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Thursday, July 29, 2010 To Document State Officials’ Stances On Gay Marriage announces plans to document the stances of state lawmakers on equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. It will be the only clearinghouse of information on state officials’ positions on gay marriage and is designed to help voters, campaign donors, and the media better understand the issue of equal marriage rights.

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New York, NY (PRWEB) July 29, 2010
To date, has used media accounts, press releases from candidates and elected officials, and the public voting record of elected officials to document the support for or opposition to equal marriage rights of all 50 governors, 100 United States senators, and 435 United States representatives.

Until launched, there was no one place you could go to find this information,” said Michael Zuyus, founder of “We want to make it easy for people to get the information they need in order to support candidates who will vote for marriage rights in their state.”

Given that all of the expansions of equal marriage rights have taken place at the state level, will begin documenting the positions of state lawmakers. The site will start with states that are seeing the most legislative action on marriage equality: New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Maine.

The site is also updated weekly with news and information about current efforts to expand marriage equality. Visitors are also encouraged to make donations to fund the effort.
About is a resource for voters,campaign donors, and the media about the positions of elected officials on marriage equality rights for gay and lesbian couples. It uses public records to document the stance of every governor, United States Senator, and United States representative on equal marriage rights. It is currently documenting the positions of lawmakers in all 50 states.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

GetEQUAL Stages Sit-In at Capitol Rotunda, Demanding That She Keep Promise to Pass ENDA This Year

"Your impatience is justified" -- Speaker Nancy Pelosi, July 24, 2010 at
Netroots Nation

WASHINGTON - Today, GetEQUAL, a national, direct action lesbian, gay,
bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, staged a sit-in
inside the U.S. Capitol Rotunda in Washington, DC protesting in support of a
vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) this year.  The sit-in,
outside the door to the Speaker's office, targeted House Speaker Nancy
Pelosi (D-CA) by demanding she fulfill her promises to pass ENDA this year.
The group of about 20, eight of which were arrested, also had a signed
letter delivered to the Speaker's office outlining their reasoning for
taking today's action.  The group's letter referenced Speaker Pelosi's
speech on Saturday to Netroots Nation, stating, "you also told us that we
needed to 'get the drumbeat going' and 'make [you] do it.'  Madame Speaker,
we are here to do just that."   The full text of the letter can be read

An Open Letter to the House Speaker on ENDA

We are writing to express how extremely troubled we are that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) has not yet been scheduled for a vote by the full House of Representatives. We believe a floor vote must be scheduled for ENDA immediately.

It would be devastating for LGBT workers for this Congress to not complete its work on ENDA before the end of this session.  ENDA would be historic in the number of LGBT people who would benefit from its passage. During this economic crisis, it is more important than ever to prohibit the often impoverishing effects of workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Most LGBT workers have no protections from workplace discrimination. ENDA would provide legal protection against discrimination nationally.  Over and over we have been promised that a vote would be scheduled on ENDA, and these promises have been repeatedly broken.  In 29 states, it is still legal to fire someone solely because they are lesbian, gay or bisexual.  And in 38 states it is legal to fire someone solely for being transgender.  The current version of the bill would outlaw discrimination on both sexual orientation and gender identity.

A 2006 study by the San Francisco Bay Guardian and the Transgender Law Center found that 60 percent of transgender people in San Francisco earn less than $15,300 per year, only 25 percent have a full-time job and nearly 9 percent have no source of income. 
Only 4 percent reported making more than $61,200, which is about the median income in the Bay Area.  More than half of local transgender people live in poverty, and 96 percent earn less than the median income. Forty percent of those surveyed don't even have a bank account.  What this study reveals is that even in a city that is considered a haven for the LGBT community, transgender workers face profound employment challenges and discrimination. 

A 2007 meta-analysis from the Williams Institute of 50 studies of workplace discrimination against LGBT people found consistent evidence of bias in the workplace. The analysis found that up to 68 percent of LGBT people reported experiencing employment discrimination, and up to 17 percent said they had been fired or denied employment.

Public opinion polling shows that Americans are overwhelmingly in favor of making sure LGBT Americans get the same employment opportunities as everyone else.  In fact, the latest surveys shows that nearly 90% of Americans support workplace fairness for LGBT workers.

