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Mexico: Christian Group Halts Wedding, Claiming Grooms are Mentally Ill

Sunday, January 11th, 2015

Baja California - Apple MapsA same sex couple who had planned to marry Saturday had their wedding stopped by a spiteful “Christian” woman who first refused to give the grooms a mandatory pre-marital talk, and then claimed they were mentally ill for getting angry with her:

Saturday’s ceremony had been on the civil registry’s calendar for weeks. Hours after a spokesman for the city had confirmed early in the day that the wedding would take place, a top city official said the event had been canceled due to a complaint that the two men “suffer from madness.” The accuser was Angelica Guadalupe Gonzalez Sanchez, president of the Coalition of Baja California Families, who with her husband gives mandatory pre-marital talks to couples preparing for civil wedding ceremonies at Mexicali City Hall. In her complaint, Gonzalez said the pair had been “aggressive and impertinent” on Thursday after she refused to certify their attendance in her talk, and her husband told them that the sessions were intended for heterosexual couples.

One protester, David Mesa, a Christian pastor, said that he was morally and legally opposed to same-sex marriage, “because of what this could mean for the future, such as the adoption of infants, that’s our motive and nothing else.” A top municipal official, Jose Felix Arango Perez, told reporters early Saturday afternoon that “on our part, there were no obstacles. … However, the submission of the complaint by this individual obligates us to suspend the legal ceremony.” He said it is now up to the state’s family court system to resolve the issue. But a member of the Mexicali City Council, Abraham Medina, said, “I think it’s nothing more than an excuse. … They’re just doing this to buy time. I don’t know why they are making these people go through this torment.”

It still amazes me the lengths some people will go to prevent loving same sex couples from getting married.

Authored By Joe – See the Full Story at Joe.My.God

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Mexico.

Image via Apple Maps

Florida Marriage Equality Round-Up – January 7th

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

More from Florida after same sex marriages have commenced.

Statewide: Attorney General Pam Bondi is dodging questions about whether or not she will drop her appeal of a marriage equality ruling. full story

Statewide: Several marriage equality opponents conceded the fight is over in the state. full story

Statewide: Towleroad.com has twenty great wedding pics from yesterday from Twitter. full story

Florida Wedding

Statewide: Queerty has more great wedding pics. full story

Statewide: Yesterday, more than 100 married in Miami Dade County, 183 in Broward, and 20 in Monroe. full story

Statewide: Orange county issued 164 licenses; Hillsborough 160; Pinnelas 67. full story

Statewide: The Sun Sentinel looks at the questions that remain around marriage equality in the state. full story

Brevard County: Rockledge residents Angelique Bonadio and Tiffany Gregg were one of the first couples to marry at the Brevard County Clerk of Courts branch office. full story

Lake County: A snowbird couple from Arkansas was the first same sex couple to marry in the county full story

Miami-Dade County: The Archdiocese of Miami is warning employees they could be fired for any conduct that is “inconsistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church” in the wake of the start of same-sex marriages in Florida. full story

Miami-Dade County: Out celebrity chef Art Smith will be joining forces with the James Royal Palm Hotel in Miami to throw a special wedding officiated by a mystery celebrity on Saturday, February 21st for 101 lucky gay couples. full story

Osceola County: Watermark looks at the first weddings in the county. full story

Sarasota County: 10 News profiles one of the couples married yesterday, and says 33 licenses were issued. full story

Florida Marriage Equality Round-Up – December 6th

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

We’re doing a special edition of the round-up just for Florida marriage equality today – as same sex weddings begin.

Statewide: Attorney General Pam Bondi has conceded defeat, saying “The judge has ruled, and we wish these couples the best.” full story

Statewide: Watermark has a great guide to getting married in Florida. full story

Statewide: Watermark has also posted their own round-up of marriage equality ceremonies and celebrations in the state. full story

Statewide: Matt Baume profiles the guys still trying to stop Florida marriage equality. full story

Statewide: Jeb Bush has clarified his earlier statement on marriage equality: “We live in a democracy, and regardless of our disagreements, we have to respect the rule of law. I hope that we can show respect for the good people on all sides of the gay and lesbian marriage issue – including couples making lifetime commitments to each other who are seeking greater legal protections and those of us who believe marriage is a sacrament and want to safeguard religious liberty.” full story

