Tuesday, April 30, 2013

President Obama on Jason Collins' coming out: The LGBT community deserves recognition that they're fully part of the American family

At the end of a press conference today, President Obama returned to the microphone to fully articulate his support for Jason Collins, who "came out" yesterday to much fanfare.

Calling him a role model for LGBT youth who are struggling, and a sign of increasing recognition in America, President Obama praised the country's first openly gay active player in a major sport:

"I told him I couldn't be prouder. One of the extraordinary measures of progress that we've seen in this country has been the recognition that the LGBT community deserves full equality, not just partial equality, not just tolerance, but a recognition that they're fully a part of the American family.

"Given the importance of sports in our society, for an individual who's excelled at the highest levels of one of the major sports going to say 'This is who I am. I'm proud of it. I'm still a great competitor. I'm still seven foot tall and deliver a hard foul' ... for a lot of young people out there who are gay or lesbian who are struggling with these issues, to see a role model like that who is unafraid, it's a great thing.

"I think America should be proud that this is just one more step in this ongoing recognition that we treat everybody fairly, and everybody's part of the family and we judge people on the basis of their character and their performance and not their sexual orientation. So, I'm very proud of him."

(via Instinct)

Jason Collins gives first interview on coming out in the NBA

NBA player Jason Collins talks to Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos about his "coming out," his aggressive style of play, the support he's received and why he chose to wear number 98 this past season.

And while we celebrate Jason Collins fully embracing who he is, here's Bryan Fischer...

Bryan, we've been in the showers all along. And you know that. That's what fuels your hate every day.


(via Right Wing Watch)

President Obama calls Jason Collins, praises his courage to come "out"

President Obama called NBA center Jason Collins today after news broke that the pro basketball player had come out of the closet.

From Raw Story:
President Barack Obama called NBA player Jason Collins on Monday to praise his courage after he became the first star in big-time American professional team sports to come out as gay.

Collins, currently a free agent who has played for six teams over 12 seasons, made the announcement in a blockbuster article in Sports Illustrated. “The President called Jason Collins to express his support and said he was impressed by his courage,” said a White House aide, on condition of anonymity.

Jason Collins tweets thanks for support on "coming out"

2013 Tony Award nominations are out!

The Tony Awards will be broadcast in a live three-hour ceremony from Radio City Music Hall, on the CBS television network, June 9.

Best Play
The Assembled Parties
Author: Richard Greenberg
Lucky Guy
Author: Nora Ephron
The Testament of Mary
Author: Colm Toíbín
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Author: Christopher Durang
Best Musical
Bring It On: The Musical
A Christmas Story, The Musical
Kinky Boots
Matilda The Musical

Best Revival of a Play
Golden Boy
The Trip to Bountiful
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Best Revival of a Musical
The Mystery of Edwin Drood

Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella
Best Book of a Musical
A Christmas Story, The Musical
Joseph Robinette
Kinky Boots
Harvey Fierstein
Matilda The Musical
Dennis Kelly
Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella
Douglas Carter Beane
Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
A Christmas Story, The Musical
Music and Lyrics: Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
Hands on a Hardbody
Music: Trey Anastasio and Amanda Green
Lyrics: Amanda Green
Kinky Boots
Music & Lyrics: Cyndi Lauper
Matilda The Musical
Music & Lyrics: Tim Minchin
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Tom Hanks, Lucky Guy
Nathan Lane, The Nance
Tracy Letts, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
David Hyde Pierce, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Tom Sturridge, Orphans
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
Laurie Metcalf, The Other Place
Amy Morton, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Kristine Nielsen, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Holland Taylor, Ann
Cicely Tyson, The Trip to Bountiful
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Bertie Carvel, Matilda The Musical
Santino Fontana, Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella
Rob McClure, Chaplin
Billy Porter, Kinky Boots
Stark Sands, Kinky Boots
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Stephanie J. Block, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Carolee Carmello, Scandalous
Valisia LeKae, Motown The Musical
Patina Miller, Pippin
Laura Osnes, Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
Danny Burstein, Golden Boy
Richard Kind, The Big Knife
Billy Magnussen, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Tony Shalhoub, Golden Boy
Courtney B. Vance, Lucky Guy
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
Carrie Coon, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Shalita Grant, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Judith Ivey, The Heiress
Judith Light, The Assembled Parties
Condola Rashad, The Trip to Bountiful
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Charl Brown, Motown The Musical
Keith Carradine, Hands on a Hardbody
Will Chase, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Gabriel Ebert, Matilda The Musical
Terrence Mann, Pippin
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Annaleigh Ashford, Kinky Boots
Victoria Clark, Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella
Andrea Martin, Pippin
Keala Settle, Hands on a Hardbody
Lauren Ward, Matilda The Musical
Best Scenic Design of a Play
John Lee Beatty, The Nance
Santo Loquasto, The Assembled Parties
David Rockwell, Lucky Guy
Michael Yeargan, Golden Boy
Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Rob Howell, Matilda The Musical
Anna Louizos, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Scott Pask, Pippin
David Rockwell, Kinky Boots
Best Costume Design of a Play
Soutra Gilmour, Cyrano de Bergerac
Ann Roth, The Nance
Albert Wolsky, The Heiress
Catherine Zuber, Golden Boy
Best Costume Design of a Musical
Gregg Barnes, Kinky Boots
Rob Howell, Matilda The Musical
Dominique Lemieux, Pippin
William Ivey Long, Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella
Best Lighting Design of a Play
Jules Fisher & Peggy Eisenhauer, Lucky Guy
Donald Holder, Golden Boy
Jennifer Tipton, The Testament of Mary
Japhy Weideman, The Nance
Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Kenneth Posner, Kinky Boots
Kenneth Posner, Pippin
Kenneth Posner, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella
Hugh Vanstone, Matilda The Musical
Best Sound Design of a Play
John Gromada, The Trip to Bountiful
Mel Mercier, The Testament of Mary
Leon Rothenberg, The Nance
Peter John Still and Marc Salzberg, Golden Boy
Best Sound Design of a Musical
Jonathan Deans and Garth Helm, Pippin
Peter Hylenski, Motown The Musical
John Shivers, Kinky Boots
Nevin Steinberg, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella
Best Direction of a Play
Pam MacKinnon, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Nicholas Martin, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Bartlett Sher, Golden Boy
George C. Wolfe, Lucky Guy
Best Direction of a Musical
Scott Ellis, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Jerry Mitchell, Kinky Boots
Diane Paulus, Pippin
Matthew Warchus, Matilda The Musical
Best Choreography
Andy Blankenbuehler, Bring It On: The Musical
Peter Darling, Matilda The Musical
Jerry Mitchell, Kinky Boots
Chet Walker, Pippin
Best Orchestrations
Chris Nightingale, Matilda The Musical
Stephen Oremus, Kinky Boots
Ethan Popp and Bryan Crook, Motown The Musical
Danny Troob, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella

* * *
Recipients of Awards and Honors in Non-competitive Categories
Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre
Bernard Gersten
Paul Libin
Ming Cho Lee
Regional Theatre Award
Huntington Theatre Company, Boston, MA
Isabelle Stevenson Award
Larry Kramer
Tony Honor for Excellence in the Theatre
Career Transition For Dancers
William Craver
Peter Lawrence
The Lost Colony
The four actresses who created the title role of Matilda The Musical on Broadway - Sophia Gennusa, Oona Laurence, Bailey Ryon and Milly Shapiro

* * *
Tony Nominations by Production
Kinky Boots - 13
Matilda The Musical - 12
Pippin - 10
Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella - 9
Golden Boy - 8
Lucky Guy - 6
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike - 6
The Mystery of Edwin Drood - 5
The Nance - 5
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? - 5
Motown The Musical - 4
The Trip to Bountiful - 4
The Assembled Parties - 3
A Christmas Story, The Musical - 3
Hands on a Hardbody - 3
The Testament of Mary - 3
Bring It On: The Musical - 2
The Heiress - 2
Orphans - 2
Ann - 1
Annie - 1
The Big Knife - 1
Chaplin - 1
Cyrano de Bergerac - 1
The Other Place - 1
Scandalous - 1

For more information visit TonyAwards.com.

Monday, April 29, 2013

White House reaction to Jason Collins' "coming out"

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was asked if Obama had any remarks about NBA player Jason Collins' decision to come out of the closet. Carney said he had not talked to the President about it but offered these remarks:
"Here at the White House we view that as another example of the progress that has been made and the evolution tha has been taking place in this country, and commend him for his courage and support him in this effort, and hope that his fans and his team support him going forward."

Video: "Popular Song" - MIKA ft. Ariana Grande

Love the song since I heard it a few weeks ago.

Mika has debuted the new video for “Popular Song” featuring Nickelodeon star Ariana Grande.

The song offers a fresh twist on “Popular” from the Broadway hit “Wicked”, composed by Stephen Schwartz. In an historic move, Schwartz was so moved by this interpretation that he authorized the usage of his music for the first time ever.

Mika has now sold over 8 million records and Gold or Platinum awards in 32 countries worldwide across his previous two albums ‘Life in Cartoon Motion’ and ‘The Boy Who Knew Too Much’, winning Brit and MTV Awards in the process.

Find more on Mika at mikasounds.com

"Popular Song" is available for download on iTunes

Congratulations coming in for Jason Collins "coming out"

From Chad Griffin at Human Rights Campaign:

"Jason Collins’ commitment to living openly is a monumental step forward toward greater equality and he immediately becomes a role model for youth all across this country. His actions today tell LGBT young people that what will define our success in life is our character and dedication, not our sexual orientation. At a moment when millions are reflecting on the life and legacy of Jackie Robinson, Jason Collins is a hero for our own times. Today's announcement again shows that gay Americans are our teachers, police officers, nurses, lawyers and even our professional athletes. We contribute to every aspect of our American community and deserve the same equal rights as every American." - Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin, via press release.

And from President Clinton:

"I have known Jason Collins since he was Chelsea's classmate and friend at Stanford. Jason's announcement today is an important moment for professional sports and in the history of the LGBT community. It is also the straightforward statement of a good man who wants no more than what so many of us seek: to be able to be who we are; to do our work; to build families and to contribute to our communities. For so many members of the LGBT community, these simple goals remain elusive. I hope that everyone, particularly Jason's colleagues in the NBA, the media and his many fans extend to him their support and the respect he has earned."

Jason Collins - America's first openly gay & still playing major pro athlete

NBA center Jason Collins, currently a free agent, is coming out of the closet and is now the first openly gay male player in a major pro sport, SI reports:

I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay.

I didn't set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I'm happy to start the conversation. I wish I wasn't the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, "I'm different." If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I'm raising my hand.

My journey of self-discovery and self-acknowledgement began in my hometown of Los Angeles and has taken me through two state high school championships, the NCAA Final Four and the Elite Eight, and nine playoffs in 12 NBA seasons.

I've played for six pro teams and have appeared in two NBA Finals. Ever heard of a parlor game called Three Degrees of Jason Collins? If you're in the league, and I haven't been your teammate, I surely have been one of your teammates' teammates. Or one of your teammates' teammates' teammates.

Now I'm a free agent, literally and figuratively. I've reached that enviable state in life in which I can do pretty much what I want. And what I want is to continue to play basketball. I still love the game, and I still have something to offer. My coaches and teammates recognize that. At the same time, I want to be genuine and authentic and truthful.

Read Jason's entire story at Sports Illustrated.

New York Jets release Tim Tebow

The NY Times is reporting that the New York Jets have released Tim Tebow:
On Monday morning, the Jets cut Tebow with no pomp, a victim of circumstance. They acknowledged an experiment gone awry with a news release that said, simply, “Jets waive QB Tim Tebow.” There was no mention in that release of Tebow’s statistics with the Jets, perhaps in part because there were none worth mentioning.

He was more afterthought than asset, more distraction than revelation, a decoy who played a greater role on special teams than behind center.
No word on where Tebow could end up in the NFL.

Poll: Minnesota at 51% support for marriage equality

image via Mimeographs

Sarah Palin bitter over no invite to White House Correspondence Dinner

Note the language used here - "working OUR asses off"

This is from the person who QUIT her job as governor HALF-WAY through her one term.  In other words  - she quit a high level prestigious job because it wasn't enough for her.  And she has the NERVE to say she's now one of millions who are "working our asses off"???

JoeMyGod points to this pic of Palin at the 2011 Vanity Fair after-party for the White House Correspondents Dinner with that year's host, Seth Myers.  Other "assclowns" who have attended the Nerd Prom include Todd Palin and Bristol Palin.  Note that the former half-term governor didn't have a problem with the event when she or family members were invited.

Science: Which is more painful - childbirth or being kicked in the balls?

This week the AsapSCIENCE folks answer the burning (or at least painful) questions: What exactly is pain? And is it more painful to give birth or get kicked in the balls?


Be smarter in three minutes.

Minnesota: Is the Vikings Chris Kluwe on the "cut" list?

On Saturday, the Minnesota Vikings drafted UCLA punter Jeff Locke in the fifth round.  Some see this as writing on the wall that the Vikings current kicker (and LGBT ally), Chris Kluwe, may be on his way out, and that the reason for his exit will be "distractions" related to activism for LGBT civil rights, NBC Sports' Mike Florio reports:

Of course, the distractions weren’t a problem when Kluwe was staying up very late playing Guitar Hero and Worlds of Warcraft, or staying out very late on Friday night doing shows with his band.  After Kluwe opted to get behind a controversial social cause while also getting to bed at a decent hour, the team opted to acquire a player who, given that he was selected in round five, will likely have the field tilted in his favor when it comes to determining whether he or Kluwe gets the Water Pik.

Kluwe told Florio: “It’s a shame that in a league with players given multiple second chances after arrests, including felony arrests, that speaking out on human rights has a chance of getting you cut,” Kluwe told PFT via text message.

(via Towleroad)

Denmark: Possible breakthrough for curing HIV "within months"

Researchers in Denmark believe they are on track to finding a possible cure to HIV:

Danish scientists are expecting results that will show that “finding a mass-distributable and affordable cure to HIV is possible.”

They are conducting clinical trials to test a “novel strategy” in which the HIV virus is stripped from human DNA and destroyed permanently by the immune system.

The scientists are currently conducting human trials using their treatment, in the hope of proving that it is effective. It has already been found to work in laboratory tests.

The technique involves releasing the HIV virus from “reservoirs” it forms in DNA cells, and bringing it to the surface of the cells. Once it comes to the surface, the body’s natural immune system can kill the virus through being boosted by a “vaccine.”

Read more at Business Insider

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Meet new Scruff cover guy Ross Milam

Well hello new SCRUFF cover model Ross Milam.

Hailing from Portland, OR, Ross is both an accomplished athlete and scholar. He wrestled at the national level for his college team — of which he was the only openly gay member — and holds degrees in math and biology.

Check out a few more pics of the new guy on the virtual block:

Proposal of the day: Shaun's surprise proposal to Michael

From Shaun Aukland: "On April 22 2013, I invited Michael to lunch at the Google office. He had no idea I would be asking him to marry me. Or that hundreds of people were in on it.

"We are a binational couple, separated for the last two years, on and off, without the ability to sponsor Michael for citizenship in the United States because of the Defense of Marriage Act. I flew to London for one of our regular trips and secretly to propose to Michael, in hopes that he'll be able to finally join me permanently in the US after the Supreme Court decision.

"Five minutes before the proposal, all of the TV screens in the cafe showed a timer countdown. At about 10 seconds, Michael remarked "its really busy in here. also, what is that timer". Then the video starts."

Congratulations to the happy couple!

Openly gay Kicker Alan Gendreau waits for the NFL to call

Alan Gendreau, the placekicker who is hoping to become the first openly gay player in the NFL, was the first out player to enter the draft this week. Unfortunately, he's still waiting to be picked.

Check out his interview with ABC News while we wait. Fingers crossed Gendreau at least gets a shot at making it in the NFL.

(via the Advocate)

Angus T. Jones reduced to part-time work on TWO AND A HALF MEN next season

Entertainment Weekly says that CBS has officially renewed Two and a Half Men but the "half" part will only be part-time as  Angus T. Jones won't be a regular, but he will do a few episodes here and there throughout the season.

You'll recall Jones released a video statement last year imploring people to not watch the show that's put millions of dollars in his pocket because he felt it was filled with "filth."

"Jake from Two and a Half Men means nothing. He is a non-existent character. If you watch Two and a Half Men, please stop watching Two and a Half Men. I'm on Two and a Half Men and I don't want to be on it. Please stop watching it and filling your head with filth. Please. People say it’s just entertainment. The fact that it's entertainment, it's... Do some research on the effects of television and your brain, and I promise you you’ll have a decision to make when it comes to television, especially with what you watch. It's bad news. I don't know if it means anymore coming from me, but you might not have heard it otherwise. Just watch it. A lot of people don't want to think about how deceptive the enemy is."

I'm guessing he'll be a bit less "filth" filled next season.

President Obama jokes at the 2013 White House Correspondents Dinner

Some of President Obama's one liners at the White House Correspondent's dinner:

• I'm not the strapping young muslim socialist like I used to be.
• I admire the DC press corps covering all sides of an issue, just in case one of them happens to be accurate
• I'm taking my charm offensive on the road... a book burning with Michele Bachmann
• Some have suggested we put my library in my birthplace, but I'd rather keep it in the US.

I love this tradition, and I like that he can make fun of himself.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Broadway's KINKY BOOTS today!

Michael and I in our seats ready for the fabulous Billy Porter in Jerry Mitchell's new Broadway hit KINKY BOOTS!

 Waaaay excited :)

Next US states in play for marriage equality

(image via USAToday)
The Associated Press gives us a run down on what appear to be the next states in play for marriage equality:
Delaware: The state's House approved a bill Tuesday legalizing same-sex marriage on a 23-18 vote. The bill now moves to the Senate. It has the support of Democratic Gov. Jack Markell. Delaware approved same-sex civil unions last year.

New Jersey: The Democratic-led legislature is expected to attempt to override Republican Gov. Chris Christie's veto of gay marriage legislation a year ago. But there aren't enough Democrats to guarantee an override, and Christie has suggested putting the question before voters.

Oregon: Gay marriage advocates hope to place a proposed constitutional amendment on the 2014 ballot that would reverse a ban on gay marriage passed by voters in 2004. The effort has the support of Gov. John Kitzhaber.

Minnesota: Hundreds of gay marriage supporters gathered at the state Capitol this month to urge lawmakers to vote for gay marriage. Legislation has cleared committees in both the House and Senate.

Illinois: The state's Senate approved gay marriage legislation on Valentine's Day. Supporters in the House say they're still a few votes short but hope a vote is held before the General Assembly adjourns this spring. Gov. Pat Quinn supports the bill.

(h/t JMG)

Jeremy Jordan & Jonathan Groff - "Let Me Be Your Star"

A bit of Saturday silly fun from hunky Jeremy Jordan (SMASH) and Jonathan Groff (GLEE). I've liked the song "Let Me Be Your Star" since I first heard it in the pilot of SMASH.

In related news, Glee‘s Jonathan Groff has been cast in The Normal Heart, HBO‘s original movie adaptation of the Tony-winning Larry Kramer play, which is being written by Kramer and directed by Ryan Murphy.

He joins Julia Roberts, Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons and Taylor Kitsch in the pic, which tells the story of the onset of the HIV-AIDS crisis in New York City in the early 1980s. Production is slated to begin later this year in New York for a 2014 debut.

NFL agrees to not ask questions about sexuality of potential players

(image via Memegraph)
After discussions with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who last month expressed concern over reports that potentional recruits at the NFL Combine were being asked questions to possibly determine whether or not they are gay, the NFL has announced it will be reinforcing policies against discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Via Capital New York:
Under an agreement reached with the NFL and the Player’s Association, the league’s collective bargaining agreement will be expanded to protect newly recruited players from being asked questions such as whether they like women or have a girlfriend.

"Schneiderman’s office was concerned the questions were designed to determine whether a player is gay and potentially block them from being drafted. At the same time, posters will be added to locker rooms directing players to call the Player’s Association if they suspect there is discrimination.

“These interviews determine the future course of their lives… We’re just making sure the non-discrimination applies to everyone,” Schneiderman said in the interview.

Mormon church supports Boy Scouts proposed change in gay scout policy

The Mormon Church has released a statement in support of the proposed policy change by the Boy Scouts to end discrimination for gay scouts.

Reads a statement from the church:

Over the past several weeks BSA has undertaken the difficult task of reviewing its membership standards policy. In their own words, this undertaking has been ‘the most comprehensive listening exercise in its history.’

While the Church has not launched any campaign either to effect or prevent a policy change, we have followed the discussion and are satisfied that BSA has made a thoughtful, good-faith effort to address issues that, as they have said, remain ‘among the most complex and challenging issues facing the BSA and society today.’

The current BSA proposal constructively addresses a number of important issues that have been part of the ongoing dialogue, including consistent standards for all BSA partners, recognition that Scouting exists to serve and benefit youth rather than Scout leaders, a single standard of moral purity for youth in the program, and a renewed emphasis for Scouts to honor their duty to God.

We are grateful to BSA for their careful consideration of these issues. We appreciate the positive things contained in this current proposal that will help build and strengthen the moral character and leadership skills of youth as we work together in the future.

The Mormon Church is a major sponsor of local scouting troops around the nation.

(via Instinct)

Friday, April 26, 2013

Iowa celebrates four years of marriage equality

Sweet video from HRC celebrating four years of Iowa marriage equality

Desperate Housewives actor "comes out" on Marie Osmond talk show

Desperate Housewives actor Tuc Watkins, who played one of the gay neighbors on Wisteria Lane, reveals he's a gay single dad on Marie Osmond's talk show set to air on Monday.

Washington: GOP bill looks to circumvent non-discrimination law

Several Republican lawmakers filed a bill Thursday seeking an exemption to the state’s anti-discrimination laws just weeks after legal action was taken against a Richland, Wash., florist who denied service to a gay couple for their upcoming wedding.

The bill introduced by Sen. Sharon Brown (R-Kennewick), would allow businesses the right to deny services or goods if they felt doing so was contrary to their “sincerely held religious beliefs, philosophical beliefs, or matters of conscience.”

The measure would not apply to the denial of services to people under a protected class under federal law, such as race, religion or disability.

Brown said the measure seeks to protect people or religious organizations from legal persecution. “There’s a glaring lack of protection for religion in state law,” she said.

The bill has not yet been referred to a committee or scheduled for a public hearing, and is not likely to before the regular legislative session ends on Sunday.

Earlier this month, the American Civil Liberties Union in Washington state filed a lawsuit in response to a March 1 incident in which Barronelle Stutzman refused to provide flowers for Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed’s wedding, despite the two men being longtime patrons of her shop – Arlene’s Flowers and Gifts in Richland, which is in Brown’s legislative district.

Protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation were codified in 2006.  Under state law, it’s illegal for businesses to refuse to sell goods, merchandise and services to any person because of their sexual orientation.

Josh Friedes, a spokesman for Equal Rights Washington, said that the bill seeks to undermine the state’s anti-discrimination laws “and it undermines our entire approach to ensuring the equality of all Washingtonians in commerce.”

“It is discrimination, pure and simple,” he said.

More at LGBTQNation

Country music legend George Jones dead at 81

Country Music Hall of Famer, Grand Ole Opry member, and Kennedy Center Honoree George Glenn Jones died Friday, April 26, 2013 at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee. He was hospitalized April 18 with fever and irregular blood pressure.

Born September 12, 1931, Jones is regarded among the most important and influential singers in American popular music history.

He was the singer of enduring country music hits including “She Thinks I Still Care,” “The Grand Tour,” “Walk Through This World With Me,” “Tender Years” and “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” the latter of which is often at the top of industry lists of the greatest country music singles of all time.

Response from the country music world:

"My heart is absolutely broken. George Jones was my all time favorite singer and one of my favorite people in the world. My heart goes out to Nancy and all his family and friends."
— Dolly Parton

"The world has lost the greatest country singer of all time. Amen."
— Merle Haggard

“Today is a sad day in Country music. We have lost another piece of history. George Jones was not only a good singer, but was a good friend. He will be missed by many.”
— Hank Williams Jr.

“I am very thankful I got to know George, he’s one of the greatest singers that ever lived. I actually loved the man and really enjoyed the time I got to spend with he and Nancy.”
— Randy Travis

“George Jones will always be one of the most amazing singers who ever lived. He was a true Country Music legend who made music very personal to the listener – I think more than anyone else. He will be dearly missed, but always remembered.”
— Kenny Rogers

"Country music and the world will miss George Jones. He was someone who set a high standard in our industry for great music and lyrics that tapped into the emotions of the human heart at a very deep level. His music has touched the lives of country music lovers for over five decades. My prayers are with his family and I pray for the repose of his soul. May you rest in peace, brother.”
— Collin Raye

"There's a huge emptiness in the music world today from the passing of our good friend George Jones. But, the void is filled with the many memories that will be with us forever. We love you, George."
— The Oak Ridge Boys lead singer Duane Allen

"I believe if you ask any singer who was the greatest country music singer of all time, they would say 'George Jones'. He was without question and by far the BEST! I first met and worked with him when I was 13 years old; I am so very grateful that he was my friend."
— Barbara Mandrell

"There aren't words in our language to describe the depth of his greatness. I'll miss my kind and generous friend."
— Vince Gill

"I am just devastated by the news that George Jones has passed away! The music world has lost one of the most original and innovative talents that the world has ever known. I feel such a personal loss of not only one of the greatest vocal influences of my life, but also I've lost a dear friend. Visits with George have always been full of joy and laughter. Every time I would see him, George would always greet me with a funny story or a joke! His legacy will put his name at the top of the most influential artists in history, right along with Hank Williams, Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings. His voice will be influencing singers 100 years from now and beyond! I'm reminded of the lyrics that Waylon wrote in the tune 'It's Alright.' 'If we all sang like we wanted to, we'd all sound like George Jones!'"
— Travis Tritt

via press release

Video: Zach Wahls for Scouts For Equality - "Leader"

Scouts For Equality Co-Founder, Zach Wahls, explains how the ban on gay Scouts and parents personally affected his experience in Scouting.

March on Washington DC - 20 years ago this weekend

Twenty years ago, on April 25, 1993, tens of thousands of LGBT rights advocates flooded the National Mall in Washington, D.C., calling for government action on issues ranging from open military service to the repeal of sodomy laws, LGBT employment protections to increased funding for HIV/AIDS research and treatment.

I was living in NYC at the time, and in one of my rare spontaneous actions at that time of my life, I packed a bag and headed down to DC by myself. I had recently left the national tour of A CHORUS LINE, and the company was playing there at the National Theater. So I made plans to bunk with a buddy, and off I went.

The day of the march, I stepped out in the street and just started walking with thousands and thousands of people in support of LGBT rights. I stopped by the AIDS Quilt which was on display. I listened to speeches at the National Mall. I met people. I was complimented on my biceps - which to this day I never forgot :)

I remember thinking this would be "history" and I wanted to be there.

So I was.

The fight for equality continues in full force today, but 20 years later, it’s amazing to see how far we’ve come. Check out a news clip from the 1993 march above.

Log Cabin Republicans: "Reagan's big tent isn't what it used to be..."

Log Cabin Republicans has a full-page ad in Politico calling on the Republican Party to grow the proverbial “big tent” by dropping its opposition to granting equal rights to the LGBT community.

The ad is a part of LCR’s relaunch efforts, which will more aggressively challenge the GOP to not be beholden to the vocal minority within the party that oppose rights for gays and lesbians.

To be fair, Log Cabin Republicans benefit by being viewed as more clear on their mission statement than the "other" gay Republican organization, GOProud. LCR remember who they are and don't fall into the trap of wanting to please the GOP masses to such an extent they lose their own identity.

WNBA's top draft pick inks "big-time" deal with NIKE

Out athlete Brittney Griner, the WNBA's top draft pick (3-time all America center at Baylor) who's now headed to play for the Phoenix Mercury, has signed a deal with Nike, USA Today reports:

Lindsay Kagawa Colas, who represents Griner, confirmed to USA TODAY Sports that Griner signed a deal with Nike on Saturday.

"It's big-time, let's just say that," Griner said of the deal.

Recently, former Phoenix Suns executive Rick Welts told Bloomberg that Nike was interested in sponsoring openly gay pro athletes.

Said Welts to Bloomberg: “They made it clear to me Nike would embrace it. The player who does it, they’re going to be amazed at the additional opportunities that are put on the table, not the ones that are taken off.”

Very cool to see Nike staying true to their word.

(via shewired)

Highlights from the 27th Annual Easter Bonnet Competition

From Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS: The 27th Annual Easter Bonnet Competition raised a staggering $4,250,542 -- eclipsing the previous high of $3,734,129 set in 2007. The grand total was announced April 23, 2013, after six weeks of intensive fundraising for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS by 47 Broadway, Off-Broadway and national touring companies.

With a standing-room-only audience filling Broadway's Minskoff Theatre, two Easter Bonnet shows featured original presentations, songs, dances and 19 intricate, custom-made bonnets.

This year's edition included special appearances by Tom Hanks, Cyndi Lauper, Harvey Fierstein, Reeve Carney, Victoria Clark, Deborah Cox, Robert Cuccioli, Katie Finneran, Shalita Grant, Ann Harada, Harriet Harris, Cady Huffman, Andy Karl, Ron Kunene, Nathan Lane, Tshidi Manye, Constantine Maroulis, Andrea Martin, Marin Mazzie, Christopher McDonald, Judy McLane, Mark Nelson, Christine Pedi, Billy Porter, Seth Rudetsky, Peter Scolari, Holland Taylor and Michael Urie.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Delaware state Senator Bushweller supports marriage equality

"As you may know, HB 75 passed the House of Representatives on April 23 and will now come to the Senate for consideration. When the roll is called in the Senate, I will be voting yes. Where I disagree with the opponents of HB 75 is that I believe same sex, civil marriage is not a threat to the family. Rather, it can help strengthen the family.

"As I stated when the General Assembly passed the civil union bill two years ago, to the extent we can encourage longevity, stability and commitment in relationships as described above, marriage and families will benefit. We should be promoting these kinds of relationships, not denying them." - Delaware Sen. Brian Bushweller, in a letter to his constituents.

Bushweller's support may push the Senate over into the win column for marriage equality. See the list below of recently projected/stated positions on marriage equality in Delaware.

(via JMG)

Barbara Bush: "We've had enough Bushes" for President

Former First Lady Barbara Bush took the other ladies of the Bush clan by surprise it seems when she stated on The Today Show today that "We've had enough Bushes" as President.

Check out the tweets that followed.

(via JMG)

Church sign: "Christ is greater than equality"

Twitter user Zafo Jones shares a church sign from Bear, Delaware. Delaware, of course, has a marriage equality bill pending in its legislature.

Get it?  "Christ is 'greater than' equality."

Writes Jeremy Hooper of the sign: "Which is kind of like saying Vegetarianism > Oxygen. The former is a choice for every American citizen; the latter we all share, regardless of or individual commitments."

George W. Bush: When asked about marriage equality "steps off the stage"

With the opening of his presidential library, former President George W. Bush has been on a media blitz. This morning he appeared on CBS This Morning and spoke to Charlie Rose, who asked him about his previous support for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

Said Bush: "Well I'm not weighing in on these issues, as you know, because I've made the decision to get off the stage. And so I'm off the stage."

His decision to be "off the stage" does not apply to immigration or terror attacks, both of which he weighs in on in the same segment.

No surprise.

(via Towleroad)

Favorite cat video of the day

In this video from 2012, Max (a cat who loves to ride Roomba vacuums) sits on top of one while wearing a shark costume and chases a duckling around the room. Look for a cameo by Sharky, a pit bull in a hammerhead shark costume. We’re pretty sure that this is why the internet was invented.

(via Laughing Squid)

Truth of the day

I work on remembering this all the time.

Fox News asks if children should have to work for their meals at school

Fox News forwarded the notion that it might be appropriate for school children to be forced to work in exchange for free school meals, after a Republican lawmaker in West Virginia proposed such a requirement for a new law curbing child hunger.

From the Washington Post:

"I think it would be a good idea if perhaps we had the kids work for their lunches: trash to be taken out, hallways to be swept, lawns to be mowed, make them earn it," said Ray Canterbury, a Republican from Greenbrier and a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates, during debate over Senate Bill 663, also known as the Feed to Achieve Act.

Free meals are provided through the National School Lunch Program to students whose family's income is 130 percent or less of the federal poverty guidelines. For this past school year, that means a family of four with an annual income of $29,965 qualifies. Children with household incomes of 185 percent or less of the poverty guidelines can get reduced-price meals under the program, which -- I was surprised to learn -- was established in 1946 by the National School Lunch Act.

West Virginia's Feed to Achieve Act wants to go beyond that by making sure no child goes hungry at school, but Canterbury repeated the theme of "there is no such thing as a free lunch" during the delegates' discussion of the bill, which had passed the state Senate unanimously.

(via Media Matters)

Santa Fe: City Council approves resolution in support of marriage equality

The Sante Fe city council last night passed a resolution by a vote of 5-3 supporting same-sex marriage:

There was a standing room-only crowd for the vote. The Santa Fe Fire Department had to bar the doors before the meeting started, leaving many to watch the proceedings from the hallway.

Many in attendance wore red to symbolize their support for marriage equality. Others sported yellow stickers, representing the Equality New Mexico organization, or pink felt hearts that said “All Families Matter.” A smaller group held pictures of the Virgin of Guadalupe or wore stickers that said “Life and Family are Sacred.”

No public testimony was permitted before the vote. The resolution, which passed by a 5-3 vote (including two abstentions), doesn’t have any effect on state rules and practices.

Sante Fe Mayor David Coss recently declared that there in nothing in state law that bars LGBT residents from marrying. City Attorney Geno Zamora argued in a memo this spring that the definition of marriage in New Mexico’s statutes is gender-neutral. “Since New Mexico does not define marriage as between a man and a woman, and since New Mexico does not prohibit same-sex marriage, same-sex marriage is permitted in New Mexico,” he wrote.

In a 2011 opinion, state Attorney General Gary King said that New Mexico must consider valid all same-sex marriage licenses granted in other states, just the way it honors other marriage licenses.

You do see where this is going, don't you?

Happy dance time, kids...

Days Of Our Lives stars "take it off" for charity

From a recent story line on Days Of Our Lives, several of the hunky stars did a "Chippendales" take off for charity.


Bryan Fischer: Discriminating against gays is good

One of "God's gentle people" - Bryan Fischer of the hate group American Family Association - tells us that folks SHOULD discriminate against gays and lesbians. That discrimination is a good thing. (p.s. NO - it's not).

Fischer is referring to Ohio Catholic high school physical education teacher Carla Hale, who lost her job after her lesbian partner’s name appeared in her mother’s obituary. She didn't parade around as a "militant lesbian" or make anyone listen to her promote anything. She quietly lives her private life at home.

Just days after her mother’s funeral, Hale was fired after a complaint from an anonymous parent.

Hale had worked at Bishop Watterson High School for 19 years with no complaints before her dismissal.

National Organization of Marriage leader "intentionally" lies - again

"The Senate has abandoned society's most important institution and put their constituents on a collision course with the law. Lawmakers have allowed themselves to be fooled into thinking they have protected people of faith when in fact they have put those who believe in true marriage in the crosshairs of the law and gay 'marriage' activists. It won't be long before the repercussions begin to be felt."

"For the first time, the state of Rhode Island is saying to its children they do not deserve both a mother and a father, and are backing a law that is designed to intentionally deprive some kids of either a mom or a dad. It's bad enough when families break down through divorce or death, but it's unconscionable when a state encourages this through policies that deprive children of the love of both a mother and a father. This is a very sad day for Rhode Island." - Hate group leader Brian Brown, who continues to walk down the road of life backwards

First of all, marriage equality isn't about "intentionally" depriving kids of parents.  It's about equal rights.

