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Gay and Lesbian Marriage Comes to Slovenia

March 3rd, 2015 No comments
Image via Passport

Image via Passport

The government of Slovenia has passed legislation that will make it the country the 21st in the world to grant full marriage rights to all of its citizens. Slovenia’s national parliament approved the bill by a vote of 51 to 28. The bill will be sent to President Borut Pahor to sign into law. “We commend the elected representatives of Slovenia for passing such historic legislation ensuring the nation’s LGBT citizens receive the rights they deserve, and we congratulate the LGBT activists and advocates who helped make this momentous day possible,” said Ty Cobb, Director of HRC Global.

 

Nebraska Federal Judge Strikes Down State’s Gay Marriage Ban

March 2nd, 2015 Comments off
LINCOLN, NEBRASKA - AUGUST 18: An empty State Supreme Court Chamber of the Nebraska State Capitol building on August 18, 2013 in Lincoln, Nebraska

LINCOLN, NEBRASKA – AUGUST 18: An empty State Supreme Court Chamber of the Nebraska State Capitol building on August 18, 2013 in Lincoln, Nebraska

Today Federal District Judge Joseph Bataillon issued an injunction against Nebraska’s ban on marriage equality, requiring all state officials to treat same-sex couples equally for the purposes of marriage effective March 9In Waters v. Ricketts, the ACLU sued the state on behalf of same-sex couples, arguing last month that Nebraska’s ban on marriage equality violates the U.S. Constitution. HRC congratulates the ACLU and the courageous plaintiffs who made this victory possible.

With oral arguments before the Supreme Court of the United States just weeks away, the national drumbeat for marriage equality continues with this new ruling. A recent poll by the Human Rights Campaign revealed that, for the first time, a full 60 percent of Americans support the right of same-sex couples to legally marry.

Breaking with Tradition: Japan Week Celebrates with a Lesbian Couple

February 25th, 2015 Comments off
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“I hope I don’t trip,” Brittany Boccio tells me with her elaborately wrapped hiyoku. “I have to be the clumsiest person ever,” she says shyly while taking a peak at her future bride, Theresa Hittel, who’s standing, arms out on a platform getting wrapped, prodded, poked, and tightened by expert kimono makers from Japan. In just under 30 minutes, the two girls will stand in the middle of Grand Central Terminal in New York City and get dressed in Watabe kimonos (we learn there are many, many layers to the traditional wedding dress) that are worth more than $10,000. The girls, won this experience as part of Japan Week along with two other couples. While their wedding date won’t actually take place until 2017, the girls get to have this other worldly experience thanks to the Japan National Tourism Organization. Additionally, one couple will win a honeymoon-style trip to Japan, be sure to vote for the girls here.

“I’m just so glad I found soul mate,” Boccio says in her Long Island accent and begins to tell us how the two girls found one another. Not surprisingly, Japan played a big role in bringing the two together. During Japan Day in Central Park, the two learned that they were both massive fans of the Japanese “metal” band Dir En Grey. “I basically stalked her and we hung out forever in our group of friends, and I eventually asked her out,” she says. “So, if we win the trip to Japan, we have to see bands play when we’re there, oh and see this island that’s filled with deer!” Boccio says. Hittel looks up from the goings on of her dressers and her eyes light up. “I have to go there,” Hittel confirms nodding her head rapidly, sending her finely placed decorative hair flowers into a tizzy.

I leave the girls who are getting anxious for the big debut. When they appear on the small stage, there is no mention of their gender. Little kids sit around the stage, older men and women munch on Japanese tofu hummus and pita chips, and the woman who dresses them makes no comment either. She discusses the importance of tradition and traditional dress. “Western dress is becoming more and more fashionable, but this traditional style is way more beautiful,” she says finishing up dressing Boccio by sticking a “sword” into her breast pocket and she steps back in awe of herself for dressing these two beautiful soul mates.

Click here to vote for the girls.  

Edie Windsor Urges Americans to Tell the Supreme Court It’s Time for Marriage Equality Now

February 19th, 2015 Comments off
Screen Cap via YouTube

Screen Cap via YouTube

Civil rights lawyer Roberta Kaplan and Edie Windsor have released a new video that urges every marriage equality supporter to read and sign “The People’s Brief.” The HRC-released brief demands that the time for marriage equality in the United States is now, and it has already been signed by over 100,000 people. The brief will be delivered to the Supreme Court of the United States before their expected ruling on gay and lesbian marriage in April.

Click here to sign the brief, and watch the video after the jump…

Read more…

Gay and Lesbian Marriage Support Hits an All-Time High After Major Marriage Rulings and Scheduled Supreme Court Hearing

February 13th, 2015 Comments off
Image by Karin Hildebrand Lau

Image by Karin Hildebrand Lau

A new national poll, from the HRC, commissioned to gauge voter attitudes ahead of a Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality, shows that support for marriage equality is continuing to expand. According to the organization, “…there is virtually no public support for the opponents of marriage equality who have encouraged the public to resist a Supreme Court ruling—even among voters who oppose marriage equality.”  “This poll is another conclusive sign that support for marriage equality and LGBT people overall continues to grow. The reality is that eight out of ten Americans now know someone who is LGBT and nearly half of our country knows an LGBT person who is married or in a committed relationship,” said Fred Sainz, Vice President for Communications at the Human Rights Campaign. “The violent rhetoric of some of the so-called leaders in the dwindling anti-marriage minority leave them isolated and out touch, even with voters who otherwise support traditional definitions of marriage.”

Ruth Ginsburg Says Americans Are Ready for Gay Marriage

February 12th, 2015 Comments off
Image via WikiCommons via Facebook

Image via WikiCommons via Facebook

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said today that Americans are now ready for gay and lesbian marriage. She said that if the Supreme Court of the United States rules that gay and lesbian Americans have the constitutional right to get married, the public won’t need “a large adjustment.” “The change in people’s attitudes on that issue has been enormous,” Ginsburg said. “In recent years, people have said, ‘This is the way I am.’ And others looked around, and we discovered it’s our next-door neighbor — we’re very fond of them. Or it’s our child’s best friend, or even our child. I think that as more and more people came out and said that ‘this is who I am,’ the rest of us recognized that they are one of us,” she said in an interview with Bloomberg,

More Than Half of Alabama’s Counties Aren’t Issuing Marriage Licenses!

February 12th, 2015 Comments off
Image via Passport.

Image via Passport.

Forty-four of Alabama’s counties are not issuing marriage licenses to gay couples, even after a United States court ruling. The Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit denied the Alabama Attorney General’s motion for a stay in Searcy v. Strange and Strawser v. Strange and the HRC has this to say: “The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is demanding that all Alabama probate judges follow the law and issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples after learning Wednesday that 44 counties are still refusing to grant licenses to same-sex couples.”

Additionally, 28 counties in the state are just refusing to issue marriage licenses at all—for gay couples or straight couples.

Is anyone in charge of Alabama?

Will Dallas’ New Gay Pension Benefits Compromise Open the Door for More LGBT Legislation in Texas?

February 11th, 2015 Comments off
Image via Frontpage.

Image via Frontpage.

A compromise in Dallas’  Employees’ Retirement Fund will, if signed by the Dallas City Council and an opinion from the city attorney, allow provide benefits to same-sex spouses of retired Dallas employees. The vote, though cleared the board in a 6-0 vote, providing a strong case for the pension-board ruling in the city council—who has been actively supporting this kind of reform in recent months. The fund is meant “to equalize benefits to comply with federal rulings,” according to Dallas News.

 

Update: 52 Out of 67 of Alabama’s Counties Are Refusing to Marry Gay and Lesbian Couples

February 10th, 2015 Comments off
Image via Passport

Image via Passport

A new map shows that 52 out of Alabama’s 67 counties are refusing to issue gay and lesbian marriage licenses, despite a federal judge’s ruling legalizing same-sex marriage. By refusing to issue licenses, probate judges are “…escalating a legal showdown that echoed the battles over desegregation here in the 1960s,” according to the New York Times.

It remains unclear, though, why judges are refusing to issue marriage licenses to gays and lesbians, as some may be confused by the lack of leadership in Alabama in implementing new policies.

The HRC points to other reasons why marriage licenses aren’t being released universally. “…the only thing “complicat[ing]” the execution of the law in Alabama is the stonewalling of individuals like Justice Moore, Governor Bentley, and the probate judges who are refusing to follow the binding implications of a federal court ruling.“This is not exactly a ‘profiles in courage’ moment by Governor Bentley. When Justice Roy Moore chose to ignore a federal ruling, at least he was willing to own up to it,” said HRC Vice President of Communications Fred Sainz. “In fact, Governor Bentley is now just as complicit in kicking up lawlessness and discrimination in his state as Moore. That’s not leadership, it’s political cowardice.”

 

Alabama to Begin Issuing Gay and Lesbian Marriage Licenses

February 9th, 2015 Comments off
Image via Passport.

Image via Passport.

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) announced it will revise the state’s certificate of marriage, which allows same-sex couples to marry. According to published news reports, the forms will also enable the state to track and record how many LGBT couples marry. Despite statements and arguments by the Attorney General’s office that the state would “be thrown into confusion and conflict” if same-sex marriages are permitted, actions of the ADPH prove turmoil over the issue simply doesn’t exist. The proactive efforts of ADPH also eliminate concerns over the state needing “time to implement changes to its forms.”

According to the New York Times: “Justices on Monday morning denied a request by the Alabama attorney general to extend a hold on a judge’s ruling overturning the state’s ban on gay marriage. The attorney general, Luther Strange, had asked the Supreme Court to halt the weddings until the justices settle the issue nationwide when they take it up this year.”

“It only took one email to update the state’s system and now LGBT couples are ready to marry the person they love. To advance marriage equality in Alabama is taking little effort and no hassle,” said HRC Alabama Director R. Ashley Jackson. “Despite arguments from anti-LGBT activists, marriage equality is simply the right thing to do.”