Thursday, July 31, 2014

NBC's "Peter Pan Live!" Cast Lead

Openly gay executive producers Craig Zadan & Neil Meron have announced that Allison Williams who co-stars in HBO’s "Girls" has been cast in the title role of NBC's upcoming telecast of "Peter Pan Live!" scheduled for Dec. 4th. Williams who is a classically trained singer is also Brian Williams daughter the anchor & managing editor of NBC Nightly News. Robert Greenblatt, Chairman, NBC Entertainment stated, "We couldn’t be happier that Allison Williams is our Peter Pan. She’s a lovely rising star on the award-winning show ‘Girls’ where she occasionally shows off her incredible vocal talent & we think she will bring the perfect blend of ‘boyish’ vulnerability & bravado to save the day against Christopher Walken’s powerful Captain Hook.” Craig Zadan & Neil Meron added, "Allison Williams is a major find. She will reinvent the iconic role of Peter Pan with her wit, her warmth, her dynamic flying & her wonderful musical abilities. The score will be sung beautifully & introduced to a whole new generation of families." Allison Williams concluded, “I have wanted to play Peter Pan since I was about three years old, so this is a dream come true. It’s such an honor to be a part of this adventure & I’m very excited to get to work with this extraordinarily talented team. And besides what could go wrong in a live televised production with simultaneous flying, sword fighting & singing?" The last time Peter Pan was broadcast live was in 1955 with Mary Martin as Peter & Cyril Ritchard as Captain Hook. I actually own a copy of that. It will be interesting to see how the new TV production will compare.
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Monday, July 28, 2014

Another Gay Marriage Victory

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in Virginia’s Bostic v. Schaeffer marks the second federal appeals court that has ruled in favor of marriage equality since last year's historic Windsor ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. The decision today follows the June rulings by a three-judge panel of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Utah’s Kitchen v. Herbert and Okahoma's Bishop v. Smith. Today’s ruling solidifies Virginia’s already unique place in the U.S. history of marriage. In 1967 the Supreme Court of the United States handed down the “Loving decision”, in Loving v. Virginian, which was the landmark civil rights decision, which overturned the laws against interracial marriage. Tracy Hollister MEUSA Program Director noted that the Fourth Circuit is the governing judicial circuit for Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, South Carolina & her home state of North Carolina. Hollister stated, "I am thrilled that the Fourth Circuit set legal precedent that, once final, will help undo North Carolina’s Amendment One, making it our country’s most short-lived & last anti-marriage equality amendment. This ruling affirms what I felt in my heart as my friends & I phone banked to defeat Amendment One: each of us deserves the full dignity & respect that comes with being able to legally marry the person we love. When I return home, I will feel more equal & more hopeful."
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Jackie O Would Have Been 85

Jackie Kennedy Onassis, one of the most fabulous iconic figures in American & fashion history would have been 85 today. She was born on July 28th 1929 in Southampton, New York. Her classic American style help create what was chic about the 1960’s & evolved from there. Think about the hats, scarfs, sunglasses, hairstyles & more. Jackie O totally left her mark on fashion, style & the world. Actually her fashion letters were recently auctioned off in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy Assassination. Jackie wrote personal letters with sketches to Marita O'Connor of Bergdorf Goodman requesting hats, accessories & other garments. She was something. When I lived in NYC in the 1980’s she lived around the corner from me. I saw her many times. Once I walked into my neighborhood Gristedes Market on the corner of Madison & E85th & I heard from behind the deli counter, “Has the Onassis order gone out yet.” It was wild! I’m disappointed that I never got to chat with her. During that time in NYC just her celebrity siting was at least 100 points up there next to Greta Garbo! I’m sure Jackie would have been a fierce LGBT ally. My favorite Jackie Kennedy Onassis quote is, “Even though people may be well known, they hold in their hearts the emotions of a simple person for the moments that are the most important of those we know on earth: birth, marriage & death.”
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Health Care Act & LGBT Families

