Showing posts with label Marriage Equality. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Marriage Equality. Show all posts

August 4, 2018

Gay Couple in Root NY Are Denied Marriage License by Clerk's Office } It Repeats Again!

That's kim Davis in Florida. A copy cat tried this in NY State .

 When Dylan Toften and his fiancé, Tom Hurd, went to the town clerk’s office in Root, New York, to apply for a marriage license, they were turned away for not having an appointment — but not before the clerk told them she would not personally grant them a license because of her religious convictions.
“Town of Root clerk is a bigot!!!! Refused to do our marriage license,” Toften shared in a Facebook post earlier this week. “She said make an appointment to have her deputy do it... do your job”
“She took an oath to uphold to the NYS constitution not her beliefs,” Toften added.
Toften and Hurd, who are scheduled to marry on August 18, traveled more than 13 miles south to Cobleskill, New York, where they were immediately granted a marriage license.
Laurel “Sherrie” Eriksen, the Root town clerk and spouse of the town judge, Thomas Eriksen, was unable to be reached for comment. Calls to her supervisor, Gary Kamp, and Judge Eriksen went unanswered, as did repeated calls to the town’s attorney, Robert Subik.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo released a statement on Wednesday calling the incident “an unconscionable act of discrimination.”
“Personally I cannot believe that this could happen anywhere in this country, let alone in the State of New York,” Cuomo stated. "On behalf of all New Yorkers, I would like to congratulate Dylan Toften and his future husband on their marriage. I invite them to come to Albany, and I would be happy to offer my services as an officiant at their wedding."
Image: Andrew Cuomo
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks at an event in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn in New York on July 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)Seth Wenig / AP file

A senior member of the Cuomo administration confirmed to NBC News on Thursday that the governor had spoken to at least one of the two men, but it is unclear whether they will take him up on his offer to officiate their wedding.
Same-sex marriage has been legal in New York since 2011 — four years before it was legalized across the U.S. The state’s Marriage Equality Act was signed into law by Governor Cuomo. 
Cuomo referred Toften’s case to the New York Division of Human Rights, which confirmed it is investigating the matter.
“We have full enforcement powers; we have the power to subpoena witnesses,” Rachelle Dickerson, a spokesperson for the division, told NBC News. “Our investigation would be comprehensive.”
Dickerson did not give an indication as to how long the investigation would take.
Lauren Eriksen is not the first town clerk to make headlines for refusing to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple. The most well-known, perhaps, is Kim Davis of Kentucky. Davis spent five days in jail for refusing to follow court orders to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and was met with praise from religious and social conservatives across the country. 

July 15, 2015

Angela Merkel Comes Out: “marriage only for man and woman”

Angela Merkel has insisted that marriage should only be between a man and woman.
The German Chancellor backed equal benefits for same-sex couples - such as tax breaks - and said that while discrimination should be “eliminated" she drew a "difference" between civil partnerships and marriage.

“I’m someone who is very supportive of us eliminating all discrimination. We have come a long way; when I remember, 25 years ago, many people didn’t dare to say that they are gay or lesbian,” she said, according to the Huffington Post.
“For me, personally, marriage is a man and a woman living together. That is my concept, but I support civil partnerships."
Ms Merkel went on to say stress that marriage should be strictly defined as between a man and a woman, adding: "I am for registered civil partnerships. I am for our not having any discrimination in tax legislation. And wherever we still find discrimination, we will continue to dismantle it,” according to German broadcaster Deutsche Welle.

Explaining further, the German leader said: "I don’t want discrimination and [I want] equality, but I make a difference at some point."
In May, Ms Merkel ruled out introducing same-sex marriage in Germany following the referendum in Ireland.

A spokesperson for the Chancellor told Reuters news agency at the time: “Today was an important milestone in dismantling discrimination and the chancellor is pleased about that… but same-sex marriages are not a goal of this government.”
A spokesman for UK LGBT charity Stonewall said: "Can someone really support ‘eliminating all discrimination’ if they believe that same-sex unions shouldn’t be labelled as ‘marriages’?
“It must be a quiet week for Angela if her current concern is synonyms."
Merkel, a former research scientist, is the daughter of a Lutheran minister and has described herself as a member of the evangelical church.
Her party, the Christian Democratic Union, is the German equivalent of the British Conservative Party.

