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Obama Files Brief For Gay Marriage

The Obama Administration has historically filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court urging the Court to end Proposition 8’s exclusion of gay & lesbian couples from marriage. The brief coupled with the brief that over 100 prominent Republicans also filed shows ever growing bipartisan support of what appears to be unstoppable momentum toward equality. Dozens of American companies have also signed the brief & that number is expected to rise. John Lewis Marriage Equality USA Legal Director stated, “The Administration’s brief should carry great weight with the Court. The President of the United States has now made clear to the Justices of the Supreme Court that the United States Constitution prohibits Proposition 8’s exclusion of lesbian & gay couples from marriage. The already compelling case for the freedom to marry became even stronger today.” Stuart Gaffney Media Director of MEUSA added, “Proposition 8 divided California into marriage haves & have-nots. Today the Administration is standing on the side of love by raising its voice in support of liberty, justice & marriage equality. Today’s actions bring us one step closer to the day when wedding bells can once again ring out for all loving couples in the Golden State & indeed across the nation." Marriage equality will go before the US Supreme Court next month. Updates to Come...:)

The Gayest Weekend Ever

If you happen to be in the Tampa/St Petersberg Florida area this weekend you’re in for a fabulous LGBT treat. The Gayest Weekend Of All Time or GWOAT as the cool kids are calling it, is a 3-day extravaganza for all the fans of gay comedy, drag queens, parties & all things fab & gay! Gay pimp & star of Logo's Big Gay Sketch Show Jonny McGovern is bringing together the legends of NYC & LA Nightlife for an incredible weekend of parties & shows. Events include day-time pool parties, games, contests, dancing, but most of all, kikiing with legendary NYC drag queens Erickatoure Aviance, Linda James, Xander, lesbian icons Julie Goldman & Brandy Howard, vocal powerhouse Adam Joseph, Playgirl Cover model Greg McKeon, Superstar DJ Nita & more! Julie Goldman stated, GAYEST WEEKEND OF ALL TIME combines the talents of all the legendary Gay Pimpin’ stars for a weekend of dance, partying, performances, looks, bringing it & will be an unforgettable kiki!!” This is all happening March 1st through March 3rd at the Flamingo Resort 4601 34th Street South, St. Petersburg Florida. So what are you waiting for? Get Your 3 Day All Access Passes or Daily Tickets Now.
For More Info: gayestweekendofalltime.com 

Companies For Gay Marriage

Following the scores of Republican leaders who have filed an amicus brief to the US Supreme Court in favor of marriage equality dozens of American companies including Apple, Alcoa, Facebook, eBay, Intel & Morgan Stanley will also submit an amicus brief in the landmark Hollingsworth v. Perry case that laws banning gay & lesbian marriages are unconstitutional. According to a draft copy obtained by Fortune Magazine the companies argue that such laws "send an unmistakable signal that same-gender couples are in some way inferior to opposite-gender couples, a proposition that is anathema to amici's commitment to equality & fair treatment to all." At least 60 companies have committed to signing the brief & that number is expected to rise. Other companies who have already committed to sign include AIG, Becton Dickinson, Cisco, Cummins, Kimpton, Levi Strauss, McGraw Hill, NCR, Nike, Office Depot, Oracle, Panasonic, Qualcomm & Xerox. In the main brief filed last week by AFER’s Theodore Olson & David Boies it also argues that "recognizing the rights of same-gender couples to marry is more than a constitutional issue. It is a business imperative. By singling out a group for less favorable treatment, Proposition 8 impedes businesses from achieving the market's ideal of efficient operations—particularly in recruiting, hiring & retaining talented people who are in the best position to operate at their highest capacity. Amici are competing domestically & internationally with companies inside & outside the United States in places where all couples, regardless of whether they are of the same gender, are afforded equal access to marriage.”
Prop 8 is headed to the US Supreme Court next month.
Updates to Come…:)

