Couples Can Wed Again in California

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Proposition 8 Struck Down
What is Prop 8?
Proposition 8 in California is the voter-approved law that limits marriage to one man and one woman that was passed in 2008.  In 2010, Prop 8 was declared unconstitutional by Judge Vaughn Walker because it limited marriage to only opposite couples thereby denying gay and lesbian Californians their basic rights.
Judge Walker’s decision was challenged by a group of citizens who put Prop 8 on the ballot. A federal court ruled that this group did not have legal standing to challenge the law.  Hollingsworth vs.… more

The Little Engine Who Could: Edie Windsor

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The Woman Who Sued the United States and Won!
“I think I can, I think I can” must have been Windsor’s motto as she led an uphill battle that lasted five years, and culminated in a U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down the federal law DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) that regarded marriage as a union only between a man and a woman.  But in terms of her strength,  Edie Windsor’s  impact on gay rights in the U.S. was  (like Superman) “as strong as a locomotive.”
Auspicious Beginnings
Edith Schlain was born eighty-four years ago in Philadelphia.  She briefly married a man, divorced , and moved to New York City “to be gay.” A math and computer whiz, Edie worked at I.B.M.., one of the few women at the heart of the revolution in programming.  She was closeted at that time, but did ask a friend “if you know where the lesbians go, please take me.”
The First Meeting
On Friday evenings, Portofino in the West Village was a hangout for gay women.  It was here that she met Thea Spyer, a wealthy Jewish emigre from Holland, who was a psychologist and violinist in 1963.  Four years later, they began what turned out to be “ a very long engagement”( the title of a documentary about Edie and Thea).… more

President of Brazil’s Commission for Human Rights and Minorities is Controversial

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Marco Feliciano Accused of Homophobia and Racism
Marco Feliciano, an evangelical pastor from the Christian Social Policy, is accused of homophobia, racism, and excluding outsiders from sessions in Brazil’s lower house of parliament that were previously open to the public. Last April, human rights groups called for Feliciano’s resignation due to his bigotry. He is also under investigation for embezzlement charges.
His Election
On March 7, Feliciano was elected as President of the Brazilian House of Representatives’ Human Rights Committee by a vote of eleven out of the Committee’s eighteen members during a session closed to the public.… more

Legally Married Gays Entitled to Federal Benefits

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Down With Doma
Yesterday, June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court of the United States (Scotus) ruled that The Defense of Marriage Act, that defines marriage as only between a man and a woman, is unconstitutional.  Justice Anthony Kennedy, considered “the swing vote,” read the majority opinion in language similar to his opinion on historic past “gay rights”  cases of Romer v. Evans in 1996 and Lawrence v. Texas in 2003.
In a 5-to-4 decision, he was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan.  Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito all filed dissenting opinions.… more

Kids in Grade School May Know They’re Gay

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Pew Research Center’s Landmark Survey Shows Coming Out Sooner
The just-released Pew Survey reveals that kids as young as ten sense they are GLBT.  For greater anonymity, the survey was done online to attract a wider range of participants who were asked when they first knew they were gay and when they first told a close friend or relative. (Of course, closeted gays are reluctant to participate in a survey, thus eliminating a greater population).
Gender-Different Responses
On the average, male respondents said they suspected by the age of ten, knew at age 15, and told a friend or relative at age 18.  Female respondents, however, sensed it at age 13, knew at 18, and told someone at 21.… more

Top-Ranking Openly Gay Person in Defense Dept. Now Holds Two Jobs

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Eric Fanning is Air Force’s Under Secretary and Civilian Head
On April 18, 2013, Eric Fanning was confirmed as the 24th Under Secretary of the Air Force . On June 21, 2013, he began to serve in the additional role of Acting Secretary of the Air Force owing to the retirement of his boss, Michael Donley.  Because President Obama has not nominated a replacement for Donley, Fanning will hold both jobs until a replacement is found.
What Job Entails
Fanning is responsible for the organizing, training, equipping, and providing for the welfare of its more than 333,000 men and women on active duty:178,000 members of the Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve, 182,000 civilians, and their families.  He also oversees the Air Force’s more than $100 billion annual budget.… more

Marco Rubio Will Revoke Immigration Bill Support if Gay Couple Amendment Added

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“I’m Done,” Rubio Threatens
Republican Florida Senator Marco Rubio said that he will withdraw his support of the Senate Immigration Bill if the immigration bill now under consideration includes a gay couple amendment.  This amendment would allow gay Americans to petition for same-sex spouses living abroad to secure a green card. As one of the “Gang of Eight,” Rubio is the most prominent Republican senator to develop the bipartisan Immigration reform bill.
Leahy’s Amendment
Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) introduced, on June 11, 2013, the amendment that would enable married, bi-national same-sex couples to apply for a visa through the marriage-based green card application process.… more

Bill Banning Reparative Therapy in N.J. Approved by Assembly

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Prohibits Licensed Therapists from Performing Conversion Therapy on Minors
An Assembly panel, The Women and Children’s Committee, in the New Jersey State Legislature on June 13, 2013, has approved a measure that disallows licensed therapists from practicing conversion therapy on any person under the age of 18 – even with parental permission, The bill will next go to the Assembly and Senate for votes.
Late last month, the N.J. Senate was due to vote on the measure, but the vote was held up so some unspecified changes that could be made to the legislation.  The measure is backed by the American Psychological Association and is expected to be approved by Governor Christie.… more

Senate Voice Vote Confirms 1st Openly Gay Latina to Federal Court

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Nitza Quinones Alejandro Now Federal Judge to U.S. District Court in Pa.
On June 13, 2013, the U.S. Senate confirmed Nitza Quinones Alejandro to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.  Nominated last November by President Obama for this position, she was renominated at the start of the 113th Congress in January as part of a group of thirty-three nominees. Alejandro has been a judge on the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas since 1991. There, she presided over civil and criminal matters.
She is the first openly LGBT Hispanic to serve on the federal bench and the seventh openly LGBT person ever to receive confirmation as a federal judge.… more

Rev. Guy Erwin Elected First Openly Gay Lutheran Bishop

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Evangelical Church in America (ELCA) in Southwest California Chooses Him
Rev. Dr. Guy Erwin, on May 31, 2013, during the synod’s assembly in Woodland Hills, California, was elected the first gay bishop of the Evangelical Luthern Church in America and one of sixty-five synodical bishops in the denomination. He will serve a six-year term with the synod, which covers the greater Los Angeles area.  He will be installed as bishop on September 21.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has always disapproved of homosexuality as an open defiance of God. Erwin said  “ there was a time when I believed that I would not be able to serve as a pastor in the ELCA.  Our church has now recognized the God-given gifts and abilities that LGBT people can bring to the denomination.”
Emily Eastwood, Executive Director of Reconciling Work, commented that the election of Pastor Erwin to the office of bishop occurred because he was the best candidate, not because he was a partnered gay man ( with Rob Flynn).”
Erwin’s Extraordinary Qualifications
Reverend Erwin was ordained on May 11, 2011 in Samuelson Chapel at California Lutheran University where he is the Belgum Chair in Luther Confessional Therapy which includes promoting the connection between the University and the Church.… more