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Federal Judge: Nevada Can Bar Gay Couples from Marrying

In a ruling in Sevcik v. Sandoval made public late yesterday, Judge Robert C. Jones, a George W. Bush appointee, found Nevada's laws limiting marriage to two people of the opposite sex are Constitutional. Among Jones's reasons for the ruling are that gay people are not able to procreate, they are not a politically powerless class, and that gay people having the freedom to marry would actually scare straight couples from entering the institution.

Read the full ruling, AFTER THE JUMP...

Robertc_jonesWrites Buzzfeed's Chris Geidner:

Jones ruled that prior Supreme Court precedent—a 1972 case, Baker v. Nelson, that denied a same-sex couple's marriage claim as lacking any "substantial federal question"—controlled his decision. Even if not, he ruled that the "exclusion of same-sex couples from the institution of civil marriage" was constitutional "[b]ecause the maintenance of the traditional institution of civil marriage as between one man and one woman is a legitimate state interest."

In reaching his decision, Jones found that a classification like Nevada's marriage law, which distinguishes between heterosexual and homosexual people (his analysis did not address bisexuality), should not be viewed with additional scrutiny, as are laws that distinguish based on sex or race. The analysis, made as part of challenges claiming a violation of the Constitution's equal protection guarantees, asks whether the group claiming discrimination under the law has experienced a history of discrimination and continues to face levels of political powerlessness.

NevadaWrites Chris Johnson at the Washington Blade:

Among the reasons why Jones, a Mormon who attended Brigham Young University, finds gay couples lack a constitutional right to marry is a rational basis for the government to preclude couples who can’t bear children from marrying:

“Human beings are created through the conjugation of one man and one woman. The percentage of human beings conceived through non-traditional methods is minuscule and adoption, the form of child-rearing in which same-sex couples may typically participate together, is not an alternative means of creating children, but rather a social backstop for when traditional biological families fail. The perpetuation of the human race depends upon traditional procreation between men and women. The institution developed in our society, its predecessor societies, and by nearly all societies on Earth throughout history to solidify, standardize, and legalize the relationship between a man, a woman, and their offspring, is civil marriage between one man and one woman.”

Moreover, Jones determines that straight couples may be disinclined to marry if same-sex couples were allowed to enter into the same institution, which would result in additional societal problems:

“Should that institution be expanded to include same-sex couples with the state’s imprimatur, it is conceivable that a meaningful percentage of heterosexual persons would cease to value the civil institution as highly as they previously had and hence enter into it less frequently, opting for purely private ceremonies, if any, whether religious or secular, but in any case without civil sanction, because they no longer wish to be associated with the civil institution as redefined, leading to an increased percentage of out-of-wedlock children, single-parent families, difficulties in property disputes after the dissolution of what amount to common law marriages in a state where such marriages are not recognized, or other unforeseen consequences.”

LambdalegalLambda Legal Staff Attorney Tara Borelli issued the following statement:

"This is not the end of this fight. We will appeal and continue to fight for these loving couples, who are harmed by Nevada's law barring marriage for same-sex couples. By forbidding same-sex couples' access to marriage, the State brands them and their children as second-class citizens. This entire decision rests on the ridiculous premise that a 'meaningful percentage of heterosexual persons' will decide not to get married if same-sex couples can. Not only is this not true, but it is settled law that the government is not allowed to cater to private biases -- which is all that imagining that 'some couples won't join this club if those people are admitted' amounts to. We are confident this ruling will be overturned on appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals."

The lead plaintiffs in the case are Beverly Sevcik, 74, and Mary Baranovich, 76, of Carson City, who have been together for nearly 41 years, raising three children and now the proud grandmothers of four grandchildren.  The other plaintiffs are: Antioco Carrillo and Theo Small of Las Vegas, who have been together since 2006; Fletcher Whitwell and Greg Flamer of Las Vegas, who have been together for 14 years and adopted a baby girl together; Karen Goody and Karen Vibe of Reno, who have been engaged since 2005; Mikyla and Katie Miller of Reno, parents of a newborn baby girl; Adele Terranova and Tara Newberry of Las Vegas, who are raising two children; Caren and Farrell Cafferata-Jenkins of Carson City, who have been together for 15 years and are raising two sons; and Megan Lanz and Sara Geiger of Las Vegas, who have been together since 2005 and have a daughter.

Read the full ruling, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Federal Judge: Nevada Can Bar Gay Couples from Marrying" »


Gay Wedding Video of the Day: Tony and Kevin

Wedding

Tony and Kevin share with us a video of their wedding, writing: "We tied the knot August 4th in Lake Tahoe with over 100 of our friends and family, old, young, Democrat, Republican -- it was AWESOME."

As part of the wedding, they exchanged readings from Harry Potter and Jack Johnson's Better Together.

Check it out, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Gay Wedding Video of the Day: JoAnna and Jenny [tr]
Gay Wedding Video of the Day: Kenton and Johnny [tr]

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Continue reading "Gay Wedding Video of the Day: Tony and Kevin" »


Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Hospitalized After Car Accident

Accident
(image twitter blasky)

Senator Harry Reid was transported to the hospital after his caravan was involved in a six-car crash, the AP reports:

ReidNevada Highway Patrol Office spokesman Jeremie Elliott says he doesn’t know Reid’s condition after the crash, which happened about 1:10 p.m. Friday on Interstate 15.

The freeway runs parallel to the Las Vegas Strip.

Elliott says six vehicles were involved in the apparent chain-reaction crash, including two Las Vegas police vehicles, two civilian vehicle and two Capitol Police vehicles.

CNN adds:

Reid's caravan of four vehicles was traveling northbound on Interstate 15 when it was invovled in a crash with another civilian vehicle, according to the highway patrol's public information officer Loy Hixson.

