Sunday, June 30, 2013

Las Vegas Cirque du Soleil performer dies from 50 foot fall

Final fight scene from KA at the MGM Grand
A terrible tragedy has occurred at one of Cirque du Soleil's premiere productions in Las Vegas.

A performer in the show KA accidentally fell over 50 feet to her death.

From the Las Vegas Sun:

According to reports from audience members, the incident occurred Saturday night during the latter stages of the production at MGM Grand. Guyard-Guillot was one of the artists suspended by a wire from the show’s vertical stage in the show-closing Final Battle scene. As she ascended to the top of the stage, she slipped free of her safety wire and dropped to the open, unseen pit below the performers.

After the incident, one eyewitness seated in the middle of the audience and just a few rows from the lip of the stage said Guyard-Guillot dropped from the left side of the set (or on the right side, as audience members face the production) over a distance of at least 50 feet. The show momentarily continued, but then the music halted, and the performer’s screams and groans could be heard from below the stage. One source close to the production said she died on the way to a hospital.

“(The artist) was being hoisted up the side of the stage and then just plummeted down,” said Dan Mosqueda, visiting with his wife and 10-year-old son from Colorado Springs, Colo. “Initially, a lot of people in the audience thought it was part of the choreographed fight. But you could hear screaming, then groaning, and we could hear a female artist crying from the stage.” Mosqueda’s wife, Annie, has a background in theater and tweeted about the incident soon after it occurred.

Minutes after the artist’s fall, a recorded announcement was played on the theater’s sound system informing ticket-buyers that refunds or vouchers to future shows would be offered to those in the audience, and the crowd was dismissed.

Cirque released a statement this early afternoon: “The entire Cirque du Soleil family is deeply saddened by the accidental death of Sarah (Sassoon) Guyard, artist on the production ‘Ka,’ that happened on Saturday, June 29, in Las Vegas. The artist’s immediate family has been informed of the accident. Our thoughts are with her family and the entire Cirque du Soleil family.”

It is the first reported death from an accident onstage in Cirque's 30-year history.

My sincerest condolences to the family of Guyard-Guillot and to the cast of KA.

Edie Windsor takes her victory lap as NYC Pride Grand Mashall



New York City Pride Grand Marshal Edith Windsor rode in triumph today as about million people screamed her name.

When Windsor's car turned onto Christopher Street, the thunderous chants of "EDIE! EDIE! EDIE" echoed down the very blocks where the gay movement began 44 years ago this week.

Cirque du Soleil's "Michael Jackson ONE" opens in Las Vegas


Last night was the opening of the new Cirque du Soleil show Michael Jackson ONE at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. And when Cirque named this show "ONE" with capital letters, they meant it. This is 'The ONE.'

From Cirque du Soliel's press release:
Michael Jackson ONE is a sonic, tonic fusion of acrobatics, dance and visuals that takes the audience on an immersive journey through the music and spirit of Michael Jackson.

Driven by Michael's powerful, multi-layered music – heard like never before in a riveting, state-of-the-art surround-sound environment – ONE takes the audience through a series of seamless visual and musical tableaux, at the heart of a world that is in turn majestic, playful, magical and heart-warming.

In Michael Jackson ONE, Michael's artistry and spirit are expressed through the vibrant energy of the cast of 63 dancers and performers, underscored by aerial performance, driving acrobatics, and vivid choreographies that use the urban/hip hop idiom as a springboard for exploration.

ONE is a heartfelt tribute to the work, innovative spirit, and legacy of Michael Jackson – the King of Pop, the genius, the visionary, the One.

The world premiere attracted celebrities including  Justin Bieber, Neil Patrick Harris, Ryan Kwanten, Allison Janney and Alfre Woodard. Also in attendance were Michael Jackson's brothers Marlon, Tito and Jackie.

From beat one the audience in immersed in the world and music of Michael Jackson. Where Cirque's first tribute to Jackson, Immortal, was a huge stadium-sized event that left some critics lukewarm - not enough MJ, not enough Cirque - this is all Cirque and all Jackson.




The acts are spectacular and each has it's own relationship to Michael's music videos, dance moves and life. "Michael Jackson ONE" gets it right taking the audience on an amazing journey.

This is easily one of the best shows Cirque has created that takes a known entity and brings that to life in the fabulous world that can only be Cirque.

In addition, the opening night gala was a great time on the Mandalay Beach. Food and drink were everywhere, and I met two of my FAVORITE actors, Alfre Woodard (who sat behind me during the show and hugged me during the curtain call as we all danced) and Ryan Kwanten (of True Blood).  Michael and I spent a long time with Ryan and his girlfriend Ashley at the party, and both could not have been more down to earth and fun.

Great night.

