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Featured Gay Friendly Wedding Vendor: A Wedding By Jeff, Boston, Massachusetts

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

Jeffrey M Freeman

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.

I welcome all, as such, I embrace equality and believe that all people regardless of sexual orientation, ethnicity, race, age, gender identity, physical abilities or faith contribute to the strength of our community. As a socially responsible representative of our great State, I oppose acts of intolerance, hate or discrimination in all forms. I take this pledge seriously and share it with pride.

See the A Weddin By Jeff Expanded Listing on Purple Unions Here

Gay Friendly Wedding Vendors in Boston

A New Gay Fairy Tale

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

The Princes and the TreasureAuthor Jeffrey A. Miles has a new children’s book out featuring two princes that is simply adorable.

The Advocate reports:

Forget if you’re a parent or not — if you’re gay, you have to pick this book up. You will be the first to have it on your coffee table, and it will immediately secure you as the trendsetter among your friends. I’m talking about The Princes and the Treasure, a gay fairy tale by Jeffrey A. Miles. It starts off as a typical princess story but then segues into a sweet love story between two handsome princes, who get married in the end. It is technically a children’s book, but it has broad appeal because of its revolutionary concept.

I now read this book to my son among all of his other fairy tales, and he doesn’t make a distinction. It’s just normal to him. If every parent did the same, the next generation of kids would be well-educated on diversity, and homophobia might possibly become extinct. This book is important for many reasons, but it has a nonchalant quality in its charm. I am thrilled to have had this come into our lives, and I’m sure you will feel the same.

Heading over to Amazon to order one of these – and we don’t even have kids. ūüôā

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Time to End “Swiss Cheese” Equality

Friday, March 7th, 2014

Gay RightsFollowing Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s veto of a bill aimed at allowing businesses and service providers to refuse to serve LGBT people, it’s time for those of us pushing back on efforts to misuse religious liberty as a license to discriminate to realize that the momentum is on our side.

First, some background. As marriage for same-sex couples becomes a reality in more states, the go-to “Plan B” for opponents of LGBT equality has been to support measures that purport to protect religious liberty, but really exist to give a license to discriminate against LGBT people. In this distortion of religious liberty, a failure to provide employers and service providers with special rights to break non-discrimination laws somehow represents an attack on religious freedom.

This strategy is not new or unique to LGBT people. It is something that opponents of civil rights — for African-Americans, women, and others — have repeatedly turned to throughout history, particularly when it becomes clear they can no longer defeat, outright, the underlying civil rights gains of a particular movement. These efforts become a way to undermine and rollback gains, creating a kind of “Swiss cheese” equality. Sure the rights exist, but with a lot of holes.

Authored By Ian Thompson – See the Full Story at The Advocate

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We need same-sex marriage so we can get divorced

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

 An Opinion Article

By Melanie Nathan, December 26, 2013.

Screen Shot 2013-12-26 at 5.28.38 AMWhile we tend to tout equality only in the light of love, there is another glaring truth that we barely speak of; same-gender couples need marriage so they can get divorced. That is when, as a civil law institution, having marriage is imperative. Of course we need certain laws, such as tax laws, hospital visits, pensions etc., during marriage and hence we can make the argument why coupling without the choice to marry is unfair.  However we hardly ever make the argument that we need marriage so we can get divorced; we need it to define how we break up. Most people when advocating for our marriage rights, lose sight of this critical argument as to why it is so important to have parity under the law.

For years our gay and lesbian community has suffered the impact of not having the same rights as heterosexuals, who can choose to marry, regardless of what State they live in.  For years we have heard the religious right brow beat us into thinking that marriage is all about a Biblical interpretation of what God wants for all humans.  Let us not forget what marriage really is.  The definition of marriage varies according to different cultures, but it is principally a social union in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged.   However as important is the fact that marriage is a binding legal contract between two people, that establishes uniform rights and obligations between two spouses, and between the spouses in relation to their children.

So while same-gender couples are denied the benefit of civil marriage laws in many places, the greatest difficulty of not being married, is experienced when one needs a divorce, when it comes to the break up.  Same-sex couples are thus denied the advantage of clarity under the law, where their rights and obligations enjoy clear definition, causing uncertainty and prejudice at the time of termination. So one of the most important reasons for getting married is so that we can have clarity and fairness when it comes time to divorce.Why

I have been privy to the enormous impact of the lack of law to govern broken gay and lesbian relationships, where for example couples have been together treating their relationship as if married, for many years.  More often than not these couples experience serious imbalance in the financial and parenting aspects of the relationships.   Especially where one partner has stayed at home as a homemaker, while the other has an enhanced career.  Some relationships carry on for years, as if marital, yet without applicable laws, and unless one enters into written partnership agreements, early on, proving the intention of the financial understanding in the relationship, can be very difficult at the time of termination.