GOP Leaders For Gay Marriage

With gay marriage headed to the US Supreme court next month conservative leaders are filing an Amicus Curiae Brief calling on the Supreme Court to recognize marriage equality for all in the California Proposition 8 Case. Those signing include gay & straight allies Mary Bono Mack, James B. Comey, Jon Huntsman, Ken Mehlman, Steve Schmidt, William F. Weld & Meg Whitman among the eighty plus conservative voices weighing in. Additional names are still being added with a final list of names to be released when the brief is filed with the Supreme Court. Prop 8 eliminated the fundamental freedom of gay & lesbian Californians to marry in 2008. Adam Umhoefer AFER Executive Director stated, “The support for marriage equality demonstrated by this amicus brief represents a microcosm of what we see happening all across the country. Americans are united behind the concepts of freedom, dignity & strong families. Since the inception of our case, AFER has worked to strip the partisan veil that had existed for too long around marriage equality. The conservative movement toward the freedom to marry is what we like to call the ‘Ted Olson effect.’ We value the support of our conservative colleagues & welcome their voices to the growing majority of Americans who stand for marriage equality.” The American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) is the sole sponsor of Hollingsworth v. Perry the federal constitutional challenge to California’s Prop 8. For The List So Far…. 

Katie Couric On Transgender Issues

Katie Couric is continuing to address LGBT issues on her talker KATIE Tuesday February 26th by exploring what it’s like to grow up & be true to who you are as transgender. There will be deeply personal stories of three transgender children & their parents as well as their journeys to understand the psychological, physical & social process to become their authentic selves. Tuesday’s show will feature an exclusive interview with Coy Mathis a young transgender girl who at only six-years-old is fighting alongside her parents for the right to be fully recognized as a girl in school. Last week the Massachusetts Department of Education issued a directive for how schools should deal with transgender students, including the rule that students who identify transgender must have access to use the restrooms & locker facilities of their true gender. The directive was issued to help ensure that school districts will uphold the state's Transgender Equal Rights Bill that went into effect last July. Couric will also discuss how medical advances are being used earlier & more safely to change the biological process of puberty. Katie will then introduce a beautiful transgender woman who struggled for her father’s acceptance. Plus, the woman who changed the history of sports trans icon Dr. Renee Richards talks to Katie about her historic push for transgender rights in professional tennis leading to a landmark decision by the New York Supreme Court in favor of transgender rights.
For More Info: katiecouric.com

The Gay Friendly Oscars Show

The gay highlights of the 85th Academy Awards ceremony started with iconic gay Oscar producers Craig Zadan & Neil Maron (Chicago & Hairspray) opening number performed by the Los Angeles Gay Men's Chorus called "We Saw Your Boobs." Too bad it was in such bad taste but at least there was a presence. Then there was a little banter from host Seth MacFarlane clarifying that he wasn’t a member of the chorus followed by William Shatner future-cast saying that "Oh, trust me. In July 2015, you join the chorus." Later in the show MacFarlane stated, "We're concerned tonight's show isn't gay enough yet." It was followed by a chance for presenter Queen Latifah to finally come out but she didn’t. As promised there were lots of musical performances including divas Barbra Streisand, Adele, Jennifer Hudson & Shirley Bassey. The only openly gay nominees were screenwriter Tony Kushner (Lincoln) who lost to Chris Terrio who wrote the screenplay for Argo & the documentary How to Survive a Plague about AIDS activists in New York City lost to Searching for Sugar Man. The surprising other gay highlight was when First Lady Michelle Obama made a quick speech as she announced Argo the winner for Best Motion Picture & pushed for equality for our LGBT community by being inclusive about ‘the people we choose to love’. The show was too long as usual but it was one of the most beautifully produced shows in Oscar history.
For a complete list of winners… 