With Ryan Kwanten - only thing better would have been a shirtless Ryan Kwanten :)
With Ryan Kwanten of True Blood

With the FAB Alfre Woodard (True Blood, Desperate Housewives, Passion Fish, Miss Evers Boys)


Show Schedule for Michael Jackson ONE:

Starting July 1, performances are Saturday to Wednesday at 7:00pm and 10:00pm.
Starting September 3, performances are Saturday to Wednesday at 7:00pm and 9:30pm.
There are no performances on Thursdays and Fridays.

Tickets:

Call 877.632.7400 or 800-745-3000
Go to www.cirquedusoleil.com/mjone or www.mandalaybay.com

Gay marriage opponents lose last ditch appeal

Gay-marriage opponents Sunday lost a last-ditch bid to reinstate California's Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage, when a Supreme Court justice denied a motion to suspend the wedding ceremonies, which resumed in the state last week.

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in San Francisco, lifted its stay Friday of a 2010 federal district court order invalidating Proposition 8, following Wednesday's Supreme Court decision dismissing the appeal of that order.

In an emergency petition filed with Justice Anthony Kennedy, who oversees the Ninth Circuit, Proposition 8 backers said the appeals court lacked authority to issue its Friday order because the Supreme Court hadn't yet sent out a certified copy of its Wednesday ruling, and because Supreme Court rules generally require a 25-day delay before rulings become final.

On Sunday, Justice Kennedy denied the application without comment, a Supreme Court spokesman said.

(from WSJ)

Saturday, June 29, 2013

The bigots at "Protect Marriage" file emergency petition to stop marriage equality in California


As a last roar, they make their "hail Mary"...

Via press release from Protect Marriage:

Today our Prop 8 Legal Defense Team filed an emergency petition to U.S. Supreme Court to stop the Ninth Circuit's premature move requiring same-sex "marriage" licenses in California. The petition, prepared overnight by our good friends at Alliance Defending Freedom, was submitted Saturday to Justice Anthony Kennedy, the associate justice who decides such motions pertaining to the Ninth Circuit. On Wednesday, Justice Kennedy had agreed with our view that the voice of the voters must heard in a case like this challenging an initiative proposition.

When the Ninth Circuit originally put in place its stay to prevent same-sex marriage pending Supreme Court action, it stated clearly that “the stay shall continue until final disposition by the Supreme Court.” Under Supreme Court procedural rules, "final disposition" comes when the Supreme Court issues a "mandate" to the Ninth Circuit, at least 25 days after announcing its opinion in the case. The 25-day waiting period is provided to allow parties like us to petition the Supreme Court for a re-hearing of the case.

Today's petition asks the Supreme Court to find that the Ninth Circuit had no jurisdiction to order same-sex marriages on Friday, since the case had not yet come back down from the nation's highest court.

Suspiciously, the Ninth Circuit's announcement late Friday ordering same-sex marriages came as a surprise, without any warning or notice to Proposition 8's official proponents. However, the same-sex couple plaintiffs in the case, their media teams, San Francisco City Hall, L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the California Attorney General all happened to be in position to perform same-sex marriages just minutes after the Ninth Circuit's "unexpected" announcement.

SCOTUSblog says they are wasting their time.

As a formal matter, the Ninth Circuit did not put the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Proposition 8 case into effect prematurely. The Supreme Court held that the proponents of Proposition 8 could not file appeals in federal court. That ruling says nothing about imposing or lifting a stay on same-sex marriage. The court of appeals likely has the authority to act with respect to its own previously entered stay, which is a form of controlling its own docket. Although the court of appeals had previously stated that they stay would remain in effect until the Supreme Court’s ruling was final, it presumably can change its mind.

SRSLY? You guys lost. The good guys won. You don't even have standing in the eyes of SCOTUS to argue the case. You just want to f**k with people now.

This is what makes you hateful. Thus - a hate group.

If you think this is "Christ-like" you are fooling yourselves...

(from JMG)

Lady Gaga makes surprise appearance at NYC Pride kickoff



Lady Gaga made an impromptu appearance at the kickoff of NYC Pride last night at Pier 26.

Giving props to Edie Windsor and Cher - appropriately so - she also treated the gays to a full-throated rendition of the National Anthem (with a slight nod to the marriage equality movement).

Check out the voice here, kids. Clearly not some "studio-processed" voice here. Go Gaga!

Happy Pride, NYC.

Happy Pride everyone!

Let's dance.

GLEE announces five original cast members will not be returning


I know the show marches on, but it just won't be the same this fall. News comes that five original cast members of GLEE will not be back as regulars when the show returns this fall:
Original castmembers Heather Morris (who plays Brittany), Mark Salling (Puck), Amber Riley (Mercedes) and Harry Shum, Jr. (Mike) will not be returning to the Fox musical dramedy as series regulars, TVLine has learned exclusively.

Additionally, Dianna Agron (Quinn) — who was only seen in a handful of episodes last season — is not slated to be back, save for a possible guest appearance here and there.

Morris, Salling, Riley and Shum may also return as occasional guest stars.

