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Gay Rep. Mark Takano Teases Documentary Film in New Trailer: VIDEO

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Mark Takano was seen as a bit of a long-shot to win a campaign in California's 43rd congressional district, a somewhat conservative, working-class area in San Bernadino County.  But on his third try--after a major redistricting process that spurred Takano to seek a seat in the new 41st congressional district, a much more Democratic area located north of San Diego along the state's borders with Nevada and Arizona--Takano was elected to represent the district during the 2012 election, making history in the process by becoming the U.S. Congress's first openly gay member of color.

During the course of his race, Takano let two documentary filmmakers into his campaign headquarters--and into the halls of power once he had joined the House of Representatives.  The film that came out of that insider access is "How to Get Elected in America," which looks at the ups and downs of political campaigns and the way that Big Data and the changing demography of the United States are changing politics as we know it.

"How to Get Elected in America," directed by Jamie Ruddy and Rupert Russell, is in post-production.  Check out a fun teaser trailer featuring Rep. Takano below, AFTER THE JUMP...

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WA High School Students Suspended for Wearing Confederate Flags as Anti-Gay Statement: VIDEO


Two juniors at Tahoma High School in Washington were suspended last week after they wore Confederate flags to school to make an anti-gay statement, KIRO-TV reports:

They said two 11th-grade boys wore the flags in a common area of Tahoma High School around about 50 kids and some of them started getting upset. Tiki Scroggins, who was picking up her nephew, pointed out the flag is often seen as a symbol of slavery and racism. "I can see where we wouldn't OK that -- there's too many ethnic backgrounds that that could offend," Scroggins said.

The school district didn't want to comment on camera. But a spokesperson told KIRO 7 by phone that a 10th-grade student had been displaying a gay-pride flag for the past two weeks. He said the Confederate flags were the two boys' answer.

Watch KIRO-TV's report, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Gay Chicago Lawmaker Discusses Trip to Washington State to Marry Partner: VIDEO


Chicago City Alderman James Cappelman and his partner Richard have been together for more than two decades.  But after waiting anxiously for Illinois to legalize marriage equality, and in light of the disappointing stop-and-start progress of an equal marriage bill over the last year, the couple is heading to Washington state to tie the knot.  The Chicago Tribune has the story:

"We are going to go elsewhere," said Ald. James Cappleman, 46th. "It's kind of sad that a Chicago alderman, an elected official, has to leave his own state. But we'll keep fighting. There's a lot of people who want to get married."

Cappleman and Richard Thale, who met in church, have been together for 22 years. The plan to get married Nov. 22, surrounded by relatives who live out West. The couple already have a civil union in Illinois.

Cappleman is a social worker and longtime community activist in his first term. Thale is the courts advocate for the Town Hall Police District, a Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy beat facilitator and president of the Uptown Chicago Commission.

Cappleman said he first spilled the beans Tuesday night on CLTV's "Politics Tonight" show when asked what it was like to be an alderman and gay. He later posted his plans on Facebook.

The alderman told the Tribune his decision was based in large part on the Supreme Court's June decision invalidating Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act.  "Should something happen to either one of us," he wrote in a Facebook post, "we didn't want to take the risk of losing those federal protections that other married couples already have."

Cappleman isn't the other city politician forced to travel outside Illinois to get married: his colleague Deb Mell wed her partner in Iowa.

LGBT advocates in Illinois are pursuing two parallel tracks in their quest for equal marriage rights in the state.  Legislators will seek to pass a marriage equality bill in the veto session this fall, and former state Republican party chair Pat Brady--who resigned after criticism from his own party for his support of same-sex couples' right to marry--is helping the ACLU of Illinois convince GOP lawmakers to back the legislation.

The other track towards marriage equality in Illinois is taking place in the courts.  Late last month, a state judge rejected motions to dismiss two court cases challenging the state's policy of providing only civil unions and not marriage to same-sex couples.  Lambda Legal and the ACLU, who are sponsoring the two cases, are now pressing forward to win a positive ruling from Cook County Circuit Court Judge Sophia Hall that brings marriage equality to the Land of Lincoln.

You can watch Cappleman discuss his wedding in an appearance on Chicago's WGN9 News (warning: autoplay), AFTER THE JUMP...