How to help couples who do not have marriage laws to define their breakup:
These types  of breakups are best served by mediation, using an experienced neutral third party, who has an understanding of the issues of same-sex couples, deprived of legal clarity, through lack of equal laws. Obviously married couples are also well served by mediation, in most cases.

It is the mediator who can ensure one or more of the  (non-exhaustive) following, depending on the individual case:-

1. Helping parties understand the law that ought to have applied to a relationship, but did not;

2. Helping parties define and reach agreement as to their intentions toward each other during the relationship;

3. Helping parties honor their commitments to each other, regardless of lack of law;

4. Creating an environment of understanding where each party validates the position of the other, thereby dispelling the assumptions that cause conflict;

5. Helping parents place the best interests of the children at the fore:

6. Ensuring smooth transitions by creating plans that include financial support and interim custody/parenting plans, pending final settlement;

7. Ensuring the parties are equally empowered through external resources;

8. Keeping the process productive and preventing unnecessary legal expenses, through early management of conflict and the avoidance of litigation;

9. Allowing the partners to control the outcome by reaching a fair agreement that creates a win/win scenario rather than a win/lose scenario.

 

The Importance of Holding Hands

Saturday, September 28th, 2013

Gay Wedding - HandsMy husband Mark and I were coming out of a movie theater in Folsom, California, yesterday (yes, that Folsom – prison and all), when he excitedly pointed to something and said “Look, look!”

I followed the direction of his outstretched finger and saw a group of people, a car, the building across the street – nothing particularly noteworthy.

Then he said “No, there,” and pointed again, and I saw it.

A young gay couple, walking across the street, holding hands.

Now, Folsom is no right-wing backwater, but neither is it a progressive mecca like San Francisco (or even nearby Sacramento). Its a solidly working-class community, a bedroom city, known for its famous prison, its Intel offices, and its shopping for locals in other cities close by.

Mark called out to the couple, and they stopped, obviously perplexed about being addressed by this stranger. We faced each other, two couples separated by something like 30 years, and Mark told them how amazing it was to see them engaged in the simple act of holding hands on a public street.

They were a little surprised – they couldn’t have been more than 20 years old, and I guess that, to them, nothing was more natural than holding the hand of the one you love.

And that’s the point. We live in a rapidly changing world. Sometimes I forget how fast its changing.

The next generation has no problem holding hands in public because, well, why should they? They are equal to everyone else, and they know it. At least here in California.

The whole thing made me realize how far I haven’t come. For all that Mark and I have embraced the marriage equality movement, a part of me is still stuck back in 1986, when I was a senior in high school, and petrified to think that anyone might find out.

In fact, my first thought when I saw this couple holding hands was the danger they might be placing themselves in by being so public.

My second thought was how sad it is that I grew up in such a different time, and that I still carry vestiges of my internal homophobia with me, twenty two years after I stepped out of the closet.

I wonder what it would be like to grow up gay now, in this place, in this time. To be sure of myself as a gay man in a way I never was at that age, and in some ways am still not today.

I wonder what it would have been like to have had a “real” wedding – one planned with time and care, instead of the one that was forced upon us by the onslaught of Prop 8 and the impending public vote on our fitness to be married.

And, if truth be told, I am a little envious of that young gay couple in Folsom, walking down the street hand in hand as if… as if it were the most natural thing in the world. And I was intensely proud of them.

We left the two of them there, probably shaking their heads at the strange attitudes of this older gay couple.

And I took Mark’s hand in mine as we walked back to the car.

USA: Three Reasons Gays May Love IRS Equality

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

Taxes and LGBT CouplesYesterday, the Motley Fool brought us three reasons to hate the IRS’s new equal treatment of same-sex couples. Today they have three reasons to like it.

The Motley Fool reports:

In June, the Supreme Court struck down provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act denying same-sex couples federal recognition of their marital status. Yet for those in same-sex marriages, the tax impact of the Supreme Court ruling remained unclear, as the IRS said it would have to work with the Treasury Department and other government agencies to provide future guidance. Same-sex spouses got that guidance earlier this week, with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announcing that the IRS would recognize same-sex marriages for federal tax purposes regardless of their state of residence. Let’s take a look at some of the implications of the new IRS policy with an eye toward the elements that same-sex spouses will benefit from the most.

