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11/21/2014

ACLU Will Sue Kansas to Force State Agencies to Recognize Gay Marriages

Kansas

The ACLU of Kansas is poised to amend its lawsuit challenging the ban on same-sex marriage in order to force state agencies to grant marriage benefits to same-sex couples.

Yesterday, we reported that despite marriage equality having commenced in many Kansas counties, Governor Sam Brownback was refusing to allow any state recognition of same-sex unions.

The Wichita Eagle reports:

Doug Bonney, who represented the couples suing the state, said the plaintiffs would amend their complaint to force state agencies to recognize the marriages and grant full legal rights to the newly married couples.

This includes the right to change the last name on your driver’s license to your spouse’s. For the spouses of state employees, it also includes receiving state health care benefits.

Bonney said they would sue Gov. Sam Brownback if necessary. He added the governor has the authority to direct agencies on how to respond to the ruling but said the administration’s combative response was disappointing. He also said it would cost taxpayers a lot of money in the long run.

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Posted by Kyler Geoffroy in Gay Marriage, Kansas, News | Permalink | Comments (16)


Conchita Wurst Releases Dramatic New Music Video for 'Heroes': WATCH

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Bearded drag performer Conchita Wurst has released a dramatic new video directed by Clemens Purner for his power ballad "Heroes", which is the follow-up to "Rise Like a Phoenix", the track which led to the Eurovision crown.

According to Sony, Wurst came up with the concept for the video which represents a relationship between two people. A man is asked to reconsider his previous actions and do something good for humanity, to be a hero.

Wurst was recently honored by the United Nations in Vienna for his work on behalf of the LGBT community.

Watch the new video, AFTER THE JUMP...

Heroes

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Posted by Andy Towle in Conchita Wurst, Drag Queens, Music, Music Video, News | Permalink | Comments (8)

11/21/2014

Lambda Legal Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Review Federal Judge's Ruling Upholding Louisiana Gay Marriage Ban

Scotus

Hoping to bypass the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, Lambda Legal and the lawyers representing Forum for Equality Louisiana and seven same-sex Louisiana couples have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman's August ruling upholding the state's same-sex marriage ban. 

The filing, called a Writ of Certiorari before Judgment can be granted in cases that show there is imperative public importance as to justify bypassing the normal appeals process in the Circuit Court of Appeal.

Said Lambda Legal Senior Counsel Kenneth D. Upton, Jr. via statement:

LouisianaThe ruling from the lower court in this case is a time-warped reading of the Constitution and neglects developments in the law, including since the Supreme Court’s decision in Windsor. We have seen a blizzard of well-reasoned rulings in recent months holding similarly discriminatory bans unconstitutional, including rulings out of the Fourth, Seventh, Ninth and Tenth Circuits Courts of Appeal. We are asking for the Supreme Court’s review now while it is considering the Sixth Circuit decision because together these cases present the full gamut of aberrant arguments supporting these discriminatory bans, and, in Louisiana specifically, present in one state a case covering both the right of same-sex couples to marry, and for legally married same-sex couples to have those marriages recognized. The longer same-sex couples are forced to live in a country divided by where their families are respected and where they aren’t the more apparent the injustice will become—and that clarity will come at a price for thousands of families.

Added Forum for Equality Louisiana Executive Director SarahJane Brady:

Dozens of federal courts have been nearly unanimous: these hateful, politically motivated marriage bans have no place in our country – and they will soon end up in the dustbin of history where they belong.  After the Sixth Circuit’s ruling upholding state bans on same sex marriages, we determined there is too much at stake in Louisiana and other states without marriage equality to wait on the appeals process to play out, potentially delaying justice for same-sex couples.

The Fifth Circuit has scheduled arguments in challenges to same-sex marriage bans from Louisiana and Texas for January 9. 

