Olympia, Wash. (AP) – Urged by lawmakers who said the Legislature must protect civil rights, Washington’s full Senate narrowly rejected a bill that would have repealed a new state rule allowing transgender people to use bathrooms and locker rooms in public buildings consistent with their gender identity.
Three Republicans, the chamber’s majority party, joined many Democrats in rejecting the measure on a 25-24 vote.
Frankfort, Ky. (AP) – Kentucky lawmakers want to create two marriage license forms, one designed for gay couples and another for straight couples, in a move critics say harks back to the “separate but equal” days of the civil rights movement.
One marriage license form would note the “bride” and “groom” and the other form would note “first party” and “second party.” Bill sponsor Republican Sen. Stephen West of Paris said couples, both gay and straight, could use either form.
Jakarta, Indonesia (AP) – Indonesia’s government has demanded that instant messaging apps remove stickers featuring same-sex couples, in the latest high-profile attempt to discourage visible homosexuality in the socially conservative country.
The government move comes after a social media backlash against the popular smartphone messaging app Line for having stickers, which are an elaborate type of emoticon, with gay themes in its online store.
Austin (AP) – Already indicted on felony securities fraud charges, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton will face an ethics investigation for advising local officials they could refuse to issue same-sex marriage licenses on religious grounds.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled gay marriage legal in June 2015. A month later, a complaint filed and co-signed by more than 200 attorneys said Paxton’s stance encouraged officials to violate the U.S. Constitution and break their oaths of office.
“Love is real. Real is love.” Those were the terms breathily reinterpreted by new-wave breathers Dream Academy via John Lennon as I walked down the aisle at the Acre in College Park on Feb 14, 2015 with my (then) soon-to-be husband Tony Mauss. I blubbered and my shirt came untucked and I bit my lip and I forced my way through the emotional cloud that a gathering of 300 people implies, finally arriving upon a stage – a romantic plateau if you will – face to face with my future and Orange/Osceola circuit judge Bob LeBlanc. It was on.
Marriage equality had only become the law of the land one month earlier, and, given the Google Docs and weekend meetings and vodka and online invitations and planning that are wrapped into a control freak’s idea of a wedding, we did a pretty good job. All our favorite dignitaries and dirtbags, family, friends and freaks were there, the sky was as clear as our right to marry and our vows were the towering beams of overstatement and poetry required to signify our shift in our time. We were legal within moments; we’ve been happy every day since.
Cliff and Dan fell in love three years ago. They were introduced by friends and had lots in common. Both were in their mid-50s and had previously been married to women; one was divorced, the other a widower. Both had supportive adult children. Both had successful careers and substantial assets, including separate homes. When they came to see me a few months before their wedding date, their playful banter was infectious. We laughed a lot.
Zoe and Kim also consulted with me before their nuptials. Zoe had a daughter, born during a previous relationship that ended badly. Kim was single and settled in a nice suburban home. A year after they met, Kim invited Zoe and her daughter to move in. The three of them were now a family, and their love and happiness were on full display at my office.
Yank! is many things: A musical that honors the song and dance of the 1940s; a play that tells the story of sending young men off to war. More importantly though, it’s a history lesson for how World War II was the frontline that created a community that would later become the movement for gay rights.
“I think with a lot of people LGBT history starts with Stonewall, but our history starts far beyond Stonewall,” Yank! director Kenn Rapczenski says. “Many of the soldiers, especially ones who were court-martialed for being homosexual, couldn’t go back to their small towns and farms, so they settled into big cities like San Francisco. This was the first time gays and lesbians were able to be with each other in a united way and started to form communities.”
Even as we mourn the loss of a common-sense protection bill, the Competitive Workforce Act, earlier this week in the legislature, some companies are keeping up the compassion and moving forward with the shifting economic playing field. Yesterday, the Tampa Bay Business Journal reported on Tech Data’s new in-house initiative called Spectrum, “an employee resource group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workers and allies,” the Journal reports. It is reportedly the 14th Florida business to do so, basically because modern businesses need to court modern talent, and much of that is LGBT if not just LGBT-friendly.
Equality Florida CEO Nadine Smith was in attendance as the keynote speaker for the meeting and offered her own wisdom on the issue.
Watermark was founded by publisher Tom Dyer in Orlando in 1994, and expanded to Tampa Bay in 1995. Dyer is an attorney, former board member of the Metropolitan Business Association and Tampa International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, and current advisory board member of the Harvey Milk Foundation.
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