Friday, February 28, 2014

Anti Gay Bill In Mississippi


Even though Governor Jan Brewer vetoed Arizona’s anti gay bill SB1062 we still have more states that are trying to pass similar homophobic legislation especially in the South. In Mississippi Senate Bill 2681 which would give any business or individual a license to discriminate against lesbian, gay bisexual, or transgender people is moving through the Mississippi House of Representatives. Lance Bass stated, “This bill doesn't represent the Mississippi I knew growing up. It doesn't represent the folks I went to church with every Sunday with my parents & my sister. And it certainly doesn't reflect the Golden Rule I learned about sitting in those pews – a simple moral code that says we should treat others the way we would want to be treated ourselves. My sweet Southern mother has been a churchgoing woman her whole life & for a long time I was afraid to come out to her. But recently she made me so proud when she wrote a letter to our church in support of me & other LGBT people like me. ‘Seven years ago, we found out that Lance was gay,’ she wrote. ‘I will tell you that the first thing I did was fall to my knees and ask, 'What would Jesus do?' I almost immediately knew the answer: love my son.’ HCR is asking us to sign a petition against this bill.
For More Info: hrc.org 
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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Carole Pope Rocks Toronto


Gay pop icon Carole Pope who pushes the boundaries of sexuality, sexual politics & the status quo, making you think & dance at the same time, is appearing live in Toronto, Canada. Catch her unplugged & uncensored Friday Feb 28th at The Flying Beaver Pubaret accompanied by storied guitarist Tim Welch at 9P. Carole stated, “Excited to be back in Toronto for a show at The Flying Beaver with Tim Welch. So fun to be all loose cannon crazy with him.” Pope’s music has provided LGBT anthems for our community on The L Word, General Idea Art Aids & the fin de siecle, The Trailer Park Boys Movie, Queer As Folk, This Revolution, Miami Vice, Cruising & numerous TV shows. Her work has earned her three Canadian Juno Awards, multiple independent music awards & a Genie Award. She's also been awarded 4 gold, 1 platinum & 1 double platinum album. Her new album, "Landfall" featuring a duet with Rufus Wainwright was written with Hawksley Workman. When asked how that duet came together Pope stated, “I’ve known Rufus for a few years & I’ve always wanted to sing with him. I asked him & his manager called & said that Rufus has an hour on a certain day so we had the song ready so we totally got it together. So we went into the studio & banged it out in an hour. It was pretty amazing. He was great to work with.” More good news, Pope's autobiography, "Anti Diva" published by Random House has been optioned & a film is in development. The Flying Beaver Pubaret is at 488 Parliament Street Toronto, Ontario.
For Info & Tix: eventbee.com
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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Another Reason To Pass ENDA


According to a new report released by the Center for American Progress more than a million LGBT veterans would benefit from civilian workplace protections that ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Act) would provide. The report shows why civilian workplace protections are especially important to LGBT service members & veterans who must shoulder the burden of LGBT discrimination in addition to overcoming challenges to employment that veterans face when they return home from war. Winnie Stachelberg, Executive Vice Present for External Affairs at the Center for American Progress stated, “The repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ meant that the brave men & women who volunteer to defend this country no longer have to hide who they love in order to serve the country they love. Unfortunately, the minute a service member & hangs up the uniform, his sexual orientation once again becomes grounds for discrimination, as a majority of states do not have laws prohibiting discrimination against LGBT Americans. It’s unacceptable that we send men & women overseas to defend our values, such as equality, only to deny them these basic freedoms as soon as they return home.” The report highlights some federal government actions to combat service member & veteran unemployment & ways in which these actions fall short for LGBT people. Subsequently, the report reviews the barriers to economic stability experienced by some LGBT workers in the general population & identifies additional challenges facing LGBT service members & veterans specifically. Read Report… 
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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Gay Marriage Moving Forward