Oscars Making Gay History

Last year’s Academy Awards production was filled with controversy when Brett Ratner stepped down as Oscars producer after making homophobic slurs about his production concepts & Eddie Murphy was replaced with Billy Crystal. Now we have openly gay Broadway, Film & TV producers Neil Meron & Craig Zadan taking the reins for the 85th Annual Oscars. These are the guys who currently have the hit TV show SMASH on NBC & last year were the recipients of the GLAAD Vito Russo Award which is presented to openly lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender media professionals who have made a significant difference in promoting equality. We’re really looking forward to this broadcast tonight to see what these guys bring to the table. So far the buzz is that there will be performances by Adele, Barbra Streisand & Norah Jones. Also Shirley Bassey is expected to make her Oscars debut during the tribute to James Bond's 50th anniversary. There will be a tribute to movie musicals from the past decade & Oscar-nominated “Les Misérables” will include a performance with Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe, Amanda Seyfried & Samantha Barks. Catherine Zeta-Jones ("Chicago") & Jennifer Hudson ("Dreamgirls") are scheduled to perform & the show is rumored to end with a duet by host Seth MacFarlane with Kristin Chenoweth. UPDATE…:)

Best Gay Oscars Party

There’s nothing more fun than watching the Oscars with our LGBT community. A time for the best dish & keeping score on the Red Carpet hits & misses. You know like ‘What was she thinking wearing that.” However this year our LGBT community came up rather empty in the Best Movie Category so being the creatives that we are let’s focus on the Oscar Parties this year. Our favorite is the Elton John AIDS Foundation Event. Elton John & David Furnish's Oscar party is the Red Carpet to stroll down & to be seen. They estimate at least 1,000 people will attend under a tent in West Hollywood Park on Sunday night to help raise an estimated $4 million for the Elton John AIDS Foundation. Furnish stated, "It's the biggest yet. Elton & I make it a point to go around & greet every table, every person during the broadcast. We're probably the only people who don't want the Oscars shorter so we have enough time to greet our guests." The guest list includes Miley Cyrus, Kourtney & Kim Kardashian, Katy Perry, Heidi Klum, Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, Sean Penn, Nicki Minaj, Taye Diggs, Christina Hendricks, Matthew Morrison, Ian Somerhalder, Chris Colfer, Colton Haynes, Steven Tyler, Wilmer Valderrama just to name a few. The celebrities gay & straight will be chowing down on a feast prepared by Chef Gordon Ramsay including short rib, red snapper & sticky toffee pudding. Of course there will be plenty of bubbly with 40 cases of Veuve Cliquot champagne & 80 cases of Bianchi so there will be plenty to drink. The night will include a performance by Emeli Sandé & perhaps Elton will treat his guests to a song or two. And speaking of two, there will also be a separate room for close friends to visit with David & Elton's sons, Zachary, 2, & six-week-old Elijah. Furnish added, "I think we're certainly going to end AIDS in my children's lifetime. And I'd love for that to be sooner than later." UPDATE...:) 
 For More Info: ejaf.org

Boycott Anti Gay Hyatt Hotels

I first hear about this from gay labor activist Cleve Jones. After learning about the worker-called global boycott of Hyatt Hotels, Funders for LGBTQ Issues a national network of foundations & corporate funders that support LGBT communities decided to move its annual retreat from a New Mexico Hyatt to another location. In response to the move Hyatt demanded a $40,600 cancellation fee – a substantial percentage of the LGBT nonprofit’s operating budget & more than what Hyatt would have charged if the retreat had actually been held there. Ben Francisco Maulbeck, President of Funders for LGBTQ Issues stated, “The moment we heard about the boycott, we felt we had to move the retreat. There’s such a strong history of solidarity between the movements for workers’ rights & LGBT rights – dating back to Harvey Milk’s early organizing work in San Francisco. We just couldn’t imagine having our retreat, talking about issues of equality & social change for LGBT communities, in a space that we knew was under boycott by workers.” Hyatt workers called for the boycott in response to the hotel employer’s poor treatment of workers, particularly housekeepers. In 2009, the managers of three Hyatts in the Boston area fired the entire housekeeping staff after asking the workers to train their replacements from an outsourcing agency, paying the new workers close to minimum wage & with no benefits. In July 2012, the global boycott was endorsed by leaders of progressive organizations nationwide including: the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF), Pride at Work, the National Black Justice Coalition, the National Organization of Women (NOW), the Center for Community Change & many others. Sign Petition…

