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Michelangelo Signorile: Burger King's 'Proud Burger' Is A Tax Evasion Cover-Up

Proud

Writing on The Huffington Post, Michelangelo Signorile argues that companies, political donors and other entities are courting LGBT people in order to cover up criticism of unethical and questionable actions.

Signorile points out that corporate support for LGBT rights is easier for companies than it has been in the past and that many of these organizations need the support of LGBT people.

Arguing that Burger King’s recent actions hurt the economy and workers, he says that the Proud Whopper is an attempt to allow the company to remove attention from the fact that it is “fleeing to Canada, buying up Tim Hortons, following other American companies engaged in so-called tax inversions, all to avoid paying U.S. taxes."

SignorileSignorile continues that although Republican megadonor Paul Singer has given money to LGBT groups and GOP politicians who already support LGBT rights, the hedge fund billionaire is also giving millions to anti-gay candidates via right-wing groups and super PACs.

He goes on to points out that Democrats are as much to blame as Republicans, noting that although Governor Andrew Cuomo supported marriage equality in New York, his recent actions, including budget cuts, have diminished the rights of all workers, be they gay or straight.

Getting straight to the point, Signorile concludes:

“The fact that Burger King so publicly supports LGBT rights shouldn't matter. We should be past the point of being giddy over a nice wrapper. Corporations that dodge paying U.S. taxes while making billions from American consumers are wreaking havoc. We should all be sending a message to the fast-food giant that it is hurting America -- gay America, straight America, all of America.”


Joan Rivers Officiates Her Second Same-Sex Marriage In New York

JoanRiversWedding

Joan Rivers, the self-proclaimed "Queen of the Gays" and all-around funny lady, was ordained by the Universal Life Church and may quickly become the go-to officiant for New York gay couples. After performing a ceremony atop the Empire State Building in 2013, Ms. Rivers was again asked to perform her duty last week.

HuffPost reports:

On Aug. 15, the 81-year-old comedian, author and icon married William "Jed" Ryan and Joseph Aiello at New York's Plaza Athenee, Out magazine is reporting.

As it turns out, it was the second time down the aisle for the couple. In June, Rivers agreed to marry Ryan and Aiello on the spot at a Barnes & Noble signing of her new book, Diary of a Mad Diva, in Manhattan. Although photos and footage of that ceremony were picked up by numerous media outlets, the couple didn't have a proper marriage license at the time, so Rivers vowed to arrange a second ceremony so the men could legally tie the knot.

Thanks for the love and support, Joan! Now, what celebrity officiant would you want presiding over your wedding? Sound off in the comments below.

Photo via Out Magazine.


Andrew Rannells on Stepping into Broadway’s Highest Heels in ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch:’ INTERVIEW

HEDWIG key art NO-TEXT

BY NAVEEN KUMAR

Tony nominated in 2011 for his turn as an eagerly pious missionary in The Book of Mormon, Andrew Rannells returns to Broadway this week playing the glam-rock trans goddess in Hedwig and the Angry Inch for an eight-week run. Earlier this summer, the cult 1998 musical brought home Tony Awards for Best Revival and for performances by Lena Hall and Neil Patrick Harris, whom Rannells replaces in the show.

From his breakout role on Broadway, Rannells, 35, jumped quickly into TV with a recurring role on Girls, where he plays Lena Dunham’s now gay ex-boyfriend. He also went on to star as a young gay dad in Ryan Murphy’s series The New Normal, which ran for one season on NBC.

AR - hedwig1With his career taking off, the star returns to the stage in a role he’s been primed to play since he was a college student in Manhattan. I talked to the actor about his history with Hedwig, his jump to the screen, and Anne Hathaway’s best advice to him for walking in heels.

Naveen Kumar: Your last role on Broadway had you all buttoned up, so this time’s a little different…

Andrew Rannells: [Laughs] Yes! Yes it is.

NK: Are we watching a drag pro or a novice? Tell me about your history with heels—because they are sky high in this show.

AR: Well, I did a production of Hedwig in 2002 in Austin, Texas, at a theatre called the ZACH Theatre. It’s been a long time. This is obviously a very slick production, and there are things that I don’t have to worry about, like in Austin I had to do my own makeup and put on my own wig. On Broadway, there’s a whole staff of amazing designers who do that for you, which takes a lot of the stress away. I just have to show up! So that’s very nice.

The show itself, weirdly even though it was 12 years ago, I still remembered big pieces of it. Songs are a little bit easier to remember, but I was really surprised by the chunks of the script that I remembered, somewhere lodged in the back of my brain.

NK: So, jumping around in heels: not a big deal?

AR: One of the first things they did was give me a pair of rehearsal heels, and I was a little nervous about it because they were like 5-inch high heels.

