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I’m Applying to Be a Game Warden

Saturday, July 4th, 2015

David TaffetI’ve decided to apply to Texas Parks and Wildlife to become a game warden.

Unfortunately, hunting is against my religion, so, once appointed, I won’t be issuing any legally sanctioned government licenses. I do expect to be paid my full salary and I expect everyone who likes to hunt to understand because otherwise they’ll be interfering with my deeply held religious beliefs.

That’s because our attorney general, Ken Paxton, believes people who work for the government should have the right to follow their religious beliefs — and I’m sure he wasn’t just talking about same-sex marriage.

By David Taffet – Full Story at The Dallas Voice | Texas Gay Travel Resources

Alabama Marriage Equality Update – February 11th

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

AlabamaAnother day, another batch of marriage equality news out of Alabama.

Chief Justice Roy Moore played the “gay friends” card.

On Top Magazine reports:

When asked whether he would attend the wedding of a gay friend, Moore responded: “I’ve had many friends who are homosexual. I’ve treated people just like other people. This is not about how I treat people or how I go to a wedding or marriage or anything. It’s about the constitution of Alabama, the constitution of the United States.” “But you wouldn’t be reluctant personally to go to a same-sex wedding?” host Mark Halperin asked. “I would not go to a same-sex wedding, no,” Moore answered.

As of first thing this morning, the number of counties issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples had jumped.

Joe.My.God reports:

Per Equality Alabama, the number of counties issuing same-sex marriage licenses will grow to 22 today as more judges relent. That’s more than double the first day’s number.

Alabama map

Two more counties, Calhoun and Crenshaw, jumped on the marriage equality bandwagon.

Joe.My.God reports:

Confirmed: Crenshaw County, Alabama issuing marriage licenses to all couples as of today, total of 24.

The Calhoun County Probate Judge’s office began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples this morning. In a statement released this morning, Martin said several factors went into the decision to begin. “We have considered the Order issued by Justice Moore, which I have been compliant with, and the statements made by Governor Bentley relating to the Order,” she said. “While I am of the opinion an Order with further instruction to the Probate Judges is necessary, that has not been forthcoming, and the Supreme Court’s decision, by a 7 to 2 majority, has been the ultimate deciding factor in my decision today to issue marriage licenses to same-sex applicants.”

Queerty has a new marriage equality map.

…the situation is a bit confusing. Some counties are issuing marriage licenses to eager same-sex couples (see map, via New York Times), and some have closed up shop altogether, preventing both gay and straight couples from tying the knot.

Queerty Marriage Equality Map

The hearing in the Mobile County case is tomorrow. Equality on Trial will be there.

I’m not sure exactly how the hearing will go down, but it seems like there’s at least a chance she may rule from the bench given the immediacy of the situation: couples have been wanting to get married since Monday.

Meanwhile, two conservative groups asked the state Supreme Court to step in to shut down the weddings.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

Two conservative groups are asking the Alabama Supreme Court to order state probate judges to stop giving marriage licenses to gay couples. The Alabama Policy Institute and Alabama Citizens Action Program filed the request Wednesday. The groups are asking the justices to back the position of Chief Justice Roy Moore that probate judges should not issue the licenses.

In a separate case, the state Supreme Court declined to offer an opinion on whether probate judges should issue the licenses.

Equality on Trial reports:

In an order from the Alabama Supreme Court, the court declined to address the issue of whether individual county probate judges should issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The court held that the request is an advisory opinion, simply seeking their views on a question with no adversarial proceedings. Those kinds of opinions are only allowed under Alabama law if they are sought by the governor or the legislature

The Atlantic looks at the abysmal level of support for marriage equality in the state.

The state is last in the nation in support for marriage equality—tied with next-door neighbor Mississippi. Although majorities of Americans now favor same-sex marriage, just 32 percent of Alabamians and Mississippians do, according to numbers from the Public Religion Research Institute. PRRI is releasing an unusually large data set, including 40,000 interviews conducted over 2014 in all 50 states, as part of the American Values Atlas. The biggest factor in the low support seems to be the high concentration of white evangelical Protestants in those two states — 39 percent of Alabamians identify as members of that demographic, double the nationwide average. Even as the rest of the South has undergone huge shifts in opinion toward marriage equality, Alabama and Mississippi remain outliers.

The GOP in the state issued a statement on the mess.

Joe.My.God reports:

“…how is it that God’s truth can be turned on its head as the debate now rages in Alabama regarding the meaning of marriage? The answer is that we, as a society, have become our own god. We have made God in our image. But, God will not be mocked. The State of Alabama and the United States of America will reap God’s wrath if we embrace and condone things that are abhorrent to God, such as redefining marriage as anything other than a union between one man and one woman.”

