If companies were more effective implementing LGBT-inclusive policies, the US economy could save nearly $9 billion annually, according to a new study by Out Now. According to the research, from a larger study called project LGBT2020, companies that have inclusive workplace environments have significant cost savings due to improved staff retention. “LGBT Diersity: Show Me The Business Case” also revealed that “10,000 employees in the US were able to save between $127,000 to $944,000 and larger companies with 250,000 employees could save between $3.2 million to $23.6 million. Total national US savings were measured at $8.93 billion.”
With Fort Lauderdale’s historic “Love is Love” wedding event around the corner, which will see nearly 100 gay and straight couples married on the beach, the surprises continue for the lucky guests tying the knot. Former *NSYNC member Lance Bass will be the official “Love is Love” ambassador! The February 5th events also happen to take place the same day with the broadcast of Bass’ wedding to Michael Turchin in the E! network special, Lance Loves Michael: The Lance Bass Wedding. The special will be the first American television broadcast of a celebrity marriage between two men.
Last night, a memo circulated in Fort Worth, Texas saying that city employees in Fort Worth that the city will expand spousal benefits to all legally married gay and lesbian couples. Beginning February 1, spouses will be able to have access to their spouse’s pension benefits. “When I got the news last night,” Fort Worth police Cpl. Tracey Knight said with tears in her eyes “When I got the news last night, it was very emotional.” [KHOU]
As the thousands of cars make their way to the University of Phoenix Stadium for the Super Bowl, they may be surprised to see a billboard for one of the world’s leading gay social apps—Scruff. The 48 inch billboard, right outside the stadium, shows two burly football players in a locker room with the message “Play On Our Team.” A press release for the ad reveals the reason behind the ad.
At a time when professional NFL players like Michael Sam and Kwame Harris bravely come out to the world and some coaches admit to not wanting gay players on their teams, Johnny Skandros, founder of SCRUFF, a gay social networking application used by 7 million people worldwide (a good number of them sports fans and amateur players), is sending a message to the NFL – by putting up a Phoenix billboard advertisement that’s certain to start a conversation about perception and acceptance among both gay and straight sports fans alike.
Folk, swing, old time, and kids duo Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer, who have earned a Grammy Award for their children’s songs, will be partnering with the educational wing of the Human Rights Campaign, the HRC Foundation. The couple will will dedicate a portion of proceeds from their new album (their 44th) to the foundation’s Welcoming Schools program. The duo will also debut its latest CD, “Dancin’ In The Kitchen,” which celebrates diverse families, with a performance February 28th in the Equality Center at HRC’s Washington D.C. headquarters. Through direct work with educators, and a curriculum that addresses family diversity, bullying and LGBT inclusion, HRC Foundation’s Welcoming Schools program helps ensure that elementary schools make all students, with all kinds of families feel welcomed and supported.
“This project has been in the works for a long time,” said Cathy Fink. “While we have produced many themed recordings for families, this one is very special and particularly timely.” Fink and Marxer say the album’s title song, “Dancin’ in the Kitchen,” was inspired by parties and gatherings they’ve hosted during which everyone invariably ends up in the kitchen.
Talk about a pick-me-up video to get you through the end of the week. A theater teacher from Dallas, Scot Pankey, created a delightful video of him and his students dancing to Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’s “Uptown Funk.”
Watch after the jump as they dance their way through A. Maceo Smith New Tech High School…
Kermit the Frog used to sing, “It’s not that easy being green.” He must have lived in New York City, where it can be a challenge to responsibly dispose of electronics. Fortunately, the Broadway Green Alliance (BGA) is sponsoring an E-waste drive for the theater industry and fans on Wednesday, February 4 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Gershwin Theatre Breezeway at 222 West 51st Street (between Broadway and 8th Avenue). The recycling event is open to all shows, theaters, industry members and fans.
Chile’s Congress has finally approved gay and lesbian civil unions today, according to the AFP. The law has been hotly debated for nearly four years, and was approved in a vote 78-9. The law, when signed by President Michelle Bacheletsigned, will grant same-sex couples the right to receive pensions, enroll in health plans, and inherit property from one another. “We are happy that the state recognizes, for the first time, that a same-sex couple also is a family and deserves protection,” said Luis Larrain, head of the Fundacion Iguales, a gay rights group. President Bachelet is expected to sign the legislation, but it will also have to be accepted by Chile’s Constitutional Court.
Once signed into law by President Michelle Bachelet, the measure must past muster with Chile’s Constitutional Court before going into effect.
Rome’s city council approved the creation of a civil union register, a big move for the capital city of a country that has remained steps behind on marriage equality compared to the majority of Europe. Additionally, any same-sex marriages that occurred abroad will automatically be placed in the register.
Italy still has a long way to go on marriage equality, but at long last things are moving forward.
Eighty-two-year-old Broadway legend Joel Grey has officially revealed that he is gay to PEOPLE this week. Grey, who is now living a happy life out of the spotlight, was married for 24 years and raised two children, but he has kept his sexuality hidden throughout his life and career. The Academy Award–winner for Cabaret told the magazine, “I don’t like labels, but if you have to put a label on it, I’m a gay man.” He continued: “All the people close to me have known for years who I am…[Yet] it took time to embrace that other part of who I always was.” Coming out, though, wasn’t an easy thing to do growing up in Cleveland, Ohio with a actor/comedian father. He recalls hearing things about gay people from his parents: “hearing the grownups talk in the next room, my mother included, talking derisively about ‘fairies’ and men being dragged off to jail and even worse for being who they were.”
The years of his marriage to Jo Wilder for 24 years were “the happiest of my life.” His daughter, Dirty Dancing–star Jennifer Grey, told people that she couldn’t be happier for her dad.