David Trayner

July 14, 2015

Marriage Comes too Late!

HHJ, Nancy Walker, HWB at Long Crendon
Helen Hull Jacobs (L), Nancy Walker, Henrietta Bingham (R) at Long Crendon, Undated.
When the U.S. Supreme Court delivered its landmark decision affirming marriage equality last month, tens of millions of Americans tweeted #LoveWins or rainbowed their Facebook profile pictures to celebrate this major step forward for civil rights.
I couldn’t help thinking of my great-aunt, Henrietta Bingham, whose tragic life in the early 20thcentury would have turned out so differently now.
You would have thought that Bingham, born into a wealthy family in 1901, had no need to be concerned about public approval. Her father owned two successful Kentucky newspapers and served as U.S. ambassador to Britain under President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Her life of privilege was cushioned and protected. But even this could not insulate her when she fell in love with another woman.
helen airborne by hwb
Helen Hull Jacobs in undated photo taken by Henrietta Bingham.
Bingham met tennis champion Helen Hull Jacobs in London at a U.S. embassy reception in 1934. The alluring Bingham, 33, was busy helping her father host the embassy receptions, including huge Fourth of July garden parties with American jazz bands. She had spent her 20s in tune with the Jazz Age, bowling over steamy actresses like Tallulah Bankhead and aesthete Bloomsbury artists like Dora Carrington.
Jacobs, 25, was the No. 1 ranked woman tennis player in the world. She had pioneered wearing shorts on the tennis court, when calf-length skirts with white stockings were de rigeur. Traditionalists howled in protest, but Jacobs said it helped to be able to lunge for the ball without tripping on her hems. A Daily Mail cartoonist wrote that Jacobs “looked better in shorts than any man we could think of.”
Bingham clearly thought so. Within months of their meeting, Jacobs was accepted as part of the family, with a “room of her own” in the embassy — though one surmises she didn’t always sleep there. Jacobs helped to ground her lover, whose life lacked focus. The champion player took to calling Ambassador Robert Worth Bingham “H.E.”, for His Excellency, or, more prosaically, “Pa.”
hwb at quainton feb 1929 resized
Henrietta Bingham at Quainton, February 1929.
Meanwhile, Aleen Bingham, Henrietta’s stepmother, enjoyed the opportunities to meet big movie stars including Gary Cooper — Hollywood was mad for tennis. Jacobs was mad to learn to fox hunt. So Henrietta Bingham, who had spent much of her Kentucky childhood on horseback, began teaching her.
These “close friends,” as the press discreetly referred to them, spent as much time as possible in prime Oxfordshire hunt country, at a rented Tudor farmhouse that they decorated to the nines. There, they rode horseback daily, had epic dinner parties (with guests like Man Ray) and planted sweet peas. It was, as Helen Jacobs wrote in her diary, “a joyous and satisfying life.”
When Jacobs at last triumphed at Wimbledon in 1936 – she had been runner-up three times — she credited her riding. And her teacher.
Bingham was in love. She also longed to return to her home in Kentucky. Transferring their ménage seemed a logical step. Her father bought a former country club and golf course called Harmony Landing, 15 miles outside Louisville, for her personal use. There, she planned to breed thoroughbreds to sell and also race a few. She and Jacobs could share the stately brick mansion, which dated from 1812 and was surrounded by rolling acres.
Bingham introduced her partner to local society, where Jacobs’ celebrity at first overwhelmed the community’s shock of the open lesbian relationship. There were charity tennis matches and mint-julep parties, but even family members could make the couple feel self-conscious and uncomfortable. Heavy drinking and conservative company could make for awkward social encounters.
Though my great-aunt didn’t care what people said, it was a major scandal when one night, at a downtown club, the elevator doors opened on the pair as they were kissing, arms entwined around one another’s waists.
But this wasn’t London or the Roaring ’20s. Tolerance for such things was evaporating. When Bingham’s father died, at 66, in 1937, his protection died with him. Whispers soon circulated about the Louisville police having banished Bingham to another county because of her “perversion.” Her stepmother withdrew support, further isolating her. Jacobs’ extended stays at Harmony Landing became unsustainable. One summer, for the sake of appearances, she had to rent her own farm a few miles away.
In a 1941 letter — the only one Bingham ever kept from a female partner — Jacobs tried to be encouraging:
Such wonderful days are ahead of us, beloved…. Horses from Harmony Landing would be world famous, flowers and Labradors from [me] likewise, and we will grow mellow together. We will throw historic, brilliant parties, and pool our brains to think up all sorts of fun, and I will be your farm manager when you need one, and put you to sleep when you need that, too. We can be happy and proud together, darling…. I am beside you, behind you, and on top of you (if you want!). You can do and say nothing to stop the constant flow of deep and growing love that goes out to you from my heart every time I look at you.
But Jacobs was finally forced to concede that this was fantasy. Her lover’s bravado was crumbling, and Bingham was drinking heavily.
hwb --best -- resized
Henreitta Bingham in 1933.
When World War Two broke out, Bingham needed to stay on the farm, where she raised hemp and organized victory gardens for the war effort. But she also half-joked about having to slaughter her beautiful and expensive broodmares, for there was no market for yearlings. Jacobs, in contrast, became a commander in Navy Intelligence.
Bingham, isolated from her gay community, fell prey to “an odd feeling of banishment.” Suffering anxiety and depression, when alcohol was no longer enough, she turned to powerful sedatives her doctors prescribed. Even her closest family members pressed hard for her to undergo a prefrontal lobotomy. But Bingham successfully fought off the idea.
Jacobs moved on. She found another partner, and settled down with her on Long Island. Ultimately, she entered the International Tennis Hall of Fame
Bingham, desperate to escape the ruins of her dreams for happiness in Kentucky, moved to Manhattan after the war. For many years, she and a former actress, Dorothie Bigelow, occupied adjoining Upper East Side apartments. But the breakdowns and hospitalizations continued.
Revellers take part in a Gay Pride parade in San Jose
A Gay Pride parade in San Jose, California, June 28, 2015. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate
Bingham died in 1968, one year before the Stonewall Riots that launched the gay rights movement and began turning the great homophobic ship toward tolerance.
Yet as late as the 1980s, when a journalist asked Jacobs about Bingham, the tennis legend concealed their relationship. Today, almost 75 years after Jacobs’ loving letter, such restrictive codes have finally lifted.
Last month, the U.S. ambassador to the Court of St. James and his Kentucky-born wife threw a private party to celebrate Pride Week. For Henrietta Bingham — and so many others — this was the stuff of dreams.
The day after Chief Justice Anthony Kennedy’s historic opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges, the ambassador, with friends and staff, rode a double-decker bus in London’s LGBT parade, tossing favors to the crowd.
If only my great-aunt and her beloved Helen could have been there.
Emily Bingham
posted at:

July 11, 2015

US Territory of Samoa only hold out on Marriage Equality

 Samoan school age kids.
(Huffington original pic)

American Samoa stands as the only U.S. territory to hold out against the recent Supreme Court ruling that legalized gay marriage.
But as the Pacific island's attorney general reviews the decision, legal observers and gay rights advocates are saying it should go into effect immediately.
"It should be unquestioned," said Rose Cuison Villazor, a professor at University of California, Davis' law school and an expert on territorial law. "The Supreme Court's decision was pretty strong."
American Samoa Attorney General Talauega Eleasalo Ale, however, hasn't been ready to take that step.
"We're still reviewing the decision to determine its applicability to American Samoa, and I have no specific comments at this time," he said.
Asked if same sex marriage is legal in the territory, Ale said, "I don't know. We're reviewing the law."
U.S. territories have some self-governance rights. The right to marry, however, isn't a question of self-governance, said Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, staff attorney for national gay rights group Lambda Legal. "This is a question of individual right, individual liberty."
Other U.S. territories have voluntarily complied with the Supreme Court decision.
In Puerto Rico, Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla signed an executive order soon after the ruling. U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Kenneth Mapp has said he would issue a similar executive order. In Guam, there is no effort to ignore or challenge the ruling, said territorial legislative Vice Speaker Benjamin F. Cruz, who is gay. The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands is also supporting the decision.
As of Thursday, no one has applied for a same sex marriage license in American Samoa, according to the island's Office of Vital Statistics.
Christian churches with conservative social views dominate in American Samoa, home to about 50,000, and the government's motto is "Samoa, Let God Be First." Yet the territory has a tradition of embracing faafafine — males who are raised as females and take on feminine traits.
There are many faafafine who aren't supportive of gay marriage out of "respect for our Samoan culture and religious beliefs," said well-known faafafine Princess Auvaa.
The lack of marriage license applications by same-sex couples shouldn't be taken to mean no one in American Samoa desires gay marriage, Villazor said. The attorney general's review may have a chilling effect, she said. "I would think there are cultural barriers to begin with. The AG might present some other legal and social barriers, too," she said.
For gay marriage to be recognized in American Samoa, there needs to be a voluntary decision or litigation, said Chimene Keitner, an expert on territorial status issues at University of California, Hastings College of the Law.
Litigation would require "plaintiffs who have been denied the right to marry and are willing to take a public position on that and challenge their inability to marry," she said. Plaintiffs could also be those who were married elsewhere and want the marriage recognized in American Samoa, she said.
Auvaa said she wants gay marriage to be legal in American Samoa. If it's determined that it is, she said, "I would be the first person to apply for a marriage license — if I had a boyfriend who would agree to marriage."
Kelleher reported from Honolulu. Grace Garces Bordallo in Guam and AP National Writer David Crary contributed to this report.
Follow Kelleher at .

November 3, 2013

In Marriage Equality It’s 50 and NO Less

(Photo: Steven St John, USA 

The Supreme Court ruling that struck down parts of the Defense of Marriage Act in June opened the door to an explosion of activity by gay marriage proponents.
Today, they are waging their campaign on several fronts: filing lawsuits, encouraging public officials to defy state bans on gay marriage, and stepping up a push for state legislation.
Since June, couples have filed 23 lawsuits to end bans in 21 states; governors and state attorneys general in at least three states have refused to defend their state bans in court; and county clerks in four states have issued marriage licenses to gay couples despite laws against it. Hawaii is considering legislation to allow gay marriage, and advocates are pushing for Oregon and Nevada to do the same next year.
The movement that had been gaining strength even before the high court's ruling is embracing many of the same strategies of the 1960s civil rights movement. Yet opponents see these efforts as "lawless" attempts to circumvent the will of the majority of the country, including many places that have voted for gay marriage bans.
The Supreme Court ruling invalidated a section of the 17-year-old DOMA that denied federal benefits, such as Social Security and joint tax filing, to married gay men and lesbians in the 14 states, and the District of Columbia, that allow gay marriage. That measure, the court declared, existed primarily "to demean those persons who are in a lawful same-sex marriage." The landmark decision emboldened activists to argue that if the federal government can't discriminate against married gay people, neither can the states.
The flurry of activity has given Patrick Bova and James Darby of Chicago hope that they might see what was once unimaginable in their 50 years as a couple: legal gay marriage in all 50 states.
Bova, 75, and Darby, 81, grew up in a time when gays and lesbians led closeted lives in fear of discrimination or violence. They marvel at the shifting attitudes.
"The notion that you can get married, and even adopt children, was so foreign to us," Bova says. "It never occurred to me that it was possible to do, and now it is."
Recent developments:              
• On Oct. 21, New Jersey became the 14th state to allow gay marriage after a court ruled that a ban was unconstitutional. Republican Gov. Chris Christie dropped his opposition because he thought he would lose in the state Supreme Court, where the justices have ruled in favor of gay marriage in previous cases.
• On Oct. 17, Oregon's Department of Justice ruled that state agencies must recognize the unions of same-sex couples married legally in other states or countries, even though the state has a ban. That means treating gay married couples the same as straight couples for tax purposes and other state benefits, such as property rights and child custody. Activists hope to get a measure on the 2014 ballot to overturn the ban.
• Since August, some county clerks in Pennsylvania, North Carolina and New Mexico have challenged state laws banning gay marriage by issuing licenses to same-sex couples.
The number of Americans who favor same-sex marriage has been creeping up. In the mid-1990s, opinion polls showed, at most a quarter of people supported gay marriage, says Michael Klarman, a Harvard law professor who wrote From the Closet to the Altar: Courts, Backlash, and the Struggle for Same-Sex Marriage.
Fast-forward more than 15 years to a September poll by Bloomberg, which found that 55% of Americans support allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry. The national poll found 36% were opposed.
Statistician Nate Silver, famous for accurately predicting the 2012 presidential vote in all 50 states, used a statistical analysis to forecast that by 2016, 31 states would be likely to favor gay marriage in a referendum, and by 2020, only six states — all in the South — would still be likely to vote against it.
"This is demonstrably inevitable," Klarman says.
Opponents of gay marriage are not convinced.
Thirty-five states ban same-sex marriage, most through constitutional amendments, notes Peter Breen, senior counsel at the Thomas More Society, a Chicago law firm that advocates for traditional marriage.
Illinois demonstrates that legalizing gay marriage is not a slam dunk, Breen says.
"When you look at Illinois, it was assumed they'd go for same-sex marriage," because the state leans liberal and Democratic, he says. But repeated efforts this year to pass a law recognizing same-sex marriage failed; a bill passed in the state Senate but not the House.
Breen represents five county clerks defending the state's ban on gay marriage in a lawsuit filed by 25 same-sex couples. The clerks entered the case after Gov. Pat Quinn and Attorney General Lisa Madigan, both Democrats, refused to act.
California is another example of a liberal state that voted against gay marriage when it passed Prop 8 in 2008 with 52% of the vote. State courts overturned the law after a lawsuit by same-sex couples. The case reached the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in June that the private parties defending the ban did not have standing to do so. The high court's decision allowed gay marriage to resume in California but did not settle the question of whether states can impose such bans.
Breen says gay rights advocates are using the courts and county clerks to make an end run around voters who approved the bans.
"It's lawless," says John Eastman, chairman of the National Organization for Marriage. "The clerks in states like Pennsylvania and New Mexico are issuing licenses without the legal authority to do it. The advocates know that they lose if they put this to the vote of the people."
Eastman says gay marriage proponents want to redefine the essence of marriage, which he says is a union between a man and a woman, because they can have children, and people of the same gender, at least biologically, cannot.
The fight for gay marriage is reminiscent of the black civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s because advocates are waging it on several tracks, says Jose Gabilondo, a law professor at Florida International University. Advocates then fought in the courts and through acts of civil disobedience such as lunch-counter sit-ins.
New Mexico, the only state that doesn't explicitly allow or ban gay marriage, entered the fray when Dona Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins, a Democrat who supports gay marriage, began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in August. Since then, seven other county clerks have issued licenses to more than 1,000 couples.
"I did it because it was the right thing to do," Ellis says.
In a suit brought by six same-sex couples who were denied marriage licenses, the state Supreme Court is considering whether licenses can legally be denied to gay couples. The court is also deciding whether the licenses already issued are valid. The justices did not say when they would issue a ruling.
Fifteen Republican lawmakers are defending the state's right to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples after Democratic Attorney General Gary King and Republican Gov. Susana Martinez declined to do so.

Therese Councilor, 52, and Tanya Struble, 47, who live an hour north of Albuquerque in Jemez Springs, initially sought and were denied a marriage license, but over the summer, they were among the first to receive a license and get married.
Their wedding capped a love affair that began 23 years ago when the two met while putting on a product show for IBM.
They say they joined the lawsuit so that all same-sex couples in New Mexico have the right to marry. Councilor and Struble say they would not consider a civil union or domestic partnership because it relegates them to second-class status. Unlike marriage, a civil union or domestic partnership — permitted in nine states and the District of Columbia — grants couples different rights in different states.
"Nobody when they are kids dreams about walking down the aisle and getting civil unionized," Councilor says. "Why can't we be in the same category? It's separate and not equal."
Even conservative bastions in the South are seeing activity. Lawsuits challenging bans have been filed in Arkansas, Tennessee and North Carolina.
In the latter, Buncombe County Register of Deeds Drew Reisinger, a supporter of gay marriage, has accepted marriage applications from same-sex couples. He said he was moved to do so by the Supreme Court ruling. He was stopped by Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper, who says the licenses were illegal because North Carolina voted last year for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. The ban passed with 61% of the vote.
Even so, things are happening a lot faster than Brenda Clark, 66, or her partner of 25 years, Carol McCrory, 69, thought possible.
"I thought I'd be 90 before I saw the laws change," says McCrory, a retired teacher. The Fairview, N.C., couple plan to marry in New York on Nov. 9.
Two years ago, they had T-shirts made to wear every time there is a development in the fight for gay marriage.
"Before I die," the shirts say. They’ve been donning the shirts a lot these days.
Marisol Bello, USA TODAY

April 1, 2013

Conservative Sen. Bob Casey Now Backs Marriage Equality

                  From left: Brian Sims, Bob Casey
Sen. Bob Casey Jr., a Pennsylvania Democrat, reversed course Monday and called for the repeal of the federal law that defines marriage as between one man and one woman.
His decision leaves only 8 of 53 Senate Democrats who still oppose same-sex marriages. It comes less than a week after the Supreme Court heard arguments on two gay marriage cases, including a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act, known as DOMA.
In an interview with The Morning Call, Casey said he now supports the right of gays and lesbians to marry, and said he would sign on as a co-sponsor on a bill to repeal DOMA.
“I ultimately decided that to make a decision about DOMA was making a decision about marriage equality itself,” Casey said.
Half a dozen Senate Democrats have changed their views and announced support for same-sex marriage in recent weeks. When Casey stayed quiet, Pennsylvania’s gay community and its supporters flooded his office with letters and phone calls urging him to follow suit.
In the interview, Casey said the calls, shifting public opinion, and what he called “basic civil rights and fairness” convinced him to write a personal statement during the Easter break to explain his shift in position. The statement was released Monday afternoon.
“If two people of the same sex fall in love and want to marry, why would our government stand in their way?,” Casey wrote. “At a time when many Americans lament a lack of commitment in our society between married men and women, why would we want less commitment and fewer strong marriages?”

March 22, 2013

12 Yr Boy Asks RI For Love and Marriage Equality

6a00d8341c730253ef017ee9a6aa39970d-800wiAdvocates for marriage equality just keep getting younger, and infinitely more adorable, as they come forward to fight for the rights of their family.
In 2011, we were introduced to 19-year-old Iowan Zach Wahls, who so eloquently spoke out on behalf of his mothers. Since then we’ve seen an incredibly compelling plea to Chief Justice Roberts by 12-year-old Daniel, and even this toddler made his own silent argument for same-sex marriage.
The latest pint-sized advocate stepping out in support of his two mothers is sixth-grader Matthew Lannon. The 12-year-old took it upon himself to testify at Thursday’s marathon marriage equality hearing in Rhode Island, which lasted ’til 5 am, way past his bedtime. Make time and watch this:

June 25, 2012

First Anniversary of Same Sex Marriage in NY

PHOTO: People marching with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo hold signs celebrating the one-year anniversary of marriage equity during the annual Gay Pride Parade in New York, Sunday, June 24, 2012. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
New York marked the anniversary of the state's same-sex marriage law with a gay pride march that exuded diversity, from grand marshal Cyndi Lauper to the mayor and the governor.
"New York is a place where you can do whatever you want to do," Mayor Michael Bloomberg declared before he joined the Manhattan parade at noon.
He said he had a message for the rest of America: "The government should get out of your personal life."
Hundreds of thousands of spectators crowded Fifth Avenue sidewalks a dozen deep, cheering and waving rainbow-colored flags for the annual festivities one year after Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the Marriage Equality Act into law.
The governor appeared Sunday with his girlfriend, Food Network chef Sandra Lee.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn went to the parade as a newlywed, married last month to longtime partner Kim Catullo.
"A year ago, I was walking with my fiancee," Quinn said. "Today, I'm marching with my wife, my father and the mayor."
Not far behind was a contingent of police officers.
A banner that stretched across Fifth Avenue from sidewalk to sidewalk bore the words Heritage of Pride, a non-profit organization that organizes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender events in New York to commemorate the 1969 riots at Manhattan's Stonewall Inn, which have come to symbolize the gay rights movement.
Marchers holding up the banner included Evette Simmons, a 55-year-old nurse practitioner from Brooklyn.
This year's parade was special because, as a result of the marriage equality law, she said, she and others "are acknowledged as part of a legalized family of love and respect, and this has a ripple effect across the country and the world."
The mayor and City Council speaker stood with their hands over their hearts for the national anthem before a roar of motorcycles signaled the start of the parade with the Sirens lesbian bikers. One woman rolled off holding a cardboard heart with the inscription, "Love is love."
Floating high above the avenue was a giant double arch of multicolored balloons.
Each year since 1970, the parade has had a different theme. This time, it was called "Share the Love." Organizers say they want other states to pass legislation that allows same-sex marriage. Six states and the District of Columbia have legalized gay marriage.
This year marked another first for the movement, with a float carrying active members of the U.S. military who can now openly declare their sexuality while being allowed to serve.
"It's great to be proud of who we are," said Air Force 1st Lt. Josh Seefried, co-director of OutServe, a network of actively serving LGBT military personnel.
However, spectators and participants voiced frustrations over what has yet to be accomplished.
"There are still a lot of issues, like so many homeless gay youth and federal rights for the LGBT community," said 26-year-old Nathan Tabak, of Queens. "But it would be unrealistic to expect that anytime soon, given how conservative the Supreme Court is."
Kim Van Sprundel, a 21-year-old spectator, said her Long Island community of West Islip is "still very conservative, and when I say I'm gay, I get frowned upon, and my parents don't approve."
But on Sunday on Fifth Avenue, she said, "we can celebrate that being gay is OK."
Robert Ordonez, a 40-year-old artist from Spain living in New York, was decked out from head to toe, wearing bright orange boots, blue velvet swimming trunks, a pink T-shirt, a pink leather dog collar and blue feathers around his neck.
Despite the festive attire, he carried some somber advice, saying, "I want to tell gay kids, 'It gets better, so if you get bullied, you don't have to kill yourself.'"

June 23, 2012

La Raza (Largest Latino Org) Endorses Same Sex Marriage

Happy Pride weekend. Here's some more good news on the marriage beat to share with you this beautiful weekend here in New York.
La Raza, the nation's largest Latino civil rights organization, unanimously approved a resolution supporting same-sex marriage equality, the Washington Blade reported exclusively yesterday.
It's getting hard to keep up with all the developments on marriage, in the courts of the federal judiciary and public opinion. Since President Obama came out in support of marriage equality (and naysayers said it would sink him with black and Hispanic voters), the largest black and Hispanic civil rights groups have also come out in support. At the same time, multiple cultural leaders, politicians, and an increasing majority of Americans of all colors have joined in. Since the announcement, every federal court case, ruled on by federal judges appointed by presidents of both parties, has found in favor of marriage equality.
Even ardent Prop 8 defendant David Blankenhorn, who was an expert witness in the court court case trying to uphold the law, came out yesterday in favor of gay marriage.
Who is left to defend denying gays the right to marry?
With their star witness Blankenhorn and their one-time social media director Louis Marinelli abandoning ship, it's going to get awfully lonely for Maggie Gallahger and Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage.
In fact, the fight against same-sex marriage is starting to mirror Obama's election campaign theme, which Politico described like so on Tuesday (emphasis added):
"President Obama's campaign wants to turn Mitt Romney into the candidate of old, straight, white men. Of course, his aides would never state it so crudely. But that's the unmistakable aim of their political strategy of the past two months. The Obama campaign spent weeks playing up the contraception fight and pushing legislation to guarantee women equal pay for equal work ... Obama got pushed into backing gay marriage more quickly than he wanted - but once he did, the campaign milked it for days to try to make Romney look like a throwback. The drumbeat on more affordable student loans has been constant. And now, the president is trying to drive a wedge between Romney and Hispanic voters with a sustained push to soften U.S. deportation policy. ..."
You can follow staff writer Steven Thrasher on twitter (@steven_thrasher) or reach him by email (

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