Statewide: Now that Florida has marriage equality, 70% of Americans live in a marriage equality state. full story

Statewide: The new wikipedia marriage equality map features Florida. full story

Wikipedia Marriage Equality Map

Statewide: So does the Dallas Voice map. full story

Dallas Voice marriage equality map

Broward County: Joe.My.God has video of same sex couples marrying just after midnight in Fort Lauderdale. full story

Escambia County: Hundreds of marriage equality supporters filled Seville Quarter in Pensacola for a party honoring same-sex couples’ right to get married. full story

Hillsborough County: County Clerk of Court Pat Frank may waive the usual three day waiting period to get married. full story

Leon County: Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum is inviting same sex couples in counties that have discontinued courthouse weddings to come to his city to get married. full story

Miami/Dade County: A state judge lifted her stay a day early in Miami, so same sex couples began marrying there first yesterday. full story

Miami/Dade County: Plaintiffs Karla Arguello and Cathy Pareto were the first to receive a marriage license in the county. full story

Monroe County: The gay Key West plaintiffs married at midnight. full story

Orange County: Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer hosted a mass same sex wedding at 9 AM – video. full story

Orange County: Wedding planners say they expect Orlando to become a marriage equality mecca. full story

Palm Beach County: Marriage equality supporters held a mass same sex wedding in Palm Beach at midnight. full story

All Florida Clerks Agree to Start Issuing Marriage Licenses to Same Sex Couples

Saturday, January 3rd, 2015

Florida From SpaceAfter a statewide conference call, all clerks in the state have agreed to start issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples starting Tuesday.

Towleroad.com reports:

Following a conference call on Friday, all county clerks in the state of Florida have announced they will follow Judge Robert Hinkle’s New Years Day ruling and will begin issuing marriage license to same-sex couples starting Tuesday morning. Clerks in Santa Rosa and Okaloosa counties, meanwhile, have joined clerks in Baker, Clay, and Duval counties in discontinuing all courthouse wedding ceremonies rather than allow gay couples to use the same space for thier own weddings.

Towleroad.com also reports on the Florida Family Action lawsuit to stop the weddings:

In related news, the anti-gay Florida Family Action’s lawsuit seeking to stop marriage equality from going into effect on January 6 has been tossed out by a circuit judge. A second lawsuit filed against Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer in an effort to prevent him from officiating or issuing licenses is still pending….for now.

Marriage equality is coming to Florida next week!

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Florida.

Marriage Equality Comes to Luxembourg

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

Luxembourg marriage equalityLuxembourg now has marriage equality.

The Luxemburger Wort reports:

Jean Paul Olinger and Henri Lorenzo Huber were the first same-sex couple to tie the knot in Luxembourg, with a new marriage law coming into force on January 1. Olinger and Huber, both in their 60s, are Differdange’s trailblazers, also having been the commune’s first couple to enter a registered partnership, a so-called PACS. Despite the public holiday on January 1, the Differdange town hall opened for the special occasion, with mayor Roberto Traversini officiating the ceremony.

Another year, another country in the marriage equality column.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources.

All Florida Counties Must Follow Marriage Equality Ruling on 1/6, Judge Says

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

Rainbow FloridaThe Federal Judge who issued the marriage equality ruling in Washington County said last night that the ruling applies to all 67 counties in the state.

Watermark Online reports:

Federal Judge Robert Hinkle – who ruled the state’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional back in August – has issued his order on the scope of his ruling. “The founders of this republic adopted a Constitution and a system for its enforcement,” Hinkle’s ruling reads. “When there are disagreements about what the Constitution requires, those who are affected may seek a definitive ruling in court. These plaintiffs did that in this case. The Secretary and Surgeon General–as duly empowered officials of the State of Florida, represented by the Attorney General–joined issue. So did the Clerk. The result was an explicit ruling that Florida’s same-sex- marriage ban is unconstitutional.”

And Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi says her office will get out of the way.

Watermark reports:

In response to a federal judge’s Dec. 31 order stating his ruling, which declared Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, applies statewide, Pam Bondi released the following statement: “This office has sought to minimize confusion and uncertainty, and we are glad the Court has provided additional guidance. My office will not stand in the way as clerks of court determine how to proceed.”