Second, it's not a sad day Brian.  It's a "skies are blue" fabulous day for Rhode Island.

The wrong side of history, Brian.  The wrong side of history...

A few words of encouragement to start your day

(via reddit)

Former "ex-gay" leader rejects and apologizes for promoting "reparative therapy"

I should be better at accepting things like this at face value, but knowing the kind of negative impact this guy has made on people's lives, I'm just not able to "forgive and forget" too quickly.

John Paulk, the longtime leader of Focus on the Family's 'Love Won Out' 'ex-gay' ministry and former Exodus International chair has apologized for the pain and harm he caused. Paulk recently said he no longer supports the "ex-gay" movement but this is his first real apology.

PaulkSays Paulk in a post on Skipping to the Piccolo, in part:

Please allow me to be clear: I do not believe that reparative therapy changes sexual orientation; in fact, it does great harm to many people.

I know that countless people were harmed by things I said and did in the past,

Parents, families, and their loved ones were negatively impacted by the notion of reparative therapy and the message of change. I am truly, truly sorry for the pain I have caused.

From the bottom of my heart I wish I could take back my words and actions that caused anger, depression, guilt and hopelessness. In their place I want to extend love, hope, tenderness, joy and the truth that gay people are loved by God.

Today, I see LGBT people for who they are–beloved, cherished children of God. I offer my most sincere and heartfelt apology to men, women, and especially children and teens who felt unlovable, unworthy, shamed or thrown away by God or the church.

I want to offer my sincere thanks to everyone who encouraged me to take this initial step of transparency. Even while promoting “ex-gay” programs, there were those who called me on my own words and actions. I’m sure I didn’t appreciate it at the time, but they have helped me to realize this truth about who I am.

Not only did this man pretend to "change" his own life, but he made a point to publicly instruct the world that EVERYONE could change sexuality "if they wanted to." And this gave ammunition to many anti-gay forces.

(h/t Towlroad)

Sir Richard Branson's guide to getting lucky

So, after about :30 seconds of reminding you how fabulously wealthy and fabulously fabulous he is, Sir Richard Branson explains how - if you were as rich as he is - you can whoo that "special someone" you might meet on your travels.

Minus the fabulous funds, he explains the newly implemented "Seat-To-Seat Delivery" service on his airline Virgin America. You can order a drink via the control panel at your seat and send it to your "intended one."

Because hitting on people in an enclosed space where nobody can possibly leave if they're made to feel uncomfortable for several hours is obviously a really good idea...?

Things that make you go "hmm..."

(h/t JMG)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Fourth grader explains why "gay people should be able to get married"

A teacher posted the essay above to Reddit, saying, "One of my 4th grade students chose gay marriage as his topic for a persuasive essay. This is the result. More sense than some adults."

"Why gay people should be able to get married is you can't stop two adult's from getting married because there grown and it doesn't matter if it creeps you out just get over it. And you should be happy for them because it's a big momment in their life. When I went to my grandparents wedding it was the happies momment.

As you can see gay people should have the right to get married and you shouldn't judge other peoples lives because if you was gay you wouldn't want people talking about you."

And there you have it.  Any questions?

So simple, fourth graders get it...

(via Instinct)

Rhode Island: state Senate approves marriage equality

Rhode Island has approved marriage equality in a 26-12 Senate vote.

The House of Representatives approved similar legislation in January by a vote of 51 to 19.

The bill will return to the House for minor changes before it is sent to Governor Lincoln Chafee, who has promised to sign it.

Happy dance!

Fired news anchor AJ Clemente on The Today Show

Ahhhh.... I'm on this guy's side. Everyone makes mistakes fresh out of school at a new job. A.J. just happened to do it "on air."

"Fuckin' shit" were A.J. Clemente's first words on air as he started a news anchoring job with Bismarck, North Dakota NBC affiliate KFYR. That job didn't last very long, as Clemente was quickly fired. On Wednesday, he appeared on Today to respond.

"Gut-wrenching" was how Clemente described the mistake, noting that he wasn't aware that he'd uttered those words on camera until the third break. "We came on 30 seconds early," he informed, adding that he was trying to figure out how to pronounce names in an upcoming story about the London Marathon. In any case, what he said was "inexcusable."

Savannah Guthrie and Matt Lauer both sympathized, with the former pointing our that Clemente had no earpiece. "No cue, no countdown," Clemente added.

As for losing his job? "I fully expected that they would fire me," he said, noting that he had "no animosity at all" because of it.

"You've got to have a tough skin in this business," he added, and the ability to laugh at yourself.

All about second chances, Lauer then had Clemente take it away with the preview of upcoming stories, as they headed into a commercial break. (No bleeps this time around.)

Iowa: House conservatives want to cut pay for justices who supported marriage equality

From The Gazette: A handful of House conservatives want to reduce the pay of Iowa Supreme Court justices involved in a 2009 decision striking down a ban on same-sex marriages as part of an effort to maintain the balance of power in state government.

“It’s our responsibility to maintain the balance of power” between the three co-equal branches of government, Rep. Tom Shaw, R-Laurens, said Tuesday.

The justices “trashed the separation of powers” with their unanimous Varnum v. Brien decision and implementation of same-sex marriage without a change in state law banning any marriages expect between one man and one woman, added Rep. Dwayne Alons, R-Hull.

Their amendment to House File 120, the judicial branch budget bill, would lower the salaries of the four justices on the seven-member court who were part of the unanimous Varnum v. Brein decision to $25,000 – the same as a state legislator.

It’s not meant to be punitive, Alons and Shaw said Tuesday.

“We’re just holding them responsible for their decision, for going beyond their bounds,” Shaw said.

That's it - it's not punitive.  It just punishes the justices who supported fairness and equality.

Mind you, these are the same Republicans who tried to oust these same state Supreme Court justices after their decision.

Read more at TheGazette.com

Mars Rover has been making naughty images on the red planet

NASA Servers went down last night after Reddit users discovered that the Mars Rovers have been drawing naughty images on the surface of the red planet.

(laughing at the 4th grade humor...)

(still laughing...)