Read the petition below via Equality Case Files:

 

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Posted by Kyler Geoffroy in Gay Marriage, Lambda Legal, Louisiana, Supreme Court | Permalink | Comments (11)


Nick the Gardener Makes His Glorious Pectoral Return to Help Ellen With an Anatomy Lesson: VIDEO

Nick

In a segment yesterday where Ellen offered to help her viewers with homework questions, one pre-nursing major was desperate for some tips on how to memorize all the different parts of the body for her Human Anatomy class.  

And so marked the return of Ellen's beloved gardener Nick - who served up a sizzling anatomy lesson the viewer would have a hard time forgetting come test day. 

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Posted by Kyler Geoffroy in Ellen DeGeneres, The Cream Pies | Permalink | Comments (7)

11/21/2014

Matthew Shepard's Parents Head To Russia To Fight Anti-LGBT Intolerance: VIDEO

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The parents of Matthew Shepard are heading to hostile territory in hopes of bringing a message of tolerance to Russia. Tomorrow, Dennis and Judy depart for St. Petersburg to attend the screening of a movie about their slain son and then move on to Moscow, where they hope to meet with parents of LGBT youth. In a country where gays are consistently harassed for spreading so-called "propaganda", the Shepards hope to bring a message of tolerance on their five-day trip. But given how entrenched anti-LGBT attitudes have become under the rule of Vladimir Putin, they know it won't be easy.

“Putin has made it so unhealthy to be LGBT or an ally,” Dennis Shepard told the AP in an interview about their trip. “It will take at least a generation to clean up the mess he’s made and get some acceptance.”

Their first stop will be a screening of Matthew Shepard is a Friend of Mine at the Side by Side Film Festival in St. Petersburg, an annual event since 2008 which has been promoting LGBT tolerance while drawing criticism from government officials there. But filmmaker Michele Josue, who was a close friend of Matthew's in high school, feels strongly about screening her film in a hostile environment. 

"We've been preaching to the choir," she said of previous screenings in the U.S. "It's important to get our film seen by a community that didn't have access to it."

The film, which has been on the festival circuit this year, makes its NYC premiere tonight at the Doc NYC Festival. You can watch the moving trailer AFTER THE JUMP...

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Posted by Brian Sloan in Judy Shepard, Matthew Shepard, Russia, Trailer, Vladimir Putin | Permalink | Comments (14)





11/21/2014

LGBT Groups Remain 'Deeply' Dissatisfied with President Obama's Immigration Order

Obama

President Obama's announced executive action to provide temporary relief from deportation to millions of undocumented immigrants was met with lukewarm reception from LGBT rights groups concerned the proposal leaves out a disproportionate number of undocumented LGBT immigrants. 

Said Francisco Dueñas, Director of Diversity, Inclusion and Proyecto Igualdad at Lambda Legal:

"While we praise President Obama’s efforts to do what is in his executive power to improve immigration, we are deeply disappointed that his plan unfairly excludes many members of the LGBT community.  President Obama’s plan allows immigrants who have children who are citizens or  lawful permanent residents to obtain legal work documents and temporarily be protected from deportation. 
 
"We urge President Obama to undertake reforms that are more LGBT-inclusive, such as recognizing length of residency as a stand-alone qualification. Thousands of LGBT immigrants, many who have fled countries where LGBT people are unprotected and subjected to horrific abuse and violence, have been waiting for humane immigration reform for years due to Congressional inaction and cannot afford to wait any longer.

In a separate statement, National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) Policy Director Maya Rupert said that while she welcomed this "first step" towards ending the country's "broken and discriminatory" immigration system, more can be done to ensure the system is "inclusive and humane for all."

Said Rupert:

ImmigrationLGBT families are less likely to have legally recognized or biological relationships with each other, and thus relief based wholly on familial ties will exclude too many LGBT families. In addition, many of the restrictions requiring consistent employment and limiting access for people with non-violent criminal histories will disproportionately impact LGBT immigrants, especially in the transgender community.”

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Posted by Kyler Geoffroy in Barack Obama, Gay Rights, Immigration, News | Permalink | Comments (11)








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