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Gay Seattle Mayoral Candidate Ed Murray Marries Longtime Partner

Ed Murray

Ed Murray, architect of Washington state's newly-adopted marriage equality law, finally got to wed his longtime partner Michael Shiosaki this past Saturday. 

The ceremony marked the end of a years-long struggle for Murray, who had repeatedly used his relationship with Shiosaki as evidence when debating the validity of same-sex marriages to his colleagues in the state legislature. The Seattle Times reports that

"Last year, when it was clear there were enough votes in the state Senate to pass historic legislation allowing gays to marry, Murray invited his colleagues to his wedding, although a date had yet to be set." 

Ed Murray Senate FloorMany of those colleagues were in attendance at St. Mark's Cathedral on Capitol Hill for the couple's traditionally Episcopal ceremony, as well as the champagne reception that followed. Those colleagues included "King County Executive Dow Constantine, former Gov. Mike Lowry, State House Speaker Frank Chopp, of Seattle, and Lisa Brown, former Democratic senator from Spokane." Both men donned black tuxedos and white ties for the event, a look that was described as "very Cary Grant." 

Murray, who is in the middle of his campaign for Seattle mayor, told the Seattle Times that he would have preferred to wait until after the November election to go through with the ceremony. Unfortunately, the couple also wished for Shiosaki's parents, aged 89 and 85, to escort their son down the aisle. Thus, the couple opted for a new date: August 10, which also happened to mark the 22nd anniversary of the day that they met. Fortunately (or unfortunately), the couple still plans to honeymoon after November's election. 

Murray and Shiosaki have also appeared together in one of Murray's campaign ads for Seattle's mayor, a gesture that still stirs up controversy after Murray's years of advocacy. "Over the years, both received death threats and what they refer to as 'after-death threats' of the  ‘you’ll-burn-in-hell’ variety," reported the Times. But still, according to Shiosaki's best man, Don Botts, the two men are a fine example that any committed couple should aspire to, gay or straight. “They are apart six to nine months every year, but they’ve made it work. Michael’s love and support of Ed is completely evident and visa versa.”

Seattle's Highest Skyscraper Blocks Gay Sites Like Joe. My. God, It Gets Better, and Towleroad

Columbia Center Gay Filter Error Message 

Columbia_center_from_smith_towerIf you can read this article, then it is safe to assume that you're not currently sitting inside Seattle's 76-story Columbia Center. If you did, you would receive the error message pictured above (courtesy of The Stranger). Such would be the case if you were to also try to access other gay-themed sites such as Joe. My. God. and the It Gets Better Project. 

Slog first broke the story after receiving a tip from a reader. This reader was apparently visiting the Columbia Center when they tried to use the building's free wi-fi to check a few gay-themed sites and blogs. He was, instead, met with the error message above. 

"This is a known 'Sexual Orientation' web site which is blocked as specified by your web content filtering policy."

It is not yet known exactly why the "web content filtering policy" chose to include LGBT-oriented sites. Slog has made multiple attempts to contact CAC Group, the commercial real estate company responsible for managing the Columbia Center, and submit requests for comment. So far, CAC has not given any sort of answer. 

Washington Florist Barronelle Stutzman Countersues State for Discriminating Against Her Religious Discrimination


Another lawsuit has been flung in the case of Barronelle Stutzman, the Richland, Washington florist who refused to provide flowers for a longtime gay customer's wedding because of her "relationship with Jesus Christ."

The couple who were discriminated against and the ACLU, as well as the state attorney general are suing Stutzman in two separate lawsuits, and now she's countersuing the state, KING5 reports:

The Alliance Defending Freedom issued a statement Thursday, saying it is representing Stutzman in the countersuit. It says Stutzman has employed people who identify as homosexual. Despite this, she feels she’s being discriminated.

“In America, the government is supposed to protect freedom, not use its intolerance for certain viewpoints to intimidate citizens into acting contrary to their faith convictions,” said Alliance Senior Legal Counsel Dale Schowengerdt. “Family business owners are constitutionally guaranteed the freedom to live and work according to their beliefs. It is this very freedom that gives America its cherished diversity and protects citizens from state-mandated conformity.”

The countersuit argues that the state Constitution protects Stutzman.


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