(h/t Towleroad)

Darren Criss announces his first music tour

 According to Billboard, Criss' 16-city LISTEN UP tour will kick off on May 29 in San Francisco will make stops in both the United States and Canada. Darren will be preview new material from his forthcoming debut album, which will reportedly be released on Columbia Records.

Criss said in a statement: "I couldn't think of a better way to spend the summer than being on the road and doing live shows. I wanted to do something bigger than what I've done before -- more cities and new music. It's a real opportunity for me to connect with all the people who've supported me through the years, as well as a chance to get new folks excited. It's gonna be a party for everyone!"

Fan pre-sale tickets for the tour go on sale April 25 at 10:00 AM at Facebook.com/DarrenCriss, with general tickets on sale April 27 at 10:00 AM.

May 29 - San Francisco - The Fillmore
May 30 - Los Angeles - House of Blues
May 31 - Anaheim, Calif. - House of Blues
June 3 - Dallas - House of Blues
June 4 - Houston - House of Blues
June 6 - Nashville, Tenn. - The Cannery Ballroom
June 7 - Indianapolis - Deluxe at Old National Centre
June 8 - Chicago - House of Blues
June 10 - Minneapolis - Varsity Theater
June 12 - Toronto - Phoenix Concert Theatre
June 13 - Ann Arbor, Mich. - Sonic Lunch/Michigan Theatre *FREE SHOW
June 14 - Cleveland - House of Blues
June 27 - New York - Roseland Ballroom
June 28 - Philadelphia - Theatre of Living Arts
June 29 - Boston - House of Blues
June 30 - Silver Spring, Md. - The Fillmore

(via Instinct)

France: Anti-gay marriage groups continue violence after marriage equality passes

Brian Brown (of NOM) - these are your people.

This is what you've helped whip up.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Guy solves three Rubiks cubes while juggling them

Pretty amazing.

I can't even solve one Rubiks cube...

Rock on.

(via AmericaBlog)

Delaware: State House approves bill to legalize marriage equality

The Delaware state House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a bill to legalize same-sex marriage by a vote of 23-18.

The measure, introduced less than two weeks ago, and a little more than a year after Delaware first began recognizing same-sex civil unions, was approved by a vote of 23-18 and now heads to the state Senate.

Democratic Gov. Jack Markell has promised to sign the bill if it passes the Democrat-controlled General Assembly.

Rhode Island: Senate panel approves marriage equality, bill moves to full Senate tomorrow

The Rhode Island Senate Judiciary Committee voted 7-4 today to pass a marriage equality bill.

The Senate bill would allow gay weddings in Rhode Island beginning on Aug. 1.

The full chamber of 38 senators will vote on the same-sex marriage bill Wednesday during a session at 4pm.

Democrats hold a 32-5 majority in the Senate, although three of the party's leaders - Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed of Newport, Majority Leader Ruggerio and Judiciary Committee Chairman McCaffrey of Warwick - are all opposed to gay marriage.

By contrast, the Senate's five-member Republican caucus announced their unanimous support for the same-sex marriage legislation earlier Tuesday. The top Republican in the lower chamber, House Minority Leader Brian Newberry, also voted in favor of same-sex marriage in January.

(via WPRI)

AP Twitter account hacked with fake "White House bomb" tweet

A fake tweet from the account of the Associated Press sent stocks tumbling more than 140 points within minutes, erasing all of the day's gains and then some, before bouncing back just as rapidly.

The erroneous tweet, which was posted around 1:07 p.m. ET, said "BREAKING: Two Explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured." The tweet was up for a few minutes before AP's account was suspended, and presumably seen by many of AP's nearly 2 million followers. The tweet was also retweeted by almost 1,500 other Twitter users.

By 1:10 p.m. ET, the Dow was down almost 13 points, or 0.1% on the day. Just prior to the tweet, the blue-chip index had been up about 0.9% for the day. Stocks fully recovered from the plunge a few minutes after hitting the low of the day, as investors realized the tweet had been made by a hacker and was not true.  You can see the affect of the tweet in the screen capture of today's stock activity below.

(via CNN Money)

Employment Non-Discrimination Act to be reintroduced in US House Thursday

According to the Washington Blade, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act is set to be reintroduced this Thursday:

The Senate version of the bill will have five original sponsors: Merkley and lesbian Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) will be two Democrats, Sens. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) will be two Republicans and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chair Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) will round out the quintet.

The number of original co-sponsors in the House remains to be seen. Conchita Cruz, a Polis spokesperson, said many House members have told her boss “they want to make sure that they are included” as original co-sponsors.
The bill will be reintroduced in the House by Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), the most senior openly gay member of the chamber, who’s taking over the legislation now that former Rep. Barney Frank has retired. In the Senate, the legislation will be reintroduced by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.). The lawmakers’ offices confirmed they would introduce ENDA concurrently on Thursday.

Read more at the Washington Blade.

Rhode Island: GOP Senate caucus announces support for marriage equality

As the Rhode Island Senate Judiciary Committee gets ready to consider a marriage equality bill today, we get word from Towleroad that the state Senate Republican caucus has announced it's support for the bill.

From Rhode Island United for Marriage:

It's a big day in Rhode Island, and we're excited to kick it off with some really exciting news for our campaign! This morning, the Senate Republican Caucus - including Senators Dennis Algiere, David Bates, Dawson Hodgson, Nicholas Kettle, Chris Ottiano - released a statement announcing unanimous support for S38, the bill that will extend marriage to loving same-sex couples:

We support Senate Bill 38 because it rightfully extends the civil aspects of marriage to all Rhode Islanders while protecting the freedom of religion our state was founded upon.  Gay and lesbian couples deserve to be treated equally under the law, and at the same time churches, synagogues and mosques in our state must be free to exercise their faith and their sacraments as they see fit.  This bill strikes the right balance and should be passed by the Senate.

Said RI4M campaign director Ray Sullivan:

“We are proud and humbled to have earned the support of the entire Senate Republican caucus for Senator Nesselbush’s legislation. We applaud their courage and their conviction in standing up for all loving, committed couples and their freedom to marry. That this is the first legislative caucus of either party to unanimously support marriage equality is a testament to the bravery and strength of character of these five senators. We thank them for their support, and look forward to their voting in favor of S38.” 

(via Towleroad)