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Chicago Cabbie Sued for Kicking Gay Couple Out of Taxi For Kissing

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Back in June, we reported on a Chicago cabbie who tried to force Steven White and his boyfriend Matt McCrea from his cab on the side of the rain-drenched Kennedy Expressway after they kissed briefly in the back seat. CBS Chicago reported then:

During the ride, McCrea "leaned over to look at something on the phone and then he leaned in to kiss me," White recalls.

McCrea says it was a closed-mouth kiss that lasted all of a second. It did not go over well with their cab driver, the two men say. "He indicated that it was a public mode of transportation and we shouldn't kiss in his cab," White says. "He pulled the cab over and stopped and wanted us to get out - on the Kennedy."

Now, Lambda Legal has filed a complaint on behalf of the couple:

"A taxi-cab company, like any other business in Illinois that offers services to the public, is bound by the Illinois Human Rights Act to not discriminate based on sexual orientation, among other protected categories," said Christopher Clark, Senior Staff Attorney for Lambda Legal. "What happened to Steven and Matthew was not only hurtful and unlawful, it illustrates exactly why Illinois' citizens need the state's long-standing Human Rights Act to protect them against dangerous situations like this."

At the time, the cab driver claimed the couple was "making sex," but police found no evidence to support that claim. 


Gay Chicago Lawmaker Discusses Trip to Washington State to Marry Partner: VIDEO

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Chicago City Alderman James Cappelman and his partner Richard have been together for more than two decades.  But after waiting anxiously for Illinois to legalize marriage equality, and in light of the disappointing stop-and-start progress of an equal marriage bill over the last year, the couple is heading to Washington state to tie the knot.  The Chicago Tribune has the story:

"We are going to go elsewhere," said Ald. James Cappleman, 46th. "It's kind of sad that a Chicago alderman, an elected official, has to leave his own state. But we'll keep fighting. There's a lot of people who want to get married."

Cappleman and Richard Thale, who met in church, have been together for 22 years. The plan to get married Nov. 22, surrounded by relatives who live out West. The couple already have a civil union in Illinois.

Cappleman is a social worker and longtime community activist in his first term. Thale is the courts advocate for the Town Hall Police District, a Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy beat facilitator and president of the Uptown Chicago Commission.

Cappleman said he first spilled the beans Tuesday night on CLTV's "Politics Tonight" show when asked what it was like to be an alderman and gay. He later posted his plans on Facebook.

The alderman told the Tribune his decision was based in large part on the Supreme Court's June decision invalidating Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act.  "Should something happen to either one of us," he wrote in a Facebook post, "we didn't want to take the risk of losing those federal protections that other married couples already have."

Cappleman isn't the other city politician forced to travel outside Illinois to get married: his colleague Deb Mell wed her partner in Iowa.

LGBT advocates in Illinois are pursuing two parallel tracks in their quest for equal marriage rights in the state.  Legislators will seek to pass a marriage equality bill in the veto session this fall, and former state Republican party chair Pat Brady--who resigned after criticism from his own party for his support of same-sex couples' right to marry--is helping the ACLU of Illinois convince GOP lawmakers to back the legislation.

The other track towards marriage equality in Illinois is taking place in the courts.  Late last month, a state judge rejected motions to dismiss two court cases challenging the state's policy of providing only civil unions and not marriage to same-sex couples.  Lambda Legal and the ACLU, who are sponsoring the two cases, are now pressing forward to win a positive ruling from Cook County Circuit Court Judge Sophia Hall that brings marriage equality to the Land of Lincoln.

You can watch Cappleman discuss his wedding in an appearance on Chicago's WGN9 News (warning: autoplay), AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Gay Chicago Lawmaker Discusses Trip to Washington State to Marry Partner: VIDEO" »


Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak Tells Gay Chicago Couples: 'Our City Would Like to Marry You' — VIDEO

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Yesterday Towleroad mentioned that Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak was headed to Chicago, Madison, Milwaukee, and Denver — cities in states where marriage equality is not yet a reality — to campaign for gay couples to come and get married in Minneapolis.

Rybak smartly has dollar signs in his eyes and knows that marriage equality tourism can boost Minneapolis's and Minnesota's economy.

Here's his pitch to the people of Chicago.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak Tells Gay Chicago Couples: 'Our City Would Like to Marry You' — VIDEO" »


Chicago Cardinal Francis George Says Gay Marriage is an Irrational Concept

Cardinal Francis GeorgeAs pressure builds for Illinois lawmakers to take up the failed gay marriage bill again in the fall, opponents will be doubling down in an attempt to stop the inevitable expansion of equality. Chicago's Catholic Cardinal, Francis George (pictured right), is one of those longtime foes, having released a letter back in January telling parishioners to demand lawmakers put a stop to the 'redefinition' of marriage

In an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times on Monday, Cardinal George reiterated his anti-gay position, saying you don't need faith to see the faults in same-sex marriage.

"This is first of all a rational issue before it's a faith issue. That is, it's nature that tells us what marriage is, that in marriage, men and women aren't interchangeable. We didn't invent marriage. The church didn't invent marriage. Nature gives us marriage. The Chinese are not Americans, and they're not Catholic. They know what marriage is. Where did that come from?"

Perhaps Cardinal George should check out this handy little guide to the 8 types of 'traditional marriage' in the Bible before diving any further into the 'rational' arguments against gay marriage.


Russian Anti-Gay Policies 'Could Kill Its Cities'

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Russia has undergone no shortage of bad press in recent months. Its newly adopted anti-gay propaganda hve prompted outrage the world over, and have already put a damper on events such as the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi and the 2018 FIFA World Cup, months or even years in advance. 

Now, The Atlantic is reporting that Lansing, Michigan, is joining the growing list of global municipalities that are loooking to sever ties with their Russian "sister cities", which already includes the likes of Milan, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Reykjavik. Thus, as Russia inists on moving contrary to the global march toward human rights, the consequences could prove to have political and economic impact:

"St. Petersburg was, for hundreds of years, a city that took pride in its relative openness to global culture. When Peter the Great founded the city in 1703, he envisioned it as a "window on the West," a place where the values of the Enlightenment could be explored and celebrated. It was designed and built by the finest talents from around the world.

"Now, St. Petersburg is leading the way backward. Russia and its cities, by pursuing draconian anti-gay policies, are shutting themselves out of a global community where the benefits of an open society are ever more apparent."

Stolichnaya-1280x960It's no secret that international events such as the Olympics and the World Cup have the potential to generate a host of financial benefits for its host city and host nation. This is, of course, why so many cities vie for a chance to host such events. That said, should hosting a global event prove to be the potential source of controversy for the event's governing body, it would almost certainly deter them from coming back to that same city of country in the future. That's also not counting international boycotts of Russian products, which already have large companies such as SPI Group looking for ways to completely sever ties with the anti-gay nation. Let's also not forget the tourism dollars that Russia stands to lose in the future, from both gay tourists as well as those whom support human rights in general.

Finally, as The Atlantic illustrated by presenting the story of journalist and activist Masha Gessen, Russia's anti-gay laws have prompted an exodus of gay citizens, as well as their advocates. This only exacerbates the country's appartent desire "to shut down intellectually," and cost the country potentially vital intellectual capital. Thus, while the short term costs of losing "sister city" partnerships may be small, in the words of The Atlantic, "They are losing their future."


NEWS: Egypt, Google, Privacy, Lawsuits, Private Parts, Rape Culture

Road Clashes between protesters and police have turned deadly in Egypt as Security Forces invade Pro-Morsi sit-ins. 

Road That Russian TV host isn't done making homophobic remarks. Now he's taking victim-blaming to a whole new levelGoogle

 Road Google recently issued a brief in response to a class-action lawsuit brought against the company for invasion of privacy. In it, they argued that Gmail users cannot realistically expect for their emails not to be scanned. 

Road North Carolina's new oppressive voter registration law is facing another new lawsuit filed by a 92-Year-Old woman who was previously subjected to "literacy tests" before being allowed to vote. 

Road A hostage situation at a bank in rural Louisiana finally ended early this morning with the gunman dead and two hostages shot. 

Road San Diego mayor Bob Filner continues to face controversy as the national restaurant chain Hooters has announced that he is no longer welcome in any of their franchises. 

Road Those attending Aaron Carter's performance at Chicago's Market Days "got lucky" when the singer stripped his shirt off and began grabbing his crotch on stage. 

Road Until last week, it was the policy of authorities in Norfolk, Virginia to assume that all women who reported rapes were lying, until proven otherwise.  Aaron Carter

Road A Georgia teen was previously denied a heart transplant due to his prior run-ins with the law. Luckily, the hospital has announced that it has reversed its initial decision

Road A pair of brand new parents were forced to change their child's name from "Messiah" to "Martin" after a judge declared use of the name "unchristian".

Road Kanye West reportedly asked Anna Wintour to put Kim Kardashian on the cover of Vogue. Her response was less than supportive. 

Road Niall Horan flashed his bare butt all over British TV. It's okay, though, he was just showing off his new tattoo...

Road Nerd deity George Lucas recently welcomed a new baby girl with his newlywed wife. 

Road Kick-Ass himself, Aaron Taylor-Johnson recently appeared shirtless in an issue of Men's Health UK. Homeboy is looking pretty good...

Road Alachua County, best known as the home of the University of Florida, has announced new protections for its LGBT residents

Road Kristen Stewart is reportedly going to pursue a college degree. Let's hope she majors in something like public speaking...

Road Gwyneth Paltrow was reportedly at an Author's Night fundraiser in the Hamptons yesterday, and not everyone appreciated her attendance. 

Road "Ex-Gay" singer Donnie McClurkin was recently kicked off the performance list of an upcoming MLK memorial concert due to the "potential controversy" his attendance could bring. 


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