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Gay Men Injured in Stabbing Hate Crime Outside Alabama Nightclub: VIDEO

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Two gay men were stabbed multiple times outside a Huntsville, Alabama nightclub that was hosting a gay and lesbian night on Saturday, WAFF reports:

The incident started just before 3 a.m. in the parking lot of Classic Wheels Lounge on Memorial Parkway. Most patrons were leaving, but instead of going home, two men had to go to the hospital.

Classic Wheels Lounge has hosted alternative night for more than three years, but two guests who pulled up were far from Friday night's normal crowd. Owner C.T. Harris said the two men began yelling anti-gay slurs.

"It was scary," Montero Ford, one of the victims, said. "I didn't know gay bashing still existed."

One man stayed in the car while the other went on a rampage, stabbing two gay men, Ford and Mautravion Mangrum. Ford said one of his stab wounds was just inches from his heart.

"A stranger could have took my life over my sexuality," Ford said.

Watch the report, AFTER THE JUMP...

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'State And Union' Follows The Hardships Of Alabama's Lesbian-Led Families - VIDEO

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Right now, a new documentary about lesbian families living in Alabama is raising money on IndieGoGo. It’s called State and Union and it follows several Birmingham families a year after the Supreme Court struck down section three of the so-called Defense Of Marriage Act.

Like most states with marriage bans, Alabama has a high number of same-sex families, the state is far from gay-friendly. The state’s Chief Justice believes gay marriage is Satanic and the State House wants a gay marriage ban in the U.S. constitution.

The film’s crowd-funding campaign explains the challenges of being a gay parent in the state:

If you are straight, or live in a Blue State, you may not ever have to think about your right to adopt your partner’s child, your ability to have a fair hearing in family court, whether there is a form for your family to register for school, whether you will be denied housing, or if you will lose your job, or whether your spouse will inherit your joint estate when you die... These families do.

During a year in which much of the country celebrates the fall of DOMA and the advent of equality, families in Alabama express excitement… as well as increased frustration about the lack of material gains for the Deep South.

Even though there are an estimated 100,000 LGBTQ individuals in Alabama, help from National pro-LGBTQ groups has been slow to arrive. Indeed, Alabama receives only $0.31 in grant funding per LGBT person, compared with more than $10 per person in the Northeast.

But not all the news is bad… [especially] with Freedom to Marry, Family Equality Council, and Human Rights Campaign all announcing Southern Initiatives in the past year. AND Rates of acceptance of LGBTQ issues are changing faster in the Deep South than in many other places, with more than 36% of people in Alabama now reporting a favorable view of marriage equality. While that doesn’t exactly keep pace with the rest of the country, it is a shift of 16% in less than 10 years.

In addition to those gains, last July an Alabama judge granted an Alabama lesbian visitation rights to her four children, and earlier this year, the Southern Poverty Law Center filed a lawsuit challenging the state’s same-sex marriage ban.

The film’s creators say they hope the project will help document life in the highly conservative state at a time when so much is changing, and help start conversations about the inequalities gay citizens face there. Among the families, the film also follows the family of Patricia Todd, the state’s first openly gay legislator.

Watch the trailer AFTER THE JUMP

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Alabama Woman Charged with Murder After Shooting, Killing Gay Son's Boyfriend: VIDEO

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An Alabama woman has been charged with murder after shooting her son's boyfriend in the back at a truck stop, WBRC reports:

Anita_hillThe victim, Jamie R. Johnson, 36, had been shot once and was transported to UAB Medical West in "grave condition," according to Sgt. Dale Phillips with the Tuscaloosa Metro Homicide Unit. Johnson passed away from his injuries.

Anita T. Hill (pictured), 51, of Pickens County, has been charged with murder in the case and was booked on a $75,000 bond. She has since bonded out of jail. Investigators have determined that Hill's son and Johnson were "involved in a long-term relationship" and had been together for about four years.

"This relationship has caused tension between the suspect who is the mother of the male witness and her son," Phillips said.

Hill reportedly shot Johnson in the back after a short argument and there are reports of ongoing mental and physical abuse between the two men but those allegations have not been corroborated yet by any charges on record.

Watch the WBRC report, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Alabama House Passes Resolution Calling for Gay Marriage Ban in the U.S. Constitution

The Alabama House approved a resolution that calls for a convention to put a gay marriage ban in the U.S. Constitution, the Montgomery Advertiser reports:

LairdThe resolution, sponsored by Rep. Richard Laird, I-Roanoke, quotes a 2006 amendment to the state constitution that bans same-sex unions, and calls marriage “a sacred covenant, solemnized between a man and a woman.” The resolution also cites several court cases, including five from the 19th century. It goes on to say that the U.S. Supreme Court “officially severed its respect for marriage” last year, when it struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which prevented the recognition of same-sex spouses under federal laws.

