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Same-Sex Couples In Mississippi Fight To Have Out-Of-State Marriages Recorded

MSflagThe Campaign for Southern Equality launched an action yesterday to have out-of-state marriages recorded in Mississippi. Same-sex couples from eight different counties tried to have their home state recognize the very real bonds of matrimony achieved elsewhere around the country, a difficult goal considering that Mississippi's same-sex marriage ban is still in place, along with their more recent religious-exemption-for-businesses legislation.

The Washington Blade reports:

Jennifer Pierce of Biloxi, who married her wife, Jena Pierce, in Connecticut last December, plan to try to record their marriage with the Harrison County Chancery Court in Gulfport.

“To us our marriage license is more than a piece of paper or even the state recognizing we are a legitimate couple,” Jennifer Pierce told the Blade, referring to their 6-year-old daughter Auna who began first grade last week. “It’s about the protection of the little girl who sees us as her parents and getting legally married was the first step of many we need to take towards the protection and well-being of our family.” 

Public support for same-sex marriage in Mississippi is likely very low, though several mayors have expressed that they have "no problem" with the ceremonies. Still, the Magnolia State represents a difficult block to tumble in the movement toward full marriage equality in the U.S.

“Couples are recording their marriage licenses to create a public record of their love and commitment,” said Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, executive director of the Campaign for Southern Equality. “LGBT people in Mississippi and other Southern states simply cannot keep waiting for equality. There is an urgent need for legal protections for families and individuals in Mississippi, and so we are calling for laws to change as quickly as possible to ensure that, no matter what state you live in, you are treated as a full and equal citizen.”

Though the action's efficacy on the whole is unknown at this time, one couple did send out a celebratory tweet:

MSMarriage

Here's hoping that more of the appeals for recognition were heard and honored, and that Mississippi is on the path toward marriage equality.


Former Ex-Gay Leader Tim Rymel Releases ‘Going Gay,’ Memoir About His Life-Long Struggles With Homosexuality, Religion

TimRymelAs the former Outreach Director for ex-gay group Love in Action, Tim Rymel was convinced that the years he had spent praying for a heterosexual life had come to a fruitful end. He married a woman, had two children, and appeared on national talk shows assuring gays and lesbians that they too could change. After a bad divorce, though, Rymel went on an arduous journey to come to terms with his homosexuality. Now he has released a book, Going Gay: My Journey from Evangelical Christian Minister to Self-acceptance, Love, Life, and Meaning, telling his story from start to finish. 

From the press release:

Going Gay not only recounts Rymel’s journey but provides a starting point for dialogue about LGBT inclusion in the church.

“I want the conservative church to see the painful reality that many of their own believers go through to come to terms with their inborn homosexuality,” Rymel said. “I wrote the book ‘as one of their own’ to create dialogue and cause them to rethink what they believe and what the Bible says about homosexuality.”

...

Going Gay is a heartbreaking, thought-provoking account of one man’s journey to accept and understand himself,” said Justin Lee, founder and Executive Director of Gay Christian Network. “In a culture where faith and sexuality seem often to be at war, the stories of those caught in the crossfire are critically important. Readers may not agree with all of Rymel’s views, but this is a story worth telling and a story worth understanding.”

A Q&A with Rymel reveals a self-loving, accepting human being. “Being LGBT does not send you to hell,” he says, and “God loves you exactly the way you are.” These are certainly words to live by for many struggling LGBT folks around the country.

Congrats to Rymel for not only persevering through numerous difficult years, but for sharing an important story. His book is available in paperback, hardcover, and as an e-book.


Hundreds of Nepalese LGBT March in Capital for Gay Pride

On Monday, hundreds of LGBT Nepalese marched through the streets of Kathmandu to celebrate the country's continuing progress on gay rights and to participate in Gaijatra - a colorful Hindu festival. 

The AP reports:

Screen Shot 2014-08-11 at 12.39.54 PMIn this socially conservative Hindu-majority nation, the festival was traditionally the only day people felt free to cross-dress. But social norms are changing fast as this fledgling Himalayan democracy emerges from centuries of religious monarchy.

