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.
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…