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Principal Proclaims 'School Is Closed' With 'Frozen' Cover - VIDEO


If Blizzard 2015 has you feeling nostalgic for snow days and using Frozen references to explain your wintry struggles you may just want to check out a special musical video message from Matt Glendinning, Head of School at Moses Brown School in Providence, Rhode Island.

Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Principal Proclaims 'School Is Closed' With 'Frozen' Cover - VIDEO" »

Lesbian Couple That Defeated Alabama's Same-Sex Marriage Ban Have $40,000 In Legal Bills, Seek Crowdfunding Help


Cari Searcy and Kimberly McKeand, the Mobile, Alabama couple that sued the state to recognize their 2008 wedding in California as legitimate and legal is seeking help to pay for the $40,000 in legal fees they have accumulated fighting the discriminatory ban, reports:

"The two women in Mobile are the bravest two women I've ever known," [Alabama Rep. Patricia Todd, D-Birmingham] said. "They've been through a lot, and they will continue to go through a lot, and we can never forget them."

Todd said Searcy and McKeand have "incurred a great debt over legal fees" in their eight-year fight to have their California marriage recognized. She urged attendees to donate to the couple at their website,

[Living in Limbo Executive Director Lara] Embry said Searcy and McKeand are $40,000 in legal debt "because they fought this fight for a long time in Alabama while we were not considered low-hanging fruit to national organizations who would then pitch in and help with that fight."

"If you want to send someone a wedding gift, maybe make it honor of Cari and Kim, and make a donation to help them, to help pay for marriage equality in Alabama," Embry said. "Because they got the bill."

Searcy and McKeand are currently making monthly payments on what they owe but note that the "costs are adding up faster than we can keep up with." 

While Alabama's ban on same-sex marriage was struck down late last week, the ruling in the case was stayed just hours before it was set to take effect. Searcy and McKeand's legal battle is likely to be ongoing.

You can donate to help Searcy and McKeand's legal fight by going to to their website HERE.

Mormon Leaders Say They'll Support Gay Rights in Exchange for 'Religious Freedom': VIDEO


Leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gathered for a rare press conference on Tuesday at which they said they'll back statewide protections for LGBT Utahns in housing and employment in exchange for "religious freedom" exemptions, the Salt Lake Tribune reports:

Utah's predominant faith issued the plea for such measures at all level of government during a rare news conference, featuring three apostles — Elders Jeffrey R. Holland, Dallin H. Oaks and D. Todd Christofferson — and a high-profile women's leader, Neill Marriott, second counselor in the church's Young Women general presidency.

Said Oaks in a news release:

"We call on local, state and the federal government to serve all of their people by passing legislation that protects vital religious freedoms for individuals, families, churches and other faith groups while also protecting the rights of our LGBT citizens in such areas as housing, employment and public accommodation in hotels, restaurants and transportation — protections which are not available in many parts of the country."

The shift in LDS policy appears to be the latest cog in the wheel of the religious right's attempt to reframe the conversation about LGBT rights into one in which religious people are somehow the victims and those who are seeking protections from discrimination, the oppressors.

We saw Jeb Bush blowing a similar dog whistle earlier this month in response to marriage equality in Florida.

ChristoffersonFrom the LDS press release:

Elder D. Todd Christofferson (pictured) affirmed that this appeal to government leaders for a balanced approach between religious and gay rights does not represent a change or shift in doctrine for the Church.

Elder Oaks said that “those who seek the protection of religious conscience and expression and for the free exercise of their religion look with alarm at the steady erosion of treasured freedoms that are guaranteed in the United States Constitution.”

And he explained: “Since 1791 the guarantees of religious freedom embodied in the First Amendment have assured all citizens that they may hold whatever religious views they want, and that they are free to express and act on those beliefs so long as such actions do not endanger public health or safety. This is one of America’s most cherished and defining freedoms. Yet today we see new examples of attacks on religious freedom with increasing frequency.”

Elder Oaks shared several of those examples. The university system in California, he said, is forcing some groups to compromise their religious conscience if they want recognition for their clubs. And in one of America’s largest cities, lawyers acting for the city government subpoenaed the sermons and notes of pastors who opposed parts of a new antidiscrimination law on religious grounds. Recently, he noted, the head of a large American corporation was forced to resign from his position in a well-publicized backlash to his personal beliefs.