Prop 8 Supreme Court Update

The Plaintiffs challenging Proposition 8 have called on the Supreme Court to recognize marriage equality for all. They have filed their brief with the United States Supreme Court in Hollingsworth v. Perry urging the Justices to recognize the fundamental right of all Americans to marry by affirming the landmark federal court of appeals ruling that upheld the historic decision of the federal district court that found Prop 8 unconstitutional. The Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Perry next month on March 26th. Theodore B. Olson & David Boies stated in the brief, “Because of their sexual orientation—a characteristic with which they were born & which they cannot change—Plaintiffs & hundreds of thousands of gay men & lesbians in California & across the country are being excluded from one of life’s most precious relationships. They may not marry the person they love, the person with whom they wish to partner in building a family & with whom they wish to share their future & their most intimate & private dreams. Although opening to them participation in the unique & immensely valuable institution of marriage will not diminish the value or status of marriage for heterosexuals, withholding it causes infinite & permanent stigma, pain & isolation. It denies gay men & lesbians their identity & their dignity; it labels their families as second-rate. That outcome cannot be squared with the principle of equality & the unalienable right to liberty & the pursuit of happiness that is the bedrock promise of America from the Declaration of Independence to the Fourteenth Amendment & the dream of all Americans. This badge of inferiority, separateness & inequality must be extinguished. When it is, America will be closer to fulfilling the aspirations of all its citizens.” The American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) is the sole sponsor of Hollingsworth v. Perry. Read Full Brief: afer.org
Updates to Come…:)

GLAAD To Honor Anderson Cooper

Anderson Cooper will receive the Vito Russo Award at the 24th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York on March 16th at the New York Marriott Marquis. The Vito Russo Award is presented to an openly lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equality. Previous Vito Russo honorees include Ricky Martin, Rosie O'Donnell, Alan Cumming, Cynthia Nixon, Nathan Lane, Cherry Jones, Elton John, k.d. lang, Brian Graden & Tom Ford. Herndon Graddick GLAAD President Herndon stated, "By sharing his own experiences as a gay man, Anderson has reminded millions of Americans that LGBT people are part of their everyday lives & an integral part of our cultural fabric. He continues to raise the bar & set a new standard for journalists everywhere & I'm proud to call him a friend." Good Morning America anchors, Lara Spencer, Josh Elliott & Sam Champion are hosting the evening. Additional honorees & guests for the New York event will be announced. We’ll be on the GLAAD Red Carpet catching all the celebrities & honorees as we have form the last 5 years for OUTTAKE VOICES™. Listen to last year’s Red Carpet coverage as SMASH producers Craig Zadan & Neil Meron talk about being honored with The Vito Russo Award & more celebs....:)

Dining Out for Life Event

Gay activist Mondo Guerra, winner of Lifetime’s Project Runway All-Stars is the newest spokesperson for Dining Out for Life hosted by Subaru® the annual fundraiser for AIDS service organizations throughout North America. Guerra has created a limited edition t-shirt to benefit Dining Out for Life® which was recently debuted in Philadelphia. Mondo stated, “I am a creature of expression through fashion & through my advocacy work. Dining Out for Life is our opportunity to celebrate friends, food & being truly fabulous in helping others.” Guerra, who disclosed his HIV-positive status on Project Runway has become a prominent advocate for the fight against HIV/AIDS adding, "I was so afraid of the backlash & how people were going to react about my HIV-positive status because I hadn’t talked about it for ten years, but there was this outpouring of love & support from the community at large. I really felt like it was my responsibility to continue this conversation on HIV/AIDS & that is why I have become an advocate for the cause." Dining Out for Life spokespeople include Ted Allen, host of Food Network’s Chopped, Author, Actor Pam Grier (Foxy, Jackie Brown) & Chef Daisy Martinez from Food Network’s ¡Viva Daisy! Dining Out for Life International hosted by Subaru will be held on Thursday, April 25th in 60 cities across the United States & Canada. Some 3,000 restaurants participate by donating a generous percentage of proceeds from the day to a local AIDS service organization. An estimated $4 million will be raised in just one day of dining. Funds raised in each city benefits the designated AIDS service organization in that city.
For The List of Restaurants…. 

