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Susan Sarandon joins ‘Americans For Marriage Equality’ campaign

| Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Susan Sarandon voices her support for marriage equality in the latest video from the Human Rights Campaign’s “Americans For Marriage Equality” campaign.

Sarandon, who divorced in 1979 and later spent 21 years with former partner Tim Robbins, said, “While marriage might not be my thing, if it’s your thing you damn well ought to be able to have it equally and unequivocally.”

“The America I want to live in celebrates diversity, and believes in equal rights for all families no matter what what they look like,” she said.

Watch:

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VIDEO: Obama signs executive orders granting LGBT workplace protections

| Monday, July 21, 2014

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Monday gave employment protection to LGBT workers in the federal government and its contracting agencies, after being convinced by advocates of what he called the “irrefutable rightness of your cause.”

“America’s federal contracts should not subsidize discrimination against the American people,” Obama said at a signing ceremony from the White House East Room of the White House.

The video is below, and a complete report on the executive orders is here.

More here

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Marriage News Watch: Another week, another win for marriage equality

| Monday, July 21, 2014

Another week, and another win for marriage equality.

This time, it’s Florida. But the freedom to marry is in jeopardy in Colorado. Meanwhile an appeals court has set a date for oral argument in two states, but then said never mind. And the Department of Justice has indicated its plans for addressing the freedom to marry before the Supreme Court.

This week’s Marriage News Watch round-up is here:

For full reports on the stories mentioned in the video, click the links below under “Related Articles.”

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Florida newspaper: AG Pam Bondi is its ‘Loser of the Week’

| Monday, July 21, 2014
Attorney General Pam Bondi (R-Fla.)

Attorney General Pam Bondi (R-Fla.)

The Tampa Bay Times calls out twice-divorced Florida Attorney Genderal Pam Bondi as its “Loser of the Week,” for immediately appealing a South Florida court ruling overturning the state’s same-sex marriage ban.

Bondi “is becoming the face of opposition to marriage equality. All signs point to the tide of history rolling over Bondi, who is up for re-election in November.”

Bondi says in court documents that same-sex marriages would “impose significant public harm.”

Last week, Monroe County Circuit Judge Luis Garcia ruled last week that the ban on same-sex marriage added to the state constitution by Florida voters in 2008 is discriminatory and violates gay people’s right to equal treatment under the law.

Bondi’s immediate notice of appeal created an automatic stay that puts the ruling on hold.

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An amazing mom and the story of her 6-year-old transgender daughter

| Friday, July 18, 2014

The video of a Kansas City mother who shared the story of her transgender daughter is gaining international visibility — translation, it’s gone viral.

Debi Jackson spoke recently at the Listen to your Mother show, a live traveling event prior to Mother’s Day where women tell five minute stories about motherhood. Said Jackson:

“My daughter is six years old. She transitioned, which means she changed her outward appearance from male to female and started living full time as her true gender, when she was four. Until that point she was quite a rough and tumble little boy with a buzz cut and a shark tooth necklace…”

Watch this amazing mom:

Jackson has recently launched Trans-Parenting.com, a website to provide a forum and resources for parents of transgender children.

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Marriage News Watch: Calif. anniversary, waiting on Va. ruling, Colo. ban falls

| Monday, July 14, 2014

This week’s Marriage News Watch report from Matt Baume at the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) marks the one year anniversary of the return of marriage equality in California.

It was in late June 2013 that the AFER’s case to overturn Proposition 8 finally concluded and equality was restored. Now, we’re awaiting a ruling in AFER’s Virginia case. We’ve already won at the district court level, and now the Fourth Circuit could rule on an appeal any day.

Also this week, a Colorado judge will allow marriages to continue, even though the state’s marriage ban is still on the books. A ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court means marriage is safe in Pennsylvania. We have a new case in Idaho, briefs in multiple states, and a new survey in Louisiana.

Watch:

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How punk music and feminism changed a young life

| Sunday, July 13, 2014

Rudy Garcia of East L.A. says that when he was young, he never quite felt like the “normal” kid. Although his migrant parents pressured the youngest of their eight children to be the embodiment of the American dream, Rudy was more interested in punk-rock music, feminism, and ‘zine culture.

