Some Employers Requiring Gay Employees To Marry For Continued Benefits

Gay Cake Toppers

With legal gay marriage sweeping the nation, some companies are revisiting how they administer couples benefits to their employees, and the decision reached is: tie the knot

“We’re bringing our benefits in line, making them consistent with what we do for everyone else,” said Ray McConville, a spokesman for Verizon. Fortunately, most companies seem to be going about it in a sensible manner; Verizon, for example, only requires gay employees to be married in states where gay marriage is legal. Most are also giving their employees plenty of notice before they have to get hitched. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York is giving their employees a year and a quarter before their benefits expire if they do not wed.

Lambda Legal is not wholly supportive of the change, with representative Jennifer Pizer calling it "a little bossy" and saying "it's not a voluntary choice at that point."

[via The Daily Beast]

Posted Jan. 23,2015 at 3:10 PM EST by in Gay Marriage | Permalink | Comments (32)

A Bite-Sized Science Lesson that Asks 'How Small Is An Atom?' - WATCH


How small is an atom? Very, very small. 500,000 stacked end-to-end would cross the diameter of a single human hair. So small that if all of the "empty space" that comprises over 99% of an atom's volume were removed, the collective atoms of humanity would fit in a teaspoon. 

Kurzgesagt has the bite-sized science lesson with cute animated birds AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "A Bite-Sized Science Lesson that Asks 'How Small Is An Atom?' - WATCH"

Posted Jan. 23,2015 at 2:40 PM EST by in Science, Video | Permalink | Comments (2)

Florida Lawyer Planning Lawsuit Against County Clerk for Closing Wedding Chapel to Avoid Serving Gay Couples


Earlier this month we reported on a number of Florida county clerks that had decided to discontinue all courthouse wedding ceremonies rather than open up the space to same-sex couples following the legalization of marriage equality in the Sunshine State.  

Now, a Duval County lawyer is planning on filing a lawsuit to reverse Duval Clerk of Courts Ronnie Fussell's decision to close the county's wedding chapel, saying Fussell (pictured below) circumvented the law and crossed the line by "discriminating against large numbers of Jacksonville’s citizens, including both same sex and heterosexual couples, as well as the poor and physically infirmed."

Wrote attorney Eric Block on his law blog:

I am going to challenge this decision. I believe that we will prevail because the Clerks’ actions around the State violate the spirit of the Federal Court Order legalizing same-sex marriages in Florida, but there are additional compelling reasons.

    • FussellWe spent millions of dollars ensuring that our Courthouse is compliant with the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), and people needing ADA accommodations now have nowhere to go.
    • We built our $350 million Courthouse with taxpayer dollars, including revenue from citizens who are gay, citizens requiring the assistance and provisions of the ADA, and most importantly, those who struggle financially.
    • This action of shutting down the Wedding Chapel ironically adversely affects more heterosexual couples than gay couples, simply because more heterosexual couples get married.  Therefore, ironically, the absurdity of our Clerk’s actions is to discriminate more profoundly against the very people that he actually is claiming to “protect.”
    • Additionally, there is a small fee for the use of the Wedding Chapel, and that fee helps to pay the salaries of Courthouse public employees including the very Clerk of the Court who shut down this stream of revenue!  The Clerk does not have the right to make such financial decisions on behalf of the City.

Most obviously, the Clerks’ actions violate the spirit of the Federal Court Order protecting same-sex marriages in the state of Florida.

We are in the process of obtaining Plaintiffs for our intended lawsuit against these Clerks. It is our intention to bring suit on behalf of not only same-sex couples, but heterosexual couples as well, as both are adversely affected by this clear homophobic reaction to the Federal Court Order.

Block, who as a young lawyer got married at the Duval County Courthouse, has also said he will perform wedding ceremonies for any couples (gay or straight) that were impacted by the chapel's closure for free. 

Posted Jan. 23,2015 at 2:15 PM EST by in Discrimination, Florida, Gay Marriage, News | Permalink | Comments (13)

Rush Limbaugh Blames Gay Marriage For Incest: AUDIO

Rush Limbaugh

Gays can legally marry in most states, and this is why an anonymous father and daughter in New York are planning to get married. Or so goes the logic of sentient bloviating mass that names itself Rush Limbaugh:

Do you remember how everyone laughed when we warned you people about this very thing happening once society started to redefine marriage and redefine what makes up a legitimate relationship?