Jama Shelton Forty to None Project

Fierce gay ally Cyndi Lauper co-founder of True Colors Fund & executive director Gregory Lewis have announced the appointment of Jama Shelton as the new director of the fund’s Forty to None Project. Launched in June 2012, the Forty to None Project is the first & only national organization focused solely on bringing an end to LGBT youth homelessness. The creation of the project director position is part of the True Colors Fund’s expanded commitment to giving a voice to the nearly forty percent of the 1.6 million homeless youth who identify as gay or transgender & marks the first position of its kind on the national level. Jama Shelton stated, “I’m honored by the confidence that Cyndi & Gregory have shown in my ability to lead the Forty to None Project. In my years doing this work, I have learned that gay, lesbian, bisexual & transgender homeless youth have very specific needs. As the first director for the Forty to None Project, my work will focus on making sure that those young people’s needs are met & that they have a voice that is sorely missing in society today.” Shelton is a nationally recognized expert & leader on the issue of gay & transgender youth homelessness. During her 9-year tenure at the Ali Forney Center in New York City she played an integral role in the building of the most expansive housing program in the nation for gay & transgender youth. Shelton will assume her new responsibilities on March 1st.

New Poll Supports Gay Marriage

With gay marriage headed to the Supreme Court next month, the Center for American Progress & GLAD (Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders) have released the results of a national voter survey showing an increased public opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act, (DOMA) as a clear case of discrimination & support for equal treatment for legally married same-gender couples under federal law, even if the individual polled is generally opposed to marriage equality. Amy Simon, a partner at Goodwin Simon Strategic Research, who fielded the poll stated, “In 2013 registered voters have reached a tipping point, in which a majority (52 percent) favors allowing marriage for same-gender couples. However, an even larger portion—almost 6 in 10 respondents (59 percent)—oppose DOMA’s requirement that the federal government discriminate against those same-gender couples who are legally married by denying their marriage’s recognition.” Mary Bonauto, Civil Rights Project Director for GLAD stated, “With each passing day, more & more Americans are learning how DOMA denies important marital protections & heaps disrespect on married same-gender couples across the country & they’re saying, ‘Enough is enough.’ It’s not surprising that a majority of this country now believes that loving, committed couples in legal marriages should be treated fairly under federal law. It’s time for our laws to catch up with where public opinion is on abolishing DOMA.” The poll was conducted by Goodwin Simon Strategic Research & Voter Consumer Research. For Detailed Survey Chart …

Clive Davis Comes OUT

In his new memoir entitled The Soundtrack of My Life, music mogul Clive Davis finally comes clean about his sexuality. Davis who’s been married & divorced twice discusses his "bisexual life." However as the story unfolds “latent gay man” would be a more honest term. Near the end of the book he writes about his first sexual encounter with a man during "the era of Studio 54." Davis states, "On this night, after imbibing enough alcohol, I was open to responding to his sexual overtures”. Being with a man, he writes, provided "welcome relief." The story continues after "soul searching & self-analysis" Davis separated from his second wife in 1985 & went on to have simultaneous relationships with two women & a man. Then in 1990 Davis entered into a "monogamous relationship" with a male doctor whose named does not appear in the book. The relationship ended in 2004 & Davis says he has been in a relationship with another man ever since. Davis writes that his coming out deeply affected his ties with one of his sons Mitchell creating what Davis calls "one very trying year," however father & son have worked out their differences. You can watch Clive's revelation about his sexuality today on Katie. In this revealing interview with Katie Couric, Davis explains how the end of his marriage opened his mind to explore homosexuality & find the relationship he is in today. Davis also shares with Katie an emotional letter he wrote to Whitney Houston & talks about his personal pleas to Houston in the final days of her life. Plus, why he’s still enjoying his job at age 80. Katie’s conversation with Clive will broadcast Tuesday, Feb 19th. Clive’s book The Soundtrack of My Life is now available in stores. Updates to Come...:)

