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Israel Will Now Allow Jews To Immigrate, Gain Citizenship With Non-Jewish Same-Sex Spouses

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 8.35.36 AMIsraeli interior minister Gideon Saar [pictured] gave word on Tuesday that immigration authorities should not distinguish between same-sex and opposite-sex couples when granting citizenship. The new allowance amends a previous law allowing Jews to immigrate to Israel along with a non-Jewish relative/spouse.

USA Today reports:

In a few cases in recent years, Israel only naturalized non-Jewish same-sex spouses of Jews following threats of Supreme Court petitions, says Israeli immigration attorney Nicole Maor.

Israel does not permit gays to marry in the country, but recognizes same-sex marriages if they were performed legally abroad. 

Despite its same-sex marriage laws, Israel can add this as further evidence of its generally supportive legislation about LGBT-identified people. Along with recognition of citizenship, the Israeli Supreme Court grants same-sex couples inheritance and survivors' benefits, among other rights.


Gay Marriage Could Bring Over $53 Million To Michigan, Study Finds

MichiganA new study out of UCLA Law School's Williams Institute indicates that Michigan could stand to generate over $53 million in revenue from same-sex marriage ceremonies over three years. The study also found that nearly 7,300 couples could be married in those three years alone.

The data is based on census and experiential statistics from states that have already legalized same-sex marriages, and though there is indication that same-sex couples filing jointly would reduce the state's income tax haul, the boon to business would more than make up for the loss. 

Edge Boston reports:

Researchers say the couples and their loved ones would spend about $34.1 million on wedding paramagnets and Michigan tourism in the first year alone. Another $19.2 million would be spent over the following two years. According to the study, that spending could support between 152 and 457 full-time and part-time jobs and generate about $3.2 million in sales tax and revenue for Michigan and the local government...

"What we've seen, over and over again, is that the tides are shifting on marriage equality," Gina Calcagno, coalition manager for Michigan for Marriage, told [MLive.com]. "Aside from the heartfelt belief this is the right thing to do, we're seeing this is the economically correct thing to do as well. $53.2 million coming into a state like Michigan is nothing to scoff at."

After a district court judge ruled Michigan's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional in March, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals placed an indefinite stay on the decision. Only time will tell if the appeals court upholds the lower court ruling, though the track record for appeals thus far is a positive indicator. 

Fingers crossed for the thousands of same-sex couples and businesses who would benefit from marriage equality in Michigan.


Brian Brown Claims That NOM's Pathetic Boycott Has Impacted Starbucks' Business: LISTEN

Two years ago, the National Organization for Marriage began a protest of Starbucks after the massive coffee vendor supported a pro-marriage equality referendum on the Washington ballot.

BrianBrownNow, NOM president Brian Brown claims that that boycott has made an impact on the international community's tolerance for the chain. As Good as You pointed out, however, Starbucks currently operates 21,000 stores in 65 countries with little standing in its way for further expansion; not too shabby. 

The transcript from Brown's silly attempt at relevance reads:

"You know, the media will try and say that the boycotts have minimal to no effect, but the reality is that companies like Starbucks are trying to expand around the world, and as Americans stand up and say this is wrong and they highlight that companies like Starbucks are supporting same-sex marriage, the mask comes up...Because of the Starbucks boycott for example, many countries have looked at Starbucks and the individuals that would be allowing Starbucks into the country have said, 'No, no, no,' because Starbucks does support the redefinition of marriage."

Brown then went on to get to his real point, perhaps realizing that the previous one was inane:

"Most importantly though, how can we view it as moral to be giving our dollars to a company that directly is attacking our faith? I understand again that you cannot do this to every company, but the ones that are actually attacking the faith, you have to take a stand at some point, and Target is doing that, Starbucks is doing that, and Chase is doing that."

Ah, yes. The faith, as if there were only one, and supporting same-sex marriage is in direct opposition to it--an age old struggle for Brown and NOM. Sorry, folks, but Starbucks is not feeling any worse for wear.