A government committee is recommending same-sex marriage be guaranteed in a new constitution — an unprecedented move that would give gay and lesbian couples the right to adopt, buy joint property, open joint bank accounts and inherit from one another. All of the country's political parties have already backed the idea, and many within the small gay community hope the new constitution can be passed this year. [...]

"We have come a long way, but it is time we finally legalize same-sex marriage," said Monica Jha, who heads the Blue Diamond Society credited with organizing rallies and lobbying political parties for the change. The group's founder became Nepal's first openly gay legislator, while the group has also opened a travel agency for gay tourists advertising wedding and honeymoon packages on Mount Everest, the world's tallest peak.

In 2007, Nepal became the first South Asian nation to decriminalize homosexuality. Recently, however, Justice Minister Narahari Acharya announced he would seek to enact new anti-gay laws re-criminalizing homosexuality. 

[photo via Instagram]


Anti-Gay Activist Bill Whatcott Crashes Vancouver Pride, Hands Out Fake Condoms

Bill 'Matthew Davidson' Whatcott

For as much as they claim to be about spreading the love of the gospel and hope of Jesus Christ to the fallen, anti-gay wingnuts really seem to put a lot of effort into trolling. Crazy person Bill Whatcott, whom you may remember being "oppressed" alongside Peter LaBarbera at Canada's University of Regina, decided to crash Pride in Vancouver to spread his message of hate. Feeling that the ninth commandment - "Thou shalt not bear false witness" - was more of a suggestion than a command, he dyed his hair pink and went under the pseudonym "Matthew Davidson" to hand out "condoms" that were really anti-gay screeds in disguise.

Only one person actually opened a condom in the presence of "Davidson" and his cohorts. When she became visibly distressed at the bait and switch, Joe Jervis points out that they continued "lying for Jesus" and told the woman that he mistakenly handed her something that he himself had earlier been handed by some homophobe at the parade.

So not only is Whatcott a vile homophobe, he's a coward to boot, unwilling to stand by his convictions when face-to-face with someone in public. And it's actually kind of wonderful. The more spineless lunatics devoid of all integrity on their side, the better. Much like Westboro, it removes the mask of civility from the ugliness of the hate and exposes it for the world to see, and that will only benefit proponents of equality in the end.


New Look at 'Pride' - The True Story of LGBT Support for Striking Miners in 1980s Wales: VIDEO

Screen Shot 2014-08-09 at 4.51.19 PM

A new trailer has been released for Pride - the upcoming film that tells the true story of gay activists who supported workers during the 1984 National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) strike.

Big Gay Picture Show has the synopsis:

It’s the summer of 1984, Margaret Thatcher is in power and the National Union of Mineworkers is on strike, prompting a London-based group of gay and lesbian activists to raise money to support the strikers’ families. Initially rebuffed by the Union, the group identifies a tiny mining village in Wales and sets off to make their donation in person.  As the strike drags on, the two groups discover that standing together makes for the strongest union of all.‘

Screen Shot 2014-08-09 at 4.49.19 PMThe film, starring Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West, and Sophie Evans arrives in theaters September 12. 

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

And if you missed the first trailer, you can watch it HERE

Continue reading "New Look at 'Pride' - The True Story of LGBT Support for Striking Miners in 1980s Wales: VIDEO" »


LGBT Ugandans Hold Pride Parade In the Wake of Anti-gay Law's Invalidation

Screen Shot 2014-08-09 at 10.10.53 AMOn Saturday, Uganda's LGBT and ally community marched through the lakeside town of Entebbe - the third annual gay pride celebration and the first public event since a Ugandan court invalidated the country's Anti-Homosexuality Act last week. 

The AP reports:

About 200 people are expected to attend the event, said Ugandan gay activist Moses Kimbugwe. He said participants were waiting for police protection before they marched through sprawling botanical gardens in Entebbe, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the capital of Kampala.

Many marchers wore masks, signaling they did not want to be publicly identified in a country where homosexuals face discrimination. Others waved rainbow flags as they danced and frolicked on a sandy beach.

Pictured right is prominent gay-rights activist Frank Mugisha and other pride goers.

On Wednesday, more than 100 members of country's parliament pledged to bypass rules of procedure and swiftly reinstate the anti-gay law. 

[via Twitter]


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