The casting moves hardly come as a surprise, considering four of the five characters graduated McKinley at the end of Season 3, and a fifth — Morris’ Brittany — got accepted to MIT in last month’s Season 4 finale.
I joke with people that I'm generally good for about two or three seasons of any show and then - unless it's really rare - it all kind of gels into something average or something we've seen before and I lose interest. GLEE has hit that point for me.

 I happen to catch a bit of the pilot a few weeks ago and was reminded how the show began with such specificity in style. And now it just seems like any high school dramedy. The new characters are not as compelling or interesting, and the older ones seem stuck in neutral.

Sigh...

The 5th season of GLEE begins on Thursday, Sept. 19.

Brian Brown is rilly, rilly angry about gays getting married again in California


Brian Brown of NOM is super-duper mad that the gays can get married again in California:

In a case that has been marked by judicial arrogance and, frankly, lawlessness since the beginning, three judges of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals late Friday lifted their stay which had been in effect since a trial judge had ruled against Proposition 8.

Same-sex couples began being 'married' in California when state officials illegitimately declared Proposition 8 was no longer in force and ordered county clerks to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples immediately!

This, despite the fact that the US Supreme Court decision does not take effect for three more weeks.

It's another sad example of the utter disregard for the rule of law and judicial propriety by those who swear an oath to uphold the laws of California, and the nation.

It would appear that the desire to impose same-sex marriage by some public officials trumps integrity, fairness, propriety, and even the rule of law. All Americans should be outraged!

This is quickly followed up with a "counting on your $upport" request for more money....

Green card petition filed by gay couple is APPROVED

For the first time in U.S. history, a marriage based green card petition filed by a gay couple has been APPROVED.

From The DOMA Project Facebook page: For the first time in U.S. history, a marriage based green card petition filed by a gay couple has been APPROVED.

Saturday morning music: "Wedding Bell Blues" by the Fifth Dimension



What a perfect little ditty for this morning...

Happy weekend, kids!

NYC Pride 2013 - Empire State Building


The Empire State Building looking gorgeous last night 
(via the Twitter account of Inga Sarda-Sorensen)

Prop 8 plaintiffs get married in California

Proposition 8 plaintiffs Kris Perry and Sandy Stier were married in an ceremony officiated by Attorney General Kamala Harris on the mayor's balcony at City Hall in San Francisco at approximately 4:45 yesterday afternoon.




And at 6:15pm, Paul Katami and Jeff Zarillo were married at L.A. City Hall in an emotional ceremony officiated by L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy



(all photos via AFER)

Friday, June 28, 2013

Las Vegas weather this weekend



California moves fast - same-sex marriage can begin immediately


The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has dissolved a stay on Judge Walker's injunction in California and gay and lesbian couples can begin marrying immediately.

From the AP:
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a brief order Friday saying it's lifting the stay it imposed while a lawsuit challenging California's gay marriage ban worked its way through the courts.

That means same-sex marriages can resume in the state for the first time since 2008.
Here's the celebration statement from the Human Rights Campaign:

"After four and a half long and painful years, justice for committed gay and lesbian couples has finally been delivered. In California, a time of struggle and indignity are over, and love, justice and freedom begin anew. And now, no election, no judge - no one - can take this basic right away. At long last, marriage has finally returned to the most populous state in the nation.

"Kris Perry and Sandy Stier's twin sons were just starting high school when their moms' right to marry was taken away, now, as they prepare to start college, they will finally see their family recognized in the eyes of their state and their country. Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo, now free to marry, can finally plan the family they've always wanted. Thousands upon thousands of lives are about to change for the better, for good. And young LGBT people across the Golden State will can today look forward to a future where they are truly and fully equal.

"Today is a day of profound celebration, but tomorrow - and every day from here on out - we will fight until joy, dignity, and full equality in all its forms reach each and every corner of this vast country."

America's best cities for same-sex weddings


Right in time for some summer weddings after the landmark SCOTUS  rulings comes this very handy-dandy and informative list of the best cities for same-sex weddings from the folks at Movoto:

We aren’t ashamed to say that we were more than happy with the highest court’s ruling. In fact, some of our LGBT co-workers are already planning their weddings.

With that in mind, we figured there’s never been a better time for us to discover which cities in the country are best for gay weddings.

What did we find?

The best cities for same-sex weddings, according to our criteria, are:
  1. San Francisco, CA
  2. Seattle, WA
  3. Boston, MA
  4. Minneapolis, MN
  5. Riverside, CA
  6. Washington, D.C.
  7. San Diego, CA
  8. Rochester, NY
  9. Los Angeles, CA
  10. San Jose, CA
We should make some clarifications to this list.

This list of 10 cities counted only cities in states in which same-sex marriage is legal. To be clear, these are the 13 states with full marriage equality, and the District of Columbia; this excludes states with equivalent rights.

If we looked at other large gay-friendly cities, excluding this important criteria, the list would look vastly different. In fact, Orlando and Atlanta, which are nowhere to be found on our list, would have placed second and third, respectively.

For more info on the criteria and rankings, head over to the fun folks at Movoto.