As we wait for Arizona’s Republican Governor Jan Brewer to hopefully do the right thing & veto that state’s anti gay bill SB 1062, in Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring & Clerk of Court for Norfolk Circuit Court George E. Schaefer, III filed notices of appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Bostic v. Rainey, which is the legal challenge to Virginia's laws prohibiting gay & lesbian couples from marrying. Should the Fourth Circuit uphold the District Court’s decision this may affect similar unconstitutional laws banning gay & lesbian marriages in North Carolina, South Carolina & West Virginia. Adam Umhoefer, Executive Director of the American Foundation for Equal Rights stated, "The District Court ruled firmly & decisively in favor of gay & lesbian Virginians by striking down the Commonwealth's discriminatory laws as wholly unconstitutional & exceptionally harmful. Loving gay & lesbian couples & their families should not have to live one more day as second-class citizens under unjust laws. We urge the Fourth Circuit to expedite the appeal process so that soon all Virginians — & hopefully all Americans — will have the freedom to marry the person they love & their rights fully realized.” Listen to this press conference that followed Virginia’s historic Valentine’s Day decision:
 

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Monday, February 24, 2014

Sharon Gless For LGBT Equality


Emmy winner & gay ally Sharon Gless has joined forces with Equality Florida Institute in its fight for marriage equality. Since 2013 Gless has taken a leading role in Equality Florida's “Get Engaged” campaign a public education campaign & PSA to build support for marriage equality in that state. In recognition of her support Equality Florida will be honoring Ms. Gless & the six plaintiff couples with the Voice for Equality Award at the organization’s Annual Miami Gala at the Pérez Art Museum on Sunday March 16th. Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida stated, "There are many celebrities who call Florida home & we applaud Sharon Gless for publicly expressing her support for LGBT equality. We are at a tipping point in the movement for full equality & the voices of allies like Sharon Gless will make a huge difference." In the video Gless states, “I can’t imagine what my life would be like if someone told me I couldn’t marry the person I love. Yet that is what is going on in the State of Florida every day, when they tell thousands of men & women that they cannot have what want we all want ….To marry the one person we love with all our heart. I’m asking you to support Equality Florida, & join Get Engaged in the fight for marriage equality.” Gless has had a home in Florida for more than 20 years & has been a strong supporter of our LGBT community. She served as Grand Marshal in the Miami Beach Pride Parade, received the Gay Icon Award at Philadelphia QFest, the PFLAG Ally award in Toronto & was honored by L.A.’s Gay & Elder Housing.
For More Info: eqfl.org
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Saturday, February 22, 2014

Arizona Passes Anti Gay Bill

UPDATE: Governor Jan Brewer Vetoed This Homophobic Bill

The Arizona Legislature has finally shown their true homophobic & hateful beliefs by passing a bill that would allow business owners to deny service to gay & lesbian customers because of  distorted religious views. The bill passed the state House of Representatives by a vote of 33-27 & is headed to Republican Governor Jan Brewer who vetoed similar legislation last year but has expressed the right of business owners to deny service. It’s a very sad day for Arizona to spend the time & money on such hateful legislation that just shows how frightened small minds still remain on the wrong side of history. On Friday LGBT activists held a protest march to the governor's office carrying signs that read "God Created Us All Equal" & "Shame on Arizona." Our favorite reaction was from Tucson-based Rocco's Little Chicago Pizzeria posting a sign stating "We reserve the right to refuse service to Arizona legislators." Pizzeria manager Evan Stevens stated, "It's a ridiculous bill. Arizona has much bigger problems than allowing businesses to discriminate against people." The Arizona bill SB 1062 is similar to proposals in other states including ones that failed in Kansas & Idaho. Another anti gay law is under consideration in Utah. Indiana tried to get an anti gay bill on their 2014 ballot last week but thankfully it failed. Let’s hope that Governor Brewer stands on the right side of history & vetoes this horrendous bill.
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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Florida Gay Marriage Event


