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Some Employers Requiring Gay Employees To Marry For Continued Benefits

Gay Cake Toppers

With legal gay marriage sweeping the nation, some companies are revisiting how they administer couples benefits to their employees, and the decision reached is: tie the knot

“We’re bringing our benefits in line, making them consistent with what we do for everyone else,” said Ray McConville, a spokesman for Verizon. Fortunately, most companies seem to be going about it in a sensible manner; Verizon, for example, only requires gay employees to be married in states where gay marriage is legal. Most are also giving their employees plenty of notice before they have to get hitched. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York is giving their employees a year and a quarter before their benefits expire if they do not wed.

Lambda Legal is not wholly supportive of the change, with representative Jennifer Pizer calling it "a little bossy" and saying "it's not a voluntary choice at that point."

[via The Daily Beast]


Florida Lawyer Planning Lawsuit Against County Clerk for Closing Wedding Chapel to Avoid Serving Gay Couples

Block

Earlier this month we reported on a number of Florida county clerks that had decided to discontinue all courthouse wedding ceremonies rather than open up the space to same-sex couples following the legalization of marriage equality in the Sunshine State.  

Now, a Duval County lawyer is planning on filing a lawsuit to reverse Duval Clerk of Courts Ronnie Fussell's decision to close the county's wedding chapel, saying Fussell (pictured below) circumvented the law and crossed the line by "discriminating against large numbers of Jacksonville’s citizens, including both same sex and heterosexual couples, as well as the poor and physically infirmed."

Wrote attorney Eric Block on his law blog:

I am going to challenge this decision. I believe that we will prevail because the Clerks’ actions around the State violate the spirit of the Federal Court Order legalizing same-sex marriages in Florida, but there are additional compelling reasons.

    • FussellWe spent millions of dollars ensuring that our Courthouse is compliant with the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), and people needing ADA accommodations now have nowhere to go.
    • We built our $350 million Courthouse with taxpayer dollars, including revenue from citizens who are gay, citizens requiring the assistance and provisions of the ADA, and most importantly, those who struggle financially.
    • This action of shutting down the Wedding Chapel ironically adversely affects more heterosexual couples than gay couples, simply because more heterosexual couples get married.  Therefore, ironically, the absurdity of our Clerk’s actions is to discriminate more profoundly against the very people that he actually is claiming to “protect.”
    • Additionally, there is a small fee for the use of the Wedding Chapel, and that fee helps to pay the salaries of Courthouse public employees including the very Clerk of the Court who shut down this stream of revenue!  The Clerk does not have the right to make such financial decisions on behalf of the City.

Most obviously, the Clerks’ actions violate the spirit of the Federal Court Order protecting same-sex marriages in the state of Florida.

We are in the process of obtaining Plaintiffs for our intended lawsuit against these Clerks. It is our intention to bring suit on behalf of not only same-sex couples, but heterosexual couples as well, as both are adversely affected by this clear homophobic reaction to the Federal Court Order.

Block, who as a young lawyer got married at the Duval County Courthouse, has also said he will perform wedding ceremonies for any couples (gay or straight) that were impacted by the chapel's closure for free. 


Rush Limbaugh Blames Gay Marriage For Incest: AUDIO

Rush Limbaugh

Gays can legally marry in most states, and this is why an anonymous father and daughter in New York are planning to get married. Or so goes the logic of sentient bloviating mass that names itself Rush Limbaugh:

Do you remember how everyone laughed when we warned you people about this very thing happening once society started to redefine marriage and redefine what makes up a legitimate relationship?

Nevermind the fact that no state government, much less the federal government, will recognize this as a legitimate, legal marriage. Or that the "inbred redneck" is a pernicious stereotype about the South that has existed for generations. Or that the practice of incest predates the gay rights movement. Or that it was once just accepted as de rigueur amongst the wealthy. Or that it even appears in the Bible. Repeatedly. But no, gay marriage was what opened the floodgates and were gays not allowed to marry then we wouldn't be dealing with fathers marrying daughters.

You can listen to Limbaugh spew his inanities AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Rush Limbaugh Blames Gay Marriage For Incest: AUDIO" »


OK Rep. Sally Kern Targets Gays With 3 of the Most Offensive Bills Filed in 2015: VIDEO

Kern

Oklahoma Representative Sally Kern, who on more than one occasion has compared gays to terrorists, has filed three offensive bills targeting gays in the state.

