Thursday, July 31, 2008

Morning Sweep

The New Yorker has an in-depth on “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and the first known gay member of the military who was killed in Iraq.

The repeal of the Mass. law keeping out-of-state same-sex couples from marrying there will come sooner than expected: the usual 90-day wait period for the bill to take effect has been lifted, and Gov. Patrick says he will sign it within the next 9 days.

Even though Bush just signed the bill that lifts the ban on travelers with HIV visiting the U.S., the Department of Health and Human Services still lists the virus as a reason to deny entry to the country.

Schools in the Ventura, CA district where 15-year-old Larry King was killed will soon start a program to encourage acceptance among their students.

A federal judge has ruled that students at a Florida high school whose gay-straight alliance was banned from meeting on campus must be allowed to meet there, just like all other non-curricular student groups.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Morning Sweep

Yesterday, the Massachusetts State Senate House voted to repeal the 1913 marriage residency law banning out-of-state same-sex couples from marrying there. The House State Senate had already passed a bill to vanquish the law earlier this month; Gov. Deval Patrick said he will sign that bill. And soon, New Yorkers will be able to drive across the border and get a marriage license that will be recognized in their home state.

The Village Voice reports: "A Principal Comes out to His Students, and His Bosses are Fine with It."

Supporters of California's Prop. 8 are ready to sue after Election Officials make an "inflammatory" change in the ballot initiative's language.

The PG & E utility company stands up for marriage equality by donating $250K to stop Prop. 8 and pledging to form a coalition of other out-of-state business to donate resources to the fight.

In Gainesville, Fla., a group challenging a trans-inclusive city policy collected 8,600 signatures -- 3,000 more than required -- to allow voters to take away nondiscrimination protections for LGBT residents. A similar nondiscrimination law is up for repeal in Montgomery, MD.

Organizers of the Beijing Olympics are conducting "gender tests" for some female athletes. Arne Ljungqvist, chairman of the International Olympic Committee's medical commission, called the tests "an unethical, unscientific and discriminatory practice."

In an "incremental but significant step towards change," two international LGBT advocacy groups -- COC Netherlands and the State Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Transsexuals and Bisexuals of Spain (FELGTB) -- were admitted to the Union Nation’s Economic and Social Council, which "brings together civil society groups to advise the General Assembly on promoting economic and social development and essentially grants groups access to the floor of international decision making."

Saudi Arabia's religious police raided another "gay party" this month, arresting some 55 men who could face prolonged jail time, lashings or the death penalty.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Morning Sweep

A Buffalo lesbian couple that was married in Canada, but denied spousal health benefits by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York has succeeded in the fight – the insurance company has agreed to provide spousal coverage for all legally married same-sex couples.

A Guilderland, NY high school teacher who was transferred to middle school because he was accused of creating a hostile environment – including making homophobic remarks - has received support from community members and a national Irish Catholic group.

Former Justice Department officials may have been trying to stack the legal system with conservative prosecutors, immigration judges and other career government lawyers. An internal investigation reveals that applicants for these non-partisan positions were asked about their political views, including their stance on gay marriage and abortion. The applicants’ own sexual orientation could also rule them out for the job – or get them fired if they already had one.

The Mass. House began its debate today on a bill to repeal the 1913 law that keeps out-of-state same-sex couples from marrying there. The Senate has already passed the bill, and the Gov. has pledged to sign it into law if the House passes it.

When you’re fighting against equality, honesty with voters isn’t always the best policy. That’s why proponents of California’s Prop. 8 against same-sex marriage are fighting the new, clearer wording of the proposition that they say will bias people against voting for it.

The man who opened fire on a Knoxville Unitarian church, killing 2 people, left a note that suggests he did so because of the church’s liberal views, including its acceptance of gays.

The Arizona State Senate’s Ethics Committee is investigating the potentially rule-breaking action that broke up a filibuster and led to a same-sex marriage ban amendment being placed on the Nov. ballot.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Morning Sweep

WAMC New York news radio interviews a gay couple from High Falls, NY who recently returned home from their wedding in California. Listen to the interview here.

Today's Washington Post ran a poignant story about the issues met by homeless LGBT youth who come to New York City to flee their abusive pasts.