Equality Florida Institute will be hosting a Tele-Town Hall on Monday, February 24th at 6:30P to discuss the next steps for marriage equality in Florida. Last month, six gay & lesbian couples & the Equality Florida Institute filed a lawsuit in Florida state court in Miami seeking the freedom to marry. The lawsuit argues that Florida’s laws barring gay & lesbian couples from marriage violate the United States Constitution by denying them the legal protections & equal dignity that having the freedom to marry provides. The event will be moderated by Equality Florida’s Chief Executive Officer Nadine Smith & will feature a panel of state & national legal experts including Shannon Minter, Legal Director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights; Elizabeth Schwartz, Miami-based LGBT Family & Estate Planning Lawyer & two of the six couples who are joining Equality Florida Institute as plaintiffs in this case. Equality Florida’s Nadine Smith stated, "Today the majority of Floridians stand with us as we take this historic step toward securing marriage equality in the Sunshine State. These couples have been embraced by their families & communities but every day, Florida laws are denying them the protections & dignity that every family deserves. These harmful laws are outdated & out of step. It is time for all families in our state to have full equality under the law." Participants will also have a chance to ask questions.
For More Info: eqfl.org
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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Marriage Equality License Events


Though gay marriage is now legal in 17 states we still have 33 states where millions of gay & lesbian couples cannot marry. For the last 16 years Marriage Equality USA organizers & couples have organized a Valentine’s Day Event to bringing attention to this discrimination forced on our LGBT community. This year from Philadelphia to Sacramento & from Salt Lake City to Cleveland in these 33 states thousands of gay & lesbian couples requested marriage licenses on Valentine’s Day to put a human face on this inequality still faced everyday by almost 200 million Americans. These License Our Love actions create a powerful narrative that inspires conversations in the media creates change in the hearts & minds of individuals across our country. Susan Swope, a member of the Unitarian Universalists of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania & an organizer of their local event stated, “One hundred & fifty years ago, slaves in Maryland escaped across the border & were given refuge in Adams County. We find it sadly ironic that today, loving gay & lesbian Adams County couples are denied a license to marry & must cross the same border seeking the freedom to marry in Maryland.” Brian Silva MEUSA Executive Director added, “This Valentine's Day, I was honored to look back at 16 years of these powerful events & looking forward I continue to plan for the day when we are no longer required to be turned away at America’s marriage counters, but instead will have our love be recognized & licensed equally under the law across the land.”
For More Info: marriageequality.org
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Monday, February 17, 2014

Significance Of Presidents’ Day


Presidents’ Day is a US federal holiday that was a concept created in the 1950’s by the travel industry to create a three-day holiday weekend. It falls between Lincoln’s birthday on Feb 12th & George Washington’s birthday which is actually Feb. 22nd on the third weekend in February. Some people still call it Washington’s Birthday. It has become a huge sale day especially for the car industry. This year in the northeast we call it “Shovel The Snow Day”. We should think about changing Presidents’ Day to Equality Day since this country was born on the idea that all people are equal. Since changing any policy takes so long in America let’s start a campaign to do so now. Perhaps in the next few years our LGBT community will accomplish the American dream of equality. As President Barack Obama stated, “Every single American — gay, straight, lesbian, bisexual, transgender — every single American deserves to be treated equally in the eyes of the law & in the eyes of our society. It’s a pretty simple proposition.” So as you enjoy your holiday shopping or catching up on watching movies nominated for the upcoming Oscars let’s look to the future when this country lives up to its principle that everyone is treated equally.
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Saturday, February 15, 2014

