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Check Out The Beautiful Story of Max Lenox, the Army Basketball Captain Raised By Two Gay Dads: VIDEO

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This week's Sports Illustrated has the moving and remarkable story of the captain of Army's basketball team and the two gay dads who raised him. Maxwell Lenox, 22, is a senior at West Point and though he's not the star player for the Black Knights, he's been voted captain two years running due to his exceptional leadership abilities and the way he inspires his teammates. “I’ll be lucky if I do half the stuff Max does, become half the leader he is,” says sophomore forward Tanner Omlid. “I want to be like him.”

Sports Illustrated, which made big news last year with Jason Collins' coming out cover, has posted this amazing story on their website, written by S.L. Price with candor, emotion, and a remarkable sense of how much the world has changed since Lenox's adoption. Lenox was born to a crack-addicted mother in Philadelphia in 1992, at the height of the urban drug epidemic. Just three days later, he was adopted by a couple from North Carolina who were eager to start a family: Dave Lenox and Nathan Merrell. Though they had reservations about the unknown challenges of raising a "crack-baby," the bigger problems turned out to be with Merrell's conservative family who was not too thrilled to find out all at once that he was gay, had a partner, and that they were grandparents to a black infant.

Lenox_merrellsIn the touching video which accompanies the story, Merrell struggles to relate how his father denied that Max was his grandchild while his mother, for the first time in her 36-year marriage, actually defied her husband. The whole story is filled with emotional moments like this as the couple faced many struggles raising Max, including Max's difficulties in school and a serious injury that derailed a potential pro career. Now, given how Max has become such a leader, the two dads are thrilled how things have turned out as there's talk their son might make general someday. A truly inspiring story.

Check out a video on Lenox and his dads, AFTER THE JUMP....

And for the full story on Max's incredible journey, head over to Sports Illustrated here

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Utah Supreme Court Lifts Stay on Gay Adoptions

UtahThe Utah Supreme Court on Thursday lifted a five-month old stay barring same-sex couples from adoption rights, The Salt Lake Tribune reports:

The action clears the way for the Utah Department of Health to issue birth certificates that list the same-sex parents as the children’s legal parents. It will also restart countless other adoptions that were left in limbo by Utah’s contention that the cases should be on hold until it was clear that gay marriage would be legal in the Beehive state.

"The families involved are obviously relieved and thrilled," said Laura Milliken Gray, an attorney who represented one of the four families, and who also had six other adoptions in process when the stay was put in place.

The paper states the Utah Attorney General's Office asked the state's high court to lift the stay, following marriage equality coming to the Beehive State earlier this month. The paper also adds 26 percent of Utah's same-sex couples are raising children, according to data from UCLA's Williams Institute. 


Russian Exchange Student 'Afraid to Go Home' Over Fears of Russia's Persecution of Gays

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The lawyer for the Russian gay teenager at the center of Russia's decision to end its student exchange program with the U.S. says her client is seeking political asylum in America due to fears of Russia's crackdown on its LGBT community, Radio Free Europe reports:

“Our client is afraid of returning to Russia because Russia persecutes gay people. That’s what this is about,” Susan Reed, an attorney with the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center, told RFE/RL on October 7.

The boy lived with an American family and attended a U.S. high school in 2012-13 as part of the decades-old Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX).

But he did not return to his home country at the conclusion of the exchange as required by the program. His decision to remain in the United States emerged last week when Russia cited the case in its decision to suspend its participation in FLEX.

AstakhovAnnouncing the end of the country’s participation in FLEX, Russia’s children’s rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov [pictured right] said the student was "seduced" to stay in the U.S. by a Michigan gay couple. 

Reed told RFE/RL that the statements and reports from Russian officials seem to suggest “that there’s some person or some people whose sexual orientation is relevant. And that’s just not the case.”

“There’s no adoption, there’s no untoward behavior,” she said. “He met many caring adults, both gay and straight in the U.S., and he decided to stay here because he was afraid to go home.”


Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe Extends Adoption Rights to Married Gay Couples

McauliffeComing on the heels of an executive order requiring all state agencies to disregard Virginia's former ban on same-sex marriage, Governor Terry McAuliffe has secured adoption rights for married gay couples, The Virginian-Pilot reports:

“Now that same-sex marriage in Virginia is officially legal, we owe it to all Virginians to ensure that every couple is treated equally under all of our laws, no matter whom they love,” the Democratic governor said in a statement. “This historic decision opened the door to marriage equality, and now it is my sincerest hope that it will also open more doors for Virginia children who need loving families.

“By formally recognizing that same-sex couples can now legally adopt, we are more fully complying with the ruling in this important case, and sending the message once again that Virginia is open and welcoming to everyone.”


Christian Litigation Group Alliance Defending Freedom Lobbying for Anti-gay Marriage Referendum in Slovakia

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The anti-gay Christian legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom (a group whose efforts promoting bigotry abroad were profiled in the HRC's Export of Hate" report) has begun lobbying Slovakia's constitutional court to allow activists to place a referendum on the country's ballot that would reinforce the current bans on gay marriage, adoption, and domestic partner protections, Right Wing Watch reports

"The people of Slovakia should have the freedom to preserve marriage and family if they so choose," said Alliance Defending Freedom senior legal counsel Roger Kiska, who filed an amicus brief with the court. "This referendum will allow Slovaks to affirm current Slovak law and important social values, which is perfectly acceptable under the Slovak Constitution." [...]

More than 400,000 citizens signed the petition supporting a referendum, according to Roger Kiska—more than the required number of signatures. However, Slovak President Andrej Kiska asked the Constitutional Court to review the measure because of a provision in the country's constitution that forbids holding a referendum to change "fundamental rights and liberties."

In June, the Slovakian parliament approved 102 to 18 a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

Back in 2010 the country's first gay pride parade was canceled after attacks from right-wing skinheads. 


Cheerios Celebrates The Joy of Human Connection in New Ad Featuring Gay Family: VIDEO

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First Honey Maid, and now Cheerios.

General Mills' new Cheerios ad is set to air in Canada starting next week, but the video has been released a few days early online. In it, André and Jonathan share the story of their love for one another and their unexpected journey into fatherhood.

Check out the adorable and heartwarming ad, AFTER THE JUMP...

Marketing Mag adds:

Cheerio“The Cheerios Effect,” is the colloquial name some have given to a phenomenon that anyone who’s eaten a bowl of the cereal knows: when two Cheerios float in milk, they tend to attract one another thanks to surface tension. Cossette is using this as a jumping-off point to address the broader issue of social isolation and loneliness.

Even though the phrase “Cheerios effect” first popped up on Wikipedia in 2007, surprisingly, this marks the first time that the brand has ever used the phenomenon in a marketing effort.

“We were in meeting with agency talking about issue of disconnection in society, this epidemic of loneliness,” says Jason Doolan, director of marketing for cereal at General Mills Canada. “We talked about the history of Cheerios and the role it could play in bringing people together. Somebody stood up and said, ‘You know, when you put two Cheerios in a bowl, they float together.’ It didn’t take more than 30 seconds on Google for someone to say, ‘It’s a real thing.’ We think it’s a perfect metaphor for human beings’ desire to connect.”

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