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Judge Mary Yu Makes History as First Asian, and First Gay Member of Washington State Supreme Court

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King County Superior Court Judge Mary Yu made history today when she was appointed to the Washington State Supreme Court. She is the Court's first Asian-American, and first out gay justice, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports:

Yu was appointed by Gov. Jay Inslee to replace retiring Justice Jim Johnson, a conservative defender of property rights who once joined in a majority ruling against gay marriage.

“Her appointment today is a moment that all Washingtonians can be proud of,” Inslee said.

Yu is best known for having performed the state’s first same-sex marriage at 12:01 a.m. in December 2012 when marriage equality took effect in Washington State.  She spent seven hours in black robes pronouncing vows that day.

Watch Yu marry one of the first couples, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Gay Former Vice Principal Mark Zmuda Suing School That Fired Him: VIDEO

Mark Zmuda files lawsuit

Late last year Eastside Catholic High School vice principal Mark Zmuda was given a choice: divorce his husband or be fired. Zmuda refused to sacrifice his marriage for his job and was let go. Rather than being some incident kept quiet and swept under the rug, students and faculty of ECH loudly protested the unjust treatment, protests which kept going even into the new year and ultimately drove the school president Sister Mary Tracy to resign.

The school's problems with the incident are far from over as Zmuda is now filing a lawsuit against the school and the Seattle Archdiocese for discrimination and wrongful termination. The Archdiocese has already drafted a motion for dismissal, claiming that Zmuda knew his marriage - much like the divorce, which Jesus condemns in Matthew 19:3-6, that they tried to force him to get - went against the teachings of the church. However, prior to Zmuda's termination the ECH website stated explicitly that (bolding mine),

Eastside Catholic School does not discriminate on the basis of an employee’s or applicant’s race, religion, creed, color, sex, age, national origin, disability, marital status, sexual orientation or any other status or condition protected by local, state or federal law.

The statement has since been removed from the school's live website, but everything lives forever on the internet.

The lawsuit was filed today, and you can see King 5's news report on the story
AFTER THE JUMP...

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Washington State Will Convert All Domestic Partnerships to Marriages on June 30

Washington state plans to convert thousands of domestic partnerships to marriages on June 30, the Seattle Times reports:

WashingtonIt’s the final piece of the state’s same-sex marriage law — a provision about which many couples are apparently unaware and one sure to trigger some uncomfortable conversations.

Although domestic partnerships are essentially marriage by a different name, “people don’t think of them as the same thing ...” said Jason Holloway, president of QLaw Association, the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender bar association.

Those being plunged into matrimony will no doubt include couples who simply hadn’t given it much thought.

Or there will be those who broke up in the years since they registered as domestic partners, some of them now married — illegally — to other people. Some may be former Washington residents now living in other states — some in states where their partnerships aren’t recognized and where dissolution isn’t possible.

The Secretary of State plans to notify all those in the domestic partner registry by the end of March, approximately 6,500 couples.


Bill Banning Gay Conversion Therapy for Minors Passes Washington House in 94-4 Vote

Washington's House of Representatives has passed a bill that would ban 'gay conversion therapy' for minors, the AP reports:

WashingtonHouse Bill 2451, which passed on a 94-4 vote, would make it an act of unprofessional conduct to try to change the sexual orientation of a patient under 18. That would include efforts to change behaviors, gender expressions or to reduce sexual or romantic attractions toward people of the same sex. The lawmakers who opposed the measure were: Reps. Mark Hargrove, R-Covington; Brad Klippert, R-Kennewick; Jason Overstreet, R-Lynden; and Elizabeth Scott, R-Monroe.


Eastside Catholic School President Resigns Following Outcry Over Firing of Gay Vice Principal: VIDEO

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Mary Tracy, the Eastside Catholic School president whose decision to dismiss her school’s gay vice principal for marrying his partner sparked widespread backlash from students and faculty, has resigned from her position at the Sammamish, Washington school. KING5 reports:

Sister Mary Tracy submitted her resignation to school trustees Sunday, effective immediately. In an email sent to parents and staff Tuesday night, the school said a search for her replacement will begin shortly.

"For Sister Mary it was a difficult but necessary decision so that a new leader can be brought in to ensure the entire Eastside Catholic community is on a positive path forward," the email said.

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 1.25.08 PMThe news was a welcome change for critic’s of the school’s decision to remove Vice Principal Mark Zmuda (pictured right), who lost his job when administrators learned he had married another man. Zmuda was told that he could keep his job if he dissolved his marriage, but refused the offer.

Zmuda’s termination was not well-received by the students and faculty at the school. Protests were organized on campus and a ‘Z Day’ protest event was planned for later this month. While there is no word yet on whether Zmuda will be reinstated to his position, supportive parents see Tracy's resignation as a positive first step.

"This opens the door for us being able to have an open communication with the board about other issues that need to be resolved," said Eastside Catholic parent Florence Colburn.

Colburn and more than twenty other parents met Tuesday night to discuss a petition for the community and for school board members, asking for changes beyond a new president.  That includes alterations to campus policy on who can teach, to Catholic law on gay marriage and for Zmuda to be reinstated.

"I don't know if fair is the right word," said Colburn of Sr. Tracy's resignation, "But it is the correct outcome.  There just have been too many misrepresentations."

Watch KING5's report on the resignation and other campus developments, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Gay Oregon Couple Together For 60 Years Goes To Washington To Get Married: AUDIO

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As same-sex marriage becomes legal in more and more states across the country, gay and lesbian couples from neighboring states that prohibit same-sex marriage often pour in to nearby LGBT-friendly states to say, "I do." One such couple, Eric Marcoux and Eugene Woodworth of Portland, Oregon, who we told you about almost a year ago, have finally decided to tie the knot after 60 years together. Though Oregon has a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, the couple travelled to nearby Washington state that just last year legalized same-sex marriage. The couple didn't rush to the altar once the Evergreen state made equality the law of the land, preferring to have their wedding in Oregon once it became legal there. However, Woodworth has recently been diagnosed with congestive heart failure and, according to doctors, only has weeks to live. He wants to marry his longtime partner now because he hopes Marcoux will be able to inherit his social security survivor benefits. From Oregon Public Radio:

Eric Marcoux and Eugene Woodworth have been together since they the day they met in Chicago in 1953. “I am here today to be legally married to Eugene Woodworth, with whom I have had an intimate deeply committed relationship for a little over sixty years,” Marcoux says. Marcoux is 83 years old and Woodworth is 85...

“We’ve observed federal government extending privileges. Then it occurred to us, ‘Well, maybe we’ll be able to transfer his social security, which is significantly greater than mine, to me,” says Marcoux. “And although it’s a modest one, it will make an enormous difference in the kind of life that I will be able to leave – live! – and leave.”

“He deserves it after living with me for sixty years,” Woodworth says.

“Maybe we should unpack that,” Marcoux jokes.

After the couple was legally married, Woodworth told the Judge who officiated,

“We’ve been married twice before in religious ceremonies...But we met sixty years ago, and this is the first legal thing. It’s such a pity that we had to wait that long.”

After signing the marriage documents, the two make their way out to their car for the 20-minute drive home to Oregon.

Marcoux gets in the car and shuts the door.

“We made it,” he says with a sigh. “Wonderful! We made it.”

You can also check out an audio clip on the adorable couple's big day AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Gay Oregon Couple Together For 60 Years Goes To Washington To Get Married: AUDIO" »


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