Gay Marriage Green Cards and Impact on Immigration Reform

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A fairly straightforward process available to most Americans—obtaining a green card for your foreign-born spouse—has caused many headaches and heartaches for same-sex couples. For these over 40,000 recorded eligible couples, they have been forced to live away from their spouses without recognition of their lives as a couple, with infrequent visits and harsh penalties for too much time together, and/or have had to live in exile in countries that allowed same-sex couples easy residency.
That all is changed after the recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).… more

Will Phillips Ends His Silence: The Pledge from A Historic Young LGBT Activist

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After more than three-and-a-half years, Will Phillips finally got to say the Pledge of Allegiance in a nation with greater equality.
Will’s journey as a young gay rights activist started when he was 10. In his 5th grade class in the West Fork School District in Arkansas, Will decided that he couldn’t in good conscience stand for the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance, which got him in trouble with the entire school. On the original CNN interview he did with his father in November 2009, the reason that he decided to stay seated was because, in his words, “I’ve always tried to analyze things because I want to be a lawyer… I really don’t feel that there’s currently liberty and justice for all.”
He took the stand, or more aptly kept his seat, because he thought if gays and lesbians couldn’t get married, then he didn’t want to repeat a dishonest pledge.… more

Proposition 8 Emergency Petition to Halt Same Sex Marriage Denied

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On Sunday, June 30, 2013 Supreme Court Justice Kennedy denied the emergency petition of Proposition 8 opponents without comment or any attempt to get views of Proposition8 opponents.
The proponents of Proposition 8 filed the petition to halt same sex marriage in California on June 29, 2013. As soon as the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the ban on same sex marriage on June 28, 2013, California Governor Jerry Brown issued a directive to the counties in California to begin issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples.
The Proposition 8 emergency petition was filed in the U.S.… 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

Gay Marriage Held Across from Westboro Baptist Church

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Three months after the “Equality House” was set up across the street from Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, the pro-LGBT organization managed to pay back Westboro just a little in the most fabulous way that it could: by holding a gay marriage right on its front lawn.
On Saturday, June 22nd, Kimberly Kidwell and Katie Short were married in a wedding ceremony at the “Equality House,” the rainbow-painted house bought by Aaron Jackson and used for his charity “Project Peace”. A couple of five-and-a-half years they wanted to show support for Jackson’s charity and the house’s mission.… more

Equality Won – Gay Marriage Victories

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America took a great stride toward fulfilling its inherent commitment to equality. On June 26th, the United States Supreme Court issued two very important gay rights rulings that nullified the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Proposition 8. The court found DOMA unconstitutional on equal protection grounds and determined those petitioning the court to sustain Prop 8 did not have “standing” to do so and let the 9th Circuit decision stand.
DOMA being declared unconstitutional, brings to an end a very long fight that finally brings fairness and equity to those same sex couples legally married in that they now are accorded all the federal benefits of marriage that are available to heterosexual couples.… more

Supreme Court Delivers Gay Marriage Victory

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BREAKING NEWS:  Supreme Court Delivers First Gay Marriage Victory
Profound Victory for basic human rights as the Supreme Court issues rulings on Gay Marriage.
In 5-4 ruling, U.S. Supreme Court justices overturn Defense of Marriage Act, saying it is unconstitutional. DOMA is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment. Roberts, Scalia, Alito, Thomas issue Dissents. Chief Roberts and Scalia believe there is no jurisdiction. Opinion is by Justice Kennedy, joined by the four liberal Justices — Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan. Kennedy states, “DOMA singles out a class of persons deemed by a State entitled ot recognition and protection to enhance their own liberty.”
In plain terms, same-sex couples who are legally married will be entitled to equal treatment under federal law such benefits include income taxes, social security benefits and over a thousand other federal laws and programs.… more

Rethink Gay Marriage says UK Bishop

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The Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt Rev Nicholas Holtham has suggested in a letter to UK daily newspaper, The Telegraph that it was time for the church to “rethink” attitudes about same-sex marriage, as Christians had done with slavery and apartheid.
“No one now supports either slavery or apartheid. The Biblical texts have not changed; our interpretation has.” The religious leader argued that same sex marriage did not “detract from heterosexual marriage” and that the “development of marriage for same sex couples is a very strong endorsement of the institution of marriage”.… more

Anti-Gay Laws Pass in Nigeria

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Nigeria’s House of Representatives recently voted in favour of a ban on gay marriage, outlaw any groups actively supporting gay rights and endorsing a measure that also calls for 10-year prison sentences for any “public show” of affection by a same-sex couple.
The House of Representatives appeared to unanimously approve the proposal in a voice vote, sending it immediately to the President, Goodluck Jonathan for him to sign it into law in Africa’s most populous nation.
Nigeria’s Senate previously passed the bill back in November 2011, although it seemed to disappear in procedure for some time before re-emerging in the most recent session of the House.… more

Scotland’s Gay Marriage Plans

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The government in Scotland, UK, has confirmed it will introduce a bill to allow same-sex marriage within the month. A special consultation on a ‘Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill’ came to an end in March this year, however its findings have yet to be made public.
Scottish ministers have promised to change the law to allow same-sex couples the right to marry whilst also writing in protections for religious groups that do not want to carry out such ceremonies. Both the Church of Scotland and Roman Catholic Church are against the plans, as is expected.… more