As you know, in a few weeks, Congress will finish it's legislative business for the year so that they can return to their districts to run for re-election. Last month at a LGBT Pride event, Congresswoman Jackie Spier announced to the LGBT community that not only would we not get ENDA before the end of the legislative session, that she did not think we would get it for five years because we won't have enough votes in Congress again to ensure passage. It is ironic that Congress plans on leaving town and going home to campaign for their own jobs while leaving thousands of LGBT workers without protections for the next five years.  When 90% of Americans support workplace fairness, it is challenging to believe that anyone fears a backlash from the voters.  The time to pass ENDA is now.  The American people support it, the politicians promised it.  No more broken promises. We demand that a vote be scheduled now.


SF Pride at Work, One Struggle, One Fight, GetEqual, Harvey Milk Democratic Club, El/La, Transgender Law Center, National Center for Lesbian Rights, and National Pride at Work

About TLC
The Transgender Law Center (TLC) is a civil rights organization advocating for transgender communities. TLC uses direct legal services, education, community organizing and advocacy to transform California into a state that recognizes and supports the needs of transgender people and their families.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Hollywood, CA - The ONE IN TEN SCREENPLAY CONTEST, a screenplay contest dedicated to the positive portrayal of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, trangender and queer individuals in film, celebrates its 12th anniversary in 2010.  Entries are now being accepted online and are limited to the first 600 for 2010 and the deadline is September 1, 2010 to enter.  Executive Director, David Jensen, "We are excited to celebrate our 12th anniversary and are looking at a record number of entries this year.   We are continually amazed with the quality of talent that comes through the door year after year."  Jensen continues, "We receive entries from around the globe and Hollywood is taking notice in a very big way.  Many of our past winners are now hard working screenwriters.  Last year's winner has received substantial interest and representation by one of Hollywood's top management and production houses. Some of our winning writers currently have movies in production."

The ONE IN TEN SCREENPLAY CONTEST has gained respect and notoriety from Hollywood studios, agents and producers.  Entries for the 2010 screenplay contest are now being accepted online at: - Writers from around the world are eligible.

Prizes for 2010 include cash, industry exposure and merchandise.  The 2010 One In Ten Screenplay Contest is sponsored by: Cherub Productions, Hollywood Creative Directory,, Brainstorm Warehouse, LLC, Michael Weise Productions,, , , and Jungle Software.

The submission deadline for 2010 ONE IN TEN SCREENPLAY CONTEST is September
1, 2010.  Entry forms are available online through the contest website:  Entry forms may also be obtained through the mail by sending a self addressed stamped envelope to:

One In Ten Screenplay Contest
Post Office Box 540
Boulder, Colorado 80306
(303) 629-3072

Friday, July 23, 2010

ARCUS Foundation And National Black Justice Coalition Host Tele-Briefing For Civil Rights Community On LGBT Messaging

Briefing highlighted research from new Arcus Report “LGBT Rights and Advocacy: Messaging to African American Communities”

NEW YORK – The Arcus Foundation and the National Black Justice Coalition hosted a tele-briefing yesterday for traditional civil rights organizations and LGBT rights advocates to improve their outreach and impact around LGBT issues in the African American community.

The call offered both research and resources that advocates can use to communicate more effectively about sexual orientation and gender identity issues with their African American constituents. Panelists included Michael A. Blake, Deputy Associate Director, White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement; Dee Brown, Project Director, Brilliant Corners Research & Strategies; Rashad Robinson, Senior Director of Media Programs, Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation; and Sharon J. Lettman, Executive Director, National Black Justice Coalition. The briefing was moderated by Roz Lee, Senior Program Officer for the Racial Justice, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Program at the Arcus Foundation.

A full copy of the report can be found at 

Thursday, July 22, 2010



The Give a Damn Campaign today releases its latest video in its monthly series to highlight the discrimination that the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community continues to face. This month, Cynthia Nixon, Sharon Osbourne and Karolína Kurková talk about why they give a damn about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender parents and their kids. These three moms are joined by a father and a grandmother to call attention to the discrimination that families headed by gay parents face each and every day in this country.