Cher appears at NYC gay club to thank LGBT community for "always being there"



Cher made a brief appearance at Marquee in NYC, watching drag queens perform her songs, lip-syncing along to them, then warmly thanking gays for keeping her "in sequins forever."

Matthew Rettenmund of Boy Culture has the details:

After 2:30 a.m., Cher magically appeared not on stage but up in the mezzanine, accompanied by her/Madonna's publicist Liz Rosenberg and Andy Cohen. She looked fantastic, and was wearing an outfit strongly reminiscent of Madonna's Super Bowl get-up. She did some photo ops and then watched the stage below as drag queens and others paraded in Susanne Bartsch-curated outfits and lip-synched to a bevy of Cher's greatest hits, including "Half Breed," "Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves," "Strong Enough" and "Believe."

Charmingly, Cher—beaming!—was mouthing the words to her imitators and flashing devil horns (she's still so rock 'n' roll, even when in disco-diva guise). After the show, she came down the stairs like a normal person (a normal person who was being photographed by every device known to man) and re-emerged, this time on stage with a DJ. Cher thanked us all, said it was great to be back in NYC and then told the gays:

"From the bottom of my heart, I mean this: I've had ups and downs in my career, and you guys have never left me. I was out, I was uncool, I was—whatever—a has-been. Whatever! But you guys have always been there, y'know?"

Pennsylvania: Rep. Brian Sims plans to introduce marriage equality bill in state House


Pennsylvania state Rep. Brian Sims has announced his plan to introduce a same-sex marriage bill.

Rep. Sims, who is openly gay, says his bill will be similar to SB 719 filed in the Pennsylvania Senate by State Senator Daylin Leach last March. The bill will be cosponsored by Democratic Rep. Steve McCarter.

“About two hours ago, I shopped around a co-sponsorship memo for a marriage bill, and I’m going to introduce an LGBT marriage equality bill,” he says, adding the Supreme Court cases “helped light the fire under my colleagues to do it now.”

The co-sponsorship memo, which is sent out to House members for additional support, notes it “would re-define the definition of marriage as a civil contract between two people who enter into matrimony, and eliminate the current prohibition against same-sex marriage in our Commonwealth.

It is important to note that this bill provides protections for religious organizations and entities that do not wish to sanction, perform, or in any way recognize such marriages.”

Same-sex marriage is banned by state statute, but a state constitutional amendment banning marriage equality isn't on the books in Pennsylvania.

(source)

Don't miss TV - ABC News' "This Week" this Sunday


This Sunday only on “This Week,”

• WikiLeaks founder and international man of mystery Julian Assange speaks out on the latest on Edward Snowden’s run from the law after his blockbuster leaks on the NSA’s secret surveillance programs. How has Assange and WikiLeaks aided Snowden as he seeks safe passage from Russia? Should Snowden and WikiLeaks’ partners be considered whistle-blowers or law-breakers? And what is the future of WikiLeaks as its controversial efforts remain under scrutiny around the world?

• Following this week’s historic Supreme Court decisions on the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8, Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin and National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown come to “This Week” to debate the future of same-sex marriage in the U.S.

• Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis reflects on her epic filibuster that drew national headlines and her fifteen minutes of fame.

(Via press release)

Alec Baldwin deletes Twitter account after epic rant on UK press

Alec Baldwin apparently deleted his entire Twitter account after an epic Twitter rant against a Daily Mail reporter in which he characterized the reporter as a "toxic little queen" and threatened to "f**k [him] up" by inserting foot into said reporter's ass.

Gawker reports that the meltdown happened after the Daily Mail published a report that Baldwin's wife had tweeted throughout Gandolfini's funeral service.


UPDATE - Alec Baldwin has given this statement to Gothamist:

"The idea of me calling this guy a 'queen' and that being something that people thought is homophobic, a queen to me has a different meaning. It’s somebody who’s just above. It doesn’t have any necessarily sexual connotations.

"To me a queen - I know women that act queeny, I know men that are straight that act queeny, and I know gay men that act queeny. It doesn’t have to be a definite sexual connotation, or a homophobic connotation. To me those are people who think the rules don’t apply to them.

"This guy could blatantly lie, I mean blatantly lie about my wife on the internet and there are just no rules that apply to him, but that’s outrageous to me."

(viaTowleroad)

Kansas congressman plans to introduce anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment


Representative Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) on Wednesday pledged to overturn the Supreme Court’s marriage rulings with a constitutional amendment.
“This radical usurpation of legislative and popular authority will not end the debate over marriage in this country,” Huelskamp said. “Congress clearly must respond to these bad decisions, and as a result, I plan to introduce the Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA) to amend the United States Constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”
The proposed constitutional amendment has NO CHANCE of passing.

Amendments to the US Constitution must be ratified by two-thirds of the House and Senate and then sent to the states for a vote. Then, three-fourths of the states must affirm the proposed Amendment. 

Three-fourths of the country means 38 states would have to approve the amendment. We already have 13 states that have marriage equality.  So - it's not happening.

(via Raw Story)

Indiana Governor Mike Pence's staff scrubbed positive Facebook comments about same-sex marriage


Indiana Governor Mike Pence issued an apology on his official Facebook page today after accusations that he and/or his staffers had scrubbed  pro-equality comments from his FB page following the Supreme Court decision this week.

From Pence's Facebook page today:

"I believe that civility and respect for the opinion of others is essential to the democratic process. I also believe in the Freedom of Speech. Over the past 24 hours, I became aware of concerns that comments responding to my statement of support for traditional marriage were being deleted from this Facebook page because they disagreed with my stated position.

Our longstanding policy, on this and other social media sites, has been to delete inflammatory comments that include name-calling, vulgarity or comments personally insulting to others. It was my understanding that the comments which were deleted all met this standard.

On careful review, it appear that this was not always the case and some comments were being deleted simply because they expressed disagreement with my position. I regret that this occurred and sincerely apologize to all those who were affected.

I have instructed our staff to review our policy and develop a standard of conduct similar to that of other elected officials and news organizations in the days ahead. We will post that policy prominently on this site. Hoosiers expect our public debate to be open and respectful and we will ever seek to live up to that standard. In agreement or disagreement, I respect the opinions and the freedoms of all the people of Indiana."

The censorship is still being documented by an online site called Pencership.

(via Towleroad)

Rick Santorum can't see the direction of history



As little Ricky marches to irrelevance...

Rick Santorum thinks the tide of marriage equality can still be turned back, and that the Supreme Court ruling overturning DOMA renders marriage in its current form "unconstitutional."

But don't worry. He's wrong about things all the time. He's used to it.

So, there.

Pop culture series on young LGBT generation - "Young Americans"



The above video is from a new pop culture series presented by Scion AV and Vice called Young Americans.

The most recent episode of the show was titled "LGBT," and focused explicitly on sexuality.

Young Americans is directed by renowned filmmaker Lance Bangs (known for his experimental music videos for artists like: Nirvana, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Sonic Youth, The Shins, The Black Keys, Odd Future, Kanye West). The eight-part documentary series captures real viewpoints and opinions directly from today’s younger generation about sensitive and taboo issues.

After tackling issues that resonated in 2012, from college debt to social networking, season two of Young Americans sees ethnicity as the overarching lens through which Lance and his team focused in on some targeted topics such as body image, socializing and media representations.

Check out the video above and find more on their YouTube channel here.

Michigan: Court strikes down domestic partner ban due to "targeting" gay families


Via press release the ACLU announced that a federal judge has ruled the Michigan law barring domestic partner benefits is unconstitutional:

A federal judge today ruled that a state law that would have barred many public entities from providing health insurance to the domestic partners of their employees is unconstitutional. The American Civil Liberties Union and Kirkland & Ellis LLP challenged the law on behalf of five gay and lesbian public employees, as well as their long-term domestic partners, who either lost their health insurance or would have lost their insurance as a result of the law.

"We're breathing a sigh of relief right now," said Peter Ways, an Ann Arbor teacher whose partner would have lost his benefits. "This law was clearly meant to target families like ours and to make us feel as though we didn't count." In striking down the law, U.S. District Court Judge David M. Lawson found it discriminated by forcing cities, counties, school districts, and community colleges to cancel family benefits for gay and lesbian employees in committed relationships while heterosexual employees had the ability to marry their partners to maintain health insurance. Same-sex couples cannot marry in Michigan.

LGBT Victories of the Past Year

I'm happy to welcome this guest blog post by Stephan Maldonado, of Social Work License Map, that celebrates some of the achievements for the LGBT community in the past year.

Thanks to Stephan for sharing.  Make sure you check out his blog, which has tons of information regarding the world of social work, by clicking here.


A Year for Equality: LGBT Victories of the Past Year
In the year that’s passed since President Obama announced his support for gay marriage, enormous progress has been made in the fight for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights. States are rapidly legalizing same-sex marriage, while the Supreme Court deliberates the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). LGBT athletes have made waves by coming out in sports long regarded as heteronormative, and while many worry that the current focus on same-sex marriage represents a narrow vision of LGBT politics, some progress has also been made on transgender rights and cultural visibility. The images and achievements of LGBT activists below give a brief recap of a year for equality:

Obama Announced Support for Gay Marriage

Picture by BosGuy

Barack Obama became the first president in the history of the United States to publicly state his support for gay marriage.

Places All Over the World Legalized Same-Sex Marriage

Picture by Bangor Daily News

During the November 2012 elections, Maine, Maryland and Washington all voted for same-sex marriage, and the state government of Maryland started 2013 off by legalizing same-sex marriage on Jan. 1. On April 23, France legalized same-sex marriage and adoption. Rhode Island, Delaware and Minnesota all followed quickly. And after several Brazilian states independently legalized same-sex marriage earlier this year, the Brazilian federal government passed a law making same-sex marriage legal throughout the nation.

Hillary Clinton Announced Support for Same-Sex Marriage

Picture by the Human Rights Campaign

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who vocally supported DOMA in the years after her husband signed it into law, publicly reversed her position on gay marriage. Her announcement seemed particularly significant in that it came shortly before the Supreme Court heard arguments for and against DOMA, and in light of the fact that many believe she will run for president in 2016.

Supreme Court Heard DOMA Arguments

Picture by NPR

On March 26 and 27, the Supreme Court heard arguments regarding DOMA. No decision has been made yet, but to have the law reconsidered by the highest constitutional authorities is a historic moment.

Jason Collins Came Out

Courtesy of Sports Illustrated

As the buzz about gay athletes reached a fever pitch, amid speculation that the first male professional athlete in a major team sport would come out soon, Jason Collins stepped up. The 7”, 255 lbs. NBA player known for his intelligence, aggressiveness on the court and 12-season career will provide many Americans with a fresh vision of the contemporary athlete.

A Few People Remembered Another Gay Athlete

Picture by gawkerassets.com

Shortly after Jason Collins was hailed as the first openly gay male actively playing in a major American team sport, we got a history lesson about Glenn Burke, a 1970s baseball player whose promising career ground to a halt as he was gradually outed. At the peak of his career, Burke batted .303, went to the World Series with the Dodgers and invented the high-five — no, seriously, he invented the high five. Why haven’t we been celebrating this guy for the last 30 years?

California Passed Transgender Anti-Discrimination Laws

Picture by TakePart

The state of California recently passed three laws intended to prevent discrimination against transgender people. The state now legally requires health insurance companies to allow transgender people the same treatment as anyone else and requires public schools to allow transgender participation in sports and equal access to bathrooms and locker rooms. The state also allows transgender citizens to legally change their names without appearing in court.

The Boy Scouts Lifted Their Ban

Picture by David Manning/Reuters

The National Council of the Boy Scouts of America voted 60-40 to overturn their ban on gay scouts, although they will continue to prohibit gay adults from leading troops.


Although the past year has seen great strides in the march towards equality for the LGBT community, there is still more progress to be made. Here’s to an even brighter, more equitable tomorrow!

UPDATE: Supreme Court Strikes Down DOMA and Proposition 8

Picture by WinningProgressive.org

As of 10:00 am on the morning of, June 26, 2013, we are proud to report a tremendous victory for the LGBT community. The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has announced their ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), finding the act unconstitutional in a vote of 5 to 4. The Supreme Court has also struck down Proposition 8, the controversial law that prevented same-sex couples from marrying in California.

President Obama: If you're married and you move, you're still married


Speaking the day after an historic Supreme Court ruling striking down the key portion of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, Obama said the benefits of being married should extend to same-sex couples no matter where they live. Twelve states (soon to be 13 with California), plus the District of Columbia, currently allow same-sex marriage, while 35 states ban it.

"If you've been married in Massachusetts and move somewhere else, you're still married," Obama said in Dakar, Senegal, in a response to a question from CNN Chief White House Correspondent Jessica Yellin. "Under federal law, you should be able to obtain the benefits of any lawfully married couple. But again I'm speaking as a president not a lawyer."

Saying he's directed the federal government to ensure statutes that apply to married people are now properly extended to same-sex couples, Obama explained the Wednesday ruling did not mean that same-sex marriages were permitted nationwide.

"The Supreme Court did not make a blanket ruling that applies nationally, but rather lifted up the ability of states to recognize and respect same-sex marriage, and that the federal government couldn't negate the decision by those states," Obama said.

(from CNN)

Updated marriage equality map June 2013


From McClatchy-Tribune comes this updated map of marriage equality in the US.

Just my opinion, but the next states we may be looking to for full equality would seem to be Hawaii, Illinois and New Jersey (which currently have civil unions), plus New Mexico (which has no law recognizing or banning same-sex marriage).

Next week's cover of The New Yorker


From the Gothamist: The New Yorker is celebrating the overturning of DOMA on their upcoming cover, which features Bert and Ernie's "moment of joy."

The two Sesame Street puppets are pictured sharing a very human moment, cuddled up on a couch looking at the Supreme Court on their television screen—it's enough to make even the coldest heart melt.

Nepolitano - Binational gay couples will now be treated fairly


"I applaud the Supreme Court decision in United States v. Windsor holding that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. This discriminatory law denied thousands of legally married same-sex couples many important federal benefits, including immigration benefits.

"I am pleased the Court agreed with the Administration's position that DOMA's restrictions violate the Constitution.

"Working with our federal partners, including the Department of Justice, we will implement the decision so that all married couples will be treated equally and fairly in the administration of our immigration laws." - Homeland Security head Janet Napolitano, via press release.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

As DOMA falls, Utah state Senator proposes to longtime boyfriend

Utah State Senator Jim Dabakis

An openly gay Utah state senator didn’t just give a speech at a party celebrating two Supreme Court victories for gay rights - he took to the stage to propose to his longtime boyfriend.

