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News: Ryan Lochte, Anthony Kennedy, Frank Ocean, Damian Lewis

RoadColorado Governor to sign civil union bill.

RoadYoung opponents of same-sex marriage fight on.

RoadRhode Island Senate Judiciary Committee holding hearing on marriage equaliy today.

F_oceanRoadFrank Ocean models for Band of Outsiders.

RoadRyan Gosling puts acting career on hold. "I've been doing it too much. I've lost perspective on what I'm doing."

RoadMissile defense shield for the East Coast? "In 2012, Jacoby said the state of the threat did not necessitate an East Coast missile field. In his testimony Tuesday, he did not make a request for such a site but said that it would be wise to keep 'options open' as the threat from Iran develops."

RoadAlexander Skarsgard is a Man of the World.

RoadAndrew Sullivan's declaration of independence.

RoadUgandan President Yoweri Museveni says publicity around anti-gay persecution there is distorted: "'In our society, there were a few homosexuals. There was no persecution, no killings and no marginalization of these people but they were regarded as deviants. Sex among Africans including heterosexuals is confidential,' Museveni said. 'If am to kiss my wife in public, I would lose an election in Uganda. Western people exhibit sexual acts in public which we don’t do here,' he said, adding that, Africans do even punish heterosexuals who publically expose their sexual acts."

RoadDamian Lewis dishes on Homeland Season 3.

LochteRoadRyan Lochte teases new reality show in wet t-shirt.

RoadEuropean Space Agency releases most precise map so far of the oldest light in the universe: "While the basic 'big bang' picture of our universe's birth is confirmed, the unexplained aspects of the data are where the real excitement lies because these could be signposts to new physics."

RoadAn interview with San Francisco AIDS Foundation CEO Neil Giuliano.

RoadBeyoncé for H&M.

RoadSacramento man assaulted in suspected hate crime: "At D and 20th Street, at 10:13 p.m., a man in his 40s was approached by a man who came up from behind and made derogatory statements using gay slurs, according to the Sacramento Police Department. The suspect was described as a black man, between 28 and 34 years old, 5’10”, with a heavy build and wearing a dark green T-shirt and blue jeans. A second suspect hit the victim in the lower extremity with a bat while using derogatory slurs, the SPD reported."

RoadMichael Phelps says he's not competing at Rio Olympics, treats us to Speedo shot anyway.

RoadAndrew Belonsky travels to Jackson Hole.

KennedyRoadWill Kennedy swing in equality's direction?

RoadThe Pebble watch begins the smartwatch revolution: "The device itself is a fascinating, mind-opening extension of the smartphone. You wouldn’t know the inconvenience of reading your text messages on the phone retrieved from your pocket until they pop up seamlessly on the device sitting coolly on your wrist. But you wouldn’t know you had a dumbwatch until a guy on the Internet asks for some money to create something smarter, either."

RoadArchbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby admits church faces "challenge over gay relationships: "The 105th archbishop of Canterbury and leader of the worldwide Anglican community, who will become the first holder of the office to be enthroned by a woman at the afternoon ceremony, has written to Peter Tatchell offering to discuss his attitude to gay marriage after the veteran campaigner criticised it in an open letter."

RoadChaz Bono discusses weight loss with the Daily Beast: “It used to be a big production for me with dinner,” remembers Bono, who continues to be an advocate for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. “But now it’s just chicken breast and whatever I put together. It’s not so important anymore to me. Those delivery meals began to all taste alike too, so I stopped that.”

Posted Mar. 21,2013 at 3:45 PM EST by | Permalink | Comments (4)

Obama Heckled During Speech to Israeli Youth: VIDEO


President Obama was heckled during a speech to Israeli students today at the International Convention Center in Jerusalem.

Said Obama after letting the heckler quiet down:

"This is part of the lively debate that we talked about...I have to say we actually arranged for that because it made me feel at home. I wouldn’t feel comfortable if I didn’t have at least one heckler."


The WaPo reports:

The man was shouting in Hebrew. According to a White House pool report, he was referencing Jonathan Pollard, an American who pleaded guilty in 1986 to passing top-secret information to Israel.

And here's the NYT report on the "enthusiastically welcomed" speech.