Gay Theory About Abe Lincoln

One thing that wasn’t addressed in Tony Kushner’s script for the Oscar nominated film Lincoln was the theory that Abraham Lincoln was gay. At the heart of the speculation is Lincoln's close relationship with Joshua Speed, a Springfield, IL merchant who helped the young lawyer by allowing him to share his upstairs room & bed for four years. Speed remained a lifelong friend, despite his support of slavery & the two sent warm, affectionate letters for years, even after Lincoln moved into the White House. John Stauffer, Harvard University stated, "We are getting closer to the day that a majority of younger, less homophobic historians will at long last accept the evidence of Lincoln’s same-gender component. We’re already seeing the beginnings of a trend that will amount to a major paradigm shift. In light of what we know about romantic friendship at the time, coupled with the facts surrounding Speed’s & Lincoln’s friendship, there is no reason to suppose they weren’t physically intimate at some point during their four years of sleeping together in the same small bed, long after Lincoln could afford a bed of his own. To ignore this, as most scholars do, is to pretend that same-gender carnal relationships were abnormal. It thus presumes a dislike or fear about such relationships, reflecting a presentist and homophobic perspective." Gay Activist Larry Kramer adds, "There's no question in my mind that Abraham Lincoln was a gay man & a totally gay man. It wasn't just a period, but something that went on his whole life." Just think how the theory that Abraham Lincoln was gay could provide such a vital role model & hope for our LGBTQ teens.
Read More.... Happy President's Day!!

Pink Martini Dazzles Boston

China Forbes returned to Boston for this fabulous sold-out performance of Pink Martini at the Boston Opera House Saturday night. Influenced by Latin music, jazz, cabaret, cinema scores & more, Pink Martini brings melodies & rhythms from different parts of the world together to create a fabulously eclectic, modern sound. The 12-piece award-winning band led by Thomas M. Lauderdale featured the captivating vocalist China Forbes who was joined by NPR White House Correspondent Ari Shapiro on vocals, Gavin Bondy trumpets, guitarist Dan Faehnle, Phil Baker on bass, violinist Nicholas Crosa, Timothy Nishimoto, vocals & percussion, Brian Lavern Davis on congas, drums & percussion & Anthony Jones on drums & percussion. China Forbes a native of Cambridge resumed her role as lead vocalist after her leave of absence having undergone surgery on her vocal chords in March of 2011. The procedure was clearly a success as China’s voice was as sultry & powerful as ever with perfect pitch. They perform an array of songs from all of their albums to the delight of the Boston audience. After a brief intermission they performed a song from Turkey & asked if any Turks were in the audience to join them on stage. To the amazement of everyone about 20 people proceeded to the stage. They ended the show with a brilliant rendition of the classic Streisand/Garland duet of C’mon Get Happy/Happy Days are Here Again with Forbes & Shapiro. After receiving s standing ovation their encore performance of Brazil had the audience break into huge conga lines in the orchestra section as well as the balcony. This was a unforgettable concert for everyone that attended. For More Info: pinkmartini.com OUTTAKE VOICES™ NOW ON HUFFINGTON POST...:)

Film Explores NYC Gay Bathhouse

This looks like an amazing new documentary about the gay scene in NYC just prior to the Stonewall Riots until the Continental bathhouse was closed as a causality of AIDS.  Malcolm Ingram's riveting new documentary CONTINENTAL takes viewers back in time to the sexually charged New York of 1968 when the notorious Continental Baths opened its doors. This groundbreaking den of debauchery that was advertised as a place “for sophisticated men only” came to transcend sexual identity & became a cultural beacon to the hip, beautiful & infamous. Not only host to newly-empowered gay men of all shapes & sizes eager to take full advantage of their sexual freedoms at a lavish venue, the Continental brought both high & low culture to the bathhouse's stage week after week, becoming instrumental in the careers of ‘60s & ‘70s icons like Bette Midler, Barry Manilow, Patti LaBelle & Peter Allen just to name a few. With the help of its owner & proprietor, the enigmatic Steve Ostrow along with his former staff, historians & artists who were there, CONTINENTAL tells the tale of one of the most important keystones in the sexual revolution, one that fostered an environment of tolerance & contributed to a level of mainstream gay acceptance & uncensored sexuality the likes of which have never been seen since. CONTINENTAL premieres at SXSW on Sunday March 10th.  
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