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Former High School Football Star Explains Why He Got 'It Gets Better' Tattoo After Coming Out

Ray

The words "It Gets Better" mean so much to Dalton Ray that he got them tattooed on his arm. 

Ray is a former high school football star who's now a freshman at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

In a post for OutSports, Ray recounts how he struggled with his sexual orientation — both on and off the field — before finally coming out during his junior year of high school:  

Middle school was a challenge, but high school was the true battle for me. Subtle feelings turned into everyday thoughts. It increasingly became clear this wasn't just a phase for me.

To make it even worse I started hearing my peers, including some of my closest friends, use terms like "gay", "faggot", and "queer" to describe when something was stupid or wrong. Eventually that's how I felt - I felt like something was wrong with me, and worst of all I couldn't even look at myself in the mirror because I was so ashamed of who I was. ... 

One saying that has guided me through all of this: "It Gets Better." It's hard to realize that when you're stuck in the middle of the country hearing gay slurs every day. As I opened up my true self to people, I learned the power and truth of those three words. It's meant so much that I tattooed it on my arm.

In an "It Gets Better" video accompanying his OutSports piece, Ray — who also competed in basketball and track — says he didn't think it was possible to be an openly gay athlete until he became one:

Ray"I had this huge misconception that you couldn't be in sports and also be gay. That's wrong. That's completely, utterly wrong. I think once I actually came out I became a better athlete. I became a better competitor. I also became a better friend, a better brother, a better son, because I was finally being honest with not just everyone around me, but being honest with myself, and that's an extremely important part of life."  

Ray also has a powerful message for LGBT youth who are contemplating suicide:

"A bad day doesn't mean you have a bad life. If you don't think people wouldn't miss you, you're completely wrong, because you have friends and family and people in your lives that would miss you so much, so don't make them know what it feels like to live without you, because you're special, you're unique, you're an awesome person, and it gets better."

Read Ray's full article here and watch his "It Gets Better" video, AFTER THE JUMP ... 

Continue reading "Former High School Football Star Explains Why He Got 'It Gets Better' Tattoo After Coming Out" »


Jimmy The Groundhog Doesn't See His Shadow But Has a Taste For Blood: VIDEO

Groundhog

Apparently not all oracular rodents can be as well-mannered as Punxsutawney Phil. While delivering the news of his shadow-sighting to the mayor of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, Jimmy the Groundhog was overcome with an insatiable thirst for blood and launched his incisors at the tender cheek of Mayor Jonathan Freund, claiming what was owed for the foreknowledge of the plans of Winter herself.

The incident should stand as a harsh reminder of the cost of delving into climatological prognostication...and of shoving one's ear into the face of a wild woodchuck.

The incident was caught on tape and can be seen AFTER THE JUMP...

[h/t jmg]

Continue reading "Jimmy The Groundhog Doesn't See His Shadow But Has a Taste For Blood: VIDEO" »


States Defending Gay Marriage Bans Costing Taxpayers Millions In Attorney Fees

MarriageGraphic

Plaintiffs in successful same-sex marriage lawsuits have been awarded more than $800,000 in attorneys fees' from states that defended the bans, with another $2.6 million in requests pending, according to a new report from The National Law Journal: 

Federal district judges across the country have issued nearly three dozen rulings since late 2013 declaring state same-sex marriage bans unconstitutional. Attorney fee petitions haven't been filed yet in the majority of those cases as they go before circuit courts and the U.S. Supreme Court. The fee awards, agreements and requests to date offer an early snapshot of what these landmark civil rights cases could cost taxpayers. ... 

Plaintiffs who prevail in federal civil rights cases can collect legal fees from the losing side. Congress set up the fee-shifting rule as an incentive for lawyers to take on time-consuming and expensive civil rights litigation, said Deborah Ferguson, lead counsel for the couples who fought Idaho's gay marriage ban.

In Idaho, the plaintiffs' attorneys were awarded a whopping $410,663 — the most in any state thus far. But that hasn't stopped Republican Gov. Butch Otter from continuing his futile defense of the state's marriage ban in court. The other states where plaintiffs' attorneys fees have been awarded or agreed to in same-sex marriage cases are Kentucky, Missouri, Oregon and Virginia. Requests are pending in Alaska, Arkansas, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wisconsin. 

Of course, the plaintiffs' attorneys fees don't include the cost to taxpayers of states paying their lawyers or hiring outside counsel to defend the bans — or, for that matter, lost revenue from wedding-related spending where same-sex marriage is still not legal. 

All told, it seems that defending discrimination isn't cheap, and states that continue to fight same-sex marriage better be prepared to pay up. And the irony is, many of the same folks who advocate lower taxes are the same ones fighting hardest to deprive same-sex couples of the freedom to marry.  


U.S. Diplomat To Marry Turkish Pop Star Partner: VIDEO

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Charles F. Hunter, U.S. Consul General in Istanbul, is to marry his partner, Turkish pop star Ramadan Çaysever, reports Daily Sabah.

Speaking at an event in the Dutch consulate, Hunter spoke about his relationship with Çaysever for the first time and confirmed reports about the planned marriage. The couple are thought to have met at one of Çaysever’s concerts.

Hunter proposed a few months ago and told friends about the planned wedding at Thanksgiving.

The wedding will take place in Hunter's hometown, Appleton, Wisconsin, where the couple are set to travel on December 20th.  However, a date for the ceremony has not been confirmed.

Same-sex marriage became legal in Wisconsin in October.

Watch the music video for Çaysever's "Diskotek", AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "U.S. Diplomat To Marry Turkish Pop Star Partner: VIDEO" »


Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) Wins Re-Election

Pocan

Out gay Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) has won re-election, defeating Republican Peter Theron to keep his Madison-area House seat.

With 73.3% reporting, Pocan led Theron with 68.3% to 31.7%.


Seeking Conservative Endorsement, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker Touts Anti-Gay Views

WalkerCurrent Wisconsin Governor and potential 2016 presidential candidate Scott Walker (R) has been careful to avoid publicly expressing his official views on hot button issues like abortion and gay marriage. In the face of the looming November 4th election date however, Walker has begun to more aggressively court Wisconsin’s conservative vote. In an attempt to secure endorsement from Wisconsin Family Action, a conservative 501c(4) organization, Walker opened up about his stance on same sex marriage and a woman’s right to choose.

"I would hope that my record and the stark contrast with my opponent's positions would garner your support," the governor implored, asserting his belief that marriage could only be defined as a union between a man and a woman.

Before becoming governor Walker openly endorsed a proposal for a same sex marriage ban within Wisconsin. More recently he’s dodged direct questions about his opinions on marriage equality given steadily shifting poll numbers indicating the public’s broadening acceptance.

"He hasn't been straight with people," said Mary Burke, Burke’s primary democratic competition. "He does owe it to the people of Wisconsin to be clear on these issues."

Walker reaffirmed his opposition to abortion, even in cases of rape or incest, pointing to his decisions to cut funding, access, and support to abortion providers throughout the state. Last year Walker stealthily signed a bill into law that required women seeking abortions to undergo medically unnecessary ultrasounds. The bill also drastically reduced the number of centers allowed to perform abortions by banning doctors without broader admitting privileges from performing the procedure.

"This bill improves a woman's ability to make an informed choice that will protect her physical and mental health now and in the future," Walker said of the bill, which he pointedly elected to sign in private.


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