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Gay Couple Challenges Ohio's Ban on Same-Sex Marriage In Federal Suit

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Last week, we reported on a gay Ohio couple, John Arthur and Jim Obergefell, who flew to Maryland to tie the knot. Unlike other couples flocking to get wed following the Supreme Court's historic overturning of section 3 of DOMA, John and Jim faced a more difficult journey as Arthur suffers from ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Consequently, conventional travel was out of the question. But thanks to donations from family members and others, the couple was able to charter a plane that cost $12,700 to fly to Maryland where they wed on the Tarmac.  The couple has now filed a federal suit against the state of Ohio challenging that state's ban on same-sex marriage, ABC 5 reports:

"The suit, filed by the couple, states the way the law treats marriages between opposite-sex couples is unfairly different from the way it treats marriages between same-sex couples.

'It's blatant discrimination,' said the couple's attorney Al Gerhardstein. 'It's a denial of equal protection.' The suit points to an example of a marriage between first cousins. In Ohio, it is illegal. But if first cousins go to another state and marry where it is legal, Ohio will recognize their out of state marriage as valid. 'Equal protection demands that opposite-sex couples and same-sex couples should be treated the same,' Gerhardstein said in a release. 'John and James were validly married in Maryland. If they were an opposite sex couple, Ohio would recognize their marriage. Being a same-sex couple is no longer a good enough reason to deny them equal rights.'"

Jim stressed the role that John's disease played in deciding to file the suit:

"We want nothing more than for our marriage to count in the place we call home," Obergefell said in a release. "When (John Arthur) dies, his death certificate should reflect our marriage just like the records of all the other married couples in Ohio."

The case, once heard, will come before United States District Court Judge Timothy Black in Cincinnati, the couple's hometown.


Gay Maryland Delegate Heather Mizeur Announces Run for Governor

Maryland Delegate Heather Mizeur announced today she's running for governor of Maryland, the Baltimore Sun reports:

MizeurThe 40-year-old Montgomery County lawmaker would join Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown as an official candidate on the Democratic side in the June 2014 primary. Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler is expected to formally jump into the race in September. Rep. C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger, a Baltimore County Democrat, has said he is considering a run.

If elected, Mizeur would become the first woman in Maryland to serve as governor and the first openly gay governor in the nation. Along with Del. Ron George on the Republican side, she also is trying to achieve what no other member of the Maryland General Assembly has done: win a popular election as governor while serving in the legislature.

In an interview with The Baltimore Sun, Mizeur said she would run a non-traditional campaign that emphasized public-service projects. She said she's planning such activities as repairing a playground in Silver Spring, painting a school in Baltimore and restoring a hiking trail in the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge outside Cambridge.

Mizeur also spoke with the Washington Blade:

“Diversity is enormously important,” she told the Blade. “Not simply to have a gay governor, but to have a governor who can represent the voices of people in communities that have not always had a voice in the process.”

...EMILY’s List and the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund are expected to back Mizeur’s campaign, but campaign finance reports indicate both Brown and Gansler have a significant fundraising advantage.

Gansler has also been a huge advocate for same-sex marriage in Maryland.


Terminally-Ill Man and His Partner Fly to Maryland to Marry on the Airport Tarmac: VIDEO

Arthur

John Arthur and Jim Obergefell, together for 20 years, decided that they wanted to marry after the Supreme Court struck down DOMA, but Ohio bans gay marriage and travel is difficult. "Arthur is bedridden with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, a progressive neurological disease that robs patients of their ability to walk, talk and eventually breathe," Cincinnati.com reports, so conventional travel was out of the question.

CrossroadsDonations poured in that would cover the cost of a $12,700 private plane charter, Cincinnati.com adds:

Obergefell flew to Baltimore on Tuesday, obtained the marriage license and flew back a few hours later.

And then on Thursday Arthur and Obergefell boarded a Lear jet at Lunken Airport with a nurse, two pilots trained in emergency medicine, and Arthur’s aunt, Paulette Roberts, who’d been ordained to perform weddings with the hope that she’d someday get to do theirs.

They touched down in Baltimore at 10:39 a.m. The plane parked off the runway and the pilots stepped outside.

And then, in the cramped cabin of the jet, Obergefell seated next to Arthur’s stretcher, the couple turned to each other and held hands. Roberts sat behind them and began to speak.

Watch the beautiful story (warning: autoplay), AFTER THE JUMP...

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Baltimore-Area Police Chief Accused of Calling Officer a 'Fag' and a 'Rump Ranger': VIDEO

Larry Tolliver, the police chief of Anne Arundel County, has been accused of making homophobic slurs against an officer who testified in a corruption trial against former County Executive John Leopold. Tolliver allegedly called the officer a "fag" and a "rump ranger" and reassigned him and two others as retribution for their testimony.

TolliverTolliver is denying the charges, the Capital Gazette reports:

He said allegations he reassigned officers who had testified against former County Executive John R. Leopold are false. Tolliver did, however, admit to using off-color language about homosexuals, though he said he didn’t recall using it at the workplace. The allegations surfaced in a letter dated Monday from County Councilman Jamie Benoit, D-Crownsville, to County Executive Laura Neuman.