Democratic state Sen. Jim Dabakis popped the question to partner Stephen Justesen Wednesday at a rainbow flag-draped rally at Salt Lake City’s Club Sound. The two met 26 years ago.

"Stephen, after all these years, will you marry me?" Dabakis said over the whoops of an approving crowd.

Dabakis, founding chair of the Utah Pride Center, became the first openly gay person to lead a state party in Utah.

He opened by saying the gay marriage issue was "very deeply, deeply personal" for him, and introduced the crowd to "a wonderful man" he met nearly three decades ago.

That’s when Dabakis pulled out a ring he said he’d purchased that day and put it on Justensen’s finger.

Justesen told the crowd Dabakis had given him a different ring years ago that he still wears, but "this is super fantastic to have another one."

Dabakis told The Salt Lake Tribune the proposal was a spur-of-the-moment decision and a wedding date hasn’t been set.

(from KAALTV)

YouTube celebrates Gay Pride Month with LGBT Creators channel



Today and tomorrow, YouTube celebrates Gay Pride month and the LGBT community by creating this channel of LGBT creative videos.

I'm happy to say many of the videos featured in the compilation above have had a presence here on The Randy Report.

Check out other videos by creative folks at this link.

From YouTube:

At YouTube, we believe that everyone has the right to love and be loved. We strive to make YouTube a place where all communities can feel proud to express themselves and connect through video. That's why we're proud to stand with the LGBT community and support equal rights and marriage equality for all.

JOIN IN: Who, what, or why are you #ProudToLove?
Upload a video or share a post with #ProudToLove in the title so others can find it.

Subscribe by clicking here.

Paula Deen dropped by Target


Target drops Paula Deen.

"We have made a decision to phase out the Paula Deen merchandise in our stores as well as on Target.com. Once the merchandise is sold out, we will not be replenishing inventory."

Miss Thing is in free fall.  Bless her heart...

Immigration reform passes in US Senate by vote of 68-32


On a vote of 68 to 32, the US Senate approved an immigration reform bill that would put 11 million undocumented immigrants on a path to citizenship. From NPR:

The bill also includes measures that would punish employers who take advantage of immigrant workers, as well as providing billions in spending to employ fences and high-tech tools to help secure the border between the U.S. and Mexico.

The legislation, , is widely seen as the product of the efforts of the "Gang of 8," a group that includes Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Bob Menendez, D-N.J.


The bill has been seen as a main priority for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who insisted the chamber will act on it before the July 4 holiday. It is also a centerpiece of the Obama administration's legislative agenda.

"It's landmark legislation that will secure our borders and help 11 million people get right with the law," Reid said Thursday.

The future looks more rough for the bill in the GOP-controlled House. Several House Republicans are believed to be working on their own versions of the legislation.

Stephen Colbert on the repeal of DOMA

Stephen Colbert "worries" on the repeal of DOMA:

"Traditional marriage is now as defenseless as a freshman frat pledge about to go through the spanking machine....If DOMA is unconstitutional, that means the Constitution is gay."

Funny stuff...


And here's Stephen purposely discombobulating the Prop 8 decision:

Music: The Classic Sound of Gay Pride



While you’re celebrating this week’s huge step forward for marriage equality and getting gussied up for another Pride Weekend, don’t forget the LGBTs and allies that paved the yellow brick road behind us. Rdio is highlighting the musicians and songs that championed same-sex equality with their third Pride focused playlist, The Classic Sound of Gay Pride.

Track Listing:

You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real) (12" Version)
Sylvester - Mighty Real: Greatest Dance Hits

I'm Coming Out
Diana Ross - Motown: The Complete No. 1's

Y.M.C.A.
The Village People - Disco Gold

Is It All Over My Face? (Female Version)
Loose Joints - Is It All Over My Face?

Dancing Queen
ABBA - ABBA Gold

I Will Survive
Gloria Gaynor - Disco Gold

I Feel Love
Donna Summer - On The Radio: Greatest Hits Volumes I & II

We Are Family
Sister Sledge - We Are Family [Expanded]

Got To Be Real
Cheryl Lynn - Cheryl Lynn

I Was Born This Way (Larry Levan's Live Edit)
Carl Bean - I Was Born This Way

I Need A Man
Grace Jones - Island Life

Menergy
Patrick Cowley - Patrick Cowley's Greatest Hits

Macho Man
The Village People - The Casablanca Records Story
14 3:07

I Love The Nightlife (Disco 'Round)
Alicia Bridges - I Love The Nightlife

No More Tears (Enough Is Enough) (Duet with Donna Summer)
Barbra Streisand - Memories

Take Me Home
Cher - Take Me Home

Ain't No Mountain High Enough (The Garage Version)
Inner Life - Journey Into Paradise: The Larry Levan Story

Under Pressure
Queen - Greatest Hits 1 & 2

Boys Keep Swinging
David Bowie - Lodger (1999 Remaster)

