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Gay Travel Dispatch of the Day: New Orleans Mardi Gras

Nola1
(instagram jonnodotcom)

This new series features dispatches from LGBTQ travel writers, bloggers, and photographers who are on the road in far-flung places. If you know somebody who should be featured here, send us an email at travel@towleroad.com.

Today's dispatch is culled from the stunning Instagram feed of John d'Addario, writer, photographer, and chronicler of things "mostly" New Orleans.

Nola8
"Royal Street, 9 AM"

As you may know, today is Mardi Gras in New Orleans when the streets are crammed with drunken revelers draped in glittering strands of purple, green, and gold beads. Mr. D'Addario has been taking some choice shots of the pre-Fat Tuesday Big Easy glam, which is making us reminisce about our trip down South last Halloween.

Atop this post, a man of many textures named "Greg". Below, "En route to the Societé de Saint-Anne Bal Masque."

Several more, AFTER THE JUMP...

Nola2

Continue reading "Gay Travel Dispatch of the Day: New Orleans Mardi Gras" »


Gay Texas Couples Ask 5th Circuit To Allow Same-Sex Marriages Immediately

DeLeon

Yesterday we reported that same-sex couples in Missouri and South Dakota had asked federal judges to allow marriages to begin immediately in those states. 

Now attorneys for two same-sex couples in Texas, including Cleopatra DeLeon and Nicole Dimetman (above) have done the same. 

Like the Missouri and South Dakota motions, the Texas filing relies on the U.S. Supreme Court's decision this week to allow same-sex marriages to begin in Alabama

The Texas Observer reports: 

LaneIf the 5th Circuit doesn't lift the stay for all same-sex couples, the motion asks that it be lifted for the limited purpose of establishing the parental rights of plaintiff Cleopatra DeLeon, whose wife, Nicole Dimetman, is expecting a child in March.

The motion cites the U.S. Supreme Court's refusal to halt same-sex marriages in both Alabama and Florida, after federal district judges struck down bans in those states. The high court will hear appeals in April from four states where same-sex marriage bans were upheld. ... 

Neel Lane (right), an attorney for the couples, said in a statement he remains confident the 5th Circuit will rule in favor of marriage equality.

"But same-sex marriages are proceeding across the South and Southwest, while Texas remains the most populous state where gays and lesbians are deprived of that right," Lane said. "Today we urge the Fifth Circuit to remedy that omission immediately.”

The Texas motion includes powerful arguments in favor of lifting the stay at least for DeLeon, outlining the many steps the couple would have to go through for her to adopt their expected daughter, and explaining that if something happens to Dimetman during childbirth, she may never be able to do so. 

"If Dimetman is otherwise incapacitated, DeLeon’s right and ability to care for the child will be far from assured, as she will not have parental rights unless and until the adoption is completed. Thus, DeLeon may not be able to rock the baby to sleep; she may not be able to comfort the baby when he or she is upset; she may not be able to direct the baby’s medical care. Adoption takes time, and if something happens to Dimetman, time will not be a luxury that DeLeon and the baby have."

Last February, U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia struck down Texas' marriage ban as unconstitutional, but stayed his decision pending the state's appeal to the 5th Circuit, which heard oral arguments last month. 

Observers believe a 5th Circuit panel is likely to rule in favor of marriage equality, but it's unclear whether it will do so before the Supreme Court addresses the issue. The high court will hear appeals in April from four states where marriage bans were upheld.

In December, Judge Garcia denied a motion to lift the stay in Texas — but that was before the Supreme Court allowed marriages to begin in Alabama and Florida. 

Read the full motion, AFTER THE JUMP ...

Continue reading "Gay Texas Couples Ask 5th Circuit To Allow Same-Sex Marriages Immediately" »


Bobby Jindal Defends AFA Prayer Rally At LSU As Anti-Gay Hate Group Plans Similar Events In Other States: VIDEO

Jindal

Last week we reported that LSU students are organizing protests and other events in response to "The Response," a prayer rally to be hosted by the American Family Association — an anti-LGBT hate group — on the university's campus January 24. 

Since then, the LSU Faculty Senate has issued a strongly worded condemnation of "The Response," which will be headlined by Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal (above) as he prepares to kick off his 2016 presidential campaign. The Faculty Senate said although it doesn't appear the university can legally deny the rental of space to the AFA, the rally is "inconsistent with the goals and aspirations of a great university":

The Faculty Senate has made use of its extensive media resources to focus public attention on this matter. ... In all of these interview opportunities, Faculty Senate representatives have stressed that the “Response” event both damages the University and conflicts with its values, whether by associating intolerance with University venues or interfering with the goal of disseminating the best in science. ... 

The story of “The Response” is far from over, but I do want to assure the LSU and the statewide higher education community that the LSU Faculty Senate is working vigorously to assist the administration not only in repairing the damage resulting from this event but also in using it as an educational, formative opportunity.

Despite widespread opposition from students and faculty at LSU, Jindal continues to defend holding "The Response" on campus. The other day, he insisted the rally is "not a political event, it's a religious event":

"Christians have the right to rent, to pay for a hall at a public university so they can come together and pray," Jindal told reporters at an economic development announcement in New Orleans.

Asked if he agreed with the American Family Association's agenda, Jindal sidestepped that question and said, "The left likes to try to divide and attack Christians."

Jindal said the protesters themselves should consider joining the prayer rally. He said they "might benefit from prayer."

Meanwhile, in addressing criticism of the event, AFA spokesman Bryan Fischer continues to suggest that gays are to blame for natural disasters. The website for "The Response" initially included a prayer guide blaming gays, abortion and pornography for Hurricane Katrina, but it was quickly removed. However, Fischer told The Times-Picayune:  

Fischer"We do know that natural disasters can be a form of God's judgement on an unrepentant nation. It's fitting that a part of the country that is obviously at risk for natural disasters would lead the nation in modeling repentance."