Listen in, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Brian Brown Claims That NOM's Pathetic Boycott Has Impacted Starbucks' Business: LISTEN" »


GOP Congressman Says U.S. Foreign Policy 'Obsessed' With LGBT Rights

SmithRepublican Representative Chris Smith of New Jersey recently told anti-gay hate monger Tony Perkins that American foreign policy puts too much emphasis on the “LGBT agenda” and abortion rights, alleging that the U.S. tries to use its economic and political influence to force other nations around the world to protect the rights of LGBT persons and women. Smith fails to explain why this is a bad thing. From BuzzFeed: 

"I do think that unfortunately there's been an obsession by some within the administration, and that goes for the president himself, to promote the abortion agenda and the LGBT agenda in our foreign policy.” […] 

"These issues are what drives this administration on much of our foreign policy, particularly in Africa. And many of these countries deeply resent it because they are profoundly pro-marriage and profoundly pro-life. But when your foreign aid is being limited or conditioned on those two issues, there are some, but thankfully not many, in these governments who begin to weaken," he added.

He also said of the post-2015 United Nations Development Agenda that "reproductive rights is put in there and the U.S. pushed very hard for it ... it could become very, very dangerous to the lives of babies and to the lives, and to marriage.”


Billings, Montana Mayor Casts Deciding Vote To Kill LGBT Non-Discrimination Ordinance

HanelJust after 3 a.m. Tuesday morning, Billings, Montana Mayor Tom Hanel cast the deciding vote against a proposed non-discrimination ordinance (NDO) that would have protected Billings residents from discrimination based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. The Billings Gazette reports on how the 6-5 city council vote went down:

Hanel said he applied a standard from Rotary International to help him reach his decision: “I needed to ask myself, is this fair to everyone, beneficial to everyone? Will it build goodwill and friendships? I can’t say for sure,” he said of the NDO.

Shaun Brown, another council member who opposed the NDO, specifically opposed a provision in the ordinance “that would have prohibited discrimination in public accommodations — namely, restrooms and locker rooms” and “alternates that would have allowed for monetary damages to people successfully arguing they were discriminated against.”

The debate on the NDO seemed to drive a wedge between many in the Montana community. Denis Pitman, another “no” vote on the NDO commented that he was disappointed “how much this issue has divided the council and the community.”

Supporters of the NDO meanwhile were disheartened by the measure’s defeat. Said Shauna Goubeaux, who along with her wife Nicole have challenged Montana’s same-sex marriage ban

“My wife and I own our own home, and we’re employed by companies that are open and embracing” of their marriage, which occurred in another state, she said. “Our lives aren’t as impacted, but the lives of our friends are impacted by this vote.”

Bill Cromley, one of the five council members to vote in favor of the ordinance, told the council before Hanel cast the deciding vote, “There is a gay agenda. They want to be treated as real human beings.”

Cromley’s remarks did nothing to sway Hanel’s opinion that Billings is not ready for an NDO that would protect its LGBT citizenry. Hanel’s final advice to the crowd as the 8 1/2 hour meeting drew to a close was to “walk out of here as professionals”:

“We were all created equal,” he said. “If you can’t sit by someone who disagrees with you, shame on you.”


Fredia Hurdle, Plaintiff In Pennsylvania Marriage Equality Case, Dies At 50 Having Never Married Her Partner

Lynn&FrediaFredia Hurdle (on the left) fought a long, tough battle to achieve marriage equality in Pennsylvania, the state she and partner Lynn Hurdle called home. Nearly three months ago they won, and Pennsylvania was yet another domino of inequality struck down by the courts. However, in a tragic turn, Fredia passed away last week after suffering a stroke, never having married her partner of 24 years. She was only fifty years old. 

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports:

Maybe they could get officially married in July, Lynn Hurdle thought, to mark the fifth anniversary of their original wedding ceremony. But her daughter planned to marry in October, and Fredia Hurdle said they should wait until after her wedding. It was her year, her “moment in the sun,” she told the woman she had long considered her wife.

“It's legal. We have time,” she said.

Fredia Hurdle had long been a bus driver, first for Greyhound Lines (where she met Lynn, one of her many passengers, in 1990) and later for the Pittsburgh newspaper. She and Lynn raised children together, including Lynn’s daughter Ashley Wise and several of Fredia’s nieces and nephews. They were, in short, a caring, loving couple whose story resonated with Pennsylvanians and other Americans alike.

“I was looking for the next 25 or 50 years together,” Lynn Hurdle said. “It's been shell shock.”

Though their commitment to one another was never officially recognized by the state of Pennsylvania, Lynn and Fredia were married in a July 2009 ceremony, and one would be hard pressed to deny their deep-seeded affection. Still, it is a tragic occurrence and one which will surely not go unnoticed in the fight for marriage equality nationwide.

Our thoughts are with Lynn, the children the couple raised, and the rest of Fredia’s family. 

Photo via ACLU.


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