Many mainstream child health and social service organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association, American Psychological Association, Child Welfare League of America and National Association of Social Workers, have gone on record to support adoption by qualified lesbian and gay parents. Unfortunately, many road blocks remain in place, including 3 states that have blanket bans prohibiting any lesbian or gay couple from adopting. In many states, the parenting law for gay and  transgender people is still unclear.

In addition, there are 6 million to 14 million lesbian and gay parents in this country that cannot do all they would like to ensure the emotional and financial security of their children. In part, because current federal and state regulations extend thousands of protections to married couples and their families, but not necessarily to same-sex couples and their families.  Also, many companies do not provide the same health insurance benefits for their gay employees, those employees’ health insurance won’t cover their domestic partners or the children of their domestic partners who are not adopted by the employee.

It is time for things to change. The Give a Damn Campaign urges everyone to share this video - especially with the straight people in their lives - to educate them about the need to get involved in helping protect families headed by gay and lesbian parents.

Witeck Witnesses Signing of Argentina's Same Sex Marriage Law

By good luck and rare timing, I am in Buenos Aires today with thousands of
jubilant Argentine citizens and a number of American and international
LGBT friends and colleagues -- and by chance, I was able to attend and to
witness this historic signing of Argentina's first same sex marriage law at the Casa Rosada.

Afterwards, with immense serendipity, I was included with a handful of
others led by Pablo DeLuca and Gustavo Noguera, with the Argentine LGBT
Chamber, along with Justin Nelson and Chance Mitchell from NGLCC as well
as New York based journalists Mike Luongo and Mark Chesnut, to stop by
President Cristina's office after the ceremony for what turned out to be
nearly a half-hour personal conversation with her and a few of her staff.
(These journalists, I understand, will soon file excerpts and photos from
our personal meeting with the President as soon as their wits and skills
allow -- so they can be be relied upon for the record, while I just share
impressions here.)

With my near-extinct knowledge of Spanish, I was sadly reduced to
witnessing this historic private moment as though I was watching a foreign
language film without English subtitles.  But like some immensely
beautiful art films, there are times when words are somewhat powerless
because feelings and emotions are so expressive and dominant.

In her office, after her official act was complete, she was captivating,
dramatic, ebullient, intense and embracing -- still touched by the
poignancy of the signing ceremony itself.  After she signed the
legislation in the public space downstairs, we witnessed hundreds of the
attendees inside the room and outside as well, begin to press forward to
touch her, hug her, hand her flowers, seek photos with her -- in a
throbbing human crush that probably mirrors the passionate nature of
Argentinian public life most of us merely know from history or films.  It
was a scene of such emotion that as a lifelong resident of Washington DC,
I cannot imagine any such event resembling this scene taking place in the
White House or in many executive mansions -- and simply because of the
risk of physical harm alone to the President or others in the pushing,
pressing and jubilant crowd on the floor.

To make this evening more unreal as well was to see the painting of Juan
Peron on the wall behind her and over her right shoulder, to see Evita's
likeness in oil on the wall to her left, and Che Guevara's image on the
wall to her right.

What little I know of Buenos Aires I have learned here in the first 36
hours, and if nothing else, these are among the most passionate people on
earth.  And tonight they have every single reason to be.

Bob Witeck

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Another Day, Another Boycott By the AFA....Yawn

The radical homosexual agenda is big business for right wing organizations like the American Family Association. Their new target: Home Depot.

They just launched their boycott today!

Said AFA president Tim Wildmon, “The Home Depot, through any number of its affiliates, has given its money and its name to gay pride parades and festivals. We’ve appealed to them to stay neutral in the culture wars, but they are determined to keep using their influence to push the normalization of homosexual behavior. Everyone of these pride events pushes the recognition of homosexual marriage, so The Home Depot has clearly chosen sides on that issue.”

Home Depot has obviously decided to stay true to their mission of creating and supporting workplace diversity.

Home Depot spokesman Stephen Holmes said, “At the end of the day here, we’re not going to...forbid our associates to be involved in these pride festivals in any way.”

Holmes said, speaking for The Home Depot, “The bottom line is, it (remaining neutral) just runs counter to our inclusive culture...and that’s where we stand.”

Company’s that try to negotiate with the AFA will never meet their demands unless they entirely get out of the LGBT market. Companies should be prepared to receive as well as respond to emails from AFA supporters with a simple message:  we respect all of our customers regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” stated Wes Combs, President and Co-Founder of Witeck-Combs Communications.