The Baptist Press, one of the leading religious right news services, quotes Pride Agenda E.D. Alan Van Capelle in its report on the momentum pro-LGBT rights legislation will receive in the absence of State Senate Maj. Leader Joe Bruno.

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM), which campaigns against marriage equality, has set its sights on states that are considering extending marriage rights to same-sex couples -- New York, Florida, New Jersey, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Monica Roberts of Bilerico tells "Why Black Transgender Issues Are Black Community Issues."

Word Perfect founder and LGBT rights activist Bruce Bastian wrote a $1M check to fight California's Proposition 8. Proponents of the marriage ban have already taken in $1.2M from out-of-state supporters. Election officials recently changed the language of Prop 8, which some say might make the initiative easier to beat come November.

A group of gay couples from Minnesota are filing a lawsuit to strike down their own State marriage ban.

An LGBT-inclusive hate crimes bill fails in Pennsylvania.

Queerty tracks McCain's flip-flop on gay adoption.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom tied the knot with actress and producer Jennifer Siebel in Montana yesterday. It's Newsom's second marriage, not counting the handful of same-sex weddings he’s officiated since his inauguration.

Blabbeando has an update on the murder investigation of Angie Zapata, a trans woman in Colorado.

Gay marriage advocates in San Diego staged a boycott of Manchester Grand Hyatt and the Grand Del Mar because the hotels' owner, Doug Manchester, gave $125,000 to Proposition 8.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Morning Sweep

The L.A. Times reports that when legally married same-sex couples want to get divorced, the process can be unnecessarily messy.

CNN tells the story of a man in Iraq who has been tortured and raped because he is gay. The Bilerico Project is pleased to see the mainstream media finally cover the injustices faced by LGBT people in Iraq.

Homophobia also runs rampant in Jamaica, and the Daily News profiles a Queens filmmaker who is working on a documentary about the gay-bashing that is common there.

A judge has given the OK for lawyers to try Brandon McInerney, the 14-year-old accused of murdering gay classmate Larry King, as an adult.

That homophobic Snickers ad has been pulled.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Morning Sweep

Hundreds of people are anticipated to attend Buffalo's first Black LGBT Pride festival this weekend.

A Health Department study found only 4 out of 10 gay men in New York City are out to their physicians, which means they're also less likely to get tested for HIV.

The Laguna Beach City Council, whose members are mostly Republicans, voted unanimously to oppose the ballot initiative (Proposition 8) intended to define marriage in California as between a man and a woman. An L.A. Times op-ed says Laguna Beach's gay history primed it to become one of the the first cities in California to support marriage equality.

In Greeley, Colorado, police investigate a homicide case in which the victim was a transgender woman.

Arizona State Senate Republicans used questionable tactics to block a Democratic filibuster intended to stall a vote on a marriage ban.

Yesterday's Congressional hearing on the "don't ask, don't tell" policy was marked by vigorous debate and at times bigoted testimony. The hearing has sparked responses from many opponents of the military ban on openly gay service members; below are a few of those articles:

Retired Navy Admiral Jamie Barnett pens an op-ed in the Washington Post, calling on military commanders to do their duty and advise against the harmful policy.

TIME magazine's John Cloud says the hearing "offers the most significant indication yet that the U.S. is finally reconsidering its strange policy of enforced hypocrisy."

Former Marine and Purple Heart recipient Eric Alva, who is also gay, shares his testimony before the House Armed Services Committee.

The Oklahoma Journal Record shares the story of a longtime committed lesbian couple and their fight to for legal protections.

Words can hurt, but semiautomatic weapons can kill. Oklahoma Republican Rep. Sally Kern, who gained notoriety for her anti-gay YouTube rant, was stopped from entering the state Capitol yesterday when she was found to have a .380 caliber handgun in her purse.

Sudan's Anglican archbishop Daniel Deng calls for openly gay archbishop Gene Robinson's resignation.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Morning Sweep

A group of women from Long Island have filed a lawsuit after Foxwoods Casino workers harassed them with demeaning and homophobic slurs.

L.A. Police Chief supports marriage equality with a donation toward the fight against the Ca. ballot initiative.

The Council on Hemispheric Affairs, an international think tank, acknowledges Canada's trailblazing in same-sex marriage recognition.

Democratic lawmakers will discuss the growing public sentiment against the "Don't Ask, Don’t Tell" policy today before the Armed Services Committee.

