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

Obama Gives Hope for Gay African Community

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South Africa might be progressive and pretty in pink, offering a great gay tourist destination and gay marriage for everyone, but it’s only the rainbow tip in the largely homophobic African subcontinent.
Amnesty International released a report this week titled “Making Love a Crime: Criminalization of Same-Sex Conduct in Sub-Saharan Africa”  which detailed facts and human rights abuses against LGBT individuals within the sovereign countries.
Of its various findings, it notes that 38 countries consider homosexuality illegal. Four of them—Mauritania, Sudan, northern Nigeria, and southern Somalia—offer the death penalty for those found guilty of “homosexuality,” and five more—Uganda, South Sudan, Burundi, Liberia, and Nigeria—have all attempted to further criminalize homosexuality within their countries.… 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

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

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

Gay Marriage Bill Passes in Minnesota

State Senate Voted 37 to 30 for Passage After Four Hours of Debate
Minnesota became the 12th State to Legalize Gay Marriage on May 13, 2013.  Governor Mark Dayton signed the bill the following day that allows same-sex couples to marry on August 1st.
Just four days after the House passed the bill on a 75-59 vote, Minnesota became the third state in the past eleven days,after Rhode Island and Delaware, to recognize gay marriage.  In Illinois, a gay marriage bill awaits a House vote after clearing the state Senate.
Minnesota becomes the first state in the Midwest to make gay marriage legal by way of a legislative vote.  Iowa, since 2009, has had same-sex marriage approved by a court ruling.… more

Australian Political Leaders Say No To Gay Marriage Referendum.

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Hopes of holding a referendum on Gay Marriage in Australia were dealt a cruel blow recently when both the anti-gay prime minister of Australia Julia Gillard and leader of the opposition, Tony Abbott have ruled it out.
The Independent MP Tony Wilson had suggested holding a referendum on gay marriage on the same day as the general election in September this year. However Gillard rejected the notion outright, ‘the most appropriate way for the government to consider such an amendment is through a conscience vote in parliament’, she said.
Abbott also rejected the idea of a referendum, saying ‘I think the coming election should be uncomplicated by other matters’.… more

NBA Center Jason Collins Announces He’s Gay

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President Obama and Others Congratulate Him
Washington Wizards Center Jason Collins made his declaration in a first-person essay that was published online by Sports Illustrated.  It will also appear in the May 6th issue of the magazine. With his declaration, he becomes the first openly gay professional male athlete in a major sport.
How and Why He Came Out
Collins said in the essay, “I’m a 34-year-old NBA Center.  I’m black.  And I’m gay. I didn’t set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport.  But since I am, I’m happy to start the conversation.  I wish I wasn’t the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, ‘I’m different.’ If I had my way, someone else would have already done this.  Nobody has, which is why I’m raising my hand.”
“It takes an enormous amount of energy to guard such a big secret.  I’ve endured years of misery and gone to enormous lengths to live a lie.  I was certain that my world would fall apart if anyone knew.  And yet when I acknowledged my sexuality I felt whole for the first time.  I still had the same sense of humor, I still had the same mannerisms and my friends still had my back.”
Collins, who said he tried to fight being gay for years, mentioned in the Sports Illustrated article that his loyalty to his teammates prevented him from coming out sooner because he did not want to be a distraction to them.  Still, he wore a 98 shirt while playing with the Celtics and Wizards.… more

Paraguay Presidential Runner Criticizes Gays

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Tobacco Magnate Not Gay-Friendly
Horacio Cartes, the front-runner in Paraguay’s presidential election on April 21, 2013, has not been “making nice” with gays in his country.  He likened gays to “monkeys” and the support of same-sex marriage to believing in “the end of the world.”
On the radio this month, Mr. Cartes, 57, a tad dramatic, said “he would shoot himself in the testicles, if his twenty-eight year-old son were to marry another man.”
Response from the Gay Community
This month, a Paraguayan gay rights group, Somos Gay, issued a statement calling Cartes’s comments on same-sex marriage “cruel” and pressing him to apologize publicly.  Said Sergio Lopez, a director of the group, “ The Colorado Party (of which Cartes is a member) claims to protect the Paraguayan family, claiming that if lesbians and gays become visible in our society, the traditional family will disappear.  But in fact, they are ignoring reality since that traditional family is no longer the norm.” Cartes has not issued an apology.… more