Paul Gordon at the Huffington Post looks at how Alabama’s defiance shows what’s wrong with the push for “religious freedom” laws.

So what would America look like if we allowed such massive holes to be poked in laws that are supposed to protect everyone? What if lesbian and gay couples were legally treated as outsiders in their home communities, had fewer legal rights than anyone else in those communities, and had to travel anywhere from another neighborhood to another county to find a bakery willing to make a cake for them, a hotel willing to rent them a room for the night, or an employer willing to grant them spousal employment benefits?… It would look a lot like Alabama does today. And it would be ugly.

The Huffington Post profiles the Federal Judge who brought down the state’s marriage equality ban:

It may be only fitting then that now, standing on the other side of Moore, is Granade, the granddaughter of a civil rights-era judge who stood up to the white segregationist South during the 1950s and 1960s and helped advance equality for African-Americans. Judge Richard Rives played a crucial role in the civil rights movement. Richard Rives, Granade’s grandfather, was one of the judges known as the “Fifth Circuit Four.” These judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued decisions that were crucial in breaking down segregation barriers in the South. Writing in The Nation in 2004, College of Charleston Professor Jack Bass said they “fleshed out the bare bones of [Brown v. Board of Education] and transformed it into a broad mandate for racial justice.”

We’ll end with a moving story from Troy Masters, who spent a lot of his childhood in Alabama in the 1960’s.

Gay City News reports:

“Troy is a queer,” I overheard my stepfather say with energetic disgust to another family member. Even at 13, I understood that my feelings for other boys were supposed to be secret. Now I knew terror. What my stepfather said humiliated me, sending an icy panic through my body that changed my demeanor and ruined my confidence. For the first time in my life, I felt depression and I became painfully shy. Alabama became a place, not of love, not of shelter, not of the magic of family, but of fear… But that Alabama is not the Alabama of tomorrow.

The hearing in the Mobile case is tomorrow.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Alabama.

Ecuador: Gay Couple Fights Back After Being Denied a Marriage License

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Gay couple in Ecuador

photo via Twitter

A gay couple who was refused a marriage license in Ecuador is refusing to give in.

Gay Star News reports:

A rejection from the government will not stop this gay Ecuadorian couple from obtaining a marriage certificate. Santiago Vinces, 23, and Fernando Saltos, 27, submitted their marriage application on 26 November anticipating the government would reject them. The couple said last week they would file a counter-suit and take their case to the Inter-American Court for Human Rights should the government not move their marriage application forward.

Marriage equality marches on in South America, thanks to brave souls like these two.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources.

USA, Kentucky: Couple on Trial for Trespassing For Marriage License Fined One Cent

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Kentucky - Google Maps

from Google Maps

A gay couple who was put on trial for trespassing for demanding a marriage license in Louisville just received their fine.

Edge Boston reports:

A gay couple arrested after refusing to leave the county clerk’s office where they had been refused a marriage license have been found guilty of trespassing and fined one cent. WLKY-TV says the judge conditionally discharged the fine… Blanchard told The Courier-Journal after the verdict was returned it seemed the jury understood their stance and called it “a big victory.”

Congratulations to the couple – let’s hope that one day soon, they’ll actually be able to marry in the state.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Kentucky.

USA, North Carolina: Lesbian Couple Together for 40 Years Denied a Marriage License

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

Lesbian Couple North CarolinaA long-term lesbian couple in North Carolina applied for marriage license in Henderson County, and was turned away.

Joe.My.God reports:

“Carole and I are here today to apply for a marriage license,” said 79-year-old Mary Burson, “because we love each other, we’ve been together for 40 years…we’ve raised eight children together and we want to make the commitment that our brothers and sisters that are heterosexual can make.” Burson and her partner, Carole Kaiser, 79, hoped Register of Deeds Nedra Moles would join a county clerk in Pennsylvania who has issued 174 marriage licenses to gay couples, even though that state — like North Carolina — prohibits same-sex unions. “Well, consider is about all I can do, because you both know that according to North Carolina law, I cannot issue the marriage license (to same-sex couples),” Moles said. “I’ve made you a copy of the N.C. General Statute, in case you would like to look at it, but I cannot do this today. So, I must turn you down.”

I mean, look at them. How cute are they? How could anyone turn them down? It would be like saying no to your grandmother.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in North Carolina.

Colombia: Judge Grants Marriage Licenses to Two Same-Sex Couples

Monday, September 30th, 2013

Colombia google maps

from Google Maps

After the Columbia legislature failed to pass a marriage equality bill mandated by the country’s courts, a judge has ordered marriage licenses for two same-sex couples.