Reid was transferred to the University Medical Center in Las Vegas by one of his caravan vehicles. The injuries did not appear to be life threatening, according to Hixson. Nobody else involved in the incident was transferred to the hospital.

One more shot of the accident here.


Fox Radio Station Sacks Host For Pro-Gay Interview

SeanSavoyThere's a silver lining in this story. The website LGBTQ Nation reports that Reno-based Fox Radio affiliate KKFT-FM fired long-time host Sean Savoy after he brought Dallas-based gay activist Will Kolb onto his "House of Savoy" program earlier this month.

According to Savoy and his producer, Eddie Floyd, station manager Jerry Evans didn't appreciate the positive things being said about gay people, so he just called the whole thing off. Savoy is displeased, to say the least.

"I have always appreciated the variety of viewpoints expressed on my program. To think I could be removed for having a conversation about the LGBT community in America baffles me. I have conducted a variety of interviews with a wide range of people over the past year, and yet this was the topic that got my show cancelled," he said.

"Mr. Evans and his company certainly have the right to control their opinion. But censoring any message that benefits the LGBT community is wrong and detracts from basic human rights. It means that he is gate keeping and not allowing the public to make their own informed decisions."

So, where is the silver lining? Well, Savoy, an ordained minister, has used the occasion to finally come out of the closet.

Savoy had not made the decision to come out until earlier this year, and said there was considerable “soul searching,” as well as intense discussions with his inner circle, including his family and his partner.

At the time he was sacked, Savoy acknowledged that he was still hiding the fact that he is gay.

Savoy added that while he lived as a straight man, he found himself desiring a much more fulfilling life that wasn’t based on deception and was true to his sexual orientation.

GLAAD is currently trying to raise attention to KKFT's actions, which organization president Herndon Graddick described as "blatant discrimination" that "[sends] a dangerous message that they believe LGBT people shouldn't be given voice or afforded basic respect."


Lesbian Couple Loses Baby After Argument with Hospital Over Rights

Brittney Leon and Terri-Ann Simonelli experienced the same old story in Nevada:

NevadaWhen Leon, 26, checked into Spring Valley Hospital on July 20 with complications in her pregnancy, she assumed that her partner Simonelli, 41, could make any necessary medical decisions if she suffered unforeseen problems.

But that's not what happened, they said. An admissions officer told them the hospital policy required gay partners to secure power of attorney before making any medical decisions for each other.

They protested, even offering to go home and return with their domestic partnership document. But they said the admissions officer told them that didn't matter - Simonelli would need a power of attorney. Considering Leon's condition, Simonelli wasn't in a position to argue or spend hours running to a law office. But the admission officer's words left them devastated in a moment that they already were under extreme stress.

Leon ended up losing her baby.

More at the Las Vegas Review Journal...


NEWS: A Pansexual Legislator In Texas, A Tormented Androgyne In London, And The Sanctity Of Marriage In Nevada

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Towleroad-roadicon After his London disappointment, gay Aussie diver Matthew Mitcham ponders the future:

Mitcham ... has had enough of the incessant pounding and had gone to London pretty much convinced that he and his body couldn't take much more. But then he felt his love of the Olympic Games reignited, so much so that he never wants to miss another one of them. That means either joining the dread ranks of those reporting on his sport, or continuing in it, almost certainly in the shape-shifting role of a springboard diver.

"I've always been a platform specialist who's done springboard either to fill spots or because I was semi-OK at it," Mitcham said. "So I have been in discussion with Chava (Sobrino), my coach, about the possibility of becoming solely a springboard diver. It's certainly a possibility and I'm not really going to take a holiday when I get home. I'm actually going to start working on the strength to become a springboard diver right away because it's going to take a long time to get my thighs as big as (China's) He Chong's."

Towleroad-roadicon Now that she's running unopposed, Texas pol Mary Gonzalez has come out. Not as a lesbian -- she already did that -- but as pansexual:

“During the campaign if I had identified as pansexual, I would have overwhelmed everyone,” she said this week, adding that people don’t know what being pan means. “Now that I’m out of the campaign, I’m completely much more able to define it.”

Although her election focused on helping El Paso’s District 75 citizens gain access to clean drinking water and better educational opportunities, her sexuality was front and center, and something she had to repeatedly address. Mainstream media called her the Latina lesbian lawmaker. The coverage led to negative comments about her dating men in the past and accusations that she was not a “true lesbian,” Gonzalez said.

Towleroad-roadicon In Nevada, US District Chief Judge Robert Jones has set a date to hear arguments on marriage equality. He'll accept lawyers' arguments only -- no testimonies:

Jones ... said he planned to rely on oral and written arguments from attorneys, not courtroom testimony from people who might be offered as experts on the history of discrimination against homosexuals.

"Testimony would be not only useless but an absurd inquiry.

CasterSemenya Towleroad-roadicon Yesterday, the lovely androgyne Caster Semanya, a world-champion runner and now an Olympic silver-medalist, looked a little like a woman throwing a race.

Towleroad-roadicon -- and who would blame her? This three-year-old, marvelously written story from the New Yorker details the terrible torment endured by the then 18-year-old athlete when her dominance in the 800-meters led to a protracted investigation of her gender. 

Towleroad-roadicon Steve and Roger have been together 19 years, and their family is very large.

Towleroad-roadicon More on Paul Ryan's homophobia.

Towleroad-roadicon How Olympic skepticism gave way to delight.

Towleroad-roadicon Reykjavik mayor Jon Gnar, at Iceland's iconic pride parade, supports imprisoned Russian punk band Pussy Riot. 

Towleroad-roadicon (They're in prison for behaving badly in a church, and could be imprisoned for up to seven years. They'll learn their fates on Friday.) 

Towleroad-roadicon Tonight, watch the Perseids

 


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