The Affordable Care Act offers unprecedented opportunities to improve the health & economic security of millions of Americans including our LGBT communities. However the first open enrollment period showed that these opportunities might not be fully realized if outreach & enrollment efforts do not effectively engage LGBT people & their families. A new report from the Out2Enroll campaign a collaborative LGBT outreach & enrollment initiative takes a look into LGBT-oriented community engagement efforts over the first open enrollment period. The report assesses promising practices, identifies remaining concerns & offers concrete recommendations to help the marketplaces & other stakeholders effectively connect LGBT people with their new coverage options. Kellan Baker, Associate Director of the LGBT Research & Communications Project at the Center for American Progress & an Out2Enroll steering committee member stated, “With one in three low & middle-income LGBT people uninsured before the launch of open enrollment in 2013, the ACAs efforts to close the coverage gap are an incredible opportunity to improve the health & financial security of millions of LGBT Americans. This report identifies many promising outreach and enrollment practices but also underscores the need for more targeted efforts to make sure that the benefits of the law reach everyone who needs them, including LGBT people.” The report’s specific recommendations include; outreach & enrollment efforts in every state should explicitly include LGBT communities, LGBT-specific cultural-competency training should be provided for outreach & enrollment personnel & voluntary demographic information on sexual orientation & gender identity should be collected through health insurance marketplace applications.
Read Full Report… 
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Saturday, July 26, 2014

LGBT Important Ptown Events

LGBT leaders & allies come together on Saturday July 26th from 4P to 7P in Provincetown at the GLAD (Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders) 33rd annual Summer Party at the Pilgrim Monument & Provincetown Museum. This fabulous event held outside in the heart of Provincetown is a chance to mingle with other GLAD supporters & enjoy the breathtaking views. There will be a silent & live auction. Kate Clinton is returning as celebrity auctioneer extraordinaire stating, “It is my personally & sincerely held religious belief that GLAD's Summer Party is so much fun, it is entitled to its own Theme Week. You have the right to refuse, but hope to see you there!” Travel packages, restaurants, massages & much more will be auctioned off to support this great org. Summer fare will be provided by Above & Beyond Catering & complimentary cocktails by Bacardi, Barefoot Wine & Bubbly & Sam Adams. Tickets are $85 onsite. Openly gay Massachusetts Attorney General candidate Maura Healey will be attending the GLAD Summer Party Event. Then on Sunday July 27th there will be an Outer-Cape Fundraiser Kick-Off Party also hosted by comedian Kate Clinton at The Harbor Lounge 359 Commercial Street Provincetown, MA. This is a perfect opportunity to meet & greet Maura & learn about her bid for Attorney General. Healey is seeking the Democratic nomination in the primary election on September 9th 2014.
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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Supporting LGBT Homeless Youth

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) & Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) have introduced The Runaway & Homeless Youth & Trafficking Prevention Act which includes protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender, or LGBT, people against discrimination in federally funded programs serving homeless & runaway youth. Laura E. Durso The Center for American Progress Director of LGBT Research & Communications Project stated, “For the first time, the Runaway & Homeless Youth & Trafficking Prevention Act will include explicit protections to ensure that no youth is discriminated against based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity when seeking help from life-saving programs. The bipartisan leadership shown today by Chairman Leahy & Sen. Collins recognizes the disproportionate number of lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender youth who are without stable housing & is a significant step forward in providing all young people with the culturally competent services they need to survive”. The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan research & educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just & free America that ensures opportunity for all. They believe that Americans are bound together by a common commitment to these values & aspire to ensure that our national policies reflect these values. They work to find progressive & pragmatic solutions to significant domestic & international problems & develop policy proposals that foster a government that is "of the people, by the people & for the people."
For More Info: americanprogress.org
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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Joey Arias Plays Provincetown

Legendary Joey Arias is appearing for one night only at the Crown & Anchor on Thursday July 24th at 10:30P in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Arias has been a fixture of New York City’s vibrant downtown performance scene for over 30 years. I first met Joey clubbing in NYC in the late 1970’s. Arias lived & worked with legendary musician Klaus Nomi until Nomi’s death from HIV/AIDS in 1983. Arias has long since stepped out of Nomi’s shadow to gain fame in his own right as a performance artist, cabaret singer & the ultimate cool drag artist. From outrageous performances at seminal New York nightclubs Jackie 60 & Squeezebox to the now-legendary nights at Bar d’O where he held court with Raven-O & our good friend Sherry Vine, Arias has distinguished himself with scandalous wit, sleek style & an extraordinary voice. Arias has performed worldwide at venues including Carnegie Hall, The Freedom Theatre in London and on a transatlantic world tour into the cabaret clubs of Paris, Tokyo, Moscow, Germany, Finland, Estonia, Canada & England. On film, he has appeared in Mondo New York, Big Top Pee Wee, Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, Wigstock - The Movie, Flawless & To Wong Foo, Joey Arias is a bona fide NYC icon. A portion of this special concert proceeds benefits the Afterglow Festival.
For Info & Tix: onlyatthecrown.com
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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