The "Preservation and Sovereignty of Marriage Act" would bar the use of taxpayer dollars or government salaries for "the licensing or support of same-sex marriage. Under the law, no local or state employee could "officially recognize, grant or enforce a same-sex marriage license and continue to receive a salary, pension or other employee benefit."

Tulsa World reports:

“No employee of this state and no employee of any local governmental entity shall officially recognize, grant or enforce a same-sex marriage license and continue to receive a salary, pension or other employee benefit at the expense of taxpayers of this state,” the measure says. “No taxes or public funds of this state shall be spent enforcing any court order requiring the issuance or recognition of a same-sex marriage license.”

A second bill, the heinously titled “Freedom to Obtain Conversion Therapy Act” gives parents the right to seek help to "cure" their gay kids.

Says the bill:

“The people of this state have the right to seek and obtain counseling or conversion therapy from a mental health provider in order to control or end any unwanted sexual attraction, and no state agency shall infringe upon that right,” the bill says. “Parents may obtain such counseling or therapy for their children under eighteen (18) years of age without interference by the state.”

A third bill, House Bill 1597, would allow any Oklahoma business to refuse service to an LGBT person, or group, similar to the bill that failed last year in Arizona because businesses would not have it..

Kern is currently unavailable for comment, according to Tulsa World, because she's celebrating a wedding anniversary this week.

Watch News9 Oklahoma's report, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "OK Rep. Sally Kern Targets Gays With 3 of the Most Offensive Bills Filed in 2015: VIDEO" »


Obama: 'I'm Hopeful the Supreme Court Comes to the Right Decision' on Gay Marriage: VIDEO

Obama

Speaking to internet star GloZell Green at the White House yesterday as part of a series of interviews done by YouTube personalities, President Obama was asked whether he thinks he'll see nationwide marriage equality while still in office.

He replied, in part:

The Supreme Court now is going to be taking on a case, my hope is that they go ahead and recognize what I think the majority of people in America now recognize which is that two people who love each other and are treating each other with respect and aren't bothering anybody else, why would the law treat them differently? There's no good reason for it. So as a consequence, I'm hopeful the Supreme Court comes to the right decision, but I will tell you, peoples' hearts have opened up on this issue. People know that treating folks unfairly, even if you disagree with their lifestyle choice, they're not bothering you. Let them live their lives and under the law they should be treated equally and as far as me personally, just to see all the loving gay and lesbian couples that I know who are great parents and great partners, the idea that we wouldn't treat them like the brothers and sisters that they are, that doesn't make any sense. 

Other topics in the GloZell interview included the Sony hack, police profiling, Cuba, and Obama's legacy. GloZell also had a funny flub towards the end accidentally referring to Michelle Obama as the President's "first wife." Obama humorously responded, "Do you know something I don't know?"

You can watch the full interview, as well as the other two by YouTube stars Bethany Mota and Hank Green, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Obama: 'I'm Hopeful the Supreme Court Comes to the Right Decision' on Gay Marriage: VIDEO" »


Mary Cheney Describes Herself As 'Darth Vader's Daughter,' Talks GOP Support for Marriage Equality

Mary cheneySomewhere in Mary Cheney’s home sits a vintage action figure of the one-time Supreme Commander of the Imperial Fleet. Specifically--the toy lives in her seven year-old son’s room as a tongue-in-cheek reminder of Cheney’s self-proclaimed identity as “Darth Vader’s daughter.”

Cheney joked about her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, earlier this week during an intimate gathering of college Republicans at the American University in Washington, D.C. Despite Cheney’s longstanding alignment with the Republican Party, she continues to openly push for a more socially progressive GOP when it comes to LGBT equality. In her estimation, she explained, much of the Right’s future success will be contingent upon its continued evolution of thought when it comes to gay Americans.

“I think you’re going to see a lot more Republicans taking the Scott Walker, Chris Christie approach of ‘that’s settled, we’re moving on,’” she said. “I don’t picture the whole national Republican Party running to embrace the issue of marriage equality any time in the near future, I certainly don’t expect to see it in the party’s platform next year in Cleveland.”

Cheney admitted that none of the current potential Republican frontrunners for the 2016 presidential election piqued her interest in particular, though she “would love it if Rob Portman decided to run.”

When asked Cheney declined to comment on her very public spat with her older sister Liz’s opposition to gay marriage.


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