1. Same-sex spouses with unequal incomes are likely to get a marriage bonus.
Federal tax law treats married couples differently from single filers. Although you might think that it would be appropriate for items like tax brackets, standard deductions, and income threshold limits for married couples simply to be double the corresponding amounts for single filers, the actual numbers are a lot more complicated. In general, couples in which one person earns the bulk of the income are most likely to reduce their overall tax burden by getting married, and the IRS ruling will allow same-sex spouses in that situation to do so. With many different factors to consider, including the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Alternative Minimum Tax, and other more specialized deductions and credits, it’s hard to make valid generalizations, but many same-sex spouses will benefit from the change in filing status.

Hit the link above for the other two reasons. So it’s not all doom and gloom.

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USA, Texas: Is Ban on Marriage Equality Hurting State Businesses?

Friday, July 5th, 2013

Texas mapAre gays and lesbians ready to flee the Lone Star State to get federal marriage benefits? And will many businesses be reluctant to relocate there because of the anti-equality stance? Anna Waugh at the Dallas Voice thinks so:

Tony Vedda, president of the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce, said Perry’s efforts are pointless if he and other Republican leaders don’t see the benefits of an inclusive workforce. He said businesses should stop viewing marriage equality as a gay issue because it affects society as a whole. “Economic development groups, chambers of commerce and the governor’s office continue their efforts to attract businesses to Texas while shooting themselves in the foot with the state’s lack of equality,” he said. “Intentional or not, some businesses will certainly move to Texas; but I’m willing to bet that a good deal of them will not.” Chuck Smith, executive director of the statewide LGBT advocacy group Equality Texas, said most major companies already offer competitive benefits to LGBT employees and “we’re reaching a point where Texas is less competitive among other states.”

Why would a mobile gay or lesbian couple stay in a state that explicitly bans them from receiving equal treatment, especially now that other states offer full marriage equality?

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Chris Brown Launches UNITY Campaign for Equality for Gays, Other Minorities

Friday, June 14th, 2013

Chris Brown albumSinger Chris Brown, long a tabloid favorite for his violent relationship with Rihanna and his use of homophobic slurs, just launched a new campaign for equality. Pink News reports:

Singer Chris Brown has surprised fans by starting a campaign which vows to stand up for equality, for gay people, and other minority groups. The Fine China singer, and former boyfriend of Rihanna, made the announcement via a tweet, saying that his new single ‘They Don’t Know’, which will be released on Monday is part of the campaign, called “UNITY”. He tweeted to say the campaign aimed to “encourage all races, geners, sexes, (everyone) gay or straight to love each other!”.

Is this a publicity stunt to start to repair his image or a genuine effort? Time will tell, but we’ll give him some credit for at least making the attempt.

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Puerto Rico’s Gay Rights Status

Friday, May 17th, 2013

Puerto RicoThe advance of gay rights across the United States is spreading into Puerto Rico, making the island a relatively gay-friendly outpost in a Caribbean region where sodomy laws and harassment of gays are still common.

SB 238 is on its way to the House of Representatives. The bill would end employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and  gender identity and expression in the U.S. territory. Another bill would extend a domestic violence law to gay couples.

Soon after taking office in January, Gov. Alejandro¬†Garcia Padilla signed an order extending health¬†insurance coverage to the live-in partners of workers in¬†his executive branch of government, regardless of¬†gender. Former conservative governor, Pedro¬†Rossello, surprised supporters and foes when he stated in February that he unequivocally supports gay marriage. “This is extraordinary,” said Pedro Julio Serrano, a Puerto Rican gay activist. “We’ve reached a point of no return in Puerto Rico … Equality¬†is inevitable. ¬†Will we see an advancement on the horizon? And will the movement be fueled by the current trends of acceptance?

USA: “Love” Wins Out Over “Rights” in Marriage Equality Messaging

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

USA: Third Way, the centrist Democratic think thank, is about to release a report based on polling from Washington State, which was one of the three states, along with Maine and Maryland, where a majority of voters approved same-sex marriage in Election Day referendums. And while the report and the poll are the work of a partisan as opposed to an independent group, the findings echo other research into support for same-sex marriage and have the ring of truth.

But what I found most revealing and instructive was this: among voters who saw the desire by gays and lesbians to be legally wedded as a bid primarily for the rights and protections that heterosexual couples have, same-sex marriage was a loser. Only 26 percent of them voted for its legalization, while 74 percent voted against.

But among voters who believed that gays and lesbians were chiefly interested in being able to pledge the fullest and most public commitment possible to their partners, same-sex marriage was a huge, huge winner. Eighty-five percent of those voters supported it, while only 15 percent opposed it.

Authored By Frank Bruni – See the Full Story at The New York Times

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