Benoit alleged Tolliver reassigned three officers from the department’s Intelligence Division to the Southern and Western Districts and relieved the major who oversaw the unit as “retribution against the very officers that led to the removal of the most corrupt elected official in our county’s history.”

Another officer left the unit voluntarily before he could be reassigned, Benoit wrote.

Benoit said one of the officers, a 20-year-veteran of the police department, filed a complaint against the police chief for making anti-gay slurs.

Benoit wrote that in the complaint against Tolliver, the police chief is alleged to have told the officer, “I didn’t know you that you were a fag” after looking at a picture of him.

Tolliver also reportedly called the officer a "rump ranger", according to WJZ.

Chief Tolliver refused to answer questions on camera but said in a statement, “I in no way, shape or form am homophobic. I don’t encourage any negative attitudes or feelings towards homosexuality and don’t question anyone about their sexuality…I fully support a culture of diversity in the agency and it is something I have worked very hard towards, specifically in our recruiting efforts.”

Watch a report from WJZ Baltimore, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Baltimore-Area Police Chief Accused of Calling Officer a 'Fag' and a 'Rump Ranger': VIDEO" »


News: NOM, Mark Twain, Google, Toni Braxton

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d NOM colleague Robert Gagnon compares gay-straight alliances to the KKK and skinheads.

Mark-twain-shirtless-2-e13612533887216a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d An authentic shirtless photo of a furry Mark Twain from the 1880s has made its way onto the Internet.

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d One of two gay bashers in Kentucky apologizes to the victim two years after the attack: "I'm asking on your behalf if you'll have mercy on me."

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Kanye Kardashian and Kim Kardashian announce they're having a baby girl.

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Study says it explains the strong bond between many gay men and straight women: "...close friendships between straight women and gay men may be characterized by a unique exchange of unbiased mating-relevant information that may not be available in their other relationships." 

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Police car among property vandalized with swastkias and anti-gay graffiti in Bethesda, Maryland.

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Booed gay soldier Stephen Snyder-Hill will work with FreedomOhio to be lead advocate for marriage equality in Ohio.

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Goodbye, Jermaine Jackson. Hello Jermaine Jacksun.

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Mgid-uma-video-mtv.com-507964Toni Braxton wants a specific film role: “I would like to play a lesbian … and do a whole make-out scene and the whole thing, just something completely different than people would expect from me. Not a lipstick lesbian, either.”

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Six actors who have taken home both Oscars and Razzies.

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Google vs. Apple - the former might be in the lead: "Google has successfully positioned itself as the one company poised to take advantage of the next wave of technological progress."

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Michelle Obama dances up a storm on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Are Republicans dropping their opposition to gay marriage? "The Republican Party may not be there yet, but...supporting gay marriage is the future of the GOP."


'Ex-Gay' Therapy Video Approved by State Regulators and Shown to Maryland Students is Pulled

Acception

Students taking seventh grade health classes in the Prince George's County Public Schools system were shown a video espousing "ex-gay" therapy as a viable option for students who are LGBT and bullied, Washington City Paper reports:

Betsy Gallun worked as the supervisor for health education in Prince George's County Public Schools until she retired last year, and she thinks information about gay-to-straight therapy should be available to Prince George's County students. "I feel very badly that it's coming under scrutiny, to be honest with you," says Gallun...

...Six health classes have shown "Acception" since last fall, according to PGCPS spokesman Briant K. Coleman—and more were expected to use it this year, says Doyle.

State education regulators also approved the video, according to Coleman. But on Wednesday, PGCPS pulled the video pending further review, only to terminate the program permanently later that day.

AcceptionstillGallun was introduced to the 21-minute anti-bullying video (stills from it above, and right) "Acception" by "ex-gay" quack Richard Cohen:

[The video] at first appears to promote the acceptance of gay children. In the video, four students are assigned a project on homophobic bullying, with the group splitting up to study the issues of bullying and the origins of homosexuality. Two of the students encounter a cavemen parable about the origins of bullying, but the teens researching same-sex attraction soon find themselves in a different kind of scientifically dicey territory. While the video initially explores gay teenagers being bullied and a young man coming out to his parents, it soon features a student talking about how his once-lesbian cousin used therapy to become attracted to men. Then, the students in the video "watch" an interview with a gay-to-straight therapist.

"If someone wants to live a gay life, I respect that, and if someone wants to change from gay to straight and choose a different path, I respect that too," says the character, played by an actress. The success of "reparative therapy" is touted elsewhere in the video: In a portion of the video you can watch on YouTube, a woman who once felt attracted to other women says that growing closer to her mother and female friends—a trope of sexual orientation-switching theory—helped her become attracted to men. Discussion questions provided to teachers using "Acception" feature scenarios in which sexual orientation is changed through therapy.

Watch a trailer for the video (which does not show the part where it veers into ex-gay therapy) and a clip from it, AFTER THE JUMP...

(via anthoony catalino)

Continue reading "'Ex-Gay' Therapy Video Approved by State Regulators and Shown to Maryland Students is Pulled" »


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