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Arizona Cardinals Video Director Rob Brakel Comes Out As Gay

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Rob Brakel, video director for the NFL's Arizona Cardinals, said the response has been overwhelmingly positive since he came out publicly as gay this week.

"Reception has been unreal," Brakel told Towleroad. "Couple players that know were awesome. The head coach, GM, and our owner Michael (Bidwill) have been nothing short of AMAZING. They have my back and are happy for me." 
 
But Brakel, who came out Wednesday in an interview with OutSports before the Cardinals' game against the St. Louis Rams on Thursday, also said that for him, the decision hasn't really sunk in yet.  
 
"Busy with game last night, flying back, went to bed at 4am and just woke up to phone going crazy," he told Towleroad on Friday. "I do need a few more hours of sleep but I have to get to work soon. In time I think it will be great for me." 
 
The Cardinals defeated the Rams and are atop the NFC at 11-3, adding to what Brakel called "the biggest year for me." 
 
Brakel, a 17-year veteran of NFL video crews, told OutSports he was inspired to come out publicly while reading gay MLS player Robbie Rogers'' book, "Coming Out To Play," on the team plane Wednesday. OutSports reports: 

"I don't care anymore," Brakel said from his hotel room, the shaking coming through his voice over the phone. "Everyone around me knows who I am. I'm a guy who will give the shirt off his back to help you. I'll do whatever I can to help people. And I've had enough." ... 

As Brakel read the book, the rest of the Cardinals filed past him on the plane. He knew some might look down and see his choice of reading material, but he didn't care. Not only was he engrossed in the story, many of them already knew or suspected he was gay.

Those who've known Brakel was gay include Cardinals head coach Bruce Ariens, to whom Brakel came out at the NFL combine as Michael Sam made his NFL debut earlier this year. And those who've suspected include star wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who did "the gay math" on Brakel. 

Brakel acknowledged it's tough being gay around the NFL, and he's thought about quitting at times.

A Twitter search for "gay" and "Cardinals" over the last few days shows exactly Brakel and others are up against — and why it's so important for them to come out.


Arizona Lesbian Couple Nelda Majors, Karen Bailey Marry After 57 Years Together: VIDEO

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When they met in their college dorm in Texas in 1957, Nelda Majors and Karen Bailey never dreamed of telling anyone they were gay — let alone getting married. 

In fact, Majors and Bailey didn't come out publicly until they'd been together for 50 years — when they were inadvertently outed by lesbian Houston City Councilwoman Sue Lovell during an inauguration ceremony. 

After almost 57 years together, Majors and Bailey finally celebrated their marriage at the Orpheum Theater in downtown Phoenix on Sunday.

Majors and Bailey, who have two daughters, spent most of their lives in Houston, but retired to Arizona.  

They were among the plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit challenging Arizona's marriage bans, which were struck down in October. They also were among the first couples to receive marriage licenses

Majors and Bailey invited the public to the ceremony on Sunday, and hundreds showed up. 

From AZfamiliy.com

"They feel that 56 and a half years together is a long engagement, but today they now have 1,134 federal laws on their side to protect their relationship," the officiant said. … 

"Oh it's much more than what we envisioned," Bailey said. "I don't think we could have ever imagined the people that have helped us, the vendors that have helped us. Our wedding assistant was unbelievable and we could have never imagined that it would be as wonderful as it's been."

Watch the report, along with a 2012 video of the couple talking about their relationship, AFTER THE JUMP ... 

Continue reading "Arizona Lesbian Couple Nelda Majors, Karen Bailey Marry After 57 Years Together: VIDEO" »


Arizona Wedding Planner Refuses to Do Business With Lesbian Couple - VIDEO

Crystal Allen and Kenyata White

A wedding planner in Phoenix, Arizona, has refused to do business with a same-sex couple planning to marry in December, reports AZ Central.

In February 2013, Phoenix, the sixth most populous city in the U.S., passed broad laws barring discrimination against LGBT residents.

Crystal Allen and Kenyata White had made contact with AffordableWeddingMinister.com, but Susan Latimer refused the business when she realized that the couple she was preparing to marry were two women.

In an email to the couple, Latimer wrote “we are very uncomfortable with same-sex marriage as it is directly against our beliefs. We would not be a very good fit."

Latimer’s website states:

“We really Love Jesus, God the Father and The Holy Spirit. We believe Jesus loves everyone and the concept he gave is ... Marriage is HOLY and right for one man and one woman.”

The website also claims that the company is “non-judgemental.” Susan Latimer

AZ Central goes on to recommend that the couple “don't play into the hands of those who are itching for a reason to bring back Senate Bill 1062, last year's debacle of a bill that attempted to legalize discrimination in the name of the Lord."

Attorney Brendan Mahoney, who co-wrote the city's LGBT anti-discrimination law, said that because Latimer is a licensed minister she can decide who she wants to work with.  Mahoney added that Allen and White would be best served to “go find a place that wants to marry you, that looks forward to marrying you, and have a happy wedding.”

Watch a report, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Arizona Wedding Planner Refuses to Do Business With Lesbian Couple - VIDEO" »


Three Arizona Cities Receive Perfect Scores In Human Rights Campaign LGBT Civil Rights Index

A report from the Human Rights Campaign's annual Municipal Equality Index indicates that the Arizona cities of Phoenix, Tempe and Tucson received perfect scores of a 100 on a scale of 0-100 reports One Community. HRC's index scores 353 municipalities from all 50 states on how they treat their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents, specifically in regards to what cities promote inclusiveness and provide equal rights for LGBT residents and workers. The three cities also were among 23 others designated "All Stars," for excelling on matters of equality without relying on state law.

Picture 4In 2013 Tempe received a score of 72, however the city unanimously approved Proposition 475 this year that bans workplace discrimination against LGBT workers. Additionally the city also passed an ordinance earlier this year in February that bans LGBT discrimination in housing, employment and accommodations at restaurants and hotels, but includes exceptions for religious organizations and social clubs. The cities of Tucson, Phoenix and Flagstaff have similar ordinances in place as well.

However, some local Arizona politicians fear an uphill battle is looming after state Republicans, including new Gov. Doug Ducey, saw big wins in the recent election. Tempe councilman Kolby Granville, a major proponent of gay rights, expressed the state legislature may further stall LGBT civil rights protections.

Said Granville:

"When you look at the makeup of our state Legislature, particularly given this election last Tuesday, the politics are not there for state change as it relates to employment discrimination, as it relates to equal treatment and as it relates to health benefits,"

"If the cities can muster the votes they should move forward and let the state catch up."

Arizona's total score average is 68 out of a 100 points, which is above the national average of 59. the city of Peoria received the lowest score with a total of 33 points. With the legalization of gay marriage in Arizona, the overall score of the state should rise in the future should marriage remain unchallenged. The full report, along with a FAQ page on why certain cities are chosen for the survey, is available on the HRC website.


Gay Singer-Songwriter Eric Himan Has a Soulful Message for Bigoted Arizona Lawmakers: VIDEO

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Gay singer-songwriter Eric Himan was traveling to Phoenix to play a show when lawmakers passed SB1062, the bill allowing businesses to discriminate against gays based on religious beliefs?

In a fit of inspiration, he says he wrote "Not Going Anywhere Tonight" and shot this impromptu video for the project.

Said Himan, who will be touring this spring with fellow singer/songwriter/activists Ani DiFranco and Leon Russell this spring: “I couldn't take it. I had to write this song and put it out there.”

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Towleroad readers may remember Himan's previous video "Red Hot Tears".

Continue reading "Gay Singer-Songwriter Eric Himan Has a Soulful Message for Bigoted Arizona Lawmakers: VIDEO" »


Phoenix and Tucson Stage Major Protests Against Anti-Gay Bill: VIDEO

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Major protests took place this evening in Phoenix and Tucson in opposition to the bill passed by the Arizona legislature that would allow businesses to discriminate against gays and lesbians based on religious beliefs.

CNN's AC360 led off their show live from the protests in Phoenix.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Governor Jan Brewer must decide whether to sign or veto the legislation early next week.

The Republic reports:

The governor, who is attending a conference of national governors in the nation’s capital, rarely comments on bills before they reach her desk.

She spoke with CNN on Friday: “Well, it’s a very controversial piece of legislation. We know that. We know that it’s failed in a lot of states across the country. ... I’ve been reading about it on the Internet and I will make my decision some time before ... by next Friday ... if I do decide to sign it. But it’s very controversial, so I’ve got to get my hands around it.”

The governor has five days to decide on the bill so it's likely she'll need to deal with it before Friday as she says.

FYI you can call Brewer now  at (602) 542-4331 or (520) 628-6580 and urge her to veto the bill.

Suggested script: Hi, my name is __________ and I live in _____________. I’m calling to urge Governor Brewer to veto SB1062. Arizonans believe in freedom for all -- and that includes our gay and lesbian neighbors. Please reject this harmful legislation.

Continue reading "Phoenix and Tucson Stage Major Protests Against Anti-Gay Bill: VIDEO" »


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