Saturday, April 25, 2015

No More Shirtless Models For Abercrombie & Fitch


Abercrombie & Fitch has announced that the shirtless, hunky male models that adorn not only their catalogs but the front of store will be history by mid-summer:

“By the end of July, there will no longer be sexualized marketing used in marketing materials including, in-store photos, gift cards, and shopping bags,” reads a statement released by Abercrombie detailing the major change-up.

Abercrombie says it's all part of a plan to move towards a "customer-centric store-operating model and making it more convenient, friendlier and easier to shop."

You'll recall it wasn't too long ago when the retailer faced a huge PR debacle when CEO Mike Jeffries' alleged hiring practices came to light.

That seems to be history as Abercrombie shares employees will “not be hired based on body type or physical attractiveness, and we will of course continue not to discriminate on any protected category.”


Mat Staver: Christians Will Have 'No Choice' But To Disobey Supreme Court Ruling On Gay Marriage


The National Organization for Marriage's hate march was held today in Washington, D.C., and as expected it was a sad, embarrassing failure for the virulently anti-gay group.

I'm not inclined to go into much detail about the event as it's pretty much what you would imagine: just a few dozen haters cheering each other on pretending the rights of LGBTs to marry somehow infringes on their lives. Which, of course, they does not.

But I will share just this one clip from the hate speech that went on.

Liberty Counsel founder Mat Staver stood before the crowd to say he would have “no choice” but to disobey such a “lawless” decision.

“As much as I’m an attorney and I respect the rule of law, I also respect the higher law. And when an earthly law collides with the higher law, we have no choice to obey the higher law.”

“Marriage is the union of a man and a woman,” he added. “As a policy matter, any other union says that God’s design is flawed. As a policy matter, any other union says that boys don’t need fathers and girls don’t need mothers.”

The "boys need fathers" and "girls need mothers" line is supposed to argue that marriage HAS to be between a man and a woman because "children."

What Staver and the rest of his ilk never address is that if marriage is about children,  why do they only attack same-sex marriage? They never argue that infertile couples shouldn't marry. Or that seniors who marry past child-bearing years shouldn't adopt.

It's only the gays.

The good news is this: Today was most probably the last Hate March NOM will ever hold as the Supreme Court will most probably rule on the issue of same-sex marriage by the end of June.

Watch Staver's angry act below:



(via Right Wing Watch)

GoFundMe Cancels Anti-Gay Oregon Bakers Money Beg

Aaron Klein of Sweet Cakes by Melissa
I wrote yesterday about the anti-gay Oregon bakers at Sweet Cakes by Melissa who are looking at a $135,000 fine for breaking public accommodation laws by not serving a lesbian couple.

The bakers took to GoFundMe to raise money from strangers to pay for their lawbreaking habits.

Within hours the campaign raised $110,000 but was halted by GoFundMe because raising money for breaking the law is against the Terms and Conditions of the website:

"After careful review by our team, we have found the "Support Sweet Cakes By Melissa" campaign to be in violation of our Terms and Conditions. The money raised thus far will still be made available for withdrawal. While a different campaign was recently permitted for a pizzeria in Indiana, no laws were violated and the campaign remained live. However, the subjects of the "Support Sweet Cakes By Melissa" campaign have been formally charged by local authorities and found to be in violation of Oregon state law concerning discriminatory acts. Accordingly, the campaign has been disabled."

In the end, the bakers look to pocket $110,000.

Boo.


Friday, April 24, 2015

Bruce Jenner Comes Out As Transgender


Olympic hero Bruce Jenner has come out as transgender.

The 65-year-old father of six made the revelation during a special with Diane Sawyer on ABC's "20/20" Friday night.

"I'm me. I'm a person. This is who I am. I'm not stuck in anybody's body. My brain is much more female than male," she said.

"For all intents and purposes, I am a woman. People look at me differently. They see you as this macho male, but my heart and my soul and everything that I do in life it is part of me, that female side is part of me. That's who I am. I was not genetically born that way ... as of now I have all the male parts and all that kind of stuff so in a lot of ways we're different, but we still identify as female. And that's very hard for Bruce Jenner today. Why? I don't want to disappoint people."