SU Executive Director Testifies as Lead Witness in DADT Trial

Case Challenges Constitutionality of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Law in Court

Servicemembers United, the nation's largest organization of gay and lesbian troops and veterans, announced that its founder and Executive Director, Alexander Nicholson, will testify today as the lead witness in the lawsuit brought by the Log Cabin Republicans to challenge the constitutionality of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law. The case, which is being tried in federal court in Riverside, California, seeks to have the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law declared unconstitutional and all discharges under the law enjoined.

I am especially honored to be the lead veteran witness in this case and to have the opportunity to represent all gay and lesbian troops and veterans on the witness stand today at this very important and historic trial,” said Alexander Nicholson, Executive Director of Servicemembers United and a former U.S. Army interrogator who was discharged under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." "This unnecessary and bigoted law has caused untold harm to each and every person who has served under it, and that, in turn, has harmed the quality and readiness of our armed forces.

The case, Log Cabin Republicans vs. U.S.A., was originally filed in 2004. Since last July, the case has picked up steam and moved forward at a rapid pace, despite the Justice Department’s unusual attempts to obstruct the case’s progress.

Many of the original case documents can be found at For more information about Servicemembers United, please visit

Monday, July 19, 2010

Greg Louganis Endorses GLBTQ Online High School, launches scholarship fund

Former Olympic diving champion Greg Louganis has endorsed GLBTQ Online High School with the launch of the Greg Louganis Scholarship Fund!

“When I heard about GLBTQ Online High School, I knew that was a team I wanted to be a part of,” said Louganis. “This unique school goes beyond eliminating the damaging experiences that some schools provide glbtq students. It also connects queer and questioning youth and their parents to supportive peers and community resources around the country. With all that support, students can concentrate on a high quality, college-prep education that will serve them well.”

Dave Glick, Executive Director of GLBTQ Online High School, said, “We’re thrilled to have Greg on board! As a highly successful gay man, he sets a wonderful example for our students. He has overcome numerous challenges to accomplish great things in several widely differing fields. We hope to help our students develop the versatility and resilience that Greg exemplifies.”

Louganis will be helping to promote the school and build the Greg Louganis Scholarship Fund, which will be funded by private donations. The Louganis scholarships will be available to students who could not otherwise afford to attend the private, nationwide school.  “GLBTQ Online High School is a fantastic new opportunity for queer and questioning youth nationwide. This school is sure to produce the brilliant stars of tomorrow from students with so many different backgrounds,” Greg stated. “However, there are many youth who cannot afford this important opportunity without assistance. Please join me in supporting GLBTQ Online High School with a donation to the Greg Louganis Scholarship Fund. Together we can truly change lives!”

GLBTQ Online High School will manage all aspects of the scholarship fund. Students will be able to apply for scholarship support in conjunction with their application to the school.

Donations can be made by credit card via the school website,, or by sending a check payable to GLBTQ Online High School with “Greg Louganis Scholarship Fund” in the memo line. Send to:

GLBTQ Online High School
540 Dorland Rd. S.
Maplewood, MN 55119

GLBTQ Online High School is a 501(c)3 tax exempt public charity. All donations are tax deductible in accordance with applicable laws.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

An Open Letter to RNC Chairman Michael Steele and Texas Republican Party Chairman Steve Munisteri:

Our country currently faces critical challenges that compel us to work together as Americans. The American people rightly will not tolerate those who seek to divide us and further their own misguided or selfish political purposes. And that's exactly what the platform of the Texas Republican Party aims to do.

