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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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Shirtless Frat Bros Dress Katy Perry's 'Roar' Up with Snow Angels: VIDEO


It snowed in the South, so naturally a group of frat bros at the University of Arkansas raided the costume closet and made snow shirtless snow angels for a lip dub video to Katy Perry's "Roar".



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Arkansas Judge Hears Arguments in Case Challenging State's Gay Marriage Ban: VIDEO


A judge in Arkansas heard arguments on Thursday on whether a case challenging the state's ban on same-sex marriage should proceed or be dismissed, the AP reports:

ArkansasA number of same-sex couples sued in July, two weeks after the U.S Supreme Court issued two rulings supporting gay-marriage laws. They claim a 2004 constitutional amendment approved by Arkansas voters, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman, should be thrown out.

Some of the couples want Arkansas to recognize same-sex marriages from other states. Others want the opportunity to marry. They say the federal court decision supports them. But Assistant Attorney General Colin Jorgenson said the voters' will — Amendment 83 passed by a 3-1 margin — could not be thrown out because the state's residents had a right to determine their own constitution.

"Domestic relations laws are the province of the states," he said, adding the U.S. Supreme Court rulings "did not say states must recognize same-sex marriage."

Judge Chris Piazza did not say when he might rule.

Watch reports on the hearings from KATV and KTHV, AFTER THE JUMP...


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Arkansas Attorney General Approves Language for 2016 Marriage Equality Ballot Measure

McDanielArkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel (pictured) has accepted language for a proposed 2016 ballot measure submitted by Arkansas Initiative for Marriage Equality (AIME) that would repeal the state's constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage and would bring marriage equality to the Natural State.

Back in September, McDaniel approved the wording of a proposed 2014 ballot measure by a separate group that would repeal the constitutional amendment, but wouldn't specifically call for legalizing gay marriage. The Houston Chronicle reports:

[AIME Founder Jack Weir] said he planned to help the group trying to get the gay marriage ban repeal on the ballot next year while also gathering support for his 2016 proposal. McDaniel had rejected earlier versions of Weir's proposal because it didn't address the ban currently in the constitution.

"It's going to take a lot of effort from our people and the newcomers we'll have in the next three years," he said. "I see people's hearts and minds changing every time we go to an event and talk to people. I see a big change coming in Arkansas."

Weir said he hopes to quickly begin gathering the necessary 78,133 signatures from registered voters needed to place the proposal on the ballot. 

Arkansas Catholic School Teacher Fired After Marrying Same-Sex Partner

TiTippi McCullough has taught English at Mount St. Mary Academy in Arkansas for the past fifteen years. Unfortunately, her employment was terminated this week after she married her partner of fourteen years, Barb Mariani. As The Arkansas Times reports, earlier this week the couple travelled to New Mexico, where same-sex marriage licenses have been issued as of late, to officially tie the knot. However, only forty-five minutes after their ceremony was complete, McCullough received a phone call from a secretary at Mount St. Mary, "telling her she risked losing her job if she married." The secretary reportedly added, "that the school had learned of the coming marriage through 'the diocese.'" As the couple drove to Arizona (they planned to honeymoon at the Grand Canyon), McCullough spoke with Mt. Saint Mary principal Diane Wolf, who informed her that she no longer had a job at the school:

"She told me she never thought the day would come, that I was a great teacher and that she would give me a glowing recommendation if I resigned," McCullough said. "She said her hands were tied when I signed a legal document."

McCullough said a contract clause allows dismissal for a lifestyle contrary to church teaching. She she asked Wolfe for an explanation of how she'd violated that clause. "She said she wasn't going to get into a theological discussion and there was nothing she could do."

McCullough will get 30 days severance pay and an opportunity to pick up her things and arrange for COBRA continuing health insurance coverage. She said she's not sure what her vocational future holds. She said she'd been encouraged by support from other teachers. She said, too, that she was sure Wolfe knew of her long relationship with Mariani.  They never discussed it explicitly, she said, but "she knew." In their discussion yesterday, "I told her I thought it was unfair, that I was being singled out for being gay." She said Wolfe told her the nun who once headed the school had once escorted out an unmarried pregnant teacher.

HRC President Chad Griffin, an Arkansas native, blasted the school's decision:

"To fire a beloved teacher simply because she is gay is morally reprehensible...At a moment when Pope Francis is urging the Catholic hierarchy to put aside judgment and a decades-long campaign targeting devoted LGBT Catholics, it’s shameful that this school is ignoring that hopeful message in favor of explicit and baseless discrimination."

The HRC has started a petition to show opposition to Mount St. Mary Academy's decision to fire McCullough. You can sign it HERE.

(Photo via Facebook)

Restaurant Sign Calls Obamacare 'America's Punishment for Slavery Years': VIDEO


Stay classy, Arkansas.


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