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The World’s First Super-Highway May Link Europe to the US

March 26th, 2015 Joseph Pedro
Image via CNN.

Image via CNN.

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]

 

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Watch ‘Dear Future Baby': Two Dads Sing About Their Journey to Adopt

March 26th, 2015 Joseph Pedro
Screen Cap via YouTube

Screen Cap via YouTube

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.

 

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Governor Mike Pence of Indiana Stands on the WRONG Side of History by Signing Anti-Gay Bill into Law

March 26th, 2015 Joseph Pedro
Image via Facebook

Image via Facebook

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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Special Effects: Mobile Protection with Crusta

March 25th, 2015 Joseph Pedro
Image via Amzer

Image via Amzer

Ditch those cutesy soft cell phone covers and get some serious protection from your case with Crusta from Amzer. Your phone is your 21st-century lifeline and, unfortunately, it’s also a fragile piece of equipment that can fall down a flight of stairs, drop in a sink, and get worn down from regular use. Crusta fashionably protects your phone with its military-grade engineering. The tempered-glass embedded case offers four protective levels that can prevent damage from up to a six-foot drop. it’s also available in 42 color combinations. iPhone 5-6 Plus, Galaxy 5, Galaxy Note 4-5, Amazon Fire, and iPad Mini 1-3. $45. www.amzer.com

Find out more great travel gear and more in our Special Effects section.

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Expedia’s Casual Inclusion of an Interracial Gay Couple is a Marketing A+

March 25th, 2015 Joseph Pedro
Screen Cap via Twitter

Screen Cap via Twitter

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.

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Geeks Assemble: A Gaming Convention Threatens to Pull $50 Million Convention Over Indiana’s Anti-Gay Bill

March 25th, 2015 Joseph Pedro
Image via GenCon Facebook

Image via GenCon Facebook

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.

Tell Pence to stand on the right side of history. 

 

 

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Updated: HBO Reportedly Canceled Gay Drama ‘Looking,’ But is There Still Time to Save It?

March 25th, 2015 Joseph Pedro
Image via Facebook

Image via Facebook

HBO’s much-buzzed, much-argued, but much-less-watched half-hour drama Looking has reportedly been canceled by the higher-ups at the company. According to celebrity friend, interview, and writer Kevin Sessums’s Facebook, he received a message from the show’s headliner Jonathan Groff saying that the show has indeed gone the way The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency and Enlightened.

I had an email from my friend Jonathan Groff when I got home from my reading tonight at Books Inc. telling me that HBO announced today that it was canceling Looking but that it would film a movie of the series to air in order to wrap things up instead of leaving things hanging. This makes me sad but life – and television series – are about moving on at some point.

Obviously without official confirmation from HBO the show still has time to be saved. Let HBO know you’re looking forward to Looking season 3.  [via TR]

UPDATE: HBO has released a statement confirming the show’s cancelation, but will wrap up the story with a special.

After two years of following Patrick and his tight-knit group of friends as they explored San Francisco in search of love and lasting relationships, HBO will present the final chapter of their journey as a special. We look forward to sharing this adventure with the shows loyal fans.

UPDATE 2: A petition has been launched to save the show, you can click here to sign.

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Victory at the UN as Russia Fails to Prevent UN Employees’ Spouses from Receiving Benefits

March 24th, 2015 Joseph Pedro
Image via www.ohchr.org

Image via www.ohchr.org

Russia today, failed to prevent the United Nations from extending benefits to same-sex couples during a UN General Assembly budget committee. In a vote of 80 to 43, the measure past. According to Reuters: “Russia wanted the 193-member General Assembly Fifth Committee, which deals with the U.N. budget, to overturn Ban’s decision and had been threatening to put the measure to a vote since December.”

Jessica Stern of the IGLHRC commended the vote: “The failed effort engineered by Russia to undermine U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s authority deserved today’s fate. The vote was taken completely without justification and based on a specious argument that the Secretary General had overstepped his authority. He did nothing of the kind. Further, the vote offered a new twist on the kind of homophobic scapegoating we see globally. This was a disingenuous effort to shed the dignity of LGBT employees at the U.N., while clawing at the authority of the Secretary General. Those who sided with Russia should be ashamed of such a craven vote.”

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Gay Travel: Ponte Dos Ganchos, Santa Catarina, Brazil

March 24th, 2015 Joseph Pedro
Image via Ponte Dos Gachos.

Image via Ponte Dos Ganchos.

Melt into your hammock on the veranda of your bungalow, inhale, and almost taste the salty sea air as you find an inner calm in gay-friendly Santa Catarina, Brazil at Ponta Dos Ganchos. Splurge on one of the over-the-top villas, like the Special Emerald Villa Bungalow, where you can enjoy 3,110 square feet of your own personal paradise. Calming whites and modern touches don’t distract from the breathtaking vista.

Keep reading over at Passport magazine online.

What to know about gay-friendly Florianapolis, the capital of Santa Catarina? Click here to globetrot.

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Unbweavable Sweater Made of Gay People’s Hair to Debut at Toronto Fashion Week

March 24th, 2015 Joseph Pedro

A sweater created only by using gay people’s hair is about to take its first walk down the runway at Toronto Fashion Week. Using donated hair from hundreds of gay people, founder of Ottawa-based Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity, Jeremy Dias, hopes your reaction will be “Wow, that’s so gay.” But he doesn’t want you to realize that saying gay as a derogatory adjective is wrong. “It started out as a joke. Wouldn’t it be awesome if there really (were) gay sweaters that were making out and falling in love with each other,” he said. “When you put on the sweater, you feel something,” he said. “It’s about having an object that feels.”

Created by Brenna MacDonald and Amelia Lyon, the two wove bags of donated hair into yarn. And despite feeling uncomfortable digging through bags of unknown people’s hair, the end result is powerful.  “I tend to be very quiet about my sexual preferences and my personal life in general,” she said. “I found that it was a way I could out myself without specifically saying anything. I wanted to be able to help out the project and remind myself that I’m physically a part of the gay sweater.” [MetroNews]

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