We call on you both to forcefully reject this platform of division and bigotry and instead craft a new one that unifies Americans around the core principles of democracy. The country is watching to see if you will continue to align yourself with divisive tactics that do nothing more than marginalize people or if instead you will commit yourself to one America; free of the hate, bigotry and prejudice found in the Texas GOP platform.
Our sincere hope is that the document was drafted without your approval. While largely objectionable in its entirety, some specifics tenets are so egregious that they deserve to be called out:

•          Eliminating the Endangered Species Act
•          Rescinding no-fault divorce laws and supporting “covenant marriage”
•          Eliminating future and repealing past presidential executive orders
•          Opposing making the District of Columbia a state, leaving tens of thousands of U.S. citizens to pay government taxes without the benefit of a voting representative
•          Making every driver’s license indicate citizenship status
•          Opposing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act because of a belief that it affirms “sinful and sexually immoral behavior.”
•          Opposing governmental action to restrict the public display of the Ten Commandments
•          Making the issuance of a marriage license to a same-sex couple a felony to include the civil official that would perform the marriage
•          Stating that homosexuality “tears at the fabric of our society, contributes to the breakdown of the family unit and leads to the spread of dangerous, communicable diseases.”
•          Recriminalizing sodomy statutes in spite of a landmark Supreme Court case that settled the issue a decade ago
•          Overturning Roe v. Wade and passing a "human life amendment" to the Constitution, a proposal that would make abortion illegal in all cases and criminalize most common forms of birth control
•          Eliminating those with HIV/AIDS, learning disabilities, behavioral disorders and mental stress disorders from the Americans with Disabilities Act
•          Opposing any sex education “other than abstinence until heterosexual marriage,” a strategy that has proven to be ineffective and that ignores the health concerns of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young adults
•          Urging Congress to withhold Supreme Court jurisdiction in cases involving abortion, religious freedom and the Bill of Rights
•          Calling for no bilingual education after the third grade
•          Eliminating laws that require healthcare facilities to treat undocumented human beings

The undersigned are a broad cross-section of nonpartisan organizations that work every day to secure justice for and improve the lives of all Americans. We find it unacceptable that one of our two political parties would espouse beliefs that threaten the safety and security of countless Americans by advocating positions that are wrong and unjust.

Chairman Steele, since the Texas platform was adopted, more state Republican parties have inappropriately jumped on this misguided bandwagon. On June 19th, the Montana GOP adopted their platform which includes the following provision: “We support the clear will of the people of Montana expressed by legislation to keep homosexual acts illegal.” This past Friday, a panel of GOP delegates in Idaho adopted the language “naturally born man and woman” to define marriage.

We urge you both to reject the Texas Republican Party platform immediately and to stop these divisive politics that marginalize and criminalize anyone who is not of the assumed majority view. Basic human dignity demands that the Texas GOP go back to the drawing board to create a platform that is inclusive of the values of fairness and justice for all.
Will you stand with us?

Equality Federation
Equality Maryland
Equality Pennsylvania
Equality Texas
Human Rights Campaign
League of United Latin American Citizens
Love Makes a Family Political Action Committee (Connecticut)
National Black Justice Coalition
NARAL Pro-Choice America
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
PROMO (Missouri)
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund

Argentina Passes Historic Marriage Bill

"Becoming the First South American Country to End Exclusion from Marriage"

Statement from Evan Wolfson, Executive Director of Freedom to Marry, on today's passage of a freedom to marry bill in Argentina that makes Argentina the first country in South America to end the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage:        

"Today's historic vote shows how far Catholic Argentina has come, from dictatorship to true democratic values, and how far the freedom to marry movement has come as twelve countries on four continents now embrace marriage equality.  Argentina's vote for the freedom to marry marks an important advance for fairness and family values as more couples around the world will now share in marriage, with families helped and no one hurt.  Today's vote adds momentum to the international movement to secure the freedom to marry for all loving and committed couples."

"Key to Argentina's human rights achievement was strong leadership from legislators and the president.  It is time we see more of our own elected officials standing up for the Constitution and all families here in the United States.  America should lead, not lag, when it comes to treating everyone equally under the law."

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Las Vegas: Rolls Out The LGBT Red Carpet

MGM Resorts is rolling out the red carpet for the LGBT community August 12-15 with Fabulous!, a four-day weekend celebration packed with special events at some of the trendiest Las Vegas hot spots.