Lambda Legal takes the case of a transgender public servant from Georgia who is suing for wrongful termination.

A court panel denies former Fla. state representative Bob Allen's appeal to rescind his conviction of sexual solicitation from November 2007.

Here's an update from Queerty on South Carolina's gay tourism flip-flop.

The blog Gay Socialites remembers "Golden Girls" actress, Estelle Getty, who died yesterday.

No snickers for Snickers after Masterfoods airs yet another problematic ad.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Pride Agenda at Rochester Pride and Low Tea in the Pines

This past weekend was a busy one for the Pride Agenda, with our organization both marching in Rochester Pride and sponsoring Low Tea in Fire Island Pines. At Rochester Pride, a group of Pride Agenda marchers along with our Field Organizer Todd Plank got huge cheers from the crowd, showing how much our work is appreciated by the Rochester community.

The theme of the parade was “Happily Ever After” and the grand marshals were Pat Martinez and Lisa Golden, in honor of the progress that New York State's recent recognition of gay marriages legally performed in other states and countries has made toward giving same-sex couples an equal opportunity to marry their partners. Many organizations participating in the parade picked up on the wedding theme, including the Rochester chapter of Pride at Work, which created a great float featuring some of the 1,324 “wedding gifts,” or rights and responsibilities granted by the state of New York to legally married couples.

On Fire Island, OffSprung! sponsored Low Tea at the Blue Whale, one of the Pines’ nightly events. OffSprung! volunteers staffed a table in the harbor all day to spread word about how to get involved. Pride Agenda flags were flying in the harbor as people made their way to Low Tea, where they sampled Blue Britneys, a special blue version of a favorite Pines cocktail designed just for the Pride Agenda.

Thanks to everyone who attended this weekend and made both Rochester Pride and Low Tea such great events!

Morning Sweep

City of Buffalo employees have gained same-sex partner health benefits and protection against discrimination based on gender identity and expression.

The vice president of the Rochester City council and the board president of the Gay Alliance of Genesee Valley penned this inspirational column about the progress that has been made toward LGBT rights in Rochester.

A new poll shows that Obama has the support of 60% of LGBT voters, while 14% favor McCain and the rest favor third-party candidates or are undecided.

The Louisiana Times-Picayune emphasizes the need for same-sex couples to hire good financial planners, lawyers and other guides to help them since they aren’t guaranteed the same rights as straight couples.

Some Massachusetts lawmakers are concerned about the timing of the vote to repeal the 1913 law that keeps out-of-state couples from marrying there. They’re worried their support could negatively affect their re-election campaigns.

Oklahoma County Commissioner Brent Rinehart has released an offensive gay-bashing comic book as part of his campaign for re-election, but he claims he’s “not even sure as to what homophobic means.” Look it up - in the meantime, we’d rather read Garfield.

Sorry, angry residents of the island of Lesbos – a Greek court ruled that gay rights groups can’t be banned from using “lesbian” in their name.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Morning Sweep

Rochester's Chief of Police joined the city's LGBT Pride parade on Saturday. The parade's theme, "Happily Ever After," commemorated the NYS marriage directive recognizing the nuptials of gay couples conducted elsewhere.

A Washington Post/ABC News poll shows a big shift in public support for gays serving openly in the military; 75 percent of Americans think gays should be able to serve openly. Republican support on the issue has doubled in the last 15 years.

A Field Poll of likely voters in California shows 51% would not vote away marriage equality in November.

Richard Rubin's op-ed in the Marin Independent Journal asks if California is ready for a governor who champions LGBT equality. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who directed county clerks to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples in 2004, is now a gubernatorial candidate in the Golden State. Yes he can!

Newsweek article tells the story of Larry King, the 15-year-old CA student who was killed by another student because he was gay.

Yet, North Carolina's anti-bullying bill was blocked by Senate because it included language for students' sexual orientation.

Queerty criticizes the DNC's Faith in Action program, whose covenant includes "[to] defeat any efforts to redefine marriage or provide the benefits of marriage to a same-sex union."

A police chief in North Wales, UK comes out in support of transgender citizens, pledging to take on victimization and discrimination faced by trans communities there.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Morning Sweep

The Watertown Daily Times has a nice write-up about Watertown Area Gay Youth and SAGE/Jefferson County LGBT Alliance’s good work in the north country.

