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El Paso, Texas Wedding Venue Turns Away Gay Couple, Staff Responds: VIDEO

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A popular wedding venue in El Paso is under fire after turning away a Texas gay couple's request to hold a reception ceremony at the location. Grace Gardens reportedly told the couple that the event venue was "not allowed to have any services for same-sex marriage," KFOX14 reports:

Monico Ramirez and Jonathan Luna plan to get married in the near future, and tell KFOX14 they were looking for the perfect location to host a reception or ceremony, but not the marriage itself.

"I was looking for a place where I could have my same-sex ceremony, so I went to check out Grace Gardens," Ramirez said. "It was absolutely beautiful, and we decided we wanted to have it there."

Ramirez said he and Luna began going over contract details with a staff employee, and that's when they informed the employee that they planned to have a same-sex reception.

"She just looked at us weird," Ramirez said. "She took us to a lobby, and told us she had to go speak with a manager, we stayed there 15 minutes. She came out and said 'I'm sorry guys, but we are not allowed to have any services for same-sex marriage.'"

But Ramirez told KFOX 14 they were not trying to have a gay marriage, they simply wanted to have a ceremoy or reception at Grace Gardens. Still, he says they were told Grace Gardens can, and would refuse service to them.

"When she told me that, I felt like somebody was throwing a bucket of water on me, it was kind of sad and embarrassing," Ramirez said. "I don't think it's right to be discriminated like that."

Sandra Rodriguez, the venue's owner, responded to the controversy in a statement saying that while it's true Grace Gardens 'does not host same sex ceremonies,' the couple's claim of mistreatment is unfounded.

Says Rodriguez:

At the commencement of the tour the gentlemen informed our sales associate that they were looking for a place to host a wedding ceremony, and they affirmatively stated that the female bride was out of town. It wasn't until the tour was almost completed that the gentlemen inquired as to whether Grace Gardens allowed 'wild parties with strippers.' It was this question that garnered the 'weird' look described by Mr. Ramirez. After responding that she would have to ask management for the answer, the gentlemen revealed that they were actually a same sex couple seeking to have their ceremony and wild party with strippers at Grace Gardens.

Watch a news report of the story here


El Paso Officials Will Not Be Recalled For Giving Benefits To Same-Sex Couples

TomBrownEl Paso! First, the city council decided to extend health benefits to the domestic partners of city employees. Then the city's godcrazy gayloathers were so offended that they got the council's decision put to a public referendum, at which point 55% of the city's voters decided that, no, domestic partners should not get benefits. And so the city government decided the voters were idiots and domestic partners should get benefits anyway. Then the godcrazy gayloathers decided to recall the officials involved. (And how many gay couples were sucking up those sweet government bennies? Two. Two!)

This venal drama concluded Friday. From The Dallas Voice:

In a victory for supporters of LGBT equality, a Texas appeals court has rejected an effort to recall El Paso Mayor John Cook and two other council members over their support of domestic partner benefits for unmarried city employees.

Texas’ 8th Court of Appeals ruled unanimously on Friday that recall organizers, led by anti-gay Pastor Tom Brown, broke the law in gathering petition signatures for the recall election, which had been scheduled for this spring.

That's Tom Brown, above right, who last year accused the bennies-giving council of "rewarding fornicators." Can't wait to hear what he has to say about the appeals court.


El Paso City Council Restores Domestic Partner Benefits in Tie Vote, Broken by Mayor

Last November, El Paso, Texas voters approved a referendum denying health benefits to unmarried partners of city employees.

Cityhall Last night El Paso's City Council voted to restore those benefits, the El Paso Times reports:

After hearing spirited arguments from members of the public on both sides of the issue, the council split 4-4. Mayor John Cook, who proposed the ordinance restoring benefits, broke the tie in favor of it despite a ballot initiative in November ending them.

...Pastor Tom Brown, who helped organize the November ballot initiative, on Monday said he would organize recall petitions against Cook and city Reps. Susie Byrd and Steve Ortega, who voted in favor of the benefits. Brown said he would wait until September before gathering the signatures needed to support a successful recall.

The language in the anti-gay, voter-approved initiative was so broad that instead of cutting out the benefits for just gays and unmarried partners, it cut out benefits for approximately 100 other people as well.