“Everything that I was into was also very not received well by my family, you know? They just thought I was crazy: ‘What are you doing?’ or, ‘How are you dressing? Oh, my God! You’re embarrassing the family!’ I would get angry at my mom, but it was this misdirected anger.”

Rudy’s hobbies soon became passions, and he created his own ‘zine, Scutter, which served as an outlet for creative self-expression as well as musical and cultural exploration. Rudy identifies this crucial time in his life as the point where he began to feel alive again.

It became more about expressing myself and really talking to musicians about homophobia, and feminism, and trying to change things, and then also just being really honest about my life, and my experiences, and hating my body slash trying to love my body.

This is Rudy’s true LGBTQ story:

“I’m from Driftwood,” a collection of “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer stories from all over the world,” appears weekends on LGBTQ Nation. For more true LGBT stories, or to share your own, visit “I’m from Driftwood.”

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OUT: Michael Sam and the draw that changed American sports forever

| Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Michael Sam, the first openly gay player drafted into the NFL, graces the cover of the August issue of OUT Magazine, the first time he has appeared on the cover of a gay publication.

OUT

OUT

An excerpt:

The first 15 minutes of the interview were excruciating. Sam refused to make eye contact with me. His answers were curt and nonrevealing. … I was starting to understand why he won Defensive Player of the Year.

Desperate to turn things around, I started talking about myself and mentioned visiting a boyfriend in upstate New York. Suddenly Sam’s head perked up; for the first time, he looked me in the eyes. “Wait—you’re gay?” I wasn’t sure how this could have been unclear. “Uh, yes,” I replied, wondering how he was going to take the news. “Oh!” he blurted, his voice rising five octaves. “And Aaron [Hicklin, Out’s editor in chief ]? Is he gay, too?” I nodded.

His face melted into a smile; he inched his chair closer to the table and loosened the furrow in his brow. “I thought you guys were straight! That’s why I was giving you a hard time.” His eyes, which had glared with impermeability all through the shoot, suddenly started to radiate warmth and comradeship. Sam’s metamorphosis was so sudden and cartoonish, it suggested how much energy he was having to expend to protect his sexual orientation from people he feared would use it against him.

Whereas before Sam had refused to discuss his relationship, now he was busting out his phone and showing me pictures of his treasured man. … “I’m sorry about before — I just thought you were some reporter after a story. Some of those guys are vultures.”

Sam may not have an effective gaydar, but he had a keenly developed sense of kinship. His entire adult life had been dominated by teams and, evidently, a binary vision of friend or foe. All it took was the word “boyfriend” for him to switch from lion to lamb, and to become not only cooperative but downright solicitous.

“Have you still not gotten your tea?” he fretted. I hadn’t. He hounded the waiter and obtained my tea, but he was still worried. “Are you sure you don’t want lemon and honey?” He was a strong advocate of lemon and honey.

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Russian MP says naked Apollo on banknote promotes ‘gay propaganda’

| Wednesday, July 9, 2014
A section of a Russian 100-rouble banknote.

A section of a Russian 100-rouble banknote.

A Russian lawmaker wants his country’s Central Bank to change the 100 rouble note and remove naked images of the Greek god Apollo because it violates Russian law by exposing minors to “gay propaganda.”

“You can see clearly that Apollo is naked, you can see his genitalia,” says Member of Parliament Roman Khudyakov.

The note, worth less than $3, depicts an image of a statue of Apollo riding a four-horse chariot atop the Bolshoi Theater, one of Russia’s main cultural symbols, reports Reuters.

“I submitted a parliamentary request and forwarded it directly to the head of the central bank asking for the banknote to be brought into line with the law protecting children and to remove this Apollo,” said Khudyakov.

The Central Bank had no immediate comment.

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Reality series features couples agreeing to get ‘married at first sight’

| Tuesday, July 8, 2014

This is the “sanctity of marriage” that conservatives are fighting to protect: From the FYI Network comes a news series documenting the stories of six individuals, “yearning for romance and a loving partnership,” who agree to a provocative proposal: getting married at first sight?

After four weeks, the three couples must decide whether they want to stay married.

“Married at First Sight” premieres July 8 on the FYI Network (formerly the Biography channel).

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