Laird’s resolution calls for an Article V convention, which would require 34 states to ask Congress to call a convention to propose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. According to the resolution, the convention would specifically propose an amendment defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman, and bar legal recognition of any other form of marriage.

Laird infuriated Alabama's only openly gay lawmaker, Patricia Todd, after blindsiding her with the resolution by not describing its contents until it was time for the vote to be taken, thus heading off her objection to it.

House Speaker Mike Hubbard had also told Todd such an amendment would not come up for a vote.


Freedom to Marry Launching $1 million Campaign to Build Southern Support for Gay Marriage: VIDEO

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At a press conference on Monday, Freedom to Marry is expected to announce a new $1 million television ad campaign in Southern states in the hopes of swaying public opinion and the judges who will decide the fate of state bans on gay unions. As it stands, there are about two dozen lawsuits challenging bans on gay marriage that are pending before state and federal courts in Southern states. The Washington Post reports:

“Freedom to Marry’s national strategy has always been to build a critical mass of states and support to create the climate for the Supreme Court to bring the country to national resolution. We don’t have to win within every state, but we have to win enough states,” said Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry

Screen Shot 2014-02-23 at 11.13.09 AMAtlanta Mayor Kasim Reed will join the group at its Monday press conference. The group will also try to tie same-sex marriage to the civil rights movement, by featuring Rep. John Lewis [right], the longtime Georgia Democrat who ran the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, in a testimonial.

“I see the right to marriage as a civil rights issue. You cannot have rights for one segment of the population and one group of people and not for everybody,” Lewis says in the video.

Watch Lewis' video for the new campaign, AFTER THE JUMP...

Co-chairs of the new initiative will include Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Reps. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), as well as Mark McKinnon, a former senior adviser to George W. Bush and Lance Bass, the ‘N Sync singer.

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Lawsuit Filed Challenging Alabama's Ban on Gay Marriage

The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a suit on Thursday which seeks to overturn Alabama's ban on same-sex marriage and seeks recognition of same-sex marriages from other states, WSFA reports:

Hard_fancherThe SPLC filed the suit on the basis that Alabama's Marriage Protection Act and Sanctity of Marriage Amendment violate the equal protection and due process clauses of the U.S. Constitution.

"Alabama has created two classes of marriages within its borders and deemed one of those classes – marriages between people of the same sex – to be inferior to the other," said David C. Dinielli, SPLC deputy legal director. "This is unconstitutional."

The SPLC filed the suit on behalf of Paul Hard, who was legally married to David Fancher in Massachusetts. Fancher was later killed in a car wreck in Montgomery.

The SPLC says Hard is demanding his rightful share from the proceeds of a pending wrongful death suit and wants the State of Alabama to correct a death certificate for his late husband naming him as the surviving spouse.

Adds the SPLC:

“Alabama has created two classes of marriages within its borders and deemed one of those classes – marriages between people of the same sex – to be inferior to the other,” said David C. Dinielli, SPLC deputy legal director. “This is unconstitutional."

“The only purpose of refusing Paul the right to share in the proceeds from the wrongful death lawsuit is to punish him for having married a man, and to express moral disapproval of this choice. These purposes are improper and unconstitutional. Alabama must treat its LGBT citizens with equal dignity and respect under the law.”

Hard and Fancher were married in Massachusetts in May 2011, and Fancher died in a Prattville, Ala., hospital the following August while the two were living in Montgomery. Hard is now suing the trucking companies involved in the wreck. Fancher had collided in the dark with a large truck strewn across the northbound lanes of Interstate 65 north of Montgomery.

In Alabama, however, proceeds from a wrongful death case must be distributed pursuant to the laws of intestate succession (even though Fancher died with a will and Hard was the sole beneficiary). And because Alabama refuses to recognize lawful same-sex marriages entered out of state, current state law means that Hard cannot be deemed the surviving spouse and cannot share in the proceeds of the lawsuit.

Said Governor Robert Bentley in a statement yesterday:

"Governor Bentley will fight the merits of this lawsuit. Like most Alabamians, the Governor strongly believes in the traditional definition of marriage, as being between a man and woman. He will work every day to continue to protect the sanctity of marriage in Alabama."


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