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USA, Virginia: Marriage Equality Hearing Delayed By Storm

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

VirginiaThe snow storm that swept through the south these last few days has delayed the marriage equality hearing in Virginia.

The Washington Blade reports:

Oral arguments in a federal lawsuit that challenges Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban that was scheduled to take place tomorrow has been postponed because of inclement weather. Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Norfolk, Va., is expected to hear the case sometime next month.

In related news, new AG Mark herring explained his decision not to defend the ban.

Hampton Roads reports:

Switching his office’s posture on the case, Herring said, is “not about my personal view in support of marriage equality.” “That’s not my role as attorney general,” he said in an interview with The Virginian-Pilot from his Richmond office. “But, rather, the decision was based on the law and based on the obligations of the office.” Herring, who had planned to be in court for the hearing – now tentatively planned for sometime in February – contends that the state’s refusal to permit or recognize same-sex marriage violates the U.S. Constitution’s equal-protection and due-process clauses.

Also in Virginia, one of the plaintiffs in the case shared his story.

AFER reports:

Originally London and Bostic were going to Maryland to get married. They told London’s lawyer, Robert Ruloff, about their plan. He had other ideas. “I said, ‘No you’re not. You’re going to get married right here,'” remembered Ruloff, who is, for whatever it’s worth, a straight man from West Virginia. “‘We’ll fight it here. If you want to do it, let’s do it.'”

And finally, Virginia delegate Joseph Yost became the first HOP lawmaker in the state to support marriage equality.

The Washington Blade reports:

“As far as same-sex marriage goes, it does not bother me,” state Del. Joseph Yost (R-Giles County) told the Washington Blade during an interview at an Equality Virginia reception that took place at the Library of Virginia in downtown Richmond. “Why not?”… “It boils down to tradition; it’s just a generational gap,” said Yost. “I don’t think the government should be involved in marriage period — straight or gay. I feel like we have bigger things to worry about.”

One way or another, marriage equality will come soon t Virginia. Any word wham that rescheduled hearing will be?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Virginia.

USA, Arizona: Senate Committee Approves Bill to Allow Businesses to Discriminate Against Gays

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

Arizona Representative Steve YarbroughA bill that would let businesses discriminate against, well, basically anyone by claiming religious beliefs passed a state Senate committee yesterday.

Dot429 reports:

The bill would allow businesses to refuse service for religious reasons, effectively giving them a “license to discriminate.” Yarborough has said that he introduced the bill because a “modest clarification” was needed in Arizona’s religious freedom law.

Yarborough acknowledged to reporter Howard Fischer that the bill’s impact could reach as widely as hotels refusing rooms to LGBT people, or individuals discriminating against unmarried women, or refusing employment to individuals with different beliefs. He claims that, just like the current pharmacy law in place, which allows pharmacists to decline service based on religious preferences (such as refusing to sell birth control), as long as individuals could find what they need elsewhere it should not pose a problem.

Got that? As long as you have separate but equal facilities elsewhere, discrimination should not be a problem. Are we seriously having this argument in this country all over again?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Arizona.

USA, New Jersey: Third GOP Assembly Member Joins Marriage Equality Side

Friday, October 4th, 2013

New Jersy GOP Assemblyman Chrs A. BrownMarriage equality proponents in New Jersey picked up a third Republican vote in the assembly, as Assemblyman Chris A. Brown changed sides.

Edge Boston reports:

During a legislative debate on Wednesday, Assemblyman Chris A. Brown said he would vote to override Christie’s veto on marriage equality. Polticiker writes this “the first time during the lead up to an override vote that a lawmaker who voted against the same-sex marriage bill last year publically announced they would change their vote. “This is a decision I came to on my own,” Brown said. “I just believe when it comes to civil rights, I don’t believe it’s appropriate for the public to vote on it.”

Pressure is building in New Jersey for marriage equality – which will get there first, the courts or the legislature?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in New Jersey.

USA, South Carolina: Republican Who Led Effort To Ban Marriage Equality Changes Mind

Friday, September 20th, 2013

John Hawkins – South CarolinaThe man who led South Carolina’s effort to ban marriage equality in the state in 2005 has had a change of heart.

The Advocate reports:

“I was wrong about pursing the marriage amendment,” Hawkins told the station Wednesday. “I wish I hadn’t been so strident against it. … I never pursued the marriage amendment for any kind of religious reason, or any so-called moral reason, or anything like that. I pursued the marriage amendment out of a sense of duty to the law.” The constitutional amendment, which still bears Hawkins’s name, passed with 78% of voters in support. The Alliance for Full Acceptance, a pro-LGBT group based in Charleston, asked Hawkins to serve as the keynote speaker at its bimonthly meeting Wednesday, hoping Hawkins’s change of heart would offer a kind of salve for those LGBT South Carolinians hurt by their state’s official disavowal of their committed relationships.

We’re thrilled with Hawkins’ turn around on the issue. Now if only people like Hawkins could have a change of heart like this before they successfully took away the rights of thousands upon thousands of citizens.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in South Carolina.