"I look at guys and I know 'He's comfortable in his own skin.' Wouldn't that be a nice way to go through life?"

Jenner on thought of suicide: "I thought about it, but then I thought 'I can't do that. I want to see how this story ends.'"

In 1976 Jenner won the hearts of America when she won the gold medal in the decathlon at the Olympics.

More recently, Jenner has been a central figure on the family's E! reality show since its premiere in 2007.

In 2013, Bruce and Kris announced they were separating after 22 years of marriage.

In light of Jenner's announcement, GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis issued this statement:

"Today, millions of people learned that someone they know is transgender."

"By sharing this story, Bruce Jenner has shined a light on what it means to be transgender and live authentically in the face of unimaginable public scrutiny. Though Jenner's journey is one that is deeply personal, it is also one that will impact and inspire countless people around the world."

The response from the Twitterverse was immediate:











(via Huffington Post)

Oregon Judge Suggests $135K Fine For Anti-Gay Bakers

Aaron Klein of Sweet Cakes by Melissa

Sweet Cakes by Melissa, a bakery in Gresham, Oregon, has been fined $135,000 in a decision by an administrative law judge for the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries.

Judge Alan McCullough issued his proposed fines today. The amount is not final, however. The State Labor Commissioner will have final say on the fine amount.

The controversy began in January 2013 when Aaron Klein turned away Rachel Bowman-Cryer and her mother at a cake-tasting appointment they had set up with Melissa Klein. Melissa Klein was not at the shop that day.

In August 2013, the women complained to BOLI. The agency conducted an investigation and in January 2014 brought charges that the Kleins had unlawfully discriminated against the couple because of their sexual orientation.

In a statement Friday, BOLI said: "The facts of this case clearly demonstrate that the Kleins unlawfully discriminated against the Complainants. Under Oregon law, businesses cannot discriminate or refuse service based on sexual orientation, just as they cannot turn customers away because of race, sex, disability, age or religion. Our agency is committed to fair and thorough enforcement of Oregon civil rights laws, including the Equality Act of 2007."

The Kleins have already set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to pay the fine. Over 12,000 was raise in less than three hours.

"Broadway Bares Solo Strips" Cancels Over Ian Reisner's Ted Cruz "Fireside Chat"


Fallout for Ian Reisner after hosting a "fireside chat" with anti-gay 2016 GOP candidate Sen. Ted Cruz.

Broadway Cares has announced they are canceling Broadway Bares Solo Strips which was scheduled to be held at Reisner's hotel The Out NYC on May 10th:

It is with regret that we have decided to cancel this year’s edition of the Broadway Bares Solo Strips fundraiser, which was scheduled for May 10 at the NYC club 42West. We cannot in good conscience hold an event at a venue whose owners have alienated our community, as reflected in an April 23 New York Times story and an April 24 follow-up post.

We do business with and accept fundraising support from a variety of people across a wide spectrum of political and religious affiliations. The rich diversity of our community makes what we do together so special. It is a rare instance where the actions of a donor negatively impacts us as an organization and potentially jeopardizes our relationship with others whose support is integral to our success. But when it does occur, in a way that’s blatantly against all we stand and work for, we can’t pretend it doesn’t come with consequences. Silence is not a neutral position. It is complicit.

This is not about partisan politics or punishment. This is about doing what’s right to ultimately ensure that our commitment to the men, women and children we serve cannot be questioned.

Ticket purchasers are being contacted by email. If you have questions about your Broadway Bares Solo Strips tickets, please contact Cat Domiano at domiano@broadwaycares.org.

That being said, the big event - Broadway Bares - will still be held on June 21st at Hammerstein Ballroom at 311 West 34th Street for two sensational shows at 9:30 pm and midnight. Get tickets.

Wells Fargo: Learning Sign Language


This Monday, Wells Fargo will launch a new TV ad, “Learning Sign Language,” representing the challenges and achievements of LGBT couples as they build their families and their futures together.

This ad is the first of four TV spots developed as part of the new Wells Fargo campaign: “Working together to make a difference.”

Wells Fargo has a long history of supporting the LGBT community as an employer and a provider of financial services, dating back over 25 years and continuing to grow every year.



(via press release)

Marriage Equality Can't Wait


Heart-breaking video from the Liberty Education Forum shares the story of David, who lost Mike — his partner of more than 40 years — to cancer earlier this year.

The couple married in the hospital room shortly before Mike’s death, a union not legally recognized in their home state of Ohio.

David explains that if he could speak to the Supreme Court, he would: “…ask one favor of them, and that’s to allow me to be on [Mike’s] death certificate as his spouse or husband. I would bend a knee to them and, seriously, say make an exception: Let it be that we are together on that death certificate.”

While many argue that state-by-state rulings on marriage are sufficient, David’s story is a painful reminder that nationwide marriage equality can’t wait.

HRC's Americans For Marriage Equality


Americans for Marriage Equality is a collaborative campaign effort led by the Human Rights Campaign to advance marriage equality nationwide.

Susan Sarandon, Tony Hawk, Rev. Al Sharpton, Anthony Boudain, Kristin Chenoweth, John Ridley, Michael Kenneth Williams and many more famous folks join in supporting same-sex marriage.

For more info, head over to the Human Rights Campaign.

PFLAG Canada Reminds Us Of "Nobody's Memories"



From PFLAG Canada:

This is our tribute to all those in the past who were never allowed to marry by law – and to everyone who is still denied the right today.

Share your love stories, wedding photos and videos at lovemadelegal.com and let's make gay marriage legal everywhere.

Mitt Romney: "There's Every Appearance That Hillary Clinton Was Bribed"

Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney directly accuses Hillary Clinton of accepting bribes from Clinton Foundation donors.

“You know, I’ve got to tell you, I was stunned by it. I mean, it looks like bribery,” he said while appearing on the Hugh Hewitt Show. “I mean, there is every appearance that Hillary Clinton was bribed to grease the sale of, what, 20 percent of America’s uranium production to Russia, and then, it was covered up by lying about a meeting at her home with the principals, and by erasing emails.”

“And you know, I presume we might know for sure whether there was or was not bribery if she hadn’t wiped out thousands of emails. But this is a very, very serious series of facts, and it looks like bribery,” he added.

Mittens was referring to a Thursday New York Times story that alleged that investors in a uranium company donated to the Clinton Foundation before an inter-agency committee including Hillary Clinton’s State Department approved the sale of the company to the Russian nuclear agency.

It's important to note that the committee is led by the Treasury Department, not the State Department where Clinton worked.

Clinton's presidential campaign and her allies have pushed back against the allegations, saying there is no evidence to suggest a link between the donations and the approval.

“The decision to approve the sale of uranium never rose to Secretary Clinton’s level and was approved by at least half a dozen government agencies," said Adrienne Watson, communications director for Correct the Record, a project of the pro-Clinton group American Bridge. "Mitt Romney should take a cue from Hillary Clinton and start talking about the real problems facing people across our country.”

(source)

Gay NYC Hotel Owners Host Ted Cruz And Catch Bloody Hell For It

Sen. Ted Cruz with NYC hotelier Mati Weiderpass

Gay New York City hoteliers Mati Weiderpass and Ian Reisner are feeling the heat having "hosted" virulently anti-gay Sen. Ted Cruz in his home this week. Both have gone into complete crisis management as their gay clientele are outraged.

First, Mati Weiderpass posted this statement:

It seems my informal dinner with the Senator has created a back lash. So there is no misunderstanding, I support gay marriage 100%. I have been a major supporter of gay causes and gay charities for two decades. People on both sides of the aisle need to be able to communicate with one another even when they ideologically disagree. As a Captain in the Army I worked tirelessly for the repeal of "Don't ask, Don't Tell". While serving on the Board of Directors for the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network I needed to reach across the aisle to make that happen. The fact that Senator Cruz accepted the invitation to my home was a step in the right direction towards him having a better understanding of who I am and what I believe in. We spent most of the time talking about national security issues and in particular the challenges from ISIS, Iran, and defense of Israel -- these are issues for which we did find common ground. However, i did not shy away from the opportunity to ask the Senator about social issues, in particular marriage equality, and made it clear that I completely disagree with him on that issue.

And partner Ian Reisner posted this:

"For my entire adult life, I have been an ardent supporter and activist for gay rights and LGBT organizations worldwide. I was given the opportunity to have a candid conversation with Senator Ted Cruz on where he stood on issues including the state of Israel and national security, which are the only places where we share common ground. It was just three months ago that I hosted a 'Ready for Hillary' event for a record turnout of 900 people at The OUT Hotel. Senator Ted Cruz and I disagree strongly on the issue of gay marriage, but having an open dialogue with those who have differing political opinions is a part of what this country was founded on. My tireless support of the gay community and its causes worldwide hasn't changed and will not change."

I have to admit that my husband and I make a point of staying at their gay-oriented hotel, The OUT NYC, because we like it and we want to support our own.

But I'm not cool on the idea of my gay dollars going into a presidential campaign of Sen. Ted Cruz. I can stay a LOT of places in NYC.

There seem to be conflicting stories about whether or not this event was a fund raiser or merely a "fireside chat." Either way, it makes me uncomfortable that more wealthy gays may use my consumer dollars to buddy-up to powerful anti-gay folks just because they can.

A Facebook page has been launched to promote boycotting the men's business venues, "Boycott Fire Island Pines & Out NYC".

UPDATE: A new development today as it appears Reisner hosted a fund-raiser for anti-gay Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin just last week.

Johnson opposes marriage equality, has a 0% on his HRC Congressional Scorecard. Just this week Johnson voted to allow discrimination against LGBT youth.

Not looking good here.

Sen. Ron Johnson and NYC hotelier Ian Reisner

Mike Huckabee: Gay Rights Will Outlaw Christianity


Speaking on a conference call for the Family Research Council, possible 2016 GOP hopeful Mike Huckbee hypers up the hate rhetoric against gay marriage:
"If the courts rule that people have a civil right not only to be a homosexual but a civil right to have a homosexual marriage, then a homosexual couple coming to a pastor who believes in biblical marriage who says ‘I can’t perform that wedding’ will now be breaking the law.

"It’s not just saying, ‘I’m sorry you have a preference.’ No, you will be breaking the law subject to civil for sure and possible criminal penalties for violating the law.

"If you do practice biblical convictions and you carry them out and you do what you’ve been led by the spirit of God to do, your behavior will be criminal. God help us all."

(via Right Wing Watch)

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Straight High School Guy Asks His Gay BFF To The Prom



Jacob Lescenski is straight, and BFF Anthony Martinez is gay.

Anthony is on the student council, and since he's responsible for planning school dances, he says he never gets asked to go.

So, Jacob figured - who better to go to the dance with than his BFF?

Jacob surprised Anthony with a banner reading “You’re hella gay, I’m hella str8, but you’re like my brother so be my d8!”

“He’s a real man,” Anthony said of Jacob in a post, “given that he has the guts to fulfill my gay student council dream of always helping out planning dances, and never getting asked. I couldn’t ask for a better person in my life.”


And yep - Anthony said yes.

Rep. Steve King Wants To Strip Out Article III of US Constitution


Iowa Congressman Steve King has filed legislation, the “Restrain the Judges on Marriage Act,” with the aim of stripping federal courts of the ability to interpret the Constitution in cases of marriage equality.

King’s bill would strip away Article III of the Constitution, which gives federal courts the jurisdiction to hear or decide any question pertaining to the interpretation of, or the validity under the Constitution of, any type of marriage, reports The Hill.

The bill would also prohibit federal funds from being used for any litigation in, or enforcement of any order or judgment by, any federal court.

“For too long, federal courts have overstepped their constitutionally limited duty to interpret the Constitution.” King said in a news release. “Rather, federal courts have perverted the Constitution to make law and create constitutional rights to things such as privacy, birth control, and abortion. These Unenumerated, so-called constitutionally-protected rights were not envisioned by our Founding Fathers.”

King said his bill would stop the courts from “destroying traditional marriage.”

I'm not sure, but I don't think a bill in Congress would have the jurisdictional "weight" to "strip out" Article III of the Constitution.
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