Read much more about last night's vote here. Folks were praying outside the building that gays would not get benefits. Sick: 

Just before Tuesday's vote, dozens, including some clerics, huddled outside the council chamber and prayed they would be successful in ending city health benefits for gay and unmarried partners of employees.

City Restores Domestic Partner Benefits [el paso times]


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RoadWeinstein Company picks up Madonna's. W.E..

RoadSame-sex marriage ballot initative unlikely in California: “I’m not aware of a single donor who would support a ballot measure campaign,” said Chad Griffin, the co-founder and board president of the American Foundation for Equal Rights. “A ballot would be unwise, foolish and, in fact, dangerous.”

Agron RoadGlee star Dianna Agron writes long piece supporting LGBT equality.

RoadPrince Harry in skintight white Under Armour.

RoadAmaechi awarded OBE: "NBA basketball player-turned-social entrepreneur John Amaechi has been awarded the Order of the British Empire for his services to sport and to the voluntary sector, it was announced in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List."

RoadProposed East Village Historic Area includes "birthplace of drag", the Pyramid Club. Map.

RoadVeteran film producer Laura Ziskin dies at 61 after breast cancer battle.

RoadAtlanta police plan training for raid protocol as part of settlement in 2009 Atlanta Eagle raid.

RoadJane Lynch and Bill Maher read Anthony Weiner's sexts.

RoadNew photos show Weiner at Congressional Gym.

RoadAnti-gay extremist Joseph Mattera of the City Action Coalition is planning a 'Rally for Traditional Marriage' at NYC City Hall on Tuesday. Good As You digs up the goods on Mattera: "Mr. Mattera pushes perhaps the most egregious of all of the anti-gay community's lies, suggesting not only that a population that was killed in huge numbers was actually an Adolf [Hitler] ally, but also that gay acceptance itself was 'one reason why they killed Bible-believing Christians and Jews.'"

RoadBritney Spears reveals setlist for Femme Fatale tour.

Marrero RoadGay Philly cop shares his story.

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RoadMale model fix: Jonathan Marquez.

RoadLindsay Lohan having a horrible time under house arrest.

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Maguire RoadTobey Maguire: Prada model.

RoadX-Men First Class screenwriter confirms gay subtext.

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RoadEl Paso City Council to consider ordinance that would restore gay benefits: "The El Paso City Council on Tuesday will hold a public hearing on a measure that would reverse an initiative passed by voters in November. The council is considering an ordinance that would restore health benefits to 19 gay and unmarried partners of city employees. It also would restore benefits to more than 100 others who lost them because of the way the initiative was worded."


News: Marc Cherry, Straight Sports Allies, Trevor Donovan, Space

 road Ryan Gosling to make his directorial debut.

Bcht  road Straight wrestler and gay rights advocate Hudson Taylor tells the NY Times: “We need more Ben Cohens in this world. He has a platform that allows the message to carry farther and ring louder than my own. We need more allies in position of power to speak out.”

 road Conservative Canadian politician John Cummin does not approve of the Human Rights Act: "In my view, people were already adequately protected. It was not necessary to add another category."

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 road Gay rights advocates criticize the El Paso police department for failing to classify attack outside of a gay club as a hate crime.

Td  road Trevor Donovan should handle all household chores while shirtless.

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El Paso Police Arrest Suspect in Beating Near Gay Club, Say Assault Was Gang-Related, Not Hate Crime

A 16-year-old has been arrested in the brutal beating of a straight man outside a gay nightclub in El Paso last week, the El Paso Times reports:

Op The assault, police said, was gang-related and did not meet the criteria of a "hate crime," which upset the victim's family and gay-rights activists who said Lionel Martinez was targeted only because he was near the Old Plantation nightclub frequented by gays and lesbians.

Police arrested the teen gang member Thursday afternoon on suspicion of aggravated assault. More arrests are expected. The teen's name was not released because he is a juvenile.

Martinez, 22, remained hospitalized in critical condition Thursday and has yet to regain consciousness after early Saturday attack, said his sister Deanne Martinez.

Martinez says her brother is not part of a gang and insists her brother was targeted because he was outside of a gay nightclub.


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