LGBT Federal Workers Gain Rights

President Obama signed the executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. This executive order applies to 30,000 companies employing 28 million workers or about 1/5 of the U.S. workforce however it doesn’t reach all employers nationwide. Gary Buseck, Interim Executive Director of GLAD (Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders) stated, “Every day we hear about LGBT people who are not treated equally on the job. We agree with the President that workers should be judged only by their ability to get the job done, but know that is not always the reality. We applaud Monday’s executive order, which demonstrates a concrete commitment to nondiscrimination on the basis of sexual orientation & gender identity. It’s a step that will make the workplace better fairer for LGBT employees, including the tens of thousands of federal employees in the New England states. We are proud that New England has been a leader in establishing protections on the basis of gender identity & sexual orientation & that, in the absence of broad federal protections, this executive order extends important protections for LGBT employees who work for federal contractors.” GLAD is having their 33rd annual Summer Party in Provincetown, MA this Saturday July 26th from 4P to 7P at the Pilgrim Monument & Provincetown Museum. GLAD’s goal is to ensure that America embraces every member of our community so that “equal justice under law” is not just a phrase carved in granite on the U.S. Supreme Court building. This is an important event to learn about what projects GLAD is currently working on & how you can support their groundbreaking work.
For More Info & Tix: glad.org
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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Helen Reddy Plays Provincetown

Multi Grammy award winner Helen Reddy is returning to Provincetown appearing at the Crown & Anchor for 2 shows July 21st & 22nd at 8P. After 2 sold out performances at the Crown last October Reddy will perform again in the Paramount room with her band singing all your favorite #1 selling hits to include: Delta Dawn & the ever popular "I am Woman". This is a perfect way to kick-off Girl Splash Week that runs July 22nd to 26th. Reddy's stardom kicked off in 1972 when her single "I Am Woman" reached No. 1 on the Hot 100. The song was co-written by Reddy with Ray Burton & Reddy has attributed the impetus for writing "I Am Woman" & her early awareness of the women's movement to expatriate Australian rock critic & pioneer feminist Lillian Roxon. Reddy is quoted in Fred Bronson's The Billboard Book of Number One Hits as saying that she was looking for songs to record which reflected the positive self-image she had gained from joining the women's movement but could not find any. Reddy stated, "I realized that the song I was looking for didn't exist & I was going to have to write it myself." "I Am Woman" earned a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. Reddy infamously concluded her Grammy acceptance speech by thanking God "because She makes everything possible". The success of "I Am Woman" made Reddy the first native of Australia to top the US charts & also to win a Grammy. Don’t miss OUT!! :)
For Info & Tix: onlyatthecrown.com
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Friday, July 18, 2014

MTPC New Steering Team Chair

The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) announced the election of Maxwell Ng as the new Steering Committee Chair. Maxwell Ng is a graduate of Boston University & has lived in the area for almost 20 years. Besides his work with MTPC he also serves on the Steering Committee for QAPA (Queer Asian Pacific-Islander Alliance.) He’s passionate about visibility for Queer Asians & strives to bring the complex issues that impact our enriched & intersecting LGBT communities to the forefront. Ng stated, “I’m humbled to serve as Chair of the MTPC Steering Committee. The work that this organization does has been empowering & challenging & I am excited to further serve in this capacity.” Nancy Nangeroni, MTPC’s Chair Emeritus added, “I’m pleased & honored to remain a part of this important & effective organization & I’m excited to see Maxwell take on this new role which truly reflects the energy he is already bringing to MTPC.” The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) was founded in 2001 & works to end discrimination on the basis of gender identity & gender expression. MTPC educates the public by advocating with state, local & federal government. MTPC engages in activism & encourages empowerment of community members through collective action. MTPC is a member of the Trans Advocacy Network, the Equality Federation & the Massachusetts Transgender Equal Rights Coalition.
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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Florida Rules For Gay Marriage

