrimination. full story

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USA, TEXAS: Tracy Murphfree, running for sheriff in Denton County, posted this to FB: “If my little girl is in a public women’s restroom and a man, regardless of how he may identify goes into that bathroom. He will then identify as John Doe until he wakes up in what ever hospital he may be taken to.” full story

Making-a-Difference

Marriage Equality Round-Up – April 26th

Tuesday, April 26th, 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!

POP CULTURE: An ITV drama adaptation has attracted criticism – after a gay character was turned straight. full story

SID GENTLE PRODUCTIONS FOR ITV THE DURRELLS Pictured:CALLUM WOODHOUSE as Leslie Durrell, KEELY HAWES as Louisa Durrell, MILO PARKER as Gerry Durrell,DAISY WATERSTONE as Margo Durrell and JOSH O'CONNOR as Larry Durrell. This image is the copyright of ITV and must only be used in relation to THE DURRELLS.

SID GENTLE PRODUCTIONS FOR ITV THE DURRELLS Pictured:CALLUM WOODHOUSE as Leslie Durrell, KEELY HAWES as Louisa Durrell, MILO PARKER as Gerry Durrell,DAISY WATERSTONE as Margo Durrell and JOSH O’CONNOR as Larry Durrell. This image is the copyright of ITV and must only be used in relation to THE DURRELLS.

BANGLADESH: CTV News reports that Al Qaeda has taken responsibility for the brutal killings of two gay activists and journalists. full story

MALAYSIA: Malaysian LGBTIs should not be allowed to join the police force, a top police official has said. full story

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SAUDI ARABIA: More than 30 members of Congress have signed a letter to Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the U.S. that expresses concern over the country’s LGBT rights record.
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THAILAND: A court in Thailand has awarded custody of a baby to a same-sex couple after a high-profile custody battle with a Thai surrogate mother. full story

UK, SCOTLAND: The Scottish National Party’s spokesperson for Women, Children and Equalities, Angela Crawley MP, says her country can raise the bar on trans rights. full story

USA: A member of the “Fox News’ Medical Team” recently appeared on the conservative network to promote what he thinks should be done to “cure” transgender kids of being trans: giving them hormones to make them more like their biological gender at birth. full story

USA: Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert’s sentencing hearing on child molestation charges was held last week. He faces five years in prison. And yet the GOP supports him and attacks trans people for crimes they don’t commit. full story

USA: Ted Cruz has released a new campaign ad attacking transgender people. Released Thursday, Cruz’s ad highlights his support for North Carolina’s HB2, an anti-LGBT law that forces transgender North Carolinians to use restroom facilities in schools and on publicly-owned property inconsistent with their gender identity. full story

USA: Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz took his anti-trans rhetoric a step further over the weekend by indicating transgender women should only use restrooms at home and avoid public facilities. full story

USA: More than half a million people have already signed the American Family Association’s boycott petition against Target. Despite the still-growing furor, Target is standing firm. full story

USA, COLORADO: The Colorado State Supreme Court decided today to let stand an appellate court ruling that Masterpiece Cakeshop violated Colorado’s anti-discrimination law when it refused to sell a same-sex couple a cake for their wedding reception. full story

USA, LOUISIANA: Family Dollar store said it is taking “very seriously” an incident in which a gay customer was refused service in a New Orleans store. full story

USA, NORTH CAROLINA: More than 150,000 signatures demanding the repeal of North Carolina’s anti-LGBT House Bill 2 were delivered to the office of Gov. Pat McCrory today. full story

USA, NORTH CAROLINA: While the whole country is talking about the North Carolina law that limits protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, a new survey shows one group that largely refuses to discuss it: the lawmakers who passed it. full story

USA, NORTH CAROLINA: At this writing a growing crowd of about 1000 are protesting in support of North Carolina’s anti-LGBT hate law as Democrats introduce a repeal bill in the state Assembly. full story

USA, NORTH CAROLINA: Dolly Parton announced today that she’s kicking off the first leg of her highly anticipated summer tour in Greensboro, NC. “I think everybody should be treated great and with respect and everybody knows that about me. I can address that from the stage.” full story

USA, NORTH CAROLINA: Nick Jonas & Demi Lovato: “After much thought and deliberation, Nick and I have decided to cancel our shows in Raleigh and Charlotte.” full story