New Gay Marriage Music Video


Marriage Equality USA (MEUSA) has premiered their long anticipated SHE4ME gay marriage music video PSA that everyone should check out. SHE4MarriageEquality or SHE4ME was born from the song SHE written & performed by singer-songwriter Jen Foster who also appears in the video. The project is a fabulous music video directed by award winning Writer/Director Nicole Conn. Nicole Conn stated, “When I was approached to come up with a concept for the SHE4ME supporting Marriage Equality, I was thrilled. My entire career has been devoted to creating books & films that provoke the viewer to experience the spectrum of emotions involved with love & passion & our goal here was to produce something that could communicate our message to a mass audience. Personally I feel Jen Foster's generous gift to our community will become the international anthem for civil liberty. I have been so honored to be a part of this incredible & beautiful message -- love that is pure & true must have the right to Marry. Love is Love. Period.” Brian Silva, Executive Director for Marriage Equality USA added, "Music & video projects like this have the power to impact millions of viewers by showing the love & commitment that is celebrated and protected by passing civil marriage equality for LGBTQ families." The video stars Nicole Pacent, Mike C. Manning, Gabrielle Christian & Barbara Niven & features two new young talents, dancer Jolie Ponchetti & actress Hazel Sepenuk. Everyone in LGBT community should see this video & share it with their extended families friends & allies.
WATCH VIDEO
 
For More Info: marriageequality.org
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Friday, February 14, 2014

Virginia Rules For Gay Marriage


This has been a great week for the advancement of marriage equality in this country. On Thursday Federal Judge Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen ruled that Virginia’s ban on marriage for gay & lesbian couples is unconstitutional. The court held that Virginia’s laws prohibiting gay men & lesbians from marrying including a provision in the Virginia Constitution that prohibits marriage equality in the state violate the Due Process & Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen wrote in her 41 page decision, “We have arrived upon another moment in history when We the People becomes more inclusive, & our freedom more perfect. The men & women, & the children too, whose voices join in noble harmony with Plaintiffs today, also ask for fairness, & fairness only. This, so far as it is in this Court’s power, they & all others shall have.” Plaintiffs’ lead co-counsel Theodore B. Olson added, “Through its decision today, the court has upheld the principles of equality upon which this nation was founded. Virginia’s prohibition on marriage for same-sex couples relegates gay & lesbian Virginians to second-class status. Laws excluding gay men & lesbians from marriage violate personal freedom, are an unnecessary government intrusion, & cause serious harm. That type of law cannot stand.” The American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) who is the sole sponsor of Bostic v. Rainey Executive Director Adam Umhoefer concluded, “The court’s decision is clear: where you live should not determine who you can marry. Everyone—in Virginia & every other state—should have the freedom to dedicate their life to the person they love, & every state should recognize that right equally among all Americans. Today’s victory gets us one step closer to making that a reality.”
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HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!! 
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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Married Gay Couples Win Kentucky


Kentucky joined the marriage equality fight Wednesday as a federal judge ruled that the state’s ban on recognizing legal gay & lesbian marriages performed in other states violates the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of equal protection under the law. U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II has now joined 9 other federal & state courts in overturning these unconstitutional bans. Heyburn stated, "religious beliefs ... are vital to the fabric of society ... assigning a religious or traditional rationale for a law does not make it constitutional when that law discriminates against a class of people without other reasons. It is clear that Kentucky's laws treat gay & lesbian persons differently in a way that demeans them." Though Heyburn did not rule that Kentucky must allow gay marriages to be performed in the state, this is still a giant step forward in the marriage equality movement. Heyburn also rejected the Family Foundation of Kentucky arguments that recognizing gay & lesbian marriages would undermine the fundamental role of marriage in ensuring procreation adding that there is no requirement that opposite-sex couples agree to procreate to get married. He concluded that, "no one has offered any evidence that recognizing same-gender marriages will harm opposite-sex marriages." The suit was filed on behalf of Gregory Bourke & Michael Deleon of Louisville, who were married in Ontario, Canada, in 2004; Jimmy Meade & Luther Barlowe, who live in Bardstown & were legally married in Davenport, Iowa, in 2009; Randell Johnson & Paul Campion, who live in Louisville & were married in Riverside, California in 2008; & Kimberly Franklin & Tamera Boyd, who live in Cropper & were married in Stratford, Connecticut in 2010. Their children were also named in the suit.
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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