A state trial court in Monroe County issued a decision striking down Florida’s ban on marriage for gay & lesbian couples & ordering Monroe County to allow gay & lesbian couples to marry. The Court’s order provides that the Monroe County Clerk can begin issuing marriage licenses to for gay & lesbian couples on July 22, 2014. Nadine Smith, CEO, Equality Florida Institute stated “This is a monumental step forward for Florida. Today’s historic ruling affirms what the majority of Florida residents already know to be true: All couples & their families deserve to be treated equally by their government.” On July 7, 2014, Judge Luis Garcia, Monroe County Circuit Court heard oral argument in the case. The couples argued that Florida’s ban on marriage equality cannot stand in light of the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in June 2013 that the federal “Defense of Marriage Act” violates the federal constitutional guarantees of equal protection & due process. The case was brought by Key West residents Aaron Hunstman & William Lee Jones. They are represented by Bernadette Restivo of the law firm Restivo, Reilly & Vigil-Farinas LLC. Equality Florida Institute in partnership with several Florida organizations will hold gatherings throughout the state to celebrate. These Decision Day gatherings will give an opportunity for all fair-minded Floridians to voice their support for the freedom to marry. Plaintiff couples, members of the legal community & local leaders plan to be at rallies. Congrats Florida!!
For Rally Info: eqfl.org/decisionday
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Gay Filmmaker Ira Sachs Honored


NewFest announced that filmmaker Ira Sachs (“Love is Strange,” “Keep the Lights On,” “Forty Shades of Blue”) will receive the 3rd annual NewFest Visionary Award. NewFest is the New York-based LGBT film festival that runs July 24th to July 29th with the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Sachs stated, “To be able to make films with gay characters at their center is as hard today as it was when I first started making movies in 199. Without community events like NewFest, I don’t think we’d have a queer cinema in America. If ‘visionary’ means a belief in the continued future & importance of LGBT cinema, I’m deeply honored to accept.” The Visionary Award is NewFest’s highest honor & is presented in recognition of a body of work that has made a significant contribution to LGBT film & media. The Achievement Award will be presented to Sachs prior to the NewFest Opening Night Gala screening of “Futuro Beach” on Thursday July 24th at the Walter Reade Theatre. Sachs’s latest film, “Love is Strange,” starring John Lithgow & Alfred Molina is about a couple forced to live apart after 38 years together. Marisa Tomei & Cheyenne Jackson play their extended family & it's scheduled for release by Sony Pictures Classics on August 22nd. Ira’s previous work includes the landmark queer film “The Delta,” “Forty Shades of Blue” which won Sundance’s Grand Jury Prize, “Married Life” starring Chris Cooper, Patricia Clarkson & Rachel McAdams, & “Keep the Lights On,” which was nominated for four Independent Spirit Awards, including Best Feature & Best Director. I talked to Ira Sachs About “Keep the Lights On” & LGBT Issues on OUTTAKE VOICES: LISTEN:

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

N.H. Bill Protects Gay Couples


New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan has signed a bill that fixes several legal gaps & obstacles for gay & lesbian couples who married or who plan to marry in that state. Although New Hampshire passed a marriage equality bill years ago problems remained in ensuring equal treatment of gay & lesbian couples who married or sought to marry in the state. Janson Wu, GLAD Senior Staff Attorney stated, “When it passed the marriage equality act, the legislature intended for same-sex married couples to be treated just like different-sex married couples. Unfortunately, because of conflicting laws, that has not always been the case. We applaud Governor Hassan & the bill’s lead sponsor, Senator Bette Lasky, for their work on this important bill.” Most importantly the bill, SB 394, repeals the state’s “reverse evasion law,” which had prohibited out-of-state couples from marrying in New Hampshire if their home state would not recognize the marriage. For those out-of-state couples who nonetheless were able to marry in New Hampshire this retroactive repeal removes any legal uncertainty about the validity of their marriage. Now any gay & lesbian couples can come to New Hampshire to marry, regardless of where they live. The law also clarifies that all New Hampshire’s family, marriage & divorce laws apply equally to both gay & straight couples regardless of any gendered language that might still remain in the law. Also N.H. couples who had entered into a civil union in another state no longer have to dissolve that civil union first before they are allowed to marry the same person in New Hampshire.
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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

LGBT Business Leadership Summit


The 2014 National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce National Business & Leadership Conference will take place at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada from July 29th to August 1st. It's expected that more than 700 business owners from across the U.S. & globally will connect with Fortune 100 companies as well as learn about federal government contracting opportunities. Participants include directors & supporters of an extended network of local affiliated chambers. Justin Nelson, NGLCC co-founder & CEO, which is the business voice of the LGBT community stated, “More than 140 major corporations work directly with NGLCC to access certified LGBT suppliers & this conference is an important way to make those connections. We also will be reviewing the latest research about the $800 billion spending power behind LGBT consumers. Most importantly, this is a premier networking conference. Business owners go away with new leads that directly help their bottom line.” The conference will feature a keynote address from fitness guru and LGBT entrepreneur Shaun T, celebrity trainer & creator of the “INSANITY” workout and “Focus 25.” His breakthrough “INSANITY” program debuted in 2009 & continues to be the No. 1 selling infomercial on TV. Marcus Lemonis, American businessman, investor, television personality & philanthropist, will also deliver remarks. He is the star of CNBC’s Primetime hit reality series “The Profit,” where he lends his expertise to struggling small businesses & helps turn them around.
 For More Info: nglcc.org
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Monday, July 14, 2014