Posted Mar. 21,2013 at 3:03 PM EST by in Barack Obama, Israel, News | Permalink | Comments (21)

Pew Research Reveals Numbers Behind Surge in Support for Marriage Equality


A new research paper from Pew reveals some numbers behind the shift in favor of marriage equality:

The long-term shift in the public’s views about same- sex marriage is unambiguous. Polling conducted in 2003 found most Americans (58%) opposed to allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally, and just a third (33%) in favor. The new survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted March 13-17, 2013 among 1,501 adults nationwide, confirms that these figures have crossed, with 49% supporting same-sex marriage, and 44% opposed.

The new survey finds 70% of “Millennials” – born since 1980 and age 18-32 today – in favor of same-sex marriage. That is far higher than the support among older generations. But two other factors also make the views of this group significant. Millennial support for same-sex marriage has grown substantially over the past decade, from 51% in 2003 to 70% today. And Millennials make up a larger share of the adult population today. In 2003, Millennials made up just 9% of the adult population. Today, 27% of adults are in the Millennial generation.

Support for same-sex marriage also has increased among older generations over the past decade. For example, in 2003, just 17% of those in the Silent generation – born between 1928 and 1945 – favored same-sex marriage; today 31% do.

The most commonly cited reason for the change of heart — offered by one in three respondents — is that they know someone who is gay.  Interestingly, that’s the reason Ohio Sen. Rob Portman gave for his decision to come out in support of gay marriage recently; Portman’s son, Will, told his parents two years ago that he is gay.
Other regularly-mentioned reasons for changing opinions on gay marriage include “grown more open/thought about it more” (25 percent), “it’s inevitable” (18 percent) and “everyone is free to choose” (18 percent).

Doc Sweitzer, a Democratic media consultant based in Philadelphia, offered another take on why attitudes on gay marriage have shifted. “Here’s the answer: Television,” Sweitzer wrote in an email to the Fix. “It’s the greatest socializing tool of all time.

Read the full Pew Research paper HERE.

Posted Mar. 21,2013 at 2:11 PM EST by in Gay Marriage, News, Polls | Permalink | Comments (21)

Osmond Family Hosting Anti-Gay Rally at Utah Capitol


To coincide with the Supreme Court's consideration of marriage cases demanding equality for gay and lesbian Americans, the Osmond family is holding a "pro-family" rally at the Utah Capitol "benefitting the protection of marriage" from gay and lesbian Americans.

No word if Marie Osmond and her lesbian daughter are attending.

(via good as you)

Posted Mar. 21,2013 at 1:32 PM EST by in Donny Osmond, Marie Osmond, News | Permalink | Comments (64)

What the Prop 8 and DOMA Cases Really Mean


SupremesThe Supreme Court will hear nearly three hours of arguments in Windsor v. United States and Hollingsworth v. Perry on March 26 and 27 to determine if DOMA and Prop 8 are constitutional. In the coming days, I will review and summarize some of the central legal questions in those cases. For today, I would like to take a longer view, focusing on what sometimes gets lost in the legal, political, and media coverage of the cases: the real way in which these cases will change the daily lives of every gay person.

Law sometimes seems so esoteric and arcane that legal professionals and laypersons alike complain that the system is rigged, that only politics matters, or that it doesn't matter which way a judge decides because it won't affect our daily lives either way. Not true, especially for these cases. Even a decision on some of the most highfalutin legal concepts -- the level of scrutiny a judge should use to determine whether a given statutory classification of persons satisfies constitutional requirements, for example -- could have a direct impact on the relationship between gay persons and the state and, therefore, on how we live our lives.

Like Lawrence v. Texas, which changed all gay persons from presumptive criminals to members of a constitutionally protected class, Windsor and Hollingsworth could make gays fully equal under the law, with the remaining discrimination falling steadily like dominoes. The latter two cases, to be decided almost exactly 10 years to the day after Lawrence, ask if there is any legitimate reason to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. If no such reason exists -- which it doesn't -- it's hard to imagine how any anti-gay discrimination could ever be permitted again.


Edie_theaWindsor and Hollingsworth will certainly change the lives of at least 5 people. Don't forget that at the heart of these cases are the indomitable Edie Windsor (at the center of the DOMA challenge), and (responsible for the challenge to Prop 8) a couple of smart, professional woman, Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, and a couple of regular guys, Jeff Zarrillo and Paul Katami. And, Ms. Windsor is not just challenging DOMA because she was forced to cut a $350,000 check to the U.S. government because she is gay. She is challenging DOMA because the discriminatory law devalues the life she spent with her late wife, Thea Spyer, and it devalues Thea's memory in death: Because of DOMA Section 3, it was as if Thea died without ever knowing Edie. It treats them as strangers, as less connected than Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries, or you and your cab driver, or you and the guy who just hooked up your cable. These are the effects of 61 words in the federal code and they are devastating.