A variety of packages allow guests to decide just how fabulous they want to be with some options including tickets to the Lady Gaga concert, Monster Ball, which is the only way to get tickets to this sold-out concert. Participating hotels include some of the Strip’s newest residences, Aria and Vdara, as well as Vegas favorites MGM Grand, The Mirage and Monte Carlo, and all packages include access to the LOGO Lounge inside eyecandy sound lounge & bar at Mandalay Bay. Guests will be able to book directly at and can sign up now to receive notice as soon as the limited number of packages go on sale.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

White House Releases National HIV/AIDS Strategy

Successful Implementation Will Require Leadership, Resources

WASHINGTON – The Human Rights Campaign – the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization – today praised the release of the first comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States as a positive step forward in the fight against HIV and AIDS nationwide, but called on the administration and Congress to provide the leadership and resources necessary to implement this important plan. The ambitious plan aims to reduce new infections – setting a benchmark of a 25% decrease by 2015 – as well as increase access to care, reduce HIV-related health disparities, and better coordinate the national response to the epidemic. Importantly, the Strategy notes that the resources needed to fight HIV and AIDS have not historically been directed to communities most in need – including gay and bisexual men, as well as transgender people – and that the number of new infections nationwide cannot be reduced without a focus on the epidemic in the LGBT community.

President Obama has put forward a bold and historic framework for addressing HIV and AIDS in the United States. The Strategy importantly acknowledges the continued impact HIV/AIDS has on LGBT people, as well as the failure to put adequate attention and resources toward addressing the epidemic in our community. But the goals and timetables laid out in this document cannot and will not be achieved without strong leadership and robust resources,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “All of us – including the administration and Congress, state governments, service providers and advocates – must commit to ensuring that the bold vision of this plan is fulfilled, and ‘[t]he United States will become a place where new HIV infections are rare and when they do occur, every person, regardless of age, gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or socio-economic circumstance, will have unfettered access to high quality, life-extending care, free from stigma and discrimination.’”

Monday, July 12, 2010

GLAAD Praises NBC Decision to Open Today Show's "Modern Day Wedding Contest" to Same-Sex Couples

New York, NY, July 8, 2010-  The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) today praised NBC's decision to open the Today Show's "Modern Day Wedding" Contest to same-sex couples. This afternoon, after GLAAD met with NBC executives and shared our community's concerns, the network agreed to the changes.

The announcement comes a week after GLAAD learned that the contest had excluded gay and lesbian people.  Good As You blog first alerted us to the problem after discovering the contest's application included only "bride" and "groom" as options for applicants to choose.

After we called the network with concerns, NBC argued that it was excluding same-sex couples because "the couple must be able to be legally married in New York, which is where the wedding will take place."

GLAAD questioned the validity of that argument since New York State legally recognizes same-sex marriages licensed in other states. Same-sex couples can now legally obtain marriage licenses in Iowa, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Washington D.C. NBC mistakenly equated the marriage license with the wedding celebration. Same-sex weddings are entirely legal in New York State. 

Our Call to Action prompted thousands of people to write to NBC and urge the network to give our community the same opportunity to share our stories of love and commitment and allow us the chance to participate in the contest.

This afternoon NBC and the Today Show did just that.  Following a meeting between GLAAD and NBC executives NBC announced that after listening to community concerns it will open the contest to same-sex couples.  In addition to opening the contest NBC is extending the application period until this Monday, July 12.  Finalists will be announced later this year and the wedding takes place live on the Today Show this October.

"We're thrilled that 'Today Show's 'Modern Wedding Contest' now recognizes what most fair-minded Americans have already concluded - a wedding celebrates love and commitment, whether the spouses are straight or gay," said Jarrett Barrios, President of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).  "NBC heard GLAAD and the thousands of viewers who contacted them.  And they have moved to make their contest a truly modern wedding where any couple can share their story. NBC is living up to its own high standard of fairness and for this, we applaud them.  We encourage qualified same-sex couples to submit their applications to make the new contest submission deadline of Monday, June 12 and we look forward to next year when same-sex couples will have the ability to apply to the contest from the beginning."


Over the past few days TODAY has received a considerable response regarding our wedding contest application. The rules stated that eligible couples must be able to be legally married in New York, where we will host the wedding, therefore excluding same-sex couple applicants. Our intent was not to be discriminatory or exclusive. In 2005 when the wedding took place outside of New York, the application process was open to same-sex couples.  We have listened to every voicemail and read every email. We take this feedback seriously, and we will change our application process. TODAY is a longtime supporter of the LGBT community, and GLAAD considers us an ally. We are committed to keeping those relationships strong and positive. We have opened up the application process to same-sex couples, and will extend the deadline to Monday, July 12.  Moving forward, we ensure that our future wedding contests will be inclusive of all couples.

Pioneers reclaim Pride

by Mark Segal

This year, Gay Pride seems to be going on and on — especially for those of us who marched or help plan the first Gay Pride March in New York City on June 28, 1970.

While we knew it’s historic importance at the time, we often think that others have forgotten us, the reasons for that first march or its true significance.

Last Sunday proved to be a catharsis for many of us. On the 40th anniversary of the first parade, those of us who marched, marshaled or planned that event marched as a group with the banner “Original Marchers June 28, 1970.”

As we gathered at our assigned spot in the parade — first section, seventh group — we were a small group of 10. Many have died in the 40 intervening years, others have moved far away. In front of us was a very large group from Delta Airlines, which included a car decked out like a Delta plane, pilots and flight attendants pushing food carts. Behind us was a contingent from Kiehl’s skin products. The irony of sandwiching us, the original anti-establishment, anti-corporate people, in-between two major corporate sponsors was obvious.

As our little group of older men and women waited to march, we watched as the other two groups in front and behind put on their matching outfits with logos, put their props in order and filled their pockets and carts with items to give away to the crowds. We looked at each other in our regular marching clothes, jeans and a comfortable shirt, and prepared to carry our banner.

Then, the organizers asked us all to prepare to march. Each group got in “march order.” For us, that meant just unfolding our banner and holding it up. As we did so, something amazing happened. Even before we started to walk, people came over and wanted to shake our hands and say thank you. It was almost too much to bear. Our group had been fighting the good fight for 40 years and, in most cases, barely got a thank you. It was overwhelming.

By the time we had walked out of 40th Street onto Fifth Avenue, the cheers were overwhelming. The organizers of the parade, “Heritage of Pride,” who are known for running a tight ship and were worried about our conforming to their standards, were gracious enough to realize that this was important and allowed us the unusual favor of marching at our own pace, which also allowed the crowd to be able to read the banner.

Each of us who marched looked at the others as people yelled out, “Thank you” or tried to get through the police lines to shake our hands.

Entering Christopher Street, our home, the crowd was immense and the cheers were deafening. We decided to make the point clear on what this march/parade was about. So, at the Stonewall, we stopped the parade and arranged ourselves with our banner in front of the Stonewall. That one gesture stated it all. That night, the Gay City News top story was “Take Back Pride.” To its credit, Heritage of Pride even appreciated the emotion in that moment.

Barbara Gittings once said I was the baby of the pioneers. For me, that means I fit in between both groups: pre-Stonewall and post-Stonewall. These groups have had their differences over the years. And, at times, I’ve been on one side or the other, but in recent years, I’ve attempted to build a bridge.

So it’s with great honor that this Sunday, I’ll be in a car with Frank Kameny and Randy Wicker (both pre-Stonewall) with a banner on each side stating, “Gay Pioneers” in the Fourth of July parade that passes by Independence Hall.

Our history and struggle is beginning to be recognized and accepted. How sad it was that the New York Times used a photo of a lesbian pole dancer as its graphic for Sunday’s New York Pride. The photo didn’t represent a majority of this year’s marchers, let alone the march’s history. Gay Pride is about the struggle for equal rights. How appropriate that we pioneers and founders attempted this year to make that point. Take note, New York Times, Gay Pride is a remembrance of the struggle for equality. Our work is not done and this photo makes that point clearly. Simply put, would the Times use a similar graphic for the Puerto Rican, Irish or other group’s parade? No question mark needed here. The answer is no. While we’re very proud of how far we’ve come, we realize there is still work to be done.

Mark Segal is the publisher of Philadelphia Gay News <> . He is the nation's most awarded LGBT media commentator having just received the 2009 Columnist of the year award from the 2000-member Suburban Newspaper Association. He is also the dean of the gay press, (1970) He also was a founder and president of both the National Gay Newspaper Association and The National Gay Newspaper Guild.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Conservative Principals Cited in Decision on 'Defense of Marriage Act'

(Washington, DC) - Following the Federal District Court decision to overturn Article 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director R. Clarke Cooper issued the following statement:

"Article 3 of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act was an unprecedented intrusion by the federal government upon the right of states to make their own decisions about what makes a marriage.  As conservatives and federalists, Log Cabin Republicans support this ruling.  In addition to being a victory for equality, it is a much needed reminder to Washington that the powers of the federal government are, indeed, limited."

In the Federal District Court's decision in Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. United States Department of Health and Human Services, the court clearly found that Congress, violating the Tenth Amendment, had no right to impose a federal definition of marriage.  The decision states "...DOMA plainly intrudes on a core area of state sovereignty - the ability to define the marital status of its citizens."

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts originally filed the suit on behalf of a veteran who wanted to be buried in a military cemetery with his legally-married husband. For the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to honor this request - one that would have been permitted for a heterosexual couple, they were threatened by the US Department of Veterans Affairs that grant money given to the State for the operation of said military cemeteries would be subject to recapture due to DOMA.

A companion case also decided, Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, found that DOMA also violated equal protection under the Fifth Amendment.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Federal Court Strikes Blow to Federal Antigay Law Harming Married Same-Sex Couples; Lambda Legal Issues Statement

"...The federal court has ordered that the heavy hand of the United States government must be lifted off the scales of justice, so all legally married people – gay and straight alike - can receive equal treatment under federal law and in federal benefit programs."

(Boston, MA July 8, 2010)-- Today,  the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts ruled simultaneously in two companion cases, one brought by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and another brought by Gay &Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) on behalf of eight married same-sex couples and three widowers, that Section 3 of the so-called "Defense of Marriage Act" (DOMA) is unconstitutional.

Lambda Legal issued the following statement from Jennifer C. Pizer, National Marriage Project Director:

"Today's decisions mark immensely important and inspiring steps toward equality for all families under American law.   Since 1996, the so-called 'Defense of Marriage Act' has defended no one, while imposing senseless and cruel discrimination against married same-sex couples and their families. We applaud Judge Tauro's conclusion today that Congress acted beyond its authority when it used the massive power of the federal government to impose a discriminatory marriage definition on the states. With today's decisions, the federal court orders that the heavy hand of the U.S. government must be lifted off the scales of justice, so all legally married people - gay and straight alike - can receive the same treatment under U.S. law and in federal benefit programs.

"We applaud the outstanding work of our colleagues at GLAD and the vision of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that went to court to defend married same-sex couples in their state, and the courage of the plaintiffs in Gill for standing up for justice."

In Gill et al. v. U.S. Office of Personnel Management, et al., Judge Tauro of the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts today granted plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment, holding that Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional as applied to these plaintiffs because it violates the equal protection guarantees in the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by discriminating without any proper justification between classes of legally married people.

In Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, et al., Judge Tauro granted the Commonwealth's motion for summary judgment, holding that Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional as applied to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts because it violates the Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  Judge Tauro concluded that DOMA does so by intruding on areas of exclusive state authority, as well as the Spending Clause of the federal Constitution, because it forces the Commonwealth to discriminate against its own citizens in order to receive federal funds in connection with two joint federal-state programs.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Gays To The Phoebus?

Civic leaders of Phoebus, VA recently requested a presentation from the Hampton Roads Business Outreach regarding the potential rewards of attracting Gay businesses to the township. The interest in seeking out an economic fix is due to the closing of Fort Monroe, one of the Army's oldest military bases in 2011.

This all occurred back in May/June but the reason for looking at it now has to do with their misconstrued use of a theory presented by Richard Florida in his book, The Rise of the Creative Class.

I must admit it is always nice to see governments large and small recognize the economic potential that the Gay community brings, however, it seems as if Richard's theory is being misrepresented.

In the Rise of the Creative Class, Florida indicates that cities and towns should focus on building up their cultural infrastructure in order to attract the Gay and Creative community which in turn will attract high-tech companies to their area. The high tech companies are ultimately the desired result in order to revitalize the economy.

To be clear, Florida's definition of "the creative class" does not just include the Gay community, but any individual who is interested in arts and culture as these folks are usually the ones that have the means of appreciating the finer things in life.

So, having a Gay-Night at the local bar every two weeks is nice, but I think in order for the Gay community to start moving in, towns and their residents really need to not only bump up their artistic flair, but also to promote themselves as a welcoming and inclusive place to live.