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WATCH: United Nations ‘Free & Equal’ video marking #IDAHOT2015

Sunday, May 17th, 2015

IDAHOT logoIn at least 76 countries around the world, loving someone of the same sex is illegal and, in ten countries, it is even punishable by death. In many more countries citizens are denied their right to live as their preferred gender identity.

As well as legal discriminations, social homophobia, biphobia and transphobia daily serve to deny millions of people across the world their basic human dignity. International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT) was created in 2004 to draw the attention of policymakers, opinion leaders, social movements, the public and the media to this issue.

The date of May 17th was specifically chosen to commemorate the World Health Organization’s decision in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder. IDAHOT day is now celebrated in more than 130 countries.

It has received official recognition from international institutions such as the European Parliament. Most United Nations agencies also mark IDAHOT with specific events. LGBTI organizations, governments, cities, human rights organizations, corporations and celebrities have all taken action on May 17th to:

  • draw media attention to the issue of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia
  • demand attention from policymakers and engage in lobbying activities
  • network with like-minded organizations and develop new partnerships, at home or beyond.

This year, the United Nations Human Rights Office ‘Free And Equal’ campaign has released this video called ‘Faces’, which asks: ‘Can you see past the label?’

Click to continue »

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

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014
Nymont Final

Nancy K. (Middle)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s time

Celebrate them home

 

President Obama: “I Think The Equal Protection Clause Does Guarantee Same-Sex Marriage” In All 50 States

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

President Barack ObamaPresident Obama’s evolution on marriage equality continues, as he discusses in an interview with the New Yorker.

The New Yorker reports:

Obama opposed marriage equality until May of 2012. He told me that he now believes the Constitution requires all states to allow same-sex marriage, an argument that his Administration has not yet made before the Supreme Court. “Ultimately, I think the Equal Protection Clause does guarantee same-sex marriage in all fifty states,” he said. “But, as you know, courts have always been strategic. There have been times where the stars were aligned and the Court, like a thunderbolt, issues a ruling like Brown v. Board of Education, but that’s pretty rare. And, given the direction of society, for the Court to have allowed the process to play out the way it has may make the shift less controversial and more lasting.”

How many other Americans are now shifting their views on the subject, now that things are moving so quickly?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources.

Congressman Jared Polis Files ENDA Discharge Petition

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

Colorado Representative Jared PolisThe openly gay House member from Colorado is filing a discharge petition to force a House vote on the Employment Non Discrimination Act.

Towleroad.com reports:

Out Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) announced today that he has filed a discharge petition in the House of Representatives for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). Polis is the chief sponsor of ENDA and is also the co-chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus. From Rep. Polis’ statement: A discharge petition is a procedure to force a vote on legislation if it receives signatures from the majority of the House of Representatives. This move comes after the House Republican leadership has continued to refuse to hold a vote on this bipartisan bill. “This is common sense legislation that is supported by a majority of Americans and was passed overwhelmingly by the United States Senate,” said Rep. Polis. “The Republicans have been dragging their feet on this bill for too long, allowing workplace discrimination against hardworking LGBT Americans to continue.

This new version of ENDA would include a narrower religious exemption.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources.

Former Ex-Gay Activist Apologizes, Glad Marriage Equality Bans Being Struck Down

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

Randy ThomasRandy Thomas, the former executive vice president of Exodus International, has had a big change of heart.

Pink News reports:

“The night that Prop 8 in California and Amendment 2 in Florida (both banning gay marriage) passed I was jubilant. I truly believed what I was saying. What I didn’t make widely known was how heart-broken I was when I saw the gay community in California take to the streets.

“Eventually the doubt over what we had done would get louder in my mind and change from a question to a conviction; a conviction that indeed we had done something terribly wrong. We made it clear that we thought that investing in rules was more important than sacrificially serving in honest relationship. We communicated that we valued the letter of the law more than the authentic expression of grace in the context of humbly living our lives and loving our neighbour.

“The message we sent was deeply damaging to our relationships with our gay neighbours and family members. For my part in this, I deeply apologize.

“Today, I can honestly say that I am glad that the courts are striking down all the marriage bans across the country. It is my hope that we (Christians) can learn from the past, make the appropriate amends, and rebuild dialog and relationships with the LGBT community.”

Wow. I mean, just wow. Some among us will want to throw it back in his face, to say that this doesn’t make up for his past actions against the LGBT community. But I hope we can rise above that impulse and be gracious in our response. After all, isn’t this what we want? For those who don’t understand what being gay is really about to have an epiphany and come to support LGBT rights?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources.

USA: Another Ex-Gay Activist Now Supports LGBT Rights

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Yvette Cantu SchneiderYup, another one – ex-gay activist Yvette Cantu Schneider is distancing herself from the ex-gay movement and supporting LGBT rights.