Nevermind the fact that no state government, much less the federal government, will recognize this as a legitimate, legal marriage. Or that the "inbred redneck" is a pernicious stereotype about the South that has existed for generations. Or that the practice of incest predates the gay rights movement. Or that it was once just accepted as de rigueur amongst the wealthy. Or that it even appears in the Bible. Repeatedly. But no, gay marriage was what opened the floodgates and were gays not allowed to marry then we wouldn't be dealing with fathers marrying daughters.

You can listen to Limbaugh spew his inanities AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Rush Limbaugh Blames Gay Marriage For Incest: AUDIO"

Posted Jan. 23,2015 at 1:50 PM EST by in Gay Marriage, Rush Limbaugh | Permalink | Comments (23)

Sir Patrick Stewart 'Flattered' To Be Misidentified As Gay, Says Being an Ally Is 'Natural' - VIDEO

Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen

In a lengthy interview with The Advocate Sir Patrick Stewart speaks about his upcoming film Match, including a few discussions about sex that film's material bring up, such as his character Tobi expressing his love for going down on a woman and the fact that Tobi is bi. Naturally, this segued into Stewart's eternal support of the LGBT community, which he claimed felt "natural":

When I look back to my early career and early experience, my ease and comfort being in the company of and intimately close with gay and lesbian colleagues and friends was always, for me, the most natural, and I might even say at times appealing aspects of the life I was living.

I think this is where the theater is such an appealing world, because it embraces everything and always has. So there was never a moment where I made an intellectual choice that I would be a supporter of gay civil rights. It was always a natural and uncomplicated choice. Then later in life, as I got to know well-known activists like Ian McKellen, I was only too happy to join campaigns, march, and support in whatever way I could because it always seemed to me to be something that much too much fuss was being made about.

And when he was misidentified as a gay man last year by The Guardian when he expressed his support for Ellen Page on coming out, he was hardly offended:

Quite frankly, I was utterly flattered by that assumption.

Match is about Tobi, a master dancer who is interviewed by graduate student Lisa (Carla Gugino) and her husband, Mike (Matthew Lillard) about the days of his career, and the sacrifices that were required for the life he led. You can watch the trailer AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Sir Patrick Stewart 'Flattered' To Be Misidentified As Gay, Says Being an Ally Is 'Natural' - VIDEO"

Posted Jan. 23,2015 at 1:25 PM EST by in Film, Patrick Stewart, Video | Permalink | Comments (7)

Police on the Hunt for 3 Men Involved in Possible Anti-gay Hate Crime on West Hollywood Man: VIDEO


Police in West Hollywood are searching for three men accused of committing a potential hate crime that left a 31-year-old gay man with a large gash to his head, ABC 7 reports:

Don Brooks told Eyewitness News he was crossing the street at 2:45 a.m. Tuesday with friends when a group of men in a car drove by and began shouting racial and homophobic slurs at him.

He said three men got out of a white Audi Q4. The two parties exchanged words and the men then jumped him. The assault took place near Fairfax Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard. 

"[The suspects were] just shouting things at me, racial slurs, homophobic slurs," Brooks said. "They charged me. It gets a little blurry from there, but I was definitely rushed and pushed." 

Brooks claims the suspects ran from the scene and left him injured on the sidewalk.

Brooks"I fell to the ground, hit the back of my head and then they left me laying there bleeding. Luckily, I wasn't robbed. They just did what they did and I think they saw that maybe I was bleeding and then they freaked out and left," Brooks said. 

Brooks says he blacked out after the hard fall. When he came to, he managed to dial 911 on his cell phone and help arrived. He says he was targeted because he is gay. 

"They saw me crossing, they saw that I was gay, and they wanted to just feel manly, or whatever," Brooks said.

Brooks was admitted to a hospital, where he receied four staples to his scalp. Police are asking anyone with information to call the LA Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Watch an ABC 7 report on the story, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Police on the Hunt for 3 Men Involved in Possible Anti-gay Hate Crime on West Hollywood Man: VIDEO"

Posted Jan. 23,2015 at 1:00 PM EST by in Crime, Hate Crime, West Hollywood | Permalink | Comments (14)

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