The AFA's David Lane told The Times-Picayune that "The Response" is the first in a series of similar events the group is planning next year, and he hinted that other possible headliners include perennial GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum. 

Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry headlined an AFA prayer rally in Houston in 2011 to kick off his presidential campaign, so we assume Perry and GOP Texas Sen. Ted Cruz will be fighting over the Lone Star State's AFA hatefest next year. 

Ultimately, though, these events may only backfire by galvanizing progressive opposition in places where they're held, such as in Baton Rouge. A reader poll on The Times-Picayune website shows that 66 percent of respondents believe "The Response" should be held at a private building or church. 

Watch Jindal's invitation to "The Response," AFTER THE JUMP ...

Continue reading "Bobby Jindal Defends AFA Prayer Rally At LSU As Anti-Gay Hate Group Plans Similar Events In Other States: VIDEO" »


102 Hot Shots on Bourbon Street at Gay Halloween New Orleans: PHOTOS

2014-10-26 19.09.10

Last weekend, Towleroad hit The Big Easy for Halloween New Orleans!

We were so excited to participate this year as a media sponsor and our crew was headquartered outside OZ bar each day at the corner of Bourbon and St. Ann Streets in the French Quarter where the revelry that New Orleans is famous for continued day and night.

2014-10-26 19.29.14Our Bourbon Street gallery features photos we took in and around the gayest intersection in NOLA, and inside OZ bar. We were happy to meet so many Towleroad readers and look forward to see you again next year.

Also, coming up shortly we'll have galleries of both the Friday night NEON party at Republic nightclub and the main 'Descent' costume ball where there was plenty of sexiness, skin, drag, and devilry to be found.

Halloween New Orleans is one of the largest and most amazing party events of the season and the weekend, now in its 31st year, is one of the only 100% donation/volunteer event weekends left in the U.S.. Project Lazarus, a home in New Orleans which provides healthcare and support services for men and women with AIDS, is the sole beneficiary of all the funds that are raised.

The weekend includes four days of events including a black tie ball, two big parties, and a brunch and a traditional brass band Second Line parade through the city.

Check out 102 photos from Bourbon Street, AFTER THE JUMP...

STAY TUNED: Galleries of the NEON party and Halloween Costume Ball coming soon!

2014-10-26 17.54.29

Continue reading "102 Hot Shots on Bourbon Street at Gay Halloween New Orleans: PHOTOS" »


Join Towleroad in New Orleans for Halloween!

Nolatlrd

Do you have your costume picked out for Halloween yet?

How about joining Towleroad at Halloween New Orleans for a weekend of festive, sexy, and spooky events from October 23-26?

Halloween New Orleans is one of the largest and most amazing party events of the season and the weekend, now in its 31st year, is one of the only 100% donation/volunteer event weekends left in the U.S.. Project Lazarus, a home in New Orleans which provides healthcare and support services for men and women with AIDS, is the sole beneficiary of all the funds that are raised.

HnopicMeet up with us! We'll be there and don't want you to miss a thing! "RSVPnola" with us AFTER THE JUMP and we'll keep you in-the-know with insider tips, a guide to special events, and information you can use for your weekend in the Big Easy.

Sign up AFTER THE JUMP and be sure to look for our camp cart at the events and all weekend on Bourbon Street in front of OZ to get some great free stuff and have your official pictures taken. We're holding a costume contest with the photos shot by our team so find us and make sure we get your photo.

Here are this year's events and you can get tickets at this link:

Thursday: The Lazarus Ball
Presented by Boomtown Casino New Orleans
US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center at WWII
7:30-11pm
Silent Auction
Music and Food
Black Tie Preferred

Friday: Casual/Dance/Club Night
Presented by VIP Magazine
Republic Nightclub
9pm-2am
DJ Blacklow
VIP Lounge for Hosts and Patrons

Saturday: Main Event!
Costume Contest & Parade (costumes required)
Massive Dance Party with DJ Tristan Jaxx
Theme: “Descent” (a journey through the underground) 10pm-4am
VIP Lounge for Hosts and Patrons

Sunday: Brunch and Second Line
House of Blues
1-4 pm
Jazz and Gospel Entertainment
Second Line from HOB to corner of Bourbon and St. Ann

All events are open bar.

"RSVPnola" with us AFTER THE JUMP and we'll keep you in-the-know with insider tips, a guide to special events, and information you can use for your weekend in the Big Easy.

Continue reading "Join Towleroad in New Orleans for Halloween!" »


Happening Now: New Orleans Rally Against Decision Upholding Louisiana's Same-Sex Marriage Ban

LaAs we reported earlier, U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman became the first judge since United States v. Windsor to uphold a state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. ABC News now reports that Forum for Equality, the ALCU, the Human Rights Campaign, the LGBT Community Center and PFLAG New Orleans are encouraging people in New Orleans to protest Judge Feldman's decision tonight in Jackson Square, located in New Orleans' historic French Quarter. 

From Forum For Equality:

The ruling today upheld the unconstitutional ban on recognizing loving and committed same-sex couples. Forum for Equality and the courageous couples who have lead this battle will not stop! We will take this fight all the way to the Supreme Court! We will not let one decision turn back the tide of victories because we stand on the right side of history. Rally with Forum for Equality, ALCU, HRC, LGBTCC and PFLAG today to show Louisiana that we are committed to standing for love and fairness for all.

The event is happening now at the Pedestrian Mall, Jackson Square New Orleans, LA 70130 (In front of St. Louis Cathedral).


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