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Windsor Lawyer Files Lawsuit Challenging Mississippi's Gay Marriage Ban

Joce and Carla

Roberta Kaplan, who served as lead counsel in the landmark United States v. Windsor decision last year, has filed a federal challenge to Mississippi's ban on same-sex marriage on behalf of two gay couples. 

Said Kaplan:

Kaplan“As the lawyers who represented Edie Windsor, we are so honored to be able to file this case today on behalf of Rebecca Bickett, Andrea Sanders, Jocelyn Pritchett, Carla Webb, and the Campaign for Southern Equality. The Supreme Court took a gigantic step forward last year in Windsor, and since then, dozens of courts around the country have followed suit so that today, gay people in thirty-two states have the right to marry. It is now time to take the next big step by making sure that gay families in Mississippi are accorded these same protections.  The Supreme Court has made it clear that no matter where a gay person lives —whether it is in Maine, Minnesota, or Mississippi—our Constitution requires that they be treated with the same dignity and respect under the law as everyone else.”

Mississippi remains one of only a handful of states that has not yet had its gay marriage ban overturned by either a federal or circuit court. 

Read the lawsuit below:


Marriage Equality to Begin in Wyoming Tomorrow

Wyoming

Wyoming Attorney General Peter Michael has announced that the state will notify a federal court at 10 am tomorrow that it will not appeal U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl's Friday ruling striking down the state's gay marriage ban, the Associated Press reports:

Skavdahl said his ruling will take effect immediately if the state files paperwork saying it will not appeal.

Same-sex couples can apply for marriage licenses at local county clerk offices, but no licenses can be issued until the state files its notice.

On Friday, Wyoming Governor Matt Mead released an official statement saying it would be futile for the state to appeal the ruling in light of the Ninth Circuit's pro-equality decision on similar same-sex marriage bans in Nevada and Idaho. 


Anti-gay Russian Lawmaker Calls for Ban on Mail Carrying Tom of Finland Stamps

Tom of finland

Vitaly Milonov, the St. Petersburg lawmaker behind the city's anti-gay "propaganda" ban and the disruptions at last month's Queerfest, has called on the Russian Post to turn away any mail bearing postage stamps honoring the work of gay artist Tom of Finland, The Moscow Times reports:

MilonovThe stamps that have so enraged Milonov feature several provocative images, such as a man's bare buttocks with another man's face visible between his legs, and a naked man sitting between another man's legs.

In a letter to the head of Russian Post, Dmitry Strashnov, Milonov condemned the stamps for "contravening Russian law," the TASS news agency reported Saturday.

"They are basically elements of homosexual propaganda, which is banned in our country. I ask the leadership of Russian Post to pay close attention to this request. In addition, I urge the Finns themselves, our close neighbors, to refrain from using these stamps when sending letters to Russia," Milonov wrote, TASS reported.

The series of six stamps released last month by Finland's postal service has become a worldwide bestseller


Pat Robertson Tells Bigoted Idaho Wedding Chapel Owners to Flee 'Onslaught of Homosexual Behavior' - VIDEO

Robertson3

Reacting to the Coeur d'Alene, Idaho wedding chapel owners who have filed a lawsuit to prevent the city from enforcing it's ordinance prohibiting discrimination against gays, televangelist Pat Robertson warned the couple to flee the coming "onslaught of homosexual behavior" in the state or risk having to perform a gay marriage. 

Said Robertson: 

If I were that couple I'd get ahead of the curve. Get on an airplane and leave Idaho or get in your car and drive across the border into Montana. Get out of that state and if need be close your chapel down. Get ahead of it because this is outrageous. But I was afraid this would happen. The next thing you know it'll be a church...a church is going to be forced to do things like that.  

Of course, with Montana (like Idaho) falling under the jurisdiction of the Ninth Circuit and a hearing for summary judgement set November 20, the couple should probably hold off on opening up any bigoted business across the border too. 

Watch the clip, AFTER THE JUMP...

[via Right Wing Watch]

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David Mixner on Activism, History, and His One-Man Sold-Out NYC Show 'Oh Hell No': INTERVIEW

Mixner

BY ANDY TOWLE

One week from today on October 27, longtime LGBT and civil rights activist David Mixner will take the stage at New World Stages for the world premiere of Oh Hell No!, a theatrical, autobiographical (and occasionally musical) one-man-show in which he will plumb the depths of his history to deliver a storytelling session that promises a few shocks, his signature wisdom, and a hefty dose of humor.

The more than $175,000 in proceeds from Mixner's show, which sold out in less than a day, will benefit The Point Foundation, an organization he has long supported. The Point Foundation empowers promising LGBTQ students with scholarships and enables them to achieve their full academic and leadership potential.

