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GLAD Sues Social Security Administration For Lesbian Widow Social Security Benefits - VIDEO

Tevyaw Baker

On Monday, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) filed a lawsuit on behalf of a lesbian widow seeking parity of Social Security benefits for married same-sex couples, reports Washington Blade.

The litigation was filed by GLAD in the U.S. District Court of Rhode Island on behalf of 56-year-old Deborah Tevyaw, who was denied spousal disability benefits and a lump sum death payment from the Social Security Administration (SSA).

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In 2005, Tevyaw was married in Massachusetts to Patricia Baker. Baker died in 2011 following a battle against lung cancer. In her final months, she lobbied for the legalization of gay marriage in Rhode Island, testifying on the issue before the state Senate.

However, despite the legality of the marriage, Tevyaw was denied benefits upon her Baker’s death. The SSA at first asserted the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) blocked her from receiving benefits. However, even after the Supreme Court ruled Section 3 of the law was unconstitutional, the SSA allegedly continued to deny Tevyaw benefits on the basis that Rhode Island wouldn’t have recognized her marriage at the time of Baker’s death.

Tevyaw has since been living on a monthly income of $732 and was forced to sell her home she owned for more than 38 years because she can’t afford the mortgage.

In a statement, Tevyaw said:

“I’ve lost my wife and my best friend, and Social Security has made that so much worse by telling me that in their eyes, I was not Pat’s wife. Not only is that hurtful and insulting, it has meant that I am living in poverty. I am not looking for a handout; this is money that Pat earned through hard work.”

The lawsuit also notes Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chaffee’s executive order on May 24, 2012 recognizing out-of-state same-sex marriages and contends the directive should apply to Tevyaw’s marriage even though Chaffee signed it before Baker’s death.

SSA spokesperson William “BJ” Jarrett said the agency agrees the issue behind the lawsuit “deserves additional consideration. He added that the SSA plans to review its policy manuals based on analysis of Rhode Island state common law.

Watch a 2012 interview with Tevyaw and Baker, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "GLAD Sues Social Security Administration For Lesbian Widow Social Security Benefits - VIDEO" »


UTAH: Attorney General Candidates Clash Over Same-Sex Marriage Ban - VIDEO

Reyes Stormont

Sharp differences on Utah's same-sex marriage ban have emerged between incumbent Attorney General Sean Reyes and challenger Charles Stormont, reports Desert News.

In what may be the only time the candidates meet head-to-head before the November 4th election, the two took part in a debate on Wednesday sponsored by the Utah Debate Commission at Brigham Young University.

While Republican Reyes said he has a duty to uphold state law, Democrat Stormont said he would not waste taxpayer money fighting an unconstitutional law in a case the state has no chance of winning.

Referring to Amendment 3 defining marriage as between a man and a woman, Reyes said the Attorney General cannot pick and choose which laws to uphold”

"You can't cut and run. You can't thwart the democratic process because you think that you're smarter than the Supreme Court. If my opponent would take off his political glasses for a moment and put on his lawyer lenses or leader lenses, he would see how dangerous that precedent is that he's proposing."

Arguing that 40 lower courts have already overturned bans on same-sex marriage, Stormont countered:

"You tell your clients what their likelihood of success is going to be in court. It's time to actually start giving good, honest, fair legal advice to the people of Utah. We've had far too much political advice on hot-button issues."

During the debate, the candidates also differed on how corruption allegations against former attorneys general Mark Shurtleff and John Swallow should be dealt with.

Watch an interview with Stormont, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "UTAH: Attorney General Candidates Clash Over Same-Sex Marriage Ban - VIDEO" »


Controversy Surrounds Screening Of Gay Teen Documentary in Russia - VIDEO

404 film

A Russian television channel has created controversy surrounding the screening of a documentary about gay teens last month at the Pacific Meridians festival in Vladivostok, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

According to People's Patriotic Channel, despite the 18+ rating of the documentary Deti 404 (Children 404), tickets to the screening were sold to minors without a proper ID check.

404404 refers to an online forum for Russian-speaking LGBTQ teens and to an error message displayed on Russian computer screens when people attempt to navigate to a web page that doesn't exist. 

People's Patriotic Channel claims that the documentary violates Russia's "gay propaganda" law.

A screening of the film in St Petersburg last April was disrupted by Orthodox Christian activists and police.

The festival's organizers have said the theater is to blame for the incident but added that the inclusion of the film into one of the festival's sections was important as it deals with a major social issue.

Festival programming director Natalia Timofeyeva said “this film is very useful because we are striving for a tolerant society in which people who are different can also exist.”

Watch a trailer for Deti 404, AFTER THE JUMP...

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NEW MUSIC: Lionface, The Assist, SOAK, Aqualung, APES, SALES — LISTEN

Lionface

New Music is a fresh column brought to you by Jim Redmond who writes for Towleroad and for Irish music website Deadly Music!, which was shortlisted for Best Irish Music Blog 2014. This will be appearing in addition to our regularly scheduled OXD Mirror.

Deadly Music! covers mostly alternative and indie genres but there's also a focus on electro pop, electronica, ambient, modern classical/neoclassical, post rock and drone.

Generally you'll find that this column will avoid most mainstream music - unless it's particularly deadly - to give new, emerging and fringe artists a chance. All tracks are available on a Soundcloud playlist, some of them on a Spotify playlist....both of which are embedded at the end of this column.

Enjoy!

Lionface: "Girl"

Lionface is Kat Marsh from Bristol in the UK and she makes what she calls Battle Pop which perfectly describes the aural assault of her latest track Girl.

With two fairly successful EPs under her belt - in the real world, not just on blogs - Lionface makes it clear on Girl that she's not taking any shit.

The video is all retro Streetfighter graphics, the song all boys-are-dicks pop punk noise.

Think Spice Girls with added balls.

 

***

The-assistThe Assist: "The Assist"

The Assist is an indie rock act from Birmingham in the UK. Their first two songs Control and Speak It Aloud were fantastically chippy, sharp numbers for fans of old-school baggy Brit Pop.

Despite the swagger and promise of their earlier work, their eponymously titled official first single - released in October - is an unexpected gem and it's all about how damn good they are and their intention to take over the world.

 

Check out four more tracks and some killer playlists, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "NEW MUSIC: Lionface, The Assist, SOAK, Aqualung, APES, SALES — LISTEN" »


Hate Group World Congress Of Families Launches Petition Against Human Rights Campaign - VIDEO

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The World Congress of Families (WCF) has issued a petition demanding that Human Rights Campaign (HRC) stop its “hate-filled” attack on the listed hate group's important work of denying gay people their rights and spreading anti-gay bigotry around the world.

The WCF petition follows a September HRC report that exposed some of the most vitriolic activists in the U.S. promoting anti-gay bigotry abroad including Benjamin Bull, Peter La Barbera, Sharon Slater, Mat Staver, Robert Oscar Lopez, and of course the “work” of the WCF.

Despite the relentless and dangerous hatred spewed worldwide by these and other groups and individuals - stand up Scott Lively - the WCF petition demands that HRC be nicer in future and vows to continue its global anti-gay mission.

6a00d8341c730253ef01b7c6ea1768970b-800wiRevealing that WCF and their ilk are actually the victims in all of this -  a common theme among anti-gay bigots - the petition argues that “the HRC’s hate report has helped make clear to the global community what is at stake, it has revealed that HRC and its allies view traditional religious views on sexual morality and marriage as ‘hate’, it has taken the mask off of the new face of cultural imperialism.”

Despite the WCF’s claims to have “consistently denounced hate and violence,” it is one of the most influential groups in the U.S. promoting and coordinating anti-LGBT bigotry, ideology and legislation abroad.

According to Ty Cobb, HRC Foundation’s director of Global Engagement, the WCF:

"Coordinates a dangerous group of activists spreading anti-LGBT rhetoric and promoting laws and policies that criminalize LGBT people and the speech of those who support them.

"They praise Vladimir Putin as the standard-bearer for traditional ‘family values’ and honored a Nigerian activist who claims LGBT advocates conspire with the terrorist group Boko Haram with a ‘Woman of the Year’ award.  

"Their advocacy abroad harms LGBT people from Russia to Nigeria and beyond.  Hate is not an American value, and we must expose and work to stop the World Congress of Families and their extremist allies.”

The WCF intends to bring its annual convention to Salt Lake City in 2015.

Read the HRC reports The Export Of Hate and watch a report on a protest outside a WCF conference in Melbourne, Australia, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Hate Group World Congress Of Families Launches Petition Against Human Rights Campaign - VIDEO" »


MEXICO: 30,000 March Against Same-Sex Marriage In Coahuila - VIDEO

Anti-gay marriage march Mexico

Around 30,000 people have taken part in a protest against the legalization of same-sex marriage in Coahuila state, Mexico, reports SDGLN.com.

By a margin of 19-1, the Congress of Coahuila voted for marriage equality of September 1st. The new law, which alters more than 40 parts of the state's Civil Code, came into effect one week after the vote.

MarriageThe protest march in the capital city of Saltillo was organized by Casa de Rescate "Cristo Vive,” an evangelical group modeled on anti-gay religious groups in the U.S.

At the head of the march was a huge banner that read “Rescuing The Family.” Protesters were heard to chant “true love is found in mom and dad.”

According to El Universal, Casa de Rescate Pastor Carlos Pacheco quoted the usual, well-worn passages from the bible to condemn LGBT people and same-sex marriage.

Same-sex marriage is currently also legal in two other Mexican states, the Federal District (which includes Mexico city) and Quantana Roo. Coahuila borders the U.S. state of Texas.

Watch a Spanish language news clip on the legislation approving same-sex marriage, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "MEXICO: 30,000 March Against Same-Sex Marriage In Coahuila - VIDEO" »


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