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GLAD Sues Walmart on Behalf of Employee Denied Health Coverage For Same-Sex Partner

Cote

Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) has filed a charge of discrimination on behalf of Jacqueline Cote [right], a Walmart employee in Swansea, Massachusetts who was denied spousal health insurance for her wife, reports The Rainbow Times.

Cote’s wife, Diana Smithson is currently battling ovarian cancer.

According to GLAD, Walmart’s refusal of health insurance for Smithson violates both state and federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in employment.

Between 2006 and 2012, Cote attempted to add Smithson to her insurance. However, when she entered her spouse’s gender as “female,” Walmart’s online system would stop her from proceeding further.  When she called the retailer’s home office to investigate further, she was told that Walmart did not offer health insurance coverage to same-sex spouses.

By the time Walmart announced that it would change its policy in 2013, Cote and Smithson had racked up medical bills of more than $100,000.

Janson Wu, senior staff attorney at GLAD, said “all that Jackie wanted was to be treated like all other Walmart employees and to take care of her spouse. Instead, Walmart chose to discriminate against its gay and lesbian employees.”


Massachusetts Could Make History This Fall Electing First Out Gay Attorney General, Lt. Governor

Massachusetts

On Tuesday night, two openly gay candidates secured their party's nominations in the Massachusetts primary, paving the way for a history-making election night on November 4th.

Maura Healey (top left) beat out former state senator Warren Tolman to become the Democratic nominee for attorney general. Steve Kerrigan (top right), became the Democratic lieutenant governor nominee alongside gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley. If Healey and Kerrigan are elected this fall, they would be the first LGBT people to hold their respective positions in the United States.

Buzzfeed reports:

“As an advocate, as a prosecutor, and as a civil rights attorney, you have got to make your case and you have it give it all of your heart,” Healey said in her victory speech. “We have made our case tonight.”

As an assistant attorney general in the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, Healey played a key role in the state’s fight against the Defense of Marriage Act, arguing against DOMA’s constitutionally at the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in 2012.

Martha Coakley, Kerrigan's gubernatorial running mate, coincidentally filed the very same DOMA suit in 2009 while serving as attorney general. 

Kara S. Coredini of MassEquality was thrilled with the primary's outcome:

“Tonight was a tremendous night for LGBTQ justice and equality. Voters saw Steve Kerrigan and Maura Healey for what they offer and not solely who they are — and both won by resounding margins. For the young LGBTQ people growing up anywhere in Massachusetts and anywhere in the country, the people of Massachusetts have said to them tonight, it’s what you do that matters, and we celebrate who you are...

Massachusetts is poised to shatter several glass ceilings after tonight. Our first elected female Governor of Massachusetts, our first openly gay Lieutenant Governor and state Attorney General in Massachusetts and the country, and the second female treasurer in the Commonwealth’s history, which is a great accomplishment given the glass ceiling that has existed for women in politics, both statewide and nationally. They will bring to the job the wisdom and insight of the lives they’ve led, and they will give hope to all that follow.”

Congratulations to Healey, Kerrigan, and Coakley!


Check Out This Stunning View of Provincetown Shot by a Drone: VIDEO

Boatslip

Videographer David Cox brought his DJI Phantom Vision drone to Provincetown, Massachusetts to document some of the resort town's many appealing features including the Cape Cod National Seashore, the picturesque harbor, the Pilgrim Monument, the bustling tea dance, as well as last week's costumed Comic Book Carnival Parade (see our photo gallery HERE), much of it from a great height and in glorious HD.

His clip will make those of you who love this place feel the urge to "come home."

Check it out, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Provincetown's Comic Book Carnival Springs to Life in These 120 Sexy, Superpower-ful Instagram Pics: PHOTOS

Justice

Every year in August more than 90,000 people descend on the gay and lesbian resort destination of Provincetown, Massachusetts for the town's annual Carnival celebration. This year, balmy, late summer temperatures combined with festive vacation spirits turned out animated characters and 'Cape crusaders' in force for 2014's theme: Comic Book Capers.

Roys

We've collected 120 of our favorite Instagram pics featuring more Supermen, X-Men, Batmen than you can leap in a single bound along with a few Poison Ivies, a couple of Hat Sisters, an Iron Man, a dozen Robins, the Flash, a Green Lantern or two, Smurfs, Babs, Captain America, a group of Roy Lichtenstein gals, more than one Ambiguously Gay Duo, Wonder Women, a few Drag Race celebutantes, the nation's supply of spandex, and a few guys who are just plain Super.

Watch the comics come to life in the nation's LGBT playground, AFTER THE JUMP...

Also, don't miss our Instagram galleries from BEAR WEEK and FAMILY WEEK.

Be sure to follow us on Instagram at TLRD for more photos from Provincetown this summer.

Couple

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Evangelical Hatemonger Scott Lively Qualifies For November Ballot As Independent: VIDEO

Lively3

The Boston Globe is reporting that evangelical hatemonger Scott Lively has gathered the necessary signatures to qualify for the November ballot as an independent candidate for governor. 

The Secretary of the Commonwealth's office confirmed Wednesday that Lively's campaign submitted 11,494 valid signatures, far above the 10,000 needed to secure ballot access as an independent this fall.

Lively joins the future Republican and Democratic nominees as well as independent candidate Evan Falchuk as candidates certified for the November ballot.

Back in March, Britain's Channel 4 looked at Lively's involvement with Uganda's anti-gay law and his long-shot candidacy in Massachusetts. You can check out that video, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Evangelical Hatemonger Scott Lively Qualifies For November Ballot As Independent: VIDEO" »


Connecticut Ruling Could Lead To Retroactive Marriage Rights For Same-Sex Couples

A July 16th Connecticut Supreme Court ruling is adding to the debate on whether same-sex marriage rights should be applied retroactively, reports ABC News.

Charlotte Stacey and Margaret MullerThe case involved Margaret Mueller and Charlotte Stacey, who had a civil union in Connecticut in 2005 and got married in Massachusetts in 2008 after 23 years together, shortly before Connecticut approved gay marriage.

Mueller was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2001 but the couple learned in 2005 that the diagnosis was wrong and Mueller actually had appendix cancer. Stacey said her wife’s death could have been prevented if the original diagnosis had been correct.

The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled unanimously that Stacey may sue for medical malpractice over the loss of her wife's companionship and income, even though that right was limited to heterosexual married couples at the time of their marriage.

Lower courts had ruled that Stacey could not sue because only married couples had that right and Stacey and Mueller did not marry until 2008.

Although no states that allow same-sex marriage have made their laws retroactive, many believe that inheritance laws and other benefits that had been available only to heterosexual married couples should be extended to same-sex partners.

While the Connecticut court did not make its 2008 same-sex marriage ruling retroactive, it expanded common law to give gay people the right to sue over the death of a partner.

Speaking to Associated Press, Ben Klein, a lawyer for Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders in Boston, said:

"Because there was a time when many same-sex couples couldn't marry, they were subjected to a whole range of unfair treatment under the law and this decision is really a great step forward. We have these remnants from the past that the court, at least in this one instance, has rectified."

However, some groups that oppose same-sex marriage are also against making marriage rights retroactive.  Peter Sprigg, senior fellow for policy studies at the Family Research Council, said "Connecticut has no obligation to pay reparations to homosexuals for having maintained the natural definition of marriage until 2008."

Same-sex marriage is now legal in 19 states and the District of Columbia. Gay marriage bans that have been overturned in states including Utah continue to make their way through the courts.


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