It looks unlikely that anything else will get in the way of Florida marriage equality before the 6th.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Florida.

5 Major Safety Tips for Wedding Planning – Or How to Avoid a Trip to the ER on Your Big Day

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

It’s important to plan a SAFE wedding. That sounds strange, right? But if you’ve seen some of the things I’ve seen — or even better, if you’ve happened to see some of the more dangerous wedding bloopers on YouTube, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Oh yes, wedding guests can end up in the hospital from stupid stunts. And sometimes it’s the brides or grooms who need stitches. Let’s try to avoid that, shall we?

The funny thing is that I know what’s safe and what’s not. I’ve planned hundreds of weddings of all different kinds and there’s not a whole lot that hasn’t happened while I was working with brides and grooms. Using this base of knowledge (often triggering PTSD about certain weddings), I advise my clients away from doing things or creating situations in which a member of the wedding party, a guest or the staff may be injured. And let’s not forget about the wedding venue itself — when things are damaged or broken, it costs the bride and groom a LOT of money.

At the risk of seeming like a killjoy, I’ve put together a list of the five safety issues I worry about most at weddings with the reasons I fear them and tips for ways to make them safer:

1) Don’t play with fire. Asian fire lanterns, specifically, have been all the rage for just over a year and they are a huge problem. I blame it on the episode of “Deadliest Catch” where they used them to freak out another boat, but there are pictures of them at weddings all over Pinterest and Instagram. They are not permitted at my weddings. Our venues don’t allow them, and in most places in the Caribbean, you’re breaking the law by setting something aflame that will land someplace an endangered species (like a baby turtle) might try to eat it. I don’t care how “environmentally friendly” they purport to be in their advertisements — nothing biodegrades immediately. Fuel cells assembled by tiny hands in China and sold to you for just a couple of dollars a pop cannot be made of the most earth-friendly materials. And almost everywhere you’re getting married, there’s a breeze.

While I’ve never permitted those lanterns to be released at any of my weddings (and I’ve had some throw-downs with well-meaning guests who brought them — the brides and grooms know they’re against the rules), I can tell you a couple of true stories about weddings that released them on our island. Or perhaps I should just interview the fire chief because he’s had to respond to the call almost every single time. You see, there’s usually a breeze off the water on an island like this. And most places in the world where you’d be having an outdoor wedding. That means these giant balls of fire go up, up and then back and over your head and over the wedding venue. Or onto it. Or across the yard and onto the roof of a neighbor. No bueno. The one that didn’t take off properly and created a full-on burning bush at the W Hotel is probably the funniest one I’ve seen video of, but really, it’s not funny. This is a tiny island with one fire house and putting flaming things into the air with no control about where they land is irresponsible and stupid. There are tons of YouTube videos about epic fire lantern fails and they’re all more scary than amusing. Many states and jurisdictions are banning them.

2) Fireworks must be carefully controlled. We ONLY have fireworks at weddings when we’ve hired a professional company to perform them, and we’ve gotten the permits and additional insurance riders for the property. NEVER let a well-meaning guest start shooting off bottle rockets or other over-the-counter fireworks at a wedding reception. Like the fire lanterns above, you don’t know where they’re going to land. Or who they may hit. It’s all fun and games until somebody takes a firework in the face. And then it’s a Medivac ride to the big island to find a good plastic surgeon. Sparklers are a workable alternative and we do special tunnels of them for wedding farewells on a somewhat regular basis. However, I must caution you that very, very drunk people are dangerous with those big long “wedding sparklers” that are so trendy and fun. They burn FOREVER and you can dance under them and get amazing photos, but we always have our staff strategically placed with buckets of water to take them out of partygoers’ hands the minute they die out. Seems grownups have forgotten what it feels like to step on a hot sparkler in bare feet on the beach. Ouch!

3) Swimming pools and open access to beaches must be controlled. Beaches are really only an issue if you’ve got small, not-well-supervised children roaming loose — so if you’re going to have kids at a waterfront wedding, you need to consider having babysitters on hand to keep them safe and corralled. Swimming pools are a far bigger menace. Start with the fact that you should NEVER have glass beverage-ware anywhere near a swimming pool because at every wedding, drunk guests drop their drinks while dancing. And half of them are barefoot. But that’s not the only concern.

Most beautiful villa swimming pools are not deep. That means that it’s completely insane for drunk wedding guests to attempt to dive, flip or push people into the pool during the party. But it happens. There’s no lifeguard on duty to yell “STOP RUNNING ON THE POOL DECK” or blow their whistle and order “NO DIVING!” But sometimes, I swear to God, I have to actually stop the music at a reception and take the microphone to make these sorts of announcements. I jokingly remind them our hospital isn’t equipped to handle traumas and that it would be a rotten way to remember the wedding, and most of the time, guests laughingly comply. But there have been exceptions to the rule — always because the guests are so inebriated that they’re out of control — and we’ve seen heads smacked on the side of the pool and other things that could have easily resulted in full paralysis if the idiot who did it hadn’t been so incredibly lucky. It’s fine for the wedding party and guests to get silly and jump in the pool if that’s what the bride and groom want to see at their wedding, but everybody has to be safe and behave like they would at a wedding so it doesn’t become an episode of “Guests Gone Wild.” Don’t be surprised to see bare butts and boobs on occasion when everyone takes the splash. Straight up – gay weddings tend to become the most outrageous!

4) Always use a sturdy platform for activities. Has anybody NOT seen the videos of various weddings on docks that collapsed midway through the ceremony? It happens several times a year. Sometimes they just get wet, other times there’s an ambulance involved after the disaster. Regardless, everyone is soaked and the rest of your wedding pictures are screwed. Especially if the photographer or videographer went in the drink along with your wedding party. You must be certain a wooden deck is strong enough to hold your guest load. I’ve had to tell clients they couldn’t have dance parties in certain venues or on certain decks many times because we don’t need an incident like all those porches that collapsed and killed people in Chicago a few years ago. That’s what I always envision. Any dance floor you’re building (in a yard or on a beach) must be sturdy and safe enough for the guests. If a vendor tells you something isn’t safe, don’t argue or try to get around it. They’d be happy to charge you for whatever the item is but they’re not willing to let you get hurt just to make a buck. Too much liability all around.

5) Chair dances at Jewish weddings can be treacherous. Done well, they’re awesome! But more couples are having interfaith marriages now than ever before and that means you don’t have a room full of Jewish men  who all know how to actually do the dance. There isn’t a wedding planner in the world who doesn’t inwardly cringe when the music for the Hora starts. Suddenly, you have a mix of really inebriated (Jewish and not) guys hoisting the brides and grooms (yes, now it’s sometimes two brides or two grooms) up into the air on chairs, usually very unsteadily. Most of the time, it’s done over a hard surface like a marble floor or concrete deck and if the brides or grooms fall, they will get hurt.

You have to plan it out. You must have gentlemen who are approximately the same height and strong enough for all four corners of each chair. And you have to pick out the chairs in advance and have them waiting on hand for the big moment. The most organized group of guys can’t keep the brides from landing on their butts if the chair collapses mid-lift. I’ve probably coordinated the chair dance 100 times now without significant incident but it still freaks me out completely til both halves of the couple are back on the ground safely.

I bet some of you think I’m a huge party pooper now that you’ve read this. Seems like I just want to take the fun out of everything, doesn’t it? But that’s not true. I want the wedding to be flawless and lots of fun. And there’s absolutely nothing fun about doing an emergency room run during the wedding. Especially when the injury is a result of something really dumb that could have easily been avoided.

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

Sandy Malone is an experienced destination wedding planner, a syndicated wedding columnist, and the self-proclaimed "Queen of Gay Wediquette"

Sandy Malone is an experienced destination wedding planner, a syndicated wedding columnist, and the self-proclaimed “Queen of Gay Wediquette”

Sandy Malone is the owner of Weddings in Vieques, a full-service destination wedding planning company based on Vieques Island, seven miles off the coast of Puerto Rico. She is also the star of TLC’s reality wedding show “Wedding Island.” Sandy and her team (including her husband Bill, a retired SWAT team commander) have planned and executed almost 400 weddings in the Spanish Virgin Islands. Sandy is a veteran event planner from Washington, DC, with years of experience planning large and small weddings, press conference, and corporate and political events. She has planned countless events on Vieques Island, beginning with her own wedding back in 2004. Since that time, her professional staff has executed large and small weddings of all styles, including elopements, vow renewals and fabulously posh events at multi-million dollar waterfront villas. She has also planned family reunions, destination baby showers, corporate retreats and a variety of other events for clients from all over the United States and Canada. Sandy is also the owner of Weddings in Culebra (wedding planning on Vieques’ little sister island), and Flowers in Vieques (a full service floral and décor firm). Sandy has regular columns in The Huffington Post and BRIDES and has been rated “Five Rainbows” by her happy gay clients!  Follow Sandy on Twitter @SandyMalone_ and @WeddingsinVQS and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SandyMaloneWIV.

Florida Marriage Equality on 1/6 After Supreme Court Declines to Extend Stay

Friday, December 19th, 2014

Rainbow FloridaMarriage equality will come to Florida next month after the US Supreme Court declined to extend the stay on a pro same sex marriage ruling.

Watermark reports:

Same-sex weddings may soon begin in Florida after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block them. The court said Friday it wouldn’t block the marriages. A federal judge previously declared Florida’s ban on gay marriage unconstitutional and said same-sex marriage licenses could start being issued in the state after Jan. 5 unless the Supreme Court intervened. Most federal judges and appeals courts have ruled against state bans and gay marriages are occurring in about three dozen states. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati has upheld the right of four states to decide whether to allow gay marriage.

Florida becomes the 36th state with marriage equality, and the biggest in awhile, with large LGBT populations in Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Key West.

Full Story at Watermark Online | Florida Wedding Vendors

Marriage Equality Comes to Scotland

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

titleScotland joins England and Wales in welcoming marriage equality.

Think Progress reports:

It took ten additional months, but legal marriage equality has officially arrived in Scotland. The country’s parliament approved the law in February by a vote of 105-18, one of the strongest endorsements of marriage equality by any legislative body. Scotland joins its United Kingdom counterparts England and Wales, leaving Northern Ireland as the only part of the Kingdom that doesn’t recognize same-sex couples’ marriages.

These are civil partnership conversions – the first “new” weddings will take place starting on 12/31.

Interestingly, the first Scottish same sex marriage took place halfway around the world, in Australia.

Gay Star News reports:

Scottish citizen Douglas Pretsell has become the first of his countrymen to legally marry another man as Scotland’s marriage equality law comes into effect today. Pretsell married Australian man Peter Gloster at the British consulate in Melbourne at 11.01am today at the exact moment when Scotland’s equal marriage legislation came into effect.

And a new poll shows that marriage equality support has reached new highs:

A study by ScotCen Social Research released to mark the occasion shows that opposition to equality has dropped to a new all-time low ahead of the changes, with 68 percent in favour and just 17 percent opposed. The numbers are a marked change from 2010, when 61 percent were in favour and 19 percent against – and a seismic shift from 2002, when just 41 percent were in favour and 29 percent opposed.

Amazing – Northern Ireland, are you listening?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources.

Florida Marriage Equality Could Arrive on January 5th

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

Florida From SpaceThe Eleventh Circuit declined to extend a stay on a marriage equality ruling yesterday, meaning that same sex weddings could begin on 1/5 if the Supreme Court doesn’t intervene.

Watermark reports:

The 11th District Court of Appeals has denied the state’s request to extand a stay on same-sex marriages. That means the stay, put in place by U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle, expires Jan. 5 – at the end of the day, so marriages wouldn’t actually begin until Jan. 6. “Appellants’ request for expedited review of the Motion is granted,” the Dec. 3 ruling reads. “Having reviewed and fully considered the Motion, the parties’ briefs, and the orders issued by the District Court in the proceedings below, the Court hereby denies Appellants’ Motion. The stay of preliminary injunctions entered by the District Court expires at the end of the day on January 5, 2015.”

Florida would be the largest state in a while to get marriage equality – imagine the weddings in Fort Lauderdale, Miami Beach and Key West!

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Florida.