Ms. Perry and Ms. Stier, along with Mssrs. Zarrillo and Katami, just want to get married. A decision striking down Prop 8 will let them, and thousands of other committed gay couples, affirm their commitments and emerge from second-class citizen status. Sure, they will get the tangible benefits of marriage, but an end to Prop 8 will mean much more.

We know all this. We have been talking about the importance of the freedom to marry for years. But, these cases have the opportunity to do nothing less than change the relationship between gay persons and the state, much like Lawrence did 10 years ago. Back then, when states could criminalize our most intimate behavior, our community looked with longing eyes to anything that was better than being presumptive criminals. Obtaining second-class citizen status seemed like a victory. Today, we are, at best, second-class citizens, longing for the full equality we have always deserved. Hollingsworth and Windsor have the power to give us that equality under the law.

That does not mean that all vestiges of discrimination will fall apart if the Supreme Court issues pro-equality decisions in the DOMA and Prop 8 cases. There is employment discrimination, tacit and overt discrimination in public accommodations, rampant abuse and harassment of gay persons in schools, the workplace, and the military that are not addressed, and a plethora of other ways in which gays are still burdened by anti-gay hatred.

But, the Court could issue a decision that delegitimizes the rationales for all of these forms of discrimination in the following three ways:

First, the Court could say that anti-gay discrimination merits heightened scrutiny, which would mean that few laws would ever pass constitutional muster. That would be the easiest path to full equality under the law, but it is not clear to me that a majority of this Court is ready to make a clear statement mandating heightened scrutiny.

Second, the Court could muddle along without making any clear statement about scrutiny, but find that no justification for DOMA or Prop 8 pass even the lowest form of constitutional scrutiny. This may seem less helpful than a heightened scrutiny holding, but since it is a fact that discrimination against gays in all areas has often been justified on similar grounds, a declaration that those justifications are irrational would delegitimize the bases for all other forms of discrimination.

Third, any pro-equality decision from the Court has the expressive effect of telling traditionalists and discriminators that they are increasingly part of the fringe and that the policies they push are illegitimate, antiquated, and morally wrong. The end to marriage discrimination says that gays are equal. And, a clear statement from the Supreme Court in that regard says that discrimination against gays is just wrong. With an end to Prop 8 and DOMA, American law will catch up to its people. The dominoes will fall from there.


Ari Ezra Waldman teaches at Brooklyn Law School and is concurrently getting his PhD at Columbia University in New York City. He is a 2002 graduate of Harvard College and a 2005 graduate of Harvard Law School. His research focuses on technology, privacy, speech, and gay rights. Ari will be writing weekly posts on law and various LGBT issues. You can follow him on Twitter at @ariezrawaldman.

Posted Mar. 21,2013 at 12:33 PM EST by in Ari Ezra Waldman, DOMA, Edie Windsor, Gay Marriage, News, Proposition 8, Supreme Court | Permalink | Comments (20)

Starbucks CEO to Shareholder: 'You Can Sell Your Shares' if You Don't Like Company's Support for Marriage Equality

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz shot down a shareholder who grilled him about the company's support for marriage equality at the annual shareholders meeting in Seattle yesterday, KPLU reports:

SchultzAt the company’s annual meeting Wednesday, shareholder Tom Strobhar suggested that the boycott had indeed bled the company of value.

“In the first fill quarter after this boycott was announced, our sales and our earrings — shall we say politely — were a bit disappointing,” he said.

CEO Howard Schultz shot back that the decision to back gay marriage was not about the bottom line, but about respecting diversity. He said the company had delivered a healthy return last year, boycott or no.

“If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38 percent you got last year, it’s a free country. You can sell your shares of Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thank you very much,” he said, to loud applause from the audience.

Business Journal adds:

Schultz summed up the company’s position by saying, “Not every decision is an economic decision.”

“The lens we use to make decisions is the lens of our people. We want to embrace diversity,” said Schultz to a loud swell of applause from shareholders and Starbucks staffers attending the annual meeting.

Listen to audio of the exchange here.

Last year, Schultz fielded a question from a representative of the National Organization for Marriage, Jonathan Baker, before shooting him down, saying support for marriage equality was "not a difficult decision for us."

Posted Mar. 21,2013 at 12:07 PM EST by in Gay Marriage, News, Starbucks | Permalink | Comments (33)


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