“When religious people are publicly intimidated, retaliated against, forced from employment or made to suffer personal loss because they have raised their voice in the public square, donated to a cause or participated in an election, our democracy is the loser,” Elder Oaks said. “Such tactics are every bit as wrong as denying access to employment, housing or public services because of race or gender.”

The AP adds:

It's not clear how much common ground the Mormons will find with this new campaign. The church insists it is making no changes in doctrine, and still believes it's against the law of God to have sex outside marriage between a man and a woman.

Watch the LDS press conference and an explanation of the church's announcement by Elder D. Todd Christofferson, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Mormon Leaders Say They'll Support Gay Rights in Exchange for 'Religious Freedom': VIDEO" »

Woman Surprises Co-Workers, Comes Out In Emotional TED Talk: VIDEO


Morgana Bailey, a Human Resources professional, recently came out at TED@State Street London's talk, surprising her colleagues at the event who did not know she was a lesbian. Bailey even hid the truth from the TED organizers about why she wanted to speak and what her talk would be about. But hiding was something that had become all too routine for Bailey. "Hiding is a progressive habit," she says. For 16 years, Bailey hid her sexual orientation. The ripple effect of living a life dictated by hiding and secrecy was profound. A girl who was once unconventional and vivacious instead sought to conform to avoid being found out. 

However, emboldened by what she saw as a larger moral and social imperative, Bailey finally decided to come out. Said Bailey:

I am a lesbian. I’ve struggled to say those words because I didn’t want to be defined by them. Every time I would think about coming out in the past I would think to myself, but I just want to be known as Morgana, uniquely Morgana but not my lesbian friend Morgana or my gay co-worker Morgana. Just Morgana. For those of you from large metropolitan areas this may not seem like a big deal to you. It may seem strange that I have supressed the truth and hidden this for so long. But I was paralyzed by my fear of not being accepted. And I’m not alone of of course.

Bailey cites statistics that show that 83% of LGBT employees admitted changing some aspect of themselves at work so they would not appear too gay. "Employees struggled to be themselves at work because they believe conformity is critical to their long-term career advancement," Bailey said. 

Bailey was also alarmed by an article she read in The Advocate that found that LGBT people living in anti-gay communities have a life expectancy 12 years lower than their heterosexual peers. This statistic combined with the others underscored for Bailey the danger in not being who you are:

“The article made me realize that my silence had personal, professional and economic consequences. I’m not saying that everyone has to be an activist. But if we let our true selves be known at every opportunity for education and awareness, we will help enrich our own lives and help advance our rights within society.”

Watch Bailey's inspiring TED Talk, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Arkansas' Appeal of Pro-Gay Marriage Ruling In Jeopardy Over An Unpaid $505 Legal Fee

6a00d8341c730253ef01bb07b5002e970d-800wiThe state of Arkansas found itself in the hot-seat on Monday with the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals over its failure to pay a $505 docket fee required for its appeal of a federal judge's November 2014 ruling striking down the state's ban on same-sex marriage to move forward. As the AP reports, the 8th Circuit threatened to dismiss the state's appeal but ultimately gave the state two additional weeks to "demonstrate why its appeal shouldn't be dropped":

The appeals court notified the state Jan. 7 that the money was due last Wednesday. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge replaced Dustin McDaniel on Jan. 13. Her office blamed clerical errors made before she took over and said that the appeal would proceed.

"It's not in jeopardy," Rutledge spokesman Judd Deere said. "The fee will be paid."

McDaniel said Monday evening that he was not aware the state had missed the payment. He said the docketing fee wasn't among topics he and Rutledge discussed during the transition. He said that fee payments would have been a routine task handled by other attorneys in the office.

Advocates for same-sex couples seeking the freedom to marry in Arkansas are not discounting the technicality:

Jack Wagoner, an attorney representing same-sex couples, said that the state's appeal is a waste of taxpayers' money — but that he would take any form of victory.

"A win is a win," Wagoner said. "I don't care if it's on technicality or in a close opinion or whatever."

8th Circuit Court of Appeals Expedites Missouri Same-Sex Marriage Case, Won't Lift Stay of Federal Judge's Ruling

8While we wait for the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the four cases challenging same-sex marriage bans in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has expedited its review of a federal judge's ruling that struck down Missouri's ban on same-sex marriage. The 8th Circuit would not lift the stay of the judge's ruling but also would not stay the appeal. 

The state of Missouri appealed the pro-equality ruling in early December of last year.

Read the court's order, which includes the expedited schedule, courtesy of Equality Case Files, below:

14-3779 Order by Equality Case Files


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