Mixner's activist role in numerous moments in our nation's social struggles — from anti-Vietnam efforts to battling California's Proposition 6 (which would have made it illegal for gays to become schoolteachers), to battling the AIDS epidemic, to the very public split with his friend Bill Clinton over the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, (the list goes on) — has given him one of the most fascinating and unique perspectives on the LGBT and civil rights movement you're likely to find.

I had a chance to sit down with Mixner, who is also a contributor to Towleroad, to talk about his generous gift and what he has in store for audiences.

OhhellnoOn September 27, you wrote on Facebook, "One month away and I am scared to death already! What have I done????" What did possess you to do such a thing and what about it scares you the most?

In February, I almost died in intensive care and I realized that so much of the history that I have witnessed over the last five decades hasn't been shared. Each day as another pioneer of this movement passes without an oral history we are losing a part of ourselves. What scares me the most is that someone will believe that my story is the definitive history of the LGBT movement. It is only about my journey and my recollections. I don't want to diminish anyone else's story or their differing memories.

How do you prepare for such an undertaking?

Practice, practice, and more practice. I have an incredible team working with me. Director Stephen Brackett (Buyer & Cellar) and Musical Director Mat Eisenstein are simply astoundingly talented. Producer Tim Ranney came up with the idea and the team at Point Foundation has been amazingly talented. I'm so proud that we have raised enough funds through this show already to send seven LGBT students to college for a full year!

Why did you choose The Point Foundation as the beneficiary of the proceeds from your show?

I love the concept of being responsible for the next generation of LGBT Americans. The Point Foundation is supporting some of the best and brightest of American LGBT youth.

What part of performing the show do you find the most challenging?

Without question, talking about my personal journey with HIV/AIDS and the loss of friends. It devastates me every time when I have to share publicly about it. Of course, there is the old fashion fear of falling flat on your ass in front of a powerful audience filled with friends.

Did you grow up doing theatre? Do you have any history as a 'showman'?

Actually, no. I did grow up on the old Southern/rural tradition of storytelling. My Grandpa Grove (aka Buzzard Bait) taught me the art and I was riveted by his stories. Storytelling was a powerful art form before the advent of modern media. Only once have I done a similar production, called "From The Front Porch", and "Oh Hell No!" is part two. Of course, I have a little bit of the 'preacher man' in me and I have spoken publicly for all my life.

Your previous show "From The Front Porch" - do you consider that a sort of preparation for this production or are they two separate things entirely?

After the first one, which was well received, I didn't think I would ever do it again. That one was off-off-Broadway at Dixon Place. After being critically ill and in February, I felt an urgency to get more of our history out to the masses. This one will be at New World Stages and is more elaborate in its staging. The two fit together almost perfectly as Part I and Part II.

What can people who were lucky enough to get tickets expect from this one?

Besides an entertaining and moving evening of storytelling, they have a right to believe that I will be honest, forthcoming and not sugarcoat difficult periods in our history. Actually, we could do ten of these shows and only scratch the surface of the stories that need to be passed on to future generations.

DmixnerWhat parts of your show do you think will surprise folks the most?

Oh, there is no question there will be surprises. I plan on a very frank discussion of the dialogue I had with President Clinton and members of his team around the issue of LGBT Americans serving in the military. I have never spoken of these meetings before this production.

I will also speak for the first time about some highly illegal activities that I engaged in during the HIV/AIDS crisis. However, the art of storytelling is not about 'shock value'. It is about passing on knowledge in a funny and moving way.

CONTINUED, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "David Mixner on Activism, History, and His One-Man Sold-Out NYC Show 'Oh Hell No': INTERVIEW" »


President Obama Says There's A Constitutional Right to Nationwide Marriage Equality

Obama

In an interview published today over at The New Yorker, President Obama weighed in on the issues that have come to define his judicial legacy (health care, voting rights, gay marriage) as well as his belief the Constitution requires all states to permit same-sex marriage.

"Ultimately, I think the Equal Protection Clause does guarantee same-sex marriage in all fifty states,” he said. “But, as you know, courts have always been strategic. There have been times where the stars were aligned and the Court, like a thunderbolt, issues a ruling like Brown v. Board of Education, but that’s pretty rare. And, given the direction of society, for the Court to have allowed the process to play out the way it has may make the shift less controversial and more lasting."

Obama was also asked to name the best Supreme Court decision of his tenure and he answered with the high court's decision earlier this month to not take up gay marriage cases from 5 states:

“In some ways, the decision that was just handed down to not do anything about what states are doing on same-sex marriage may end up being as consequential—from my perspective, a positive sense—as anything that’s been done,” the President said. “Because I think it really signals that although the Court was not quite ready—it didn’t have sufficient votes to follow Loving v. Virginia and go ahead and indicate an equal-protection right across the board—it was a consequential and powerful signal of the changes that have taken place in society and that the law is having to catch up.” 

Head over to The New Yorker HERE to read the full interview, in which Obama also discusses his efforts to diversify judicial appointments in regards to nominees' race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. 


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