National Freedom To Marry Day


Today is National Freedom to Marry Day just 2 days before we celebrate love, romance & marriage on Valentine’s Day. Each year during this week loving, committed gay & lesbian couples, accompanied by their friends & supporters, attend events to bring awareness of the visible harm that excluding them from marriage causes their families. In states that still do not have the freedom to marry gay & lesbian couples will ask for marriage licenses. In states that do now have marriage equality, people will go to their local Clerk-Recorders to thank them for their work & support & to congratulate the couples obtaining marriage licenses that day. In Utah local organizers Colleen & Jolene Mewing are in the midst of experiencing the highs & lows of the marriage equality movement. Mewing stated, “We hope there is a huge turnout for this year’s Valentine’s Day action. The case in Utah could set the precedent for other states that currently have an amendment restricting marriage to one man & one woman.” Jolene added, "I believe the more people who participate this year & the more visible we are, the better chance we have of obtaining marriage equality for all." This is the 16th year in a row that marriage equality supporters have appeared at clerks’ offices across the country on Valentine’s Day. These annual actions, started by Marriage Equality USA in the mid-90’s will be taking place this year in California, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah & other locales.
For More Info:licenseourlove.org 
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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

For Russia With Love LGBT Event


Valentine’s Day is just a few days away & in London they’re celebrating with a fabulous event. On Friday they’re having a For Russia With Love - LGBTQ Carnival February 14th at the Russian Embassy. The event is for equality, love & human rights. There will be a Samba band, Putin masks for you, comedians, drag artists & a giant Putin-Medvedev Valentine’s card: “It was love at first sight - Homophobes united.” So if you’re in London join the carnival outside the Russian Embassy to show your opposition to the continued human rights abuses sanctioned by the Russian regime, including the new anti gay law banning “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations to minors”, which has coincided with an upsurge in anti LGBT violence in the country. The event is jointly sponsored by Lush, All Out, London Roller Girls & the Peter Tatchell Foundation. Co-organizer Juliet Chard of Lush stated, “As the world comes together to celebrate the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, we demand that the international community stands in solidarity with everyone suffering discrimination & intimidation because of their sexuality or gender identity.” Co-organizer Peter Tatchell concluded, “The Sochi Olympics are in full swing. This carnival is our fun way to keep up the pressure on the Russian government & show our support for LGBT Russians & all Russian victims of human rights abuses. Don’t let Putin think that now the Olympics have started the protests are over. Let’s keep highlighting the terrible things happening in Russia & support the many heroic Russian activists - LGBT & straight - who are defending human rights. Freedom of expression for all.” The LGBTQ Carnival is happening February 14th at the Russian Embassy from 12 noon to 2P. People are gathering at corner Bayswater Road & Ossington Street, London & the closest tube station: Notting Hill Gate.
For More Info: facebook.com  
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Monday, February 10, 2014

Russia's Anti Gay Law Enforced


While we watch the Sochi Olympics the founder of ‘Children-404: We Exist’ which is an online project that supports LGBT teens in Russia has been charged under the new “gay propaganda” law. Elena Klimova, a Russian journalist has been charged under Russia’s anti-gay laws for setting up a pro-LGBT page on social networking site Vkontakte. The project came to exist after she published an article about Russian LGBT teens in March of 2013. Klimova received so many letters from LGBT teens about their problems & concerns dealing with isolation, being bullied, depression & sometimes suicidal she set up the page ‘Children-404: We Exist’. The site publishes posts by gay teenagers talking about their struggle against homophobia & oppression in Russia. According to the charges against her Elena "had registered a web page propagandizing non-traditional sexual relations among minors, which took form of distribution of information among minors aimed at forming of non-traditional sexual affirmations, attraction to non-traditional sexual relations, distorted conceptions of social equality of traditional & non-traditional sexual relations." The court hearings are to take place in 15-30 days. Lena Klimova stated, “"In light of general trends in the country, I am not surprised. But it is very sad that letters from LGBT teenagers themselves are called "homosexual propaganda among minors". It is absurd! Milonov, the complaint initiator, has two demands: to fine me & to close the group. If it will be closed, LGBT teenagers will lose the only place where they can openly speak about themselves & receive advice they need to live. It will be a catastrophe.”
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Sunday, February 9, 2014

Gay Vanity Wedding Show


In San Francisco on Sunday Feb 9th the most prominent wedding professionals in the business are coming together for a gay & lesbian wedding extravaganza. Style & panache are important, especially on the biggest day of your life. This Gay Wedding Fair will showcase a complete selection of products & services to complement a variety of tastes. There will be a stunning San Francisco-style wedding fashion show & live music as well as DJ presentations. Taste cakes & try the latest makeup techniques. Check out stunning floral arrangements as you browse the aisles of vendors & take it all in. There will also be chances to score some amazing prizes. However everyone leaves a winner because you'll come away full of ideas for a wedding that truly represents the unique personality of you & your spouse-to-be. Fabulous giveaways will include a weekend getaway in Lake Tahoe & so much more. Hawaiian Airlines is also bringing a little love into the air for those planning their destination wedding or honeymoon in Hawaii! The airline will be exhibiting & offering a prize drawing for a trip to Hawaii for one lucky couple. In addition to all the fabulous giveaways, beverages at the event will be provide by Best Beverage Catering, with a complimentary first drink. Delicious hors’ d’oeuvres will be provided b Joshua Charles Catering & don’t miss the Gallery Room, where a collection of designers will show us their best inspirational table displays! It all takes place Sunday, February 9th from 11A to 4P at Bentley Reserve, 301 Battery Street in San Francisco.
For More Info: gayvanityweddingshow.com
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Friday, February 7, 2014

Google Protests Anti Gay Olympics


Google has made a global LGBT equality statement with their homepage doodle by displaying an Olympic tribute in our rainbow colors. Underneath the graphic there is a quote from the Olympic charter stating, "The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind & in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play." As you know Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee has been urged to insist that Russian authorities lift their ban on a LGBT Pride House at the Sochi Winter Olympics & require the Russians to give assurances that gay athletes have not been denied selection for the country’s Olympic team. In London Gay & human activist Peter Tatchell has sent an Open letter to Bach to address these issues. Tatchell stated, “We are raising two issues of homophobic discrimination that have not been acknowledged or remedied by the IOC. It is very disturbing that the IOC has not sought to overturn the ban on Pride House, despite being urged to do so way back in 2012 when the Russians announced that it would not be permitted. I hope that even at this late stage the IOC will take action to uphold Principle 6 of the Olympic Charter, which prohibits discrimination.” Updates to Come..:) Read Letter…
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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Anti LGBT Sochi Winter Olympics


The White House announced that tennis superstar & gay icon Billie Jean King would not join the presidential delegation to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia due to the failing health of her mother who is 91. It doesn’t appear that The White House will replace King in the delegation but two openly gay athletes including figure skater Brian Boitano & former member of the United States women’s ice hockey team Caitlin Cahow are still scheduled to attend. When the International Olympic Committee made statements saying that any athlete who expresses support for LGBT equality including wearing rainbow pins during the events or ceremonies could face disciplinary action, possibly including disqualification, expulsion & being stripped of any medals won they should have drawn attention to NBC who is broadcasting the Sochi games & includes rainbow colors in their logo. But it’s all about big bucks & sponsor dollars isn’t it. Andre Banks, Executive Director & co-founder of All Out stated, “Olympic sponsors are failing to live up to their commitments. The IOC has confirmed that Principle 6 includes discrimination based on sexual orientation. Athletes all over the world are speaking out. We’ve just heard that the Russian government is considering amendments to the anti-gay laws. But sponsors continue to look the other way while gays & lesbians in Russia suffer.” Sarah Kate Ellis GLAAD President & CEO concluded, “"As all eyes turn to Sochi, media have a responsibility to shine light not only on the anti-LGBT Russian policies, but on the real stories of the horrific persecution facing LGBT families in Russia. These families cannot be kept invisible any longer." The Sochi Winter Olympics begin Feb 7th & run through Feb 23rd. Updates To Come...:)
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