Budget Funding For LGBT Youth


Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick approved a new budget that funds LGBTQ homeless programs & services for youth. Included in the budget for fiscal year 2015 is $150,000 for the Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Commission which conducts studies of the barriers to service for homeless youth under the age of 18 & young adults between 18 & 22; nearly 40 percent of whom identify as LGBTQ. The budget also includes $300,000 for the LGBT Youth Commission an independent body that investigates how public & private resources support LGBTQ youth across the Commonwealth. The budget is also funding for the Home & Healthy for Good LGBTQ pilot program run by the Massachusetts Housing & Shelter Alliance. The $200,000 allotment will help the MHSA provide housing & support services for homeless LGBTQ youth. More than just a housing placement program the initiative will provide assistance to clients in their transition from homelessness into a stable living situation. Kara Coredini, Executive Director of MassEquality stated, “MassEquality applauds the Governor & the Legislature for once again holding LGBTQ issues as a top priority in our Commonwealth. The state's support for these vital programs is central to addressing the serious issues of homelessness & the provision of comprehensive services for LGBTQ youth. We are grateful to the champions of LGBTQ equality in the House & Senate who generated, pushed for & voted in favor of these key items in the budget. Their leadership will improve lives.”
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Friday, July 11, 2014

Historic Lesbian Emmy Winner


The 2014 Emmy nominations have been announced. My friend Laverne Cox has become the first transgender person nominated for an Emmy award for her role in “Orange is the New Black”. This is another fabulous sign how far our LGBT community has advanced over the last few decades. I remember when I won my Emmy Award in 1982. At the time I was working at CBS New York & to actually admit that you were gay back then could result in being fired on the spot. I left CBS in 1984 because I was tried of pretending & never looked back. Things have changed since then but have they? Only 21 states have made it illegal to fire or harass someone based on sexual orientation or to deny a raise or refuse to hire on that same basis. This week our LGBT community had another set back because with the US Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision the current version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) allows religious organizations to discriminate based on sexual orientation & gender identity. Our LGBT leaders have rightfully rejected this current bill. So let’s celebrate with Laverne Cox today & hope that in the future discrimination against our LGBT community will just become part of our country’s unfortunate history.
Laverne Cox was honored with GLAAD’s Stephen F. Kolzak Award in LA in April. I talked to her on the Red Carpet at the NYC GLAAD Media Awards about how she was dealing with her fabulous career in this exclusive audio byte:
 

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

GLAD Summer Party 2014


Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) is having their 33rd annual Summer Party in Provincetown, MA on Saturday July 26th from 4P to 7P at the Pilgrim Monument & Provincetown Museum. This is a fabulous event held outside in the heart of Provincetown with a breath-taking view of the harbor & a chance to mingle with other GLAD supporters. Our LGBT has accomplished major advancements toward equality this past year but there’s much more work to be done. GLAD continues to challenge our country to tackle the critical areas where injustice persists for our LGBT community & people living with HIV. GLAD’s goal is to ensure that America embraces every member of our community so that “equal justice under law” is not just a phrase carved in granite on the U.S. Supreme Court building. This is an important event to learn about what projects GLAD is currently working on & how you can support their groundbreaking work. There will be a silent & live auction. Kate Clinton is returning as celebrity auctioneer extraordinaire stating, “It is my personally & sincerely held religious belief that GLAD's Summer Party is so much fun, it is entitled to its own Theme Week. You have the right to refuse, but hope to see you there!” Travel packages, restaurants, massages & much more are now online for preview & proxy bidding. Summer fare will be provided by Above & Beyond Catering & complimentary cocktails by Bacardi, Barefoot Wine & Bubbly & Sam Adams. Tickets are $75 online & $85 onsite
For More Info & Tix: glad.org
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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Religious Demise of ENDA


