As previously reported, just after midnight EST tonight, same-sex couples will be able to get married in the Garden State.
Newark Mayor and Senator-elect Cory Booker will be joining in on the action and officiating tonight as seven couples say, "I do" in Newark.
You can watch live coverage of one of the first ceremonies taking place in Lambertville, New Jersey HERE.
Also of note was Senator-elect Booker's response to a question he received on Twitter regarding his advocacy for LGBT rights: "It shouldn't matter either way. RT @MrsCommodore @chrisjohnson82 So are you gay, Cory? Curious."
Tonight will be the first time Booker has officiated a wedding while holding public office. NewJersey.com points out, "Since taking office in 2006, Mayor Booker has refused all requests to officiate New Jersey marriages because gay and lesbian couples have been denied that equal right," city spokesman James Allen said in a statement."
UPDATE: Joanne Schailey and Beth Asaro were married just after midnight tonight, becoming one of the first couples to marry in New Jersey. Congratulations to the happy couple!
You can watch a news report from earlier today on the events leading up to the couple's nuptials HERE.
Christine Forster, the gay sister of newly elected Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, an opponent of same-sex marriage, has announced she is engaged to her partner, Virginia Edwards, according to New Idea:
"We got engaged when we were away with friends on a trip to Broken Hill [located in the New South Wales outback]," Christine, 49, tells during a warm and revealing chat at the couple’s inner Sydney home.
With wedding plans afoot, the couple have all but settled on a venue and guest list.
"And instead of bridesmaids, we’re going to have drag queens," laughs Virginia, 56. Christine adds: "It will be close friends and family. Tony and Margie will definitely be there."
Abbott recently got into something a skirmish with singer Katy Perry over his views on same-sex marriage while on a live radio show.
Forster's announcement also comes shortly after the Australian Captial (ACT) Territory moved to legalize gay marriage. Abbott, who has previously belittled gay marriage, referring to it as "the fashion of the moment," has already taken action against the proposed legislation in the ACT, with his Conservative coalition announcing earlier this month that it would file a legal challenge to the measure.
(Photo via New Idea)
A new law proposed by Russian MP Alexei Zhuravlyov that would strip gay parents of their children on the grounds that homosexual parents cause "more harm than an orphanage" has been temporarily tabled, according to BuzzFeed:
The move came to light after LGBT rights activists noticed the bill had been noted as “withdrawn” on the website of the State Duma, Russia’s parliament. A spokesperson for Alexei Zhuravlyov, the far right MP who tabled the bill, later confirmed the move, but said it would be resubmitted after some changes were made.
“It’s being recalled for revision — certain legal formulations will be clarified, and then after some points are removed, it will be brought to the State Duma again,” Sofia Cherepanova, Zhuravlyov’s spokesperson, told RIA-Novosti, a state-run news agency. “We hope to pass the bill.”
As previously reported, the Russian Parliament was set to debate the bill in February 2014, the same month as the Sochi Olympics. However, with the broad coverage of Russia's abominable record on gay rights, some believe that Russian officials decided to sweep the legislation in question under the rug until the media feeding frenzy surrounding the persecution of LGBT people in Russia dies down.
Should the bill eventually pass, homosexuality would be added to the list of reasons why the Russian state can remove a child from his/her parent, a list that currently includes alcoholism, abandonment, and abuse.
David Mixner points out a wonderful video posted by The New York Times about a couple together for more than 46 years, Lewis Duckett and Billy Jones, who recently got married. The couple were first introduced by a mutual friend. "Before either one of us knew it, we were in love," said Jones. They survived Jones's deployment to Vietnam (they wrote to each other in code), and went on to have children and grandchildren together.
"For most of our forty-six years together, it's been, 'I don't know sort of where I stop and where he begins,' it's been that kind of blending," according to Jones.
The couple has been officially married a little over three months now, and while Duckett points out that, "nothing really feels different," he adds, "It's an enhancement to the relationship that we had."
Watch the full video AFTER THE JUMP...
As planned, Montenegro's capital of Podgorica held its first gay pride march today. While only an estimated 150 people marched, the event drew approximately 1,500 extremists who sought to disrupt the event, ultimately forcing police intervention, The Guardian reports.
Montenegran President Filip Vujanović had previously promised the group Queer Montenegro, who organized the march, that the government would do everything within its power to guarantee the safety of those involved. By all accounts, the government seems to have made good on that promise. Despite an explosion at the perimeter of the march, a barrage of rocks being hurled at marchers, and twelve protesters who came armed with molotov cocktails (all of whom were arrested by police), there are no reports that anyone who took part in the march was injured, according to BuzzFeed. Two thousand police officers, approximately fifty-percent of Montenegro's entire police force, were on hand for the event, Historia IME reports. Twenty police officers were injured and fourty extremist "hooligans" were also hurt as Police and anti-gay protesters butted heads throughout the day.
The march in Podgorica comes as just the second Pride event in the country's history. As previously reported, the small town of Budva held its first Pride in July of this year. That event was also marred by the presence of anti-gay protesters. However, an important distinction between the march in Budva and the one in Podgorica was the presence and involvement of the government. BuzzFeed reports:
Activists were heartened by the presence of Montenegro’s minister of human and minority rights, Suad Numanović, which they took as a gesture of the government’s commitment to protecting LGBT rights. No government officials took part in the Budva march.
“In Budva, the message was … this is the Montenegro which does not support LGBT people,” said Ljiljiana Reicević, a march participant who also attended the Budva pride march. “But Podgorica is totally different. It proves that the government is stating, ‘No, We will not allow this [violence], we will stop this, and we will protect you.’”
Many have speculated that Montenegro's desire to join the European Union is a key factor behind the government's staunch support for the march in Podgorica, especially considering that dignitaries such as Mitja Drobnič, head of the European Union’s mission to Montenegro, and Laurent L. Stokvis, the Dutch ambassador to Serbia, were on hand for the event. Moreover, as BuzzFeed notes, Minister Numanović seems to believe that "Demonstrating progress towards securing LGBT rights is crucial to Montenegro’s aspirations to one day be part of the European Union":
“On the road to European integration, the government of Montenegro has shown its democratic capacity [and the pride march] shows that Montenegrin society is maturing in the protection of all minorities, including members of the LGBT community,” he said.
That was the message received by Ambassador Stokvis. “I think it is of great significance that the LGBT community here is holding this pride [and] that it is being supported and it is being safeguarded by the Montenegran government,” he said. “This of course a sign of democracy, about the right to assemble, the right to demonstrate, and the right to free speech … important values for all of us, for the European Union and for the Netherlands in particular.”
Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka up the adorable quotient, dressing the entire family in costumes from Alice in Wonderland for a Halloween party yesterday. The duo dressed up as Tweedledee and Tweedledum while daughter Harper went as Alice and son Gideon as the March Hare.
Shia LaBeouf tweets semi-full frontal still from upcoming flick, Charlie Countryman (possibly NSFW).
We're only hours away from marriage equality in New Jersey!
Speaker of the House John Boehner on why the government shutdown ensued, after he promised it wouldn't: "I got overrun, that’s what happened."
In San Francisco, two Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) workers were hit and killed by train one day after BART union workers went on strike.
Picasso overload: 29 works by the famed Spanish painter hit the auction block at the same time.
Suicide bombing in Baghdad kills 35, wounds 45.
As previously reported, Bravo's Andy Cohen will be hosting a ten year reunion of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy tonight. Will you be watching?
White House brings in 'best and brightest' to help fix Obamacare website.
Ben Cohen's StandUp Foundation, an organization that works to eradicate bullying and advance equality, has a new line of t-shirts, hats and hoodies available for purchase.
Archaeologists unearth pre-Viking age monuments in Sweden: "As archaeologists dug in preparation for a new railway line, they found traces of two rows of wooden pillars in Old Uppsala, an ancient pagan religious center. One stretched about 1,000 yards (1 kilometer) and the other was half as long. Archaeologist Lena Beronius-Jorpeland said the colonnades were likely from the 5th century but their purpose is unclear. She called it Sweden's largest Iron Age construction and said the geometrical structure is unique. Old Uppsala is known as a center for Norse religion, where believers gathered to sacrifice animals to gods such as Odin and Thor. The colonnades were found near a famous burial site where the three Iron Age kings Aun, Egil and Adils are believed to be buried."
Apparently it was national baking week in the UK. This seems like an appropriate way to commemorate the occasion.
Katy Perry drops new lyric video for "Unconditionally."
Sandra Bullock demonstrates what commitment to your Halloween costume really looks like.
Bluegrass group Beef Seeds offers rousing rendition of Lorde's "Royals."
Posted Oct. 20,2013 at 4:31 PM EST by Sean Mandell in Andy Cohen, Ben Cohen, Benedict Cumberbatch, Iraq, John Boehner, Katy Perry, Neil Patrick Harris, New Jersey, News, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, San Francisco, Sandra Bullock, Shia LaBeouf | Permalink | Comments (3)