Two new marriage lawsuits were filed this week, in Michigan and North Dakota, making a total of 74 cases in 32 states around the country.
The attorney for Bruce Morgan and Brian Merucci filed the suit Wednesday in Federal court.
The couple had been married in New York and since their marriage is recognized on the federal level, they contend it should be recognized in Michigan as well.
Morgan and Merucci have been a committed relationship for seven years. In 2011, Morgan was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer. He released a statement through his attorney Stephanie Myott from the law firm Rhoades McKee: "If I am in the hospital, I want to know that Brian can be there at my bedside as my spouse and that the hospital will recognize the decisions he makes regarding my care."
Myott contends when federal Judge Friedman struck down Michigan's ban on gay marriage in March, Morgan and Merucci's marriage became valid.
Here's the full press release on the Michigan case.
And North Dakota got its second lawsuit, from Lambda Legal:
The 33-page complaint filed by Janet Jorgensen and Cynthia Phillips, who were legally married in Minnesota, says the couple is treated as "legal strangers" in their home state. It says North Dakota's law violates the equal protection and due process clause in the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
A bill introduced to the Senate on Thursday by Massachusetts senator Ed Markey (D, right) aims to create an LGBT envoy to promote equal rights abroad. The bill is backed by over twenty other democrats, and although it faces a difficult approval process, it is an exciting step toward LGBT-related diplomacy, particularly given the recent upswing in anti-gay violence in countries ranging from France to Uganda. The official title of the bill is "The International Human Rights Defense Act."
“For the United States to hold true to our commitment to defending the human rights of all people around the world, we must stand with the LGBT community in their struggle for recognition and equality everywhere,” Markey said in a statement to BuzzFeed. “By fostering a coordinated effort across the federal government and relevant agencies, we can meet the enormous challenge before us and work to ensure equality for all people around the globe.”
In addition to creating the envoy’s office, the bill would direct the State Department to “devise a global strategy” to prevent discrimination and violence against LGBT people and coordinate with LGBT-rights advocates in other countries and in international organizations.
If the bill were to pass, it would be a firm indication of a shift in American diplomacy, away from the George W. Bush era, when the U.S. blocked prioritization of LGBT rights in the UN. Though President Obama does not have the best track record with the LGBT community, including a continued refusal to sign the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, he could have the chance to create the envoy post without a congressional vote.
Currently, twelve human rights organizations are endorsing the bill, including the American Jewish World Service and the Council for Global Equality.
We will keep Towleroad readers posted as the bill is discussed in Senate.
Ricky Martin took advantage of a situation and crafted an inspired, brave moment while performing at the Mawazine World Rhythms Festival in Morocco last week. Altering the lyrics of a popular love song from "she" to "he," Martin took a stand for gay rights in a country where one can be imprisoned for homosexuality.
Think Progress reports:
“It’s the way he makes me feel/ It’s the only thing that’s real,” the singer croons, in a video that’s posted online. “It’s the way he understands / He’s my lover, he’s my friend / When I look into his eyes it’s the way I feel inside / Like the man I want to be / He’s all I ever need.”
Under article 489 in Morocco’s penal code, being gay is a crime punishable by imprisonment. While there is something of a gay community in the country,arrests do happen. Just a month ago, six men there were jailed for being gay.
Way to go, Ricky!
Check out the video, AFTER THE JUMP...
Powell's, the largest independent bookstore in the world (located in Portland, OR), became the site of an adorable same-sex marriage proposal this week. Towleroad reader Clayton told us that he thought he was going to a friend's book signing when, lo and behold, now-fiance Ryan got down on one knee.
Congrats to Ryan and Clayton!
Here’s hoping all the gay dads out there have a very happy Father’s Day.
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP…
Note: Filmmaker Hieu Tran shot the film using actors. He told Pink News:
“[The video] was a spontaneous idea that was inspired by my father and some gay couples I know. It is a video to thank all dads – gay or straight – all over the world for doing their best to raise their children."