Over 400 people staged a gay kiss-in in front of the Russian consulate in Antwerp to protest that nation's anti-gay laws, according to LGBTQ Nation. The event entitled "To Russia With Love" was timed to coincide with the end of the World Out Games which were taking place in Antwerp. No doubt the organizers also intended to draw a parallel between those games and the upcoming Sochi Olympics that have drawn so much attention and scrutiny. Protesters called on the IOC to pull the Olympics from Russia given the nation's intolerance for gays and lesbians. The crowd outside the consulate was a diverse group including athletes from the Out Games, prominent Belgian officials who came to show support and at least one notable guest, Yury Gavirkov, Chair of St. Petersburg Pride, who was recently arrested in Russia for his role in attempting to orchestrate that city's pride festival.
Watch the kiss-in in action AFTER THE JUMP...
Over the weekend, MSNBC's Steve Kornacki gathered The New Republic's Julia Ioffe, Rashad Robinson from ColorofChange.org, former senior advisor in the Clinton administration, Richard Socarides, and former Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA) for his morning talk show UP with Steve Kornacki to discuss the human rights abuses against LGBT people in Russia, the Sochi Olympics, calls for boycotts and the President's recent remarks on the subject.
Watch the gang discuss, among other things, "the global gay cabal" AFTER THE JUMP...
Out gay Canadian singer Chris Munro has released a steamy music video for his new single, "Go." Munro, who jumped into the entertainment game somewhat late compared to other artists, talks about how his inhibitions and fears held him back from going after his dreams:
“Growing up I never thought somebody like me could possibly do something that I really wanted to do. So I went to school for Economics! But as the culture started to shift to be more accepting of gay artists—and more importantly as I became more accepting of myself—I got inspired to chase my dreams with no regrets. Ever since I started writing and performing music people have told me to hide the fact that I’m gay so I would be accepted by a mainstream audience. My response is always the same: If I can’t be myself than why would I even bother to create music in the first place?”
Check out the (possibly work-unfriendly) video AFTER THE JUMP...
Some big, late-night news this weekend from BuzzFeed's Chris Geidner: new policy guidelines established by the Social Security Adminstration after the Supreme Court's invalidation of the Defense of Marriage Act will limit benefits to only those same-sex couples who live in states with marriage equality. From Geidner's report:
As of Friday, a new section for “Windsor Same-Sex Marriage Claims” — named after the Supreme Court case of United States v. Windsor, which resulted in a part of the Defense of Marriage Act being struck down — was added to the Social Security Administration’s Program Operations Manual System (POMS), which the agency describes as the primary source of information used by Social Security employees to process claims for Social Security benefits.
The claims processing instructions “allow for payment of claims” when the claimant “was married in a state that permits same-sex marriage” and “is domiciled at the time of application, or while the claim is pending a final determination, in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage.”
As Geidner points out, the SSA had announced in a press release earlier late day that it would be making "some" payments to same-sex couples in valid marriages and praised the Supreme Court's ruling as a victory for fairness and equality.
In an update to his post early Saturday morning, Geidner linked to Volokh Conspiracy blogger Will Baude, who hypothesized in his own post on the legal analysis site that the SSA's decision was predicated in part on a specific statute pertaining to marital law as it applies to social security claims:
An applicant is the wife, husband, widow, or widower of a fully or currently insured individual for purposes of this title if the courts of the State in which such insured individual is domiciled at the time such applicant files an application. [emphasis Baude's]
In response to the Supreme Court's DOMA decision, a majority of federal agencies--such as the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of Personnel Management--have opted to look to the laws of the state in which a couple was married as opposed to the state of the couple's residence in order to determine marital status. These determinations have taken place largely through executive review alone.
If Baude is correct, however, the SSA's hands may essentially be tied by the statute in question. That would mean any fix for the issue will likely need to be a legislative one.
K-Fed got married in Vegas over the weekend.
Tom Hiddleston serenades Christina Hendricks with "The Bare Necessities."
Is this the softer side of Sears?
Will the future of high-speed travel be unveiled today?: "[SpaceX CEO and Chief Designer Elon] Musk has been dropping hints about his "Hyperloop" system for more than a year during public events, mentioning that it could never crash, would be immune to weather and would move people from Los Angeles to San Francisco in half an hour.
Broadway's best gay showmances.
New trailer for Tom Hanks' Somali pirate thriller Captain Phillips.
Eydie Gorme passed away Saturday at 84.
Justin Bieber should buy that guitar a drink. Oh wait. He can't.
Science Museum follows that old adage "sex sells" in attempt to lure museum-goers: "The Science World museum in Vancouver got hot and heavy in an ad for its "Science of Sexuality" show, which runs until Sept. 2 and explores sexual development while aiming to put sexuality in a positive light. The ad's caption reads, 'Orgasms Can Kill Pain.'"
Lea Michele gave an emotional tribute to Cory Monteith at The Teen Choice Awards yesterday: "I just wanted to be here today to personally thank all of you and tell everyone out there how much all of your love and support has meant to me over these very difficult past few weeks...For all of you out there who loved and admired Cory as much as I did, I promise that with your love, we’re going to get through this together. He was very special to me and also to the world and we were very lucky to witness his incredible talent, his handsome smile, and his beautiful beautiful heart. So whether you knew him personally or just as Finn Hudson, Cory reached out and he became a part of all of our hearts, and that’s where he’ll stay forever.”
In other Glee news, a Glee stage musical is apparently in the works.
Three Baltimore researchers have successfully changed a group of carnivorous fish into vegetarians.
Queen Latifah will not be discussing her sexuality or her personal life on her new talk show.
Florida sink hole causes resort near Walt Disney World to partially collapse.
Happy Male Model Monday.
Archaeological site in western Pennsylvania may hold the key to knowing when humans first came to North America: "As a young archaeologist, Jim Adovasio found radiocarbon evidence that humans had visited the Meadowcroft site 16,000 years ago. To archaeologists it was a stunning discovery that contradicted the so-called Clovis first theory, which dated the first settlement in the Americas to New Mexico about 13,000 years ago."
A federal judge has ruled that NY's controversial "stop-and-frisk" policy violates rights, appoints independent monitor to oversee changes to policy.
U.S. Ambassador to Australia John Berry married his partner of 17 years, Curtis Yee, this past Saturday in Washington, D.C. The service was held at St. Margaret's Episcopal Church and was attended by family and close friends of the couple, including the Secretary Of the Department of the Interior, who joined the couple for a reception at their home following the ceremony. Berry was recently appointed to his new post by President Obama, making him the first out gay ambassador to a G-20 nation.
Australian Marriage Equality national convener, Rodney Croome, congratulated the couple and used the occasion to speak out about marriage equality in his own country:
"It's a happy time when any couple marries and I congratulate John Berry and Curtis Lee on their special day and wish them well for their married life together. Sadly, they join hundreds of other same-sex couples whose overseas same-sex marriages aren't recognised under Australian law. It will be a source of deep embarrassment for many Australians that our law fails to respect the marriage of the chief representative of our closest friend and ally, the United States."
Though same-sex marriage is not legal in Australia, for the first time in a while, there is hope that may change. Australia's new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has recently shown his support for legalizing same-sex marriage in the land of Oz. However, with a September 7 election looming it is uncertain whether Rudd will trounce his conservative opponent, Tony Abbott. Should Rudd win he has pledged to make marriage equality a reality within 100 days.
Commenting on the upcoming election, Croome added:
"Kevin Rudd's commitment is a reminder not just that marriage equality is important, but that it is urgent. This increases pressure on Tony Abbott to commit to a conscience vote so marriage equality can finally be passed...This election provides voters with the opportunity to vote for love, by electing candidates who support marriage equality."
You'll recall back in June Australia's previous Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, who opposed marriage equality, was ousted in favor of pro-equality minister Rudd.
Congratulations to the happy couple!