Gay City News interviews local gay men after hearing word of cuts in the City’s HIV/AIDS budget.

Asbury Park, NJ has arrived as a new gay resort town in the Northeast.

The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) and GLAAD have called on the Boston Herald to publicly apologize for its defamatory coverage of transgender people.

On Monday, we posted the news about the U.S. Census Bureau’s plans to omit gay married couples from the 2010 census. Gary J. Gates of the Williams Institute pens an op-ed in the LA Times stating that "decision on data collection should not be driven by political and value-laden judgments about marriage," rather "they should be grounded in the demographic and legal realities of this nation." Read on here.

Charles A. Haynes of the First Amendment Center makes a case for the division of church and state, at least in the debate over civil marriage.

Citing statewide victories in the LGBT movement, a Dallas Voice opinion piece calls for better allocation of resources between national and statewide organizations.

Dubai police officials have arrested and detained 17 foreigners for "being gay and wearing women's clothing in malls and other public places." Though Dubai has risen as a Western tourist hub, homosexuality is strictly prohibited in the Muslim city-state.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Morning Sweep

The NY Times' column about Mass.’s repeal of the 1913 law banning out-of-state couples from marrying says the action shows that times are a-changin’ in our country.

Alan Van Capelle weighs in for the AP on how Mass. allowing of-state couples to marry there will affect same-sex couples in New York.

The California Supreme Court will not hear the challenge brought against the state’s contentious same-sex marriage ban amendment, meaning it will definitely be on the Nov. ballot.

Several United Methodist pastors in California are defying their church’s mandate against performing same-sex marriages, putting their jobs at risk.

The New England Blade takes a look at why two-thirds of black Americans are against same-sex marriage.

The Senate voted yesterday to lift the 20-year ban on people with HIV visiting or immigrating to the U.S.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Massachusetts Senate votes to allow out-of-state gay couples to marry

Yesterday, the Massachusetts State Senate voted to repeal a 1913 law that effectively prevents out-of-state gay couples from marrying in Massachusetts. The dormant marriage law was originally intended to prevent interracial couples from crossing state lines to marry, thereby easing Mass.'s relationship with other states that banned interracial marriages at the time. In 2004, the ban was invigorated by then-Gov. Mitt Romney to prevent out-of-state gay couples from obtaining marriage licenses, and has since come under scrutiny by lawmakers who see the residency law as a shameful reminder of the past and out-of-touch with the Commonwealth's regard for LGBT equality.

A clear conscience isn't the only benefit driving Mass. public officials to strike down the ban, however. Early analysis from the State economic departments show repealing the law could cause a significant spike in tourism--especially from New York residents--boosting Mass.’s economy by $111 million, adding 330 jobs to the workforce, and creating $5 million in tax revenues in three-year's time. The New York Times quoted Pride Agenda E.D. Alan Van Capelle on the likelihood of gay New Yorkers choosing Massachusetts over California as a marriage destination; he foresees "A lot of Jet Blue cancellations from LaGuardia to Laguna and some Amtrak purchases from New York to Boston," adding, "Tanglewood, the Red Lion Inn, how do you say no?" Mass. Sen. Diane Wilkerson, who sponsored the repeal bill, called the economic pluses a perk to ending the discriminatory law.

Indeed, it is great that gay and lesbian New Yorkers will soon be able to drive across the border, get married, and return home with many of the state rights and responsibilities afforded to married couples. And with the stated support of the State Assembly, the Governor and a majority of New Yorkers, we especially look forward to the day when the State Senate acts to end discrimination in the Empire State by allowing us to marry those we love here at home.

Morning Sweep

The New York Times and the Boston Globe cover the Mass. Senate vote yesterday to lift the ban on out-of-state gay couples from obtaining marriage licenses. The bill now moves to the House where Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi has already shown support, so too has Gov. Deval Patrick.

H&R Block doles out $100 coupons -- with some pressure from the ACLU -- to couples in civil unions who paid extra on their taxes. Follow this link for more news, plus the coupon.

The 20-year ban on those with HIV visiting or immigrating to the U.S. may be soon lifted. Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) and Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR) are working to repeal the ban, which was implemented in 1987 when less was known about HIV/AIDS. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) has introduced companion legislation in the House.

ABC News features a story about LGBT youth and discrimination in schