A fire swept through Cherry Grove, the LGBT center of Fire Island, and damaged multiple buildings. The early-morning fire began at 1:30 A.M. at the intersection of Bayview Walk and Holly Walk. Among the buildings reportedly lost was The Grove Hotel, the largest hotel and home to the Miss Fire Island Pageant, the Ice Palace, homes, and a section of the boardwalk. [Metro]
We’ll keep you updated when we know exactly what kind of damage was done.
US District Judge Reed O’Connor blocked a recent rule change to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) from the Department of Labor (DOL), preventing legally married same-sex couples in Texas from exercising their FMLA rights. Because of the Supreme Court of the United States’ decision in United States v. Windsor, DOL made a policy change from a “state of residence” rule to a “place of celebration” rule regarding marriage recognition. This change allows legally married same-sex couples access to their FMLA benefits no matter what state they live in. The DOL announcement stated: “The Final Rule amends the regulatory definition of spouse under the FMLA so that eligible employees in legal same-sex marriages will be able to take FMLA leave to care for their spouse or family member, regardless of where they live. This will ensure that the FMLA will give spouses in same-sex marriages the same ability as all spouses to fully exercise their FMLA rights.” [HRC]
The official dictionary of Sweden will introduce a new gender-neutral pronoun next month as a way to address a person without revealing the person’s gender. In Swedish, han refers to he and hon refers to she, and now hen can replace either. The new edition of the Swedish Academy’s SAOL will include 13,000 new words.
According to The Guardian: “The word “hen” was coined in the 1960s when the ubiquitous use of “han” (he) became politically incorrect, and was aimed at simplifying the language and avoiding the clumsy “han/hon” (s/he) construction.”
The word has been used since 2000 by the country’s transgender community.
Whether it was a quickie marriage in Las Vegas or your dreaming wedding got ruined by some freak storm, in the spirit of second chances, Fort Lauderdale Marriott Pompano Beach Resort & Spa, is offering one lucky couple, gay or straight, the chance to win an “I Do Redo.” Through March 29, 2015, couples can share their wedding day saga with a favorite photo or video on Facebook for the chance to win a magnificent wedding celebration at South Florida’s beautiful beachfront retreat.
Entering the contest is simple: Fans of Fort Lauderdale Marriott Pompano Beach Resort can visit its Facebook page at facebook.com/FLPMarriott and submit their story with photo or video on the “I Do Redo” contest tab. The resort’s wedding specialists will choose their favorite entry – be it silly or sentimental – for the grand prize wedding celebration. One lucky couple will be treated to a 2015 soiree for up to 50 guests including a stunning beach ceremony overlooking the Atlantic and a vibrant reception with fabulous food and drink, all expertly choreographed by the resort’s seasoned planners.
Want to know all that you’ll win? Check after the jump…
A connection from the US to Russia has always been a dream of US and Russian architects, but head of transportation company Russian Railways has bigger dreams. Vladimir Yakunin unveiled plans for a Trans-Eurasion corridor. Essentially, a super-highway and high-speed rail line that would link to networks in Europe and Asia and connect London and Alaska to Canada/US. The transcontinental route would also create and improve oil pipelines, electricity, and water services. The project would cost trillions, according to Yakunin.
“This is an inter-state, inter-civilization, project,” he said at Monday’s presentation. “It should be an alternative to the current [neo-liberal] model, which has caused a systemic crisis. The project should be turned into a world ‘future zone’, and it must be based on leading, not catching, technologies.” [CNN]
Two dads redid Meghan Trainor’s hit song “Dear Future Husband” to tell the story of their search to find their “Future Baby.” “We are currently on our adoption journey and decided to try something a little different by writing our future baby this love song! We have always dreamed of becoming fathers and hopefully this video will help make that dream come true by connecting us to our future birthmother,” they wrote in the video’s description.
You can also follow their journey on Facebook.
Governor Mike Pence of Indiana Stands on the WRONG Side of History by Signing Anti-Gay Bill into Law
Despite angering people in his own party (like the mayor of Indianapolis), business owners who have threatened to move from the state, and convention planners (like GenCom), Indiana’s governor, Mike Pence, has signed the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” into law, which will legally allow businesses to discriminate against the LGBT community.
He wrote in a statement today:
Today I signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, because I support the freedom of religion for every Hoosier of every faith.
“The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action.
“One need look no further than the recent litigation concerning the Affordable Care Act. A private business and our own University of Notre Dame had to file lawsuits challenging provisions that required them to offer insurance coverage in violation of their religious views.
“Fortunately, in the 1990s Congress passed, and President Clinton signed, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act—limiting government action that would infringe upon religion to only those that did not substantially burden free exercise of religion absent a compelling state interest and in the least restrictive means.
“Last year the Supreme Court of the United States upheld religious liberty in the Hobby Lobby case based on the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, but that act does not apply to individual states or local government action. At present, nineteen states—including our neighbors in Illinois and Kentucky—have adopted Religious Freedom Restoration statutes. And in eleven additional states, the courts have interpreted their constitutions to provide a heightened standard for reviewing government action.
“In order to ensure that religious liberty is fully protected under Indiana law, this year our General Assembly joined those 30 states and the federal government to enshrine these principles in Indiana law, and I fully support that action.
“This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way in Indiana, I would have vetoed it. In fact, it does not even apply to disputes between private parties unless government action is involved. For more than twenty years, the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act has never undermined our nation’s anti-discrimination laws, and it will not in Indiana.
“Indiana is rightly celebrated for the hospitality, generosity, tolerance, and values of our people, and that will never change. Faith and religion are important values to millions of Hoosiers and with the passage of this legislation, we ensure that Indiana will continue to be a place where we respect freedom of religion and make certain that government action will always be subject to the highest level of scrutiny that respects the religious beliefs of every Hoosier of every faith.”
Read more: http://www.towleroad.com/#ixzz3VVHQnhLj
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Expedia, the online travel-booking and planning website, together with VisitBritain again showed their positive stance on marriage equality and LGBT rights. Expedia, in promoting a contest to win a romantic trip in the UK, posted a photo of an interracial gay couple with the caption “Enter to win a romantic trip for two to Great Britain!” on both their contest’s main website and on their Twitter page. Their main page also includes a happy lesbian couple strolling through London. The inclusion of gay couples among a string of opposite-sex couples on a romantic trip, is a step forward in gay marketing. Despite the usual social-media haters, the response has been overwhelmingly positive with users touting the company for their “balls” to include an interracial gay couple. In 2012 Expedia made headlines with their ad that featured a dad reluctantly going to his lesbian daughter’s wedding. Expedia has shown us through their ad campaigns that the company is not only not afraid to include gays and lesbians in their ads, but also to tackle difficult subjects.
Geeks Assemble: A Gaming Convention Threatens to Pull $50 Million Convention Over Indiana’s Anti-Gay Bill
If Indiana’s governor, Mike Pence, signs this religious freedom bill (SB 10) that would allow for businesses to legally discriminate against LGBT persons, a gamer convention that brings in roughly $50 million may find another state to do business with. While corporations have already warned the state that this kind of bill would be detrimental to businesses, it looks like the gay geeks over at GenCon have yet another one-two economic punch. Adrian Swartout, the CEO of GenCom, has sent a letter he sent to Pence that the convention attracts “a diverse attendee base, made up of different ethnicities, cultures, beliefs, sexual orientations, gender identities, abilities and socioeconomic backgrounds.” According to NNN: “GenCon draws some 56,000 people to the Indianapolis Convention Center every year, and brings $50 million in business to the city. Participants of all ages enjoy panels, celebrities, games, cosplay and more.” Though they are contractually obliged to be in Indiana through 2020, Swartout says the law will definitely affect where the convention is held in future years.
By signing this bill, Pence is hurting the people of Indiana where it hurts the most—their wallets—in order to please a few far-right supporters.