With the Supreme Court’s obscene decision last week in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby it has become clear that the current version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which allows religious organizations to discriminate based on sexual orientation & gender identity must not pass. In a joint statement on withdrawal of support for ENDA the following national organizations have signed on to remove this provision in the current bill. They include American Civil Liberties Union, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, Lambda Legal, National Center for Lesbian Rights & Transgender Law Center & are calling on equal workplace protections for LGBT people. An example of how this religious exemption becomes LGBT discrimination appears in the case of Matthew Barrett. In July 2013 Matthew was offered a job as food services director at Fontbonne Academy a college prep high school in Milton, Massachusetts that is affiliated with the Roman Catholic Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston. Fontbonne Academy has employees & admits students of various faiths. However two days after Matthew listed his husband as his emergency contact on the standard employment paperwork & despite twenty years of work in the food services industry, his job offer was rescinded. Although nothing about the food services job involved religious rituals or teaching Matthew was told by an administrator that the school was unable to hire him because the Catholic religion doesn’t recognize gay & lesbian marriage. The current version of ENDA would authorize this sexual orientation discrimination.
Read The Full Statement….
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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

New UN Gay Marriage Policy


In a major development the United Nations announced that it will recognize marriage equality for of all its staffers so that all gay & lesbian employees enjoy the same benefits as their hetero colleagues. Up until now the UN only recognized the gay & lesbian marriages of staffers who came from countries where gay marriage is legal. The new policy now includes anyone who marries in countries where marriage equality is legal. This means that gay & lesbian spouses of UN employees will get health insurance coverage & the chance to accompany their spouses on home leave every couple of years, among other benefits. Hyung Hak Nam president of UN-Globe the LGBT group that has been trying to achieve these basic rights & benefits for our community since 1997 stated, "Too many of us have suffered under the previous policy. Too many of us have been unable to secure, for example, residency visas & health benefits for our spouses because of a discriminatory policy that would refuse to recognize our legal partners. Let us just enjoy this moment, this huge victory." The new policy led by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon became effective June 26th & will impact the UN's approximately 43,000 employees worldwide. Ban has been an outspoken supporter of gay rights, openly denouncing homophobia in speeches around the world. Gay marriage is legal in 18 countries, plus parts of the United States & Mexico. Now let’s see how this new UN policy effects countries like Uganda where being gay is punishable by life in prison.
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Friday, July 4, 2014

Not So Gay Independence Day


As we celebrate Independence Day 2014 let’s reflect on how far our LGBT community has advanced & yet how much further we need to go. We've made great progress on the marriage equality front with 19 states & Washington DC passing gay & lesbian marriage but we still have 31 states to go. In those states discrimination still exists for our LGBT families who still have to endure indignity & hardship. In the last year since the Supreme Court decision that found Section 3 of DOMA & Prop 8 unconstitutional courts have ruled in favor of the freedom to marry for gay & lesbian couples again & again. Unfortunately in Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah & Wisconsin where federal court have ruled for marriage equality our opponents have placed appeals preventing gay & lesbian couples from marrying. Then of course we wait for Congress to pass the Employer Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) to ensure all workers are protected from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. We need to give LGBT workers a fair shot to get ahead in life by making sure employers cannot fire, harass, deny a raise, or refuse to hire someone based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Only 21 states have made it illegal to fire or harass someone based on sexual orientation or to deny a raise or refuse to hire on that same basis. So on Independence Day 2014 our LGBT community still remains to be the last Americans trying to achieve equality in our own country. HAPPY JULY 4TH!!
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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Florida Gay Marriage Update


Oral arguments were heard in Miami July 2nd on a motion filed in May by six gay & lesbian couples & Equality Florida Institute challenging Florida laws barring gay marriage. The couples asked the court to strike down Florida’s marriage ban & order the state to allow gay & lesbian couples to marry. The couples argue that Florida’s ban on marriage equality cannot stand in light of the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in June 2013 that the federal “Defense of Marriage Act” violates the federal constitutional guarantees of equal protection & due process. Nadine Smith CEO Equality Florida Institute stated, “We are proud to stand with these courageous families who have stepped forward to defend their families & challenge a law that serves no purpose than to disparage & discriminate against gay couples & our children. We are optimistic that the judge will rule in favor of equality & fairness, as judges across the country have, & strike down this ban. The tide has turned, & the day is coming when anti-gay marriage laws will meet the same fate as laws banning interracial marriage that limited my parents’ options.” Every court to consider these federal constitutional claims since last summer’s Supreme Court decision has ruled in favor of the freedom to marry for gay & lesbian couples, including federal & state courts in Utah, Ohio, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kentucky, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia & Wisconsin.
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