Florida, USA: Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Joins NoH8

Friday, June 14th, 2013

Florida Representative Ileana Ros-LehtinenBecoming the first republican member of Congress to do so, Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen joined the NoH8 campaign Thursday. On Top Magazine reports:

Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen on Thursday became the first Republican Congress member to pose for the NOH8 Campaign, which raises awareness and funds for gay rights causes, including ending California’s 2008 voter-approved gay marriage ban, Proposition 8. The campaign was on Capitol Hill for its NOH8 on The Hill photo shoot.

Ros-Lehtinen has been a long-time supporter of LGBT rights and marriage equality.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Florida.

Delaware, USA: One Republican Senator Still Undecided on Marriage Equality Bill

Sunday, May 5th, 2013

DelawareAlthough seven Republicans in the Delaware Senate have confirmed their “no” votes, there’s still one undecided. Lez Get Real reports:

Aides for Senate Minority Leader Gary Simpson, Senate Minority Whip Gregory Lavelle, and state Senators Colin Bonini, Gerald Hocker, David Lawson, Ernie Lopez and Brian Pettyjohn have announced they will vote ‘no’. All are Republicans, so this is not surprising. The eighth Republican of the twenty-one state senators, Catherine Cloutier, is still undecided.

If you’re in Delaware, give Senator Cloutier a call!

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Delaware.

Minnesota, USA: GOP Senator Dave Senjem Unsure on Marriage Equality Vote

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Minnesota State Senator Dave SenjemMinnesota’s former Senate majority leader, Dave Senjem, told a newspaper yesterday that he’s not yet sure how he will vote on the marriage equality bill. The Minnesota Post reports:

I am just going to wait until that magic moment and make that decision in a pretty spontaneous way.” The story says: “If he had to vote at this moment, [Senjem] said he would probably vote “no.” But he said he is not sure what he will do when actually confronted with the decision. When he talks to young people, it is clear most of them support gay marriage. He added that attempts to block gay marriage amount to society “standing in front of a freight train.”

Sounds like somebody in Minnesota needs to hear some encouraging calls from marriage equality supporters. Anyone here live up there?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Minnesota.

Delaware, USA: Republican Co-Sponsors Marriage Equality Bill in House

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

DelawareOne republican has stepped forward to co-sponsor Delaware’s marriage equality bill in the house. The Washington Blade reports:

“I always try to be respectful of what people think and how they think and we are supporters of treating everyone equally,” state Rep. Mike Ramone (R-Middle Run Valley) said while discussing he and his wife Lisa’s decision to support House Bill 75. He noted during the interview he has a gay son and several of those who have worked at the six flower shops and floral warehouse they own throughout Delaware are out. “Gay people have become very close to us. We just don’t believe that they shouldn’t be treated equally like everyone else and have the opportunity to get married.”

One by one, the walls are breaking down, even in the GOP, often because they know us and know who we are. Kudos to Representative Ramone for co-sponsoring this bill.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Delaware.

USA: Anti-Gay Michigan Republican Dave Agema: “We Have Won the Battle”

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

Dave Agema, Michigan RNC Committee MemberSpeaking out about the nearly unanimous RNC vote to continue to oppose marriage equality, notoriously anti-gay member Dave Agema (MI) spoke out yesterday. MLive reports:

“I am pleased with our success in the face of unrelenting criticism from the left and want to thank national social conservative leaders who made their voices heard loud and clear in this process,” Agema said in a release following today’s vote at the RNC’s annual spring meeting in Los Angeles. “I hope that we can all now move forward and talk about other issues … We have won the battle, and I will have nothing more to say on this matter.”

Yes, you’ve won the battle to push your once-great party even further into irrelevancy. Agema, you may remember, was caught two weeks ago on Facebook talking about gays’ “filthy lifestyle”, and how he thinks they recruit young people to that lifestyle.

After the vote against marriage equality, RNC committee member Robin Armstrong offered this jaw-dropper on Hardball. MSNBC reports:

“Actually, we’re the ‘tolerant party,’” Armstrong said. “We allow people to come in who are in favor of homosexual marriage…All we’re saying is that we affirm marriage is between one man and one woman. We’re not going to compromise that value.” He added, “I think this is an illustration of how intolerant Democrats and liberals are of other viewpoints. You don’t have to agree with me on 100% of my viewpoints to be a part of [the Republican Party].”

Seriously? The GOP is the party of tolerance? Well, sure, as long as you’re a straight white male who is against gays, abortion, and the poor, and for guns, God (the Christian one), and the rich, why sure the GOP is tolerant.

Illinois, USA: Another House Republican Endorses Marriage Equality

Monday, April 8th, 2013

Illinois State Rep. Ed Sullivan JuniorAs the Illinois House prepares to vote on the marriage equality bill, a second House Republican, Rep. Ed Sullivan Junior, has endorsed the bill. On Top Magazine reports:

Sullivan, who previously opposed civil unions, told the Chicago Tribune that his mother-in-law is gay. “The first reaction from people might be, ‘Well he might be voting for that just because of his mother-in-law,'” Sullivan said. “The reality is, because my mother-in-law is gay, I have more of an understanding and familiarity with same-sex couples.”

Once again, it’s all about who you know. US Sen. Rob Portman endorsed marriage equality because his son is gay. Time and time again, what makes the difference is knowing someone in your family or who is close to you that is gay.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Illinois.