This Charming Man
The Smiths - The Sound Of The Smiths [Deluxe Edition]

All The Young Dudes
Mott The Hoople - All The Young Dudes

Sweet Transvestite
Tim Curry - The Rocky Horror Picture Show - Original Soundtrack

Good To Be Gay
Tom Robinson - Strong Love

Piece Of My Heart
Janis Joplin - The Essential Janis Joplin

We Will Rock You
Queen - Greatest Hits 1 & 2

Rebel Girl
Bikini Kill - Kill Rock Stars Sampler 2009

Dig Me Out
Sleater-Kinney - Dig Me Out

I Hate Myself For Loving You
Joan Jett & The Blackhearts - Up Your Alley

Bring Me Some Water
Melissa Etheridge - Melissa Etheridge

Constant Craving
k.d. lang - Recollection

Fast Car
Tracy Chapman - Tracy Chapman

Possession
Sarah McLachlan - Closer: The Best Of Sarah McLachlan

Passionate Kisses
Mary Chapin Carpenter - The Essential Mary Chapin Carpenter

Closer To Fine
Indigo Girls - Retrospective

Faith
George Michael - Faith (Remastered)

Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover
Sophie B. Hawkins - The Best Of Sophie B. Hawkins

Situation
Yaz - Upstairs At Eric's

Holiday
Madonna - Madonna

Lovergirl
Teena Marie - Ultimate Collection: Teena Marie

Male Stripper
Man 2 Man - Male Stripper (Retrospective 1983-1990)

You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)
Dead Or Alive - Rip It Up

The Loco-motion (7" Mix)
Kylie Minogue - The Best of Kylie Minogue

Xanadu
Olivia Newton-John - Xanadu (Soundtrack)

It's Raining Men
The Weather Girls - Success

Karma Chameleon (2002 - Remaster)
Culture Club - Colour By Numbers

Smalltown Boy
Bronski Beat - The Age Of Consent

Always On My Mind (2003 - Remaster)
Pet Shop Boys - PopArt: The Hits

I Am What I Am (ReMastered)
Gloria Gaynor - I Am What I Am

Chains Of Love
Erasure - The Innocents

Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)
Eurythmics - Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)

Fascinated
Company B - Company B

Relax
Frankie Goes To Hollywood - Welcome To The Pleasuredome

Deep In Vogue (Introducing Lourdes & Willie Ninja)
Malcolm McLaren & The Bootzilla Orchestra - Waltz Darling

Vogue
Madonna - Celebration (double disc version)

Finally
Cece Peniston - Finally

Free
Ultra Naté - Free

I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Junior's Happy Handbag Mix)
Whitney Houston - Whitney The Greatest Hits

Believe
Cher - Believe

True Colors
Cyndi Lauper - True Colors

And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going
Jennifer Holliday - 20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: Best Of Jennifer Holliday

Over the Rainbow (The Wizard of Oz)
Judy Garland - The Wizard of Oz

Dan Cathy, Chick-Fil-A owner, tweets then deletes disapproval over DOMA decision


So it looked for a minute there that fast-food chain Chick-fil-A was trying to improve it's image with the LGBT community by moving away from anti-gay beliefs and practices, but company president and CEO Dan Cathy disproved that myth Wednesday on Twitter.

Responding to the Supreme Court’s rulings on the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8, Cathy tweeted:

Sad day for our nation; founding fathers would be ashamed of our gen. to abandon wisdom of the ages re: cornerstone of strong societies.

And then, lacking the courage of his convictions on LGBT issues, the tweet was quickly deleted.

Chick-fil-A spokeswoman Carrie Kurlander explained that Cathy “has his own views,” but “Chick-fil-A is focused on providing great tasting food and genuine hospitality.”

The distinction may not be very meaningful given that Chick-fil-A is privately owned and Cathy is its owner.

(via ThinkProgress)

Celebs respond to repeal of DOMA





(h/t JMG)

Respect for Marriage Act re-introduced in Congress


Hot on the heels of yesterday's SCOTUS decisions, the Respect for Marriage Act was re-introduced in both houses of Congress, Freedom to Marry reports:

Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York and Senator Dianne Feinstein of California today reintroduced the Respect for Marriage Act, the bill that would repeal the entirety of the federal so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and assure all married couples equal treatment for all federal programs and purposes.

The move swiftly followed today’s powerful ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, striking down a central part of DOMA and calling into question marriage discrimination.

Na Na Na Na, Hey Prop 8, Goodbye!



Sean Chapin takes a victory lap on the Prop 8 verdict with this little ditty :)

(h/t JMG)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Nelson Mandela on life support

Nelson Mandela is reportedly on life support. Reports indicate the news is grave for the 94 year old former South African President.

South Africa's president visited a gravely ill Nelson Mandela in the hospital on Wednesday night, and canceled a visit planned for the next day to Mozambique, an indication of heightened concern over the deteriorating health of the man widely considered the father of the country.
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