Towleroad reports:

In a surprising statement released on Wednesday, Colombian attorney and long-time LGBT-rights advocate German Humerto Rincon Perfetti announced that a civil court judge had declared Julio Albeiro Cantor Borbon and William Alberto Castro Franco “united in civil matrimony” in a ceremony that took place on September 20th. Then today the leading national newspaper El Espectador announced in its front page that Elizabeth Castillo and Claudia Zea (above) had joined them on Wednesday when a second civil court judge also granted them a marriage license. “I join you in a legitimate civil matrimony with all the prerogatives and rights that civil law grants you and the same obligations imposed by civil law,” said the judge before the couple signed their marriage license.

That’s what happens when you defy a court order. Even if you’re the legislature.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources.

USA, North Carolina: Marriage Equality Activists Looking for County Clerk To Issue Marriage Licenses To Same-Sex Couples

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

North Carolina MapTaking a page from New Mexico and Pennsylvania, marriage equality activists in North Carolina are searching for a County Clerk willing to give a marriage license to a same-sex couple.

Edge Boston reports:

Two lesbian couples on Monday requested and were denied licenses in Greensboro. Guilford County Register of Deeds Jeff Thigpen said he would be honored to do it, but was barred by North Carolina law. A constitutional amendment voters approved last year makes changing the law very difficult and requires any official actions to recognize marriage pertain only to a man and a woman. The North Carolina campaign to find a willing official started last month after similar clerks in New Mexico and Pennsylvania decided to issue same-sex marriage licenses despite laws in those states banning gay unions.

In the short term, Pennsylvania’s clerk was unsuccessful, being shut down by a state court. But that fight continues. In New Mexico, we’re awaiting a Supreme Court hearing next month.

Find more articles and gay wedding resourcesi in New Mexico.

Transgender Couple Marries; Transgender Widow Can’t Get Marriage License

Monday, September 16th, 2013

Transgender FlagWe have a couple new stories for you on the transgender rights front this morning. First of all, a transgender couple in Scotland just got married.

Gay Star News reports:

Helen and Felix Fenlon made British history when they tied the knot this weekend. The transgender couple claim they are Britain’s ‘first double sex swap wedding’. According to British newspaper The Mirror, Felix met Helen in 2008 in a transgender support group. Prior to celebrating their ‘perfect’ ceremony this weekend, Helen and Felix had to change the gender on their individual birth certificates. Now the happy couple, after dating for six years, celebrated their Gothic-themed ceremony in Gretna Green, a village in southern Scotland famous for runaway marriages.

Congratulations to the happy couple.

Our other story is out of Texas, and it’s not such a happy one. a transgender woman whose first husband passed away is seeking to marry again, but is being denied a marriage license by the state.

The Advocate reports:

Transgender woman Nikki Araguz, who is seeking to claim her late husband’s death benefits, is waging another legal battle in Texas, seeking to marry again. Araguz and her fiance, William Lloyd, were denied a marriage license by the Harris County Clerk’s office in Houston Thursday, TV station KVUE reports. Texas law considers her male, even though she presented a document certifying her gender transition, and does not allow same-sex marriage. Also, although Araguz has obtained an amended birth certificate identifying her as female, Texas goes by the original birth certificate, which designates her as male.

I hope that sooner or later, transgender people will be treated just like everyone else, even in Texas.

USA: Southern Equality Seeks Southern Elected Official to Grant Marriage License

Friday, August 16th, 2013

Southern EqualityThe US group Southern Equality is starting a new phase of their marriage equality campaign. Joe.My.God reports:

We’re rolling out the next phase of the WE DO Campaign, using a new strategy. We are actively seeking a local elected official in the South who will grant a marriage license to a LGBT couple because it’s the right thing to do. Please visit www.southernequality.org for more info and couples applying for marriage licenses in North Carolina and across the South.

It’s amazing how fast this has all moved, from attacks on us just a few years ago in some of the bluest states to the new battlegrounds popping up across the south in some of the reddest ones.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources.

Ecuador: Lesbian Couple Applies for Marriage License in Quito

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

Pamela Troya and Gabriela Correa - EcuadorA lesbian couple in Quito, Ecuador, is taking their fight for marriage equality to the civil registrar’s office. The Advocate reports:

A lesbian couple in Ecuador who engaged in an argument with President Rafael Correa on Twitter applied for a marriage license in Quito on Monday, beginning the fight toward establishing legal marriage equality in their country. Pamela Troya and Gabriela Correa submitted their application with the civil registrar, and though it is expected to be rejected, they can then wage a legal challenge to the country’s marriage ban, Buzzfeed reports.

Currently only Uruguay and Argentina recognize full marriage equality in South America, although Colombia may be in the brink.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources.