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Irish Man Who Went Overboard on Atlantis Gay Cruise Identified: Family Seeks Answers

Last Friday I posted about a man who went overboard on the 'Allure of the Seas' Atlantis gay cruise off of Cozumel, Mexico in the Caribbean. That man has now been identified as 30-year-old Kenneth John Gemmell, a native of Bailieborough, Co Cavan, Ireland. Gemmell was a flight attendant with UAE airlines stationed in Dubai.

GemmellIn a statement, Royal Caribbean indicated that Gemmell was seen going overboard at 7:10 am local time and that fact was confirmed by surveillance cameras aboard the ship.

Edward Owen at The Examiner reports that the family is seeking information to bring some closure to their situation:

They are issuing an appeal to anyone on board the ship who might have met Kenneth during the cruise, to touch base with them.  And they particularly would like to hear from the person who witnessed him going overboard.  The family has said they want nothing more than to understand what drove their son, who had just turned 30 last Tuesday, to this.

The family says that some information has already come their way.  One party told them that Kenneth may have been arguing with a ship's crew member (perhaps a bartender) in one of the bars late Thursday night or early Friday morning.  They were also told that the crew member, a man they understood was sharing a room with a Canadian citizen, left the ship in Cozumel.

Because of the lack of information, a family spokesman told that some members of the family are finding it hard to accept that Kenneth actually went overboard.

Anyone who has information on this tragedy is asked to email Michael at  The family says they just want to know what happened to their son.

Ireland's Daily Celt has also confirmed the man's identity.

Just a suggestion, but perhaps Royal Caribbean could share their CCTV footage with the family if, as they say, they have it.

Posted Feb. 8,2012 at 6:37 PM EST by in News, Travel | Permalink | Comments (51)

Washington State Passes Marriage Equality After 55-43 House Vote


Washington state has passed marriage equality after a 55-43 vote in the House. The bill will now go to Governor Chris Gregoire who introduced, and will sign it.

The Herald reports:

Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, the prime sponsor of the bill passed today, and Gregoire watched the debate from the Democratic side of the chamber.

"It took the courage of many legislators who struggled with a difficult issue and decided to do what they believe is best for all Washingtonians to make today's historic vote possible," Murray said in a statement issued before the vote. "It will bring to an end what has been, for me, a 17-year-struggle in the Legislature to recognize the civil rights of gay and lesbian couples in our state.

"I expect a referendum on this issue, and I remain confident that, ultimately, marriage equality will be Washington's law," he said.

Eli Sanders at Seattle paper The Stranger has a liveblog if you'd like to read the archive, and info on what's next:

Once the governor signs the bill—which has to happen within five days of her receiving it from the legislature—referendum mayhem begins. The National Organization for Marriage recently told the Seattle Times that it will file for a referendum on gay marriage "before the ink is dry on the governor's signature." NOM—which spent millions to repeal marriage equality in California and Maine—will then have 90 days from March 8, the scheduled end of the legislative session, to work with its allies to gather 120,557 valid signatures in support of their referendum. If they don't get the required signatures, gay marriages could begin in mid-June. If they do get the signatures—which they probably will—we'll be voting on gay marriage in November. Assuming it passes, gay marriages will begin after the election is certified sometime in December. But don't get excited yet: No state has ever upheld same-sex marriage at the ballot.

Washington will now become the seventh state (New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and Iowa, plus D.C.) to allow same-sex marriage.

Posted Feb. 8,2012 at 6:28 PM EST by | Permalink | Comments (32)

Towleroad Guide to the Tube #1060

AL SHARPTON: Is an American for Marriage Equality.

MAN-CHEESEBURGER MARRIAGE? No doubt Rick Santorum loves Jack in the Box's Super Bowl ad.

NO MORE DOWN LOW: Debunking myths.

WHITE HOUSE SCIENCE FAIR: Obama shoots marshmallow cannon.

For recent Guides to the Tube, click HERE.

Posted Feb. 8,2012 at 5:20 PM EST by in News, Towleroad Guide to the Tube | Permalink | Comments (1)

News: Maggie Gallagher, Barney Frank, Vampire Lestat, Fred Karger

RoadFred Karger makes Republican ballot in California.

RoadObama gets a break on his marriage equality "evolution" with Prop 8 decision. “We were hoping for a very broad ruling that held that there was a right under the Constitution to same sex marriage,” Socarides tells me. “If the court had ruled on those grounds, there would have been more pressure for him to move forward with his evolution on this.”

NnRoadWasn't he a hot piece in the day?

RoadJake Gyllenhaal receives flowers from an older gentleman, who happens to be the director of the Berlin International Film Festival.

RoadThe Making of Gay Marriage's Top Foe: Salon profiles Maggie Gallagher. "The great trauma of Gallagher’s youth, her unplanned pregnancy and subsequent alienation from the father of her child, was rooted in failing to understand that sex and procreation are connected. It is understandable that, having grasped the truth, she is intent on emphasizing its importance."

RoadBuzzfeed on NOM's sneaky, probably illegal system to hide its donors in Minnesota.

RoadEpiscopal Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde calls for marriage equality in Maryland: "Every generation, it seems, has struggled to include someone previously thought to be outside the realm of God’s grace and full humanity. In our time, we in the Episcopal Church have come to understand that God shows no partiality between straight and gay people. Not every same-sex couple is a paragon of holiness, but neither is every heterosexual couple. Life long relationships are hard, which is why the support of religious and societal institutions is so important."

RoadRyan Gosling rocks a set of specs and a tight white T in Thailand.

RoadKelly Clarkson covers Madonna's "Crazy for You".

StonestreetRoadEric Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson respond to the Prop 8 decision on WhoSay.

RoadRobert Pattinson on fame: "You can say, 'Oh if I was still unknown, then no-one would judge me,' but at the same time, nobody would give a shit, either."

RoadTom Cruise's son Connor didn't like his rep's "gay ass tweet".

RoadBarney Frank to marry in July: "In a conversation Tuesday with USA TODAY, Frank said they have set a July wedding date in Massachusetts, where same-sex marriage is legal. Ready is a resident of Maine, where it is not. The nuptials will make Frank the first member of Congress to have a legal gay marriage. It will also serve as a bookend to his congressional career, as Frank has already announced that he will not seek re-election."

RoadVoice of Christian Youth America joins call for JC Penney to fire Ellen: "Does it offend you, when you hear what retailers now—putting icons before you and your kids who are known, and according to some, flaming homosexuals?"

RoadDaniel Radcliffe: The Oscars snubbed Harry Potter.

ClearRoadYour flower arrangement has arrived.

RoadHHS updates website, enables search for health plans covering same-sex partners.

RoadGay Indian man commits suicide after lover marries a woman: "Police said the victim, Narmada Prasad, a resident of Bhainsa village hung himself in his house when he came to know that his lover Rajesh was getting engaged. Prasad dressed himself in bridal finery and wrote his lover's name in red on his forehead before taking the extreme step."

RoadState of Iowa erases lesbian mother from birth certificate: " After the loss of their son, Jenny and Jessica filled out the spaces on the death certificate form for both parents, and indicated that they were married. IDPH sent the couple a death certificate with Jenny’s name erased."

RoadThe Vampire Lestat could be returning to the big screen: "Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment has optioned the rights to Anne Rice’s The Tale of the Body Thief, the fourth book in Rice’s best-selling series The Vampire Chronicles."

Posted Feb. 8,2012 at 3:50 PM EST by | Permalink | Comments (19)

Marriage Equality Bill Introduced in Illinois

A marriage equality bill has been introduced in Illinois by Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago), the Chicago Phoenix reports:

Harris“It marks the next step in our journey toward full marriage equality in our state,” Harris told Chicago Phoenix. “It’s not going to happen quickly, it’s not going to happen without a lot of hard work.”

Harris, however, said that the bill was introduced today due to deadlines for new legislation, and that he has always worked to achieve marriage equality. Harris, who is openly-gay, has devoted his career to it, he said.

“They call it a struggle for a reason,” Harris said. “We all have to keep calling our legislators, talk to our religious leaders and work hard to make this happen.”

If passed, the new law would amend the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act,  allowing the voluntary conversion of a civil union to a marriage.

IllinoisOut lesbian lawmakers Rep. Deborah Mell (40th District) and Rep. Kelly M. Cassidy (14th District) are co-sponsors of the bill.

Writes Equality Illinois CEO Bernard Cherkasov in an email:

We commend these leaders for taking yet another step towards full equality for lesbian and gay families in Illinois, and we are grateful to them for their leadership. This is just the beginning: the road to marriage equality is sure to be long, but it is one that we must travel together.

In following experiences of thousands of couples in civil unions over the past year, we confirmed what we always suspected to be true: that creating a separate institution to provide substantially the same rights did not add up to full equality under the law. A pharmacist who denied prescription pick-up to the patient's civil union partner didn't think it's the same thing as marriage. A coroner who refused to issue a death certificate to civil union partner survivor did not think that civil unions are the same as marriage. Tax preparers, estate planners, employers and employees do not think that civil unions are the same as marriage. Separate is not equal. And we at Equality Illinois will not rest until gay and lesbian couples in every corner of the state - who are equal in love - are also equal in marriage.

Posted Feb. 8,2012 at 2:56 PM EST by in Deborah Mell, Gay Marriage, Illinois, News | Permalink | Comments (23)

CNN's Roland Martin Suspended Over Homophobic Tweets

R_martinAfter days of pressure from GLAAD over tweets CNN contributor Roland Martin wrote during the Super Bowl, one in which he mocked men who wear pink, and another in which he advocated violence toward men attracted to men (specifically, male fans of David Beckham), the cable news network has taken action and suspended Martin.

Writes the network in a statement:

“Roland Martin’s tweets were regrettable and offensive. Language that demeans is inconsistent with the values and culture of our organization, and is not tolerated. We have been giving careful consideration to this matter, and Roland will not be appearing on our air for the time being.”

Martin posted two apologies on his blog since the Super Bowl, one of which said, in part:

As someone who has spoken out forcefully against bigotry against African Americans and other minorities, as well as sexism against women, I fully understand how a group who has been unfairly treated would be offended by such comments, and, again, I am sorry for any offense my remarks caused.

One of Martin's offensive tweets:


GLAAD released a statement in response to Martin's suspension:

“CNN today took a strong stand against anti-LGBT violence and language that demeans any community,” said GLAAD spokesperson Rich Ferraro. “Yesterday, Martin also spoke out against anti-LGBT violence. We look forward to hearing from CNN and Roland Martin to discuss how we can work together as allies and achieve our common goal of reducing such violence as well as the language that contributes to it.”

Posted Feb. 8,2012 at 2:43 PM EST by in News, Roland Martin | Permalink | Comments (40)


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