I had just stared working on the Nancy Myers movie The Intern this summer in New York, and all of my scenes were with Anne Hathaway. I was telling her about it and she said, “You know what? Just don’t think about it. Women don’t think about it. They just put them on and do it.” That was her big advice and it was actually very helpful, because I just thought, I’m not going to stress about this, I’m just going to put them on and see what happens. Knock on wood: I have not fallen yet.

CONTINUED, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Andrew Rannells on Stepping into Broadway’s Highest Heels in ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch:’ INTERVIEW" »


Anti-Gay Sultan of Brunei Eyeing Iconic New York Hotels - VIDEO

Sultan

Hassanal Bolkiah, the homophobic Sultan of Brunei, has offered to pay around $2 billion to buy New York’s Plaza Hotel, along with Grosvenor House in London and the Dream Hotel in lower Manhattan, reports Huffington Post.

Bolkiah has faced severe criticism for Brunei’s new penal code which includes death by stoning as a punishment for homosexuality.

A number of celebrities - including Virgin founder and CEO Richard Branson - have protested against the Brunei-owned luxury hotel operator Dorchester Collection following the implementation of the country’s anti-gay laws. However, Russell Crowe announced his support for Dorchester, claiming that protests would “throw employees under the bus to make a political point.”

A statement from the hotel chain said that the company continues to “abide by the laws of the countries we operate in and do not tolerate any form of discrimination of any kind.”

However, activist group Human Rights Campaign’s Director of Global Engagement Ty Cobb said “the American profit stream that flows from [Bolkiah’s] hotels back to his regime needs to stop. We urge all New Yorkers to have one simple and straight-forward message for the Sultan: take your business elsewhere."

Watch a CBS News report, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Anti-Gay Sultan of Brunei Eyeing Iconic New York Hotels - VIDEO" »


Patti Lupone And Sting Headline 'Uprising Of Love' Benefit Concert For Global Equality, In NYC On September 15th

UprisingOfLoveOn September 15th, producers Stephen Schwartz and Bruce Cohen will partner with the United Nations Foundation for "Uprising of Love: A Benefit Concert for Global Equality." The concert, headlined by Broadway diva Patti Lupone and international superstar Sting, falls strategically around the UN General Assembly and Clinton Gobal Initiative and aims to raise awareness about the unfortunate state of affairs for many LGBTI-identified communities around the world. Proceeds from the event will go to Fueling the Frontlines, Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice's 3-year, $20 million global LGBTI rights campaign.

The concert's website has more information:

At this unique moment in history, when we are seeing such rapid progress in the fight for equality in the West, we cannot be blind to appalling crimes against humanity elsewhere. Today in Russia, Uganda, Nigeria, and elsewhere, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people are facing harassment, abuse, and violence. In some countries, recent laws have deemed homosexuality punishable by death and the situation appears to be getting worse, not better.

THE MISSION:

1. To raise awareness among the international community of violence, discrimination, and atrocities committed against LGBTI people.

2. To support LGBTI people and communities in areas where safety and dignity is compromised through funds and solidarity.

3. To support and collaborate with LGBTI and human rights organizations concerned with these issues.

The concert will be scripted by Academy Award-winner Dustin Lance Black (of Milk and Tom Daley fame) and directed by Schele Williams (Motown the Musical). Among the members of the benefit's host committee are Julianne Moore, Lance Bass, Calpernia Addams, Chris Colfer, and Melissa Etheridge.

To learn more and buy tickets, check out the website.

We hope to see you at the Gershwin Theater on September 15th!


Wedding Venues Can't Discriminate Against Same-Sex Couples, New York State Agency Rules

Mccarthy

The New York State Division of Human Rights has affirmed the state's Human Rights Law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in the case of Melisa and Jennifer McCarthy, a lesbian couple whose 2012 request to wed at an Albany area farm and wedding venue was turned down after owners found out they were a same-sex couple.  

New York Civil Liberties Union, who represented the couple, released the following statement:

“Marriage should be a time of celebration, not discrimination,” said NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman. “This ruling sets an important precedent protecting the rights of LGBT New Yorkers, and will help ensure that businesses understand New York law and treat all patrons with the dignity and respect they deserve.”

Added Jennifer McCarthy:

“No one should have the happiest time of their life marred by discrimination. We hope this decision will protect all New Yorkers from having to go through the hurt that we experienced.”

Liberty Ridge, the wedding venue in question, was told to "cease and desist from discriminatory practices in public accommodations" and was ordered to pay the McCarthys $1,500 each and a fine of $10,000 to the state. The owners must also prove to the Division on Human Rights that they're conducting anti-discrimination training at their workplace. 


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