Towleroad.com reports:

Yvette Cantu Schneider, one of the most vocal and best known representatives of the ex-gay movement, has announced that no longer wishes to identify with anti-gay groups, reports GLAAD. Schneider is known for her high-profile start at hate group the Family Research Council and her work with California’s Proposition 8 campaign. She is still one of the key people who anti-gay voices cite in order to prove that “change” works. The American Family Association continues to sell a video, It’s Not Gay, in which Yvette appears as a talking head. Her “personal testimony” still appears on Ex-gaytruth.com. However, Schneider has said that she is sorry for the pain she has caused to LGBTI people, is questioning of the idea of “ex-gay” itself and is now fully supportive of LGBT people and their families.

The ex-gay movement, like the anti-gay marriage one, is crumbling, probably inevitable when you build your house on a foundation of lies.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources.

President Obama to Sign LGBT Employment Executive Order Monday Without Religious Privilege

Saturday, July 19th, 2014

President Barack ObamaPresident Obama will sign the long-awaited executive order on monday, preventing federal contractors form discriminating against LGBT workers.

The Washington Blade reports:

President Obama is set on Monday to take executive action to prohibit discrimination against LGBT employees working for federal contractors and the federal government, the Washington Blade has learned. In a conference call with reporters on Friday, senior administration officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Obama plans to amend existing executive orders barring discrimination against workers to include protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Obama intends to amend Executive Order 11246, which prohibits federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, to add the categories of sexual orientation and gender identity. Additionally, Obama plans to amend Executive Order 11478, which prohibits discrimination in the federal civilian workplace — and was already amended by President Clinton to include sexual orientation — to include gender identity.

Although there will be no religious privileges included in the order. an older executive order still applies to some groups:

No further exemption for religious entities will be included in the executive order, but the update also won’t repeal President George W. Bush’s amendment to EO 11246, which allows religious-affiliated federal contractors to discriminate on the basis of religion, officials said. “You can use religion to only hire people who share your religion, but you can’t discriminate against somebody who is of your faith who happens to be LGBT, unless they fall within the ministerial exemption,” officials said.

It’s great that the President is doing this, but it’s both a sad commentary on the inability of congress (because of conservative stalling) to take any action on the matter for how many years now? And it could be reversed with the stroke of a pen by the next conservative President.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources.

The Marriage Equality Wedge Has Turned

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Gay WeddingFor quite a while, conservatives used marriage equality as a culture-war “wedge issue,” taking advantage of the fact that the public was broadly opposed to equal-marriage rights.

Lately, however, the blade of the wedge has turned. Marriage rights aren’t separating the mainstream from the left; they’re separating Republicans from other Republicans.

While the Republican Party’s religious conservatives continue to fight against same-sex marriage, its governors appear to be backing off their opposition – in their rhetoric, at least…. “I don’t think the Republican Party is fighting it,” Wisconsin’s Republican Gov. Scott Walker said of gay marriage. He spoke with The Associated Press during an interview this weekend at the National Governors Association in Nashville.

“I’m not saying it’s not important,” continued Walker, who is considering a 2016 presidential bid should he survive his reelection test this fall. “But Republicans haven’t been talking about this. We’ve been talking about economic and fiscal issues. It’s those on the left that are pushing it.”

Authored By Steve Benen – See the Full Story at MSNBC

Find more articles and gay wedding resources.

Australia Marriage Equality Bill to Be Introduced by New Senator

Friday, July 11th, 2014

Australia MapSenator David Leyonhjelm plans to introduce a bill to recognize marriage equality.

Gay Star News reports:

Liberal Democratic Party David Leyonhjelm plans to move quickly to fulfill an election promise to push for same-sex marriage, with reports saying he will move forward with his own bill on the issue. Leyonhjelm is one of 8 senators from new parties that did not hold seats in the Australian Senate before July this year of who the Australian Government needs 7 to pass legislation if it is opposed by the opposition Labor and Greens parties. Leyonhjelm, a libertarian, had announced he planned to work closely in the Senate with Family First Senator Bob Day, a Christian conservative opponent of same-sex marriage.

Not sure if this will go anywhere with conservatives controlling the government, but it’s great to see some movement on the issue at the national level.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Australia.

Edie Windsor Talks About Love and Workplace Struggles in Second Part of Video Series

Friday, July 11th, 2014

Edie and TheaMarriage Equality USA is proud to release Part 2 in of Edie Windsor: In Her Own Words, a multi-part series of interviews with LGBTQ icon and longtime MEUSA member Edie Windsor.

In this segment Edie recounts her life before and after the Stonewall uprising and her long and “persistent” courtship of her late wife Thea. Her honest portrayal of what it was like to be queer in the workforce during this time is especially poignant considering the current debate around LGBTQ workplace discrimination issues and the Employment Non Discrimination Act (ENDA).

Each of these videos, the first being released today with others to follow throughout July, explores Edie’s life through her own words as she relates her story to her friend and MEUSA colleague, Cathy Marino-Thomas. From how she met Thea and got to know the LGBTQ world during their early days together, through their struggle to get married, and eventually to the DOMA case and the Supreme Court of the United States.

See Part 1 of This Video Series Here