Small in stature but with a stare that could launch a thousand ships (and probably has, as he served as president of the legendary gay and lesbian cruise company RSVP Vacations for more than 21 years), Rounds is a force to be reckoned with. “Charlie has passion and is a smart, true business person. I admire his big ideas and creativity,” says Steve Roth, founder and president of Out Think Partners, an LGBT communications and marketing agency. Roth, a longtime friend and colleague from their RSVP days, recruited Rounds about a year and a half ago to join the agency and bring his decades of expertise to a rapidly evolving landscape.
“We saw changes happening so fast in the US,” says Roth, referring to the gay marriage momentum, which at press time is legal in 35 states. “We are far from done but headed in the right direction. Yet we were seeing the rest of the world go from bad to worse. International LGBT rights is the next frontier, so we started talking and asking ourselves how we could make a difference.”
Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Told Governor Bentley to Ignore Federal Court Ruling Striking Down Gay Marriage Ban
In a letter dated January 27th and obtained by AL.com, Roy S. Moore, Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court wrote to Governor Robert Bentley to express his outrage over recent rulings striking down the state’s ban on marriage equality. Moore, who famously ignored a federal judicial order to remove a large sculpture of the Ten Commandments from the Alabama Judicial Building, continues to see the wisdom of ignoring binding orders from higher judicial authorities. “I ask you to continue to uphold and support the Alabama Constitution with respect to marriage,” Moore urged Governor Bentley, “both for the welfare of this state and for our posterity. Be advised that I stand with you to stop judicial tyranny and any unlawful opinions issued without constitutional authority.”
Last Friday, U.S. District Judge Callie V.S. Granade struck down Alabama’s marriage ban in the case Searcy v. Strange, ruling that the marriage of plaintiffs Cari Searcy and Kimberly McKeand should be recognized under the federal constitution’s equality principle. The judge issued a second ruling striking down the marriage ban today, in response to a lawsuit filed by plaintiffs James Strawser and John Humphrey. The rulings are stayed until February 9th, and the matter is now on appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.
The iconic high-end retailer, Selfridges, is revolutionizing the clothing industry by ditching gender-divided clothing sections and opting for three floors of gender-neutral clothing. The Oxford Street department store hopes that shoppers will get to explore fashions and themselves. Additionally, the store will update its mannequins and beauty products. “We want to take our customers on a journey where they can shop and dress without limitations or stereotypes,” Selfridges told The Times Of London. “A space where clothing is no longer imbued with directive gender values, enabling fashion to exist as a purer expression of ‘self.”’
Now, who do we think could pull off playing Savage?
Considering gay travel is an annual $200 billion industry, hotels are vying for our “pink dollars” with dedicated marketing initiatives, partnering with gay travel organizations like IGLTA, and reaching out to the community with gay-themed events and packages. Ultimately, travelers are often guided by a property’s LGBT reputation, whether a gay stamp (like a TAG-approved hotel), affiliation (sponsor in the local gay pride), or amenities offered, like a separate gay concierge.
There are some factors that are not LGBT specific, but they still convince thousands of gay travelers to book a room. One of these, although it’s seldom used as sole selling point, is having a gay-friendly pool, which has become important for the LGBT community in deciding which hotel to book.
Michael Urie has a lot to say about the steamy year of gay-sex-filled television we’ve all got to witness this year. The former Ugly Betty star made a simple statement in response to Billy Crystal who made headlines saying that gay scenes went “…a little too far for my tastes” and that he did want it rubbed in his face. Urie’s response to Crystal and people like him: Don’t watch. “I don’t think it’s overexposed. If gay sex on TV is too much for you, change the channel and don’t watch it, it’s not for you…I think there is far too much football on TV. But I’m not going around saying they should take football off the air; I’m changing the channel,” he told NewNowNext.
In two major victories for transgender civil rights, today SaksFifth Avenue withdrew a motion to dismiss a lawsuit in which Saks had argued that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not protect transgender workers, and the U.S. Department of Justice filed a historic statement of interest in the same case affirmatively stating that Title VII covers transgender people. This is the first time that the Department has made clear that Title VII prohibits any type of discrimination against transgender people, not just discrimination based on gender stereotypes.
Find out more about the case after the jump…
A video that showed Nanshan police intervening in a fight between two gay men became an Internet meme thanks to one of the men’s little red hat and snappy attitude. The attention, even got the man signed to a talent agency, but the man, Mu Yi, has said that the video involuntarily outed him, because of the viral nature of the video and is now suing his company who fired him because of the video. This is the first time someone is believed to have sued China’s first-ever sexual-orientation discrimination lawsuit. “Worst thing of all, when I was on break, the company lowered my salary substantially, which is clearly discrimination against me. I can find another job but the discrimination is unbearable. That’s why I decided to file the lawsuit,” Mu said. [Shanghaist]
You can see the video after the jump and one of the remixes made (OK it’s kind of awesome)…
Passport presents our annual Cruise Calendar, an expansive list of the world’s best gay and lesbian cruise voyages for 2015. From brand g to family-friendly r Family Vacations, our list of cruises will sure to inspire (especially if you’re snowbound!).
US District Judge Callie V.S. Granade ruled in favor of equality, striking down Alabama’s discriminatory constitutional amendment banning same-sex couples from marrying. Granade, appointed by President George W. Bush, stated in her ruling:
There is no law prohibiting infertile couples, elderly couples, or couples who do not wish to procreate from marrying. Nor does the state prohibit recognition of marriages between such couples from other states. The Attorney General fails to demonstrate any rational, much less compelling, link…the laws in question are an irrational way of promoting biological relationships in Alabama. [HRC]