USA, NORTH CAROLINA: National Center for Transgender Equality head Mara Keisling and at least several other activists have been arrested at a sit-in at the North Carolina General Assembly building. full story

USA: The Walker Stalked Convention that had been set to take place in July at the Charlotte Convention Center has been cancelled. However, the three-day convention packed full of events and panels has been scrapped – with a new date tentatively pencilled in for December. full story

Marriage Equality Round-Up – April 25th

Monday, April 25th, 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: Intersex playwright Alec Butler has told their amazing story, including how they got their period and a beard at the same time. full story

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CHINA: Hong Kong becomes the first ever Asian city to bid for the Gay Games. full story

USA: Ted Cruz: “Let me make this real, real simple for our folks in the media who find this conversation very confusing. If Donald Trump dresses up as Hillary Clinton, he still can’t go to the girls bathroom.” full story

USA, FLORIDA: The Marion County School Board plans to restrict access to school bathrooms based on a person’s biological gender. full story

USA, LOUISIANA: Melissa Langford says she went to the Canal Street Family Dollar store on Friday to pick up items for special needs children, but was treated to a cashier who demeaned gay people and then denied her service. full story

USA, NEW JERSEY: The Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie has said he likely wouldn’t sign into law an anti-trans ‘bathroom bill’ in the state. full story

USA, NORTH CAROLINA: A Methodist pastor and a bishop in North Carolina have married a gay couple in an act of “civil disobedience”. full story

USA, NORTH CAROLINA: Over 150 mental health professionals have urged North Carolina to repeal HB2. full story

USA, NORTH CAROLINA: The Advocate looks at the long history of homophobia in the state. full story

USA, NORTH CAROLINA: On Monday morning, Representatives Darren Jackson, Graig Meyer, Susi Hamilton, and Grier Martin will file a bill to repeal House Bill 2 (Public Facilities Privacy Act) in its entirety. full story

USA, NORTH CAROLINA: As lawmakers prepare to enter their annual legislative session Monday, the courts, and possibly the court of public opinion, are threatening to imperil the Republicans‘ right-leaning agenda. full story

USA, NORTH CAROLINA: Hundreds of people against and for House Bill 2 will descend on downtown Raleigh to make their voices heard as the General Assembly begins a new session Monday. full story

Marriage Equality Round-Up – April 24th

Sunday, April 24th, 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!

COMMENTARY: Frank Bruni on Ted Cruz’s support for NC’s HB2: “I’m guessing that Cruz hasn’t met or read much about transgender people. ‘Grown adult men’ is precisely how many transgender men appear — with beards, muscles, pants — and exactly how they’d look to little girls in the women’s rooms that the North Carolina law would command them to use.” full story

CHILE: LGBT rights activists in Chile are celebrating the civil union of an openly gay uniformed policeman. full story

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RUSSIA: Hovi Star, Israel’s Eurovision song contest entrant, has spoken out about being the victim of a homophobic attack at the hands of police in a Moscow airport.
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UK: The young person at President Obama’s town hall meeting with British youth here on Saturday was trembling. “Now I am about to do something terrifying, which is I am coming out to you as a non-binary person which means that I don’t fit,” Maria Munir said appearing before the president and 500 British young leaders. Non-binary people don’t recognize any gender. full story

USA: Catholic activist Michael Voris posted a video on his website, Church Militant, in which he confesses that for most his thirties, he lived a sexually sinful life of “live-in relationships with homosexual men.” full story

USA: Common-law retroactivity is still at issue in many states, now that marriage equality is the law of the land. full story

USA, MISSISSIPPI: First lady Michelle Obama on Saturday criticized Mississippi’s controversial religious freedom law that critics contend allows anti-LGBT discrimination in the state. full story

USA, NORTH CAROLINA: The performance art troupe Blue Man Group is walking away from its North Carolina concerts. full story

USA, NORTH CAROLINA: North Carolina Senate Leader Phil Berger last week defended a controversial law that targets the LGBT community. full story

USA, NORTH CAROLINA: A hotel has made a gesture of acceptance for its bathrooms by putting up signs saying it doesn’t mind which one trans people use. full story

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USA, NORTH CAROLINA: Mumford and Sons has donated the proceeds from a North Carolina concert to charity in the wake of an anti-LGBT bill passing. full story

USA, NORTH CAROLINA: A female couple alleges a Charlotte fertility clinic turned them away because of North Carolina’s recently-passed anti-LGBT law and, in response, they’re joining the lawsuit against the legislation. full story

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Marriage Equality Round-Up – April 23rd

Saturday, April 23rd, 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!

HISTORY: We cannot have real proof about the sexuality of a man who died 400 years ago on 23 April. But like the entirety of William Shakespeare’s work, in books and blogs across the globe, it has never stopped anyone from voicing their interpretations. full story

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PEOPLE: Even though she is on the record liking Ted Cruz more than any other candidate for president, Jenner is speaking out against laws that restrict people like her from using the appropriate restroom. full story

AUSTRALIA: A photograph by Chris Cincotta of a gay couple for the Facebook page Humans in Melbourne is going viral as a visual emblem for love and equality. full story

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COLOMBIA: Marriage between people of the same sex has now been legally approved by the courts, but not by most of Colombian society. full story

NETHERLANDS: Members of leading Dutch LGBTI groups have called for the Netherlands government to issue travel advice following the fallout over anti-gay laws in North Carolina and Mississippi. full story

NEW ZEALAND: Transgender people in New Zealand seeking to have gender reassignment surgery have been told they face a thirty year wait after the only specialist surgeon has retired. full story

NORWAY: A Norwegian Catholic bishop said the country’s clergy will no longer officiate at civil weddings, after the predominant Lutheran Church’s governing synod voted to conduct gay marriages in Norway. full story

SINGAPORE: A record 18 corporations have confirmed their support for Singapore’s biggest LGBTI rally, Pink Dot, set to be held on 4 June this year. full story

UGANDA: A report that a Ugandan advocacy group released on Friday indicates persecution based on sexual orientation and gender identity increased after the country’s president signed an anti-gay law. full story

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UK: The LGBT school program Educate & Celebrate has certified 60 new UK primary and secondary schools as showing LGBT+ friendly best practice. full story

USA: Lambda Legal April 22 urged the U.S. District Court in Colorado to deny the federal government’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit Lambda Legal filed on behalf of an intersex client, Dana Zzyym. full story

USA: The Log Cabin Republicans have backed Donald Trump as a pro-LGBTIQA Republican candidate. full story

USA, HAWAII: A transgender student from Hawaii who was forbidden from taking part in her high school’s graduation wearing a girl’s graduation robe is sharing her heartbreaking story in a new video posted earlier this week. full story

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USA, INDIANA: A committee hearing over the state GOP’s new party platform held in Elkhart heard strong opinions on both sides of the same sex marriage debate. full story

USA, MASSACHUSETTS: Charlie Baker, the Republican Governor of Massachusetts, has shown signs that he does not intend to veto a bill extending rights to transgender people in the state. full story

USA, MICHIGAN: John Austin, the state’s Board of Education president, has told policy makers and educators in Dearborn that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students should be acknowledged and embraced in school to help improve learning and life outcomes. full story

USA, MINNESOTA: All Dave and Hannah Edwards wanted was a safe learning environment for their child, but the parents at their school declared war against them. full story

USA, MISSISSIPPI: HRC is planning a rally to call for the repeal of H.B. 1523 on Sunday, May 1 in Jackson, Mississippi. full story

USA, MISSISSIPPI: The Jackson Public School Board of Trustees voted unanimously to extend fully-inclusive sexual orientation and gender identity workplace protections to their employees. full story

USA, NORTH CAROLINA: Less than 24 hours after making comments against North Carolina’s anti-LGBT law, Donald Trump has backtracked and said “local communities and states should make the decision” on whether transgender people should be able to use restrooms consistent with their gender identity. full story

USA, NORTH CAROLINA: A lesbian couple has filed a lawsuit against the state of North Carolina over the recently introduced HB2. full story

USA, NORTH CAROLINA: President Barack Obama said Friday that North Carolina’s law limiting anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay and transgender people should be overturned. full story

USA, NORTH CAROLINA: Chad Dickerson, the CEO of Etsy, calls North Carolina’s House Bill 2 “egregious” and an “unnecessary attempt to allow discrimination.” Dickerson was born and raised in Greenville, N.C., and HB 2 “doesn’t reflect the North Carolina I know.” full story

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USA, NORTH CAROLINA: As opposition to North Carolina’s House Bill 2 grows, NASCAR has joined the chorus of companies calling for the law to be overturned. According to Motorsport.com, a site that covers racing news, NASCAR Chairman Brian France made the announcement at a meeting this week with Associated Press sports editors. full story

USA, NORTH CAROLINA: Transgender actress and activist Shakina Nayfack (who can be seen in the upcoming second season of Difficult People on Hulu this July) has launched a crowd funding campaign on YouCaring.com to raise money to bring her #MANIFESTPUSSY Tour to North Carolina this June. full story

USA, NORTH CAROLINA: Washtenaw County, Michigan is planning to join the fight against a controversial North Carolina law that’s been the subject of national debate. full story

USA, VIRGINIA: The Virginia Senate on Thursday failed to override Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s veto of a religious freedom bill that critics said would have allowed anti-LGBT discrimination. full story

USA, VIRGINIA: A Virginia school board will ask the full 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to review the court’s ruling that a high school discriminated against a transgender teen by forbidding him from using the boys’ restroom. full story

Marriage Equality Round-Up – April 22nd

Thursday, April 21st, 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!

AUSTRALIA: The question “Do you support the legalisation of same sex marriage?” has prompted a HUGE “yes” response on the “I Side With” website. full story

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CHINA: Couples in China and elsewhere in Asia have adopted a strategy of asking for marriage licenses. full story

TURKEY: Amnesty International and TBWA Istanbul teamed up for a new gay turtle “hidden camera” ad to illustrate the level of homophobia present in Turkey. full story

USA: A new poll has revealed that trans Americans may find more acceptance from women and young people. full story

USA, ALABAMA: The House Judiciary Committee’s 7-5 voted to advance H.B. 413 — legislation that would add to the state’s hate crimes statute critical new protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. full story

USA, MARYLAND: A transgender teen was ejected from a Ted Cruz rally in Maryland on Thursday because of his gender identity, according to his account of events. full story

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USA, MISSISSIPPI/NORTH CAROLINA: U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan side-stepped an opportunity Thursday to come out against anti-LGBTIQA laws in North Carolina and Mississippi, although he cited the importance of “religious conscience. full story

USA, NORTH CAROLINA: Donald Trump responded to questions submitted by people in the crowd and through social media, one of which had to do with transgender rights and North Carolina’s anti-LGBT “bathroom bill” HB2. Trump said the bill should not have been passed and neither should similar bills full story

USA, NORTH CAROLINA: Ted Cruz blasted Donald Trump on Thursday for making comments critical of North Carolina’s anti-LGBT ‘bathroom bill’, HB 2. full story

USA, NORTH CAROLINA: Bryant Gumbel has called on the NBA, the NFL, and the NCAA to cancel events scheduled to take place in North Carolina because of the state’s newly passed anti-LGBT ‘bathroom bill’, HB 2. full story

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USA, NORTH CAROLINA: NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says that unless North Carolina lawmakers change or repeal the state’s anti-LGBT bathroom bill, HB 2, the NBA will pull the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte. full story

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USA, NORTH CAROLINA: Another group has canceled an upcoming event in Charlotte because it opposes North Carolina’s new LGBT law. The National Organization for Victim Assistance was supposed to have its 42nd annual training event at Sheraton Charlotte Hotel-Le Meridien Aug. 21-24. At least 20 other groups have also backed out of Charlotte because of concerns over the new LGBT law, the city’s tourism arm says. full story

USA, NORTH CAROLINA: Rosie Perez wants North Carolina to “Do the Right Thing” after the state takes a financial hit for passing anti-LGBT legislation. “I hope that they bleed from their pockets,” the actress told The Advocate at the Daring Women Summit, a daylong event organized by the Tribeca Film Festival. “I hope that businesses just make them suffer such a great deal.” full story

USA, NORTH CAROLINA: Today, Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union, and ACLU of North Carolina, joined by counsel from the law firm of Jenner & Block, announced they have added three new plaintiffs – a transgender student and a married lesbian couple – to the federal lawsuit challenging North Carolina’s sweeping anti-LGBT law, HB 2. full story

USA, TENNESSEE: “Redneck” comedian Trae Crowder ranted about bigots who want to pass transphobic bathroom bills. full story

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