A state judge struck down Florida’s ban on marriage for committed same-sex couples in what is now the 25th consecutive ruling by a federal or state court in favor of marriage equality this year. Chief Circuit Judge Luis Garcia, surprisingly, was appointed by former Governor Jeb Bush and reelected in 2002 and 2008. The case, Huntsman v. Heavilin, was filed in Key West and as of now the ruling only applies to Monroe County.
Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, released the following statement: “Like an unprecedented wave of state and federal courts across the country this past year, Judge Garcia did the right thing in affirming that committed same-sex couples share in the precious constitutional freedom to marry the person we love. Florida’s same-sex couples and their loved ones want what all families want: joy, protections, security, and respect – just what the freedom to marry is all about. We can now add Florida’s voice to the urgent need for the Supreme Court to take a freedom to marry case and bring the entire country to national resolution, ending marriage discrimination across America.” [F2M]
Image via Australian Marriage Equality
While there is still no federal recognition of gay and lesbian marriage in Australia, a new study shows that the Australian public overwhelmingly supports same-sex marriage. A Crosby Textir poll shows that 72% are in favor of legalizing gay marriage, while 77% think that Coaltition MPs should be given a conscience vote. According to SMH: “It [The poll] comes a day after new Liberal Democratic Senator David Leyonhjelm challenged Prime Minister Tony Abbott to allow his MPs a free vote on same-sex marriage and said he would move a private member’s bill to amend the federal marriage act as soon as that happened.”
Activists hope that the new findings will give a much-needed push to ensure marriage equality comes to the land down under.
This Fourth of July was a special kind of celebration for former Wisconsin and Kansas offensive lineman Brad Thorson, as he celebrated his own kind of independence—coming out of the closet. In a blog post, the all-state player at Homestead High School who also played for Wisconsin and then to Kansas told the world that he is gay. While he was not signed during the 2011 NFL draft, Thorson ended up joining the Arizona Cardinals.
“I’ve been told many times that the process of coming out is cathartic. Yet since coming to terms with my sexuality, I found it arduous and unnecessary,” Thorson writes. “At least that’s what I kept telling myself. So today, I’m putting it in writing and not looking back. I’m gay,” he declared. “I’m also an athlete. For years, I struggled to unite these two identities in my own mind. Not until after my professional athletic career came to an end did I allow myself to understand my sexuality. Now, three years later, I’m finally ready to share that with people.”
Welcome to the team!
Image via Passport
Despite last year’s first gay pride parade in Kiev, Ukraine, this year organizers have decided to cancel the event amid fears of safety. LGBT rights advocates, in a last-minute decision, canceled the event after the city’s police refused to protect the marchers. The July 5th event’s cancelation occurred after the police chief told co-chair of pride Olena Shevchenko that it wasn’t an “appropriate time” and that they didn’t have “…enough forces to protect them,” despite thousands of officers being assigned to a protest a few days earlier.
Some in the LGBT community didn’t accept this so they celebrated pride in a local park in Kiev. [WaBl]
Categories: gay pride, Russia, ukraine community, Europe, gay, gay pride, gay rights, kiev, lgbt, police, russia, ukraine
Image via Facebook.
Pop-icon, gay-guru, and Facebook-fanatic George Takei has solidified himself as a galactic-sized presence. But, it’s been a long journey from portraying Mr. Sulu in the classic Star Trek series and films, to being Howard Stern’s announcer on Sirius radio, and along the way George Takei’s life has taken many twists and turns. A laudable stage and screen career, pursuit of public service and political work, success as a novelist, guest starring and voice over work on TV, a Grammy nomination, his star on Hollywood Boulevard, hand prints in front of Mann’s Chinese Theater, and a high-profile coming out have kept Trekkies and the rest of us guessing what will be next. From studio to movie sets to Sci-Fi conventions, George and his husband, Brad, are ready to let us into their world (well, if Brad will let us), and see what it’s like To Be Takei.
The documentary premieres tonight on DirectTV.
Check out the trailer after the jump…
Image via Bioware
Bioware, the company behind the outrageously popular role-playing game Dragon Age: Inquisition, will feature a gay character—a move many are calling historic. The character, Dorian (in an obvious nod to queer culture), will solely be interested in men. Writer David Gaider says: “Dorian is gay — he is, in fact, the first fully gay character I’ve had the opportunity to write,” Gaider said on the site. “It added an interesting dimension to his back story, considering he comes from a place where ‘perfection’ is the face that every mage puts on and anything that smacks of deviancy is shameful and meant to be hidden. Dorian’s refusal to play along with that façade is seen as stubborn and pointless by his family, which has contributed to his status as a pariah.”
According to the Daily News: “That’s a first in Bioware games, and likely in mainstream gaming in general.”
Image via Passport
“Feel the warmth of the sun,” says Linda Summers. “Listen to the movement of the wind and the song of the birds.” I’m sitting silently amid the spectacular red rock formations of Sedona, Arizona, following Summers’ instructions. I keep my eyes closed and rest my hands on my knees, with my palms “open to the sky, open to the natural world and all it has to offer us.”
So far, so good. As a somewhat skeptical urbanite, more inclined to the cosmopolitan than the cosmic, I’d felt an initial twinge of hesitation at the prospect of joining Summers for one of her three-hour Journeys of Enlightenment (she also works as a Reiki therapist). By van and foot, Summers leads tourists to some of Sedona’s famed vortexes, where mysterious spiritual energies are alleged to emanate from the earth, offering the potential for healing and heightened consciousness. Yet, as we wound our way through the Verde Valley’s salmon-colored mesas, punctuated with dusty green sprays of catclaw acacia and tiny white blooms of Arizona, I found myself genuinely soothed by the landscape’s beauty, and by my guide’s cheerful, non-proselytizing spirituality. “Oh, you’re a little bit of a cynic!” Summers notes with a chuckle at one point, after I’d foolishly asked a science-based question.
Keep reading over at Passport magazine online…
Categories: arizona, Gay Travel, sedona arizona, gay arizona, gay rights, gay sedona, gay travel, lgbt rights, Sedona, spiritual travel, Vortex
Image via Twitter
Despite moving her baby shower from the Hollywood-boycotted Beverly Hills Hotel, Kim Kardashian seems to have had a change of heart about her childhood playground. The recently married Kardashian took to her official website to pen a letter explaining why she and a friend went to the hotel that is owned by the Sultan of Brunei who recently enacted Sharia Law that violates the rights of gay people and women. Among those reasons were her memories growing up in and around the hotel.
If you can stand it, check out the ridiculous letter after the jump…
Categories: Beverly Hills Hotel, brunei, celebrity, Dorchester, Kim Kardashian baby North, beverly hills hotel, brunei, celebrity, dorchester, gay rights, gay travel, human rights, Kanye West, kim kardashian, Women's Rights
Photo: Equality Florida Board Member Gina Duncan, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Attorney Mary Meeks
The Orlando City Council voted today to support Mayor Buddy Dyer in filing an amicus curiae brief in Florida’s marriage equality lawsuits. In the brief, the City of Orlando details the potential benefits of bringing marriage equality to central Florida. “The City of Orlando is incredibly proud of the steps we’ve taken, including the implementation of the City’s domestic partnership registry, that have made Orlando one of the most inclusive cities in America,” said Mayor Dyer. “Our city remains committed to equality, and we understand this serves as an additional economic development tool as our community looks to attract talented, creative people and employers and create jobs for all of our residents.”
The brief will be filed with Florida courts where four marriage equality cases are pending in the state.
One lawsuit, Pareto v. Ruvin, is set for a hearing on July 2 before Judge Sarah Zabel in the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court in Miami. Judge Zabel will hear from attorneys who filed a lawsuit in January on behalf of six same-sex couples and Equality Florida Institute. The lawsuit argues that Florida’s laws barring same-sex couples from marriage violate the United States Constitution by denying them the legal protections and equal dignity that having the freedom to marry provides.
For more information on how you can help fight the battle for marriage equality in Florida, click here to visit Equality Florida’s website.
Click here to watch a video about Orlando as a gay travel destination and click here to read about it.
Image via Facebook.
Former President Bill Clinton, who signed the Defense of Marriage Act into law, will release a new video on Thursday celebrating the one-year anniversary of the repeal of DOMA. The new ad titled “Trailblazers” will appear on LOGO TV and, according to the NYTimes, Clinton says, ““As marriage equality spreads across the states, the number of people impacted by these two amazing women will only continue to grow,” Mr. Clinton said, referring to Roberta A. Kaplan and Edith Windsor who successfully challenged the ban.
Clinton, despite signing the legislation into law, wrote in an OpEd that he was opposed to the law last year. “…as the president who signed the act into law, I have come to believe that DOMA is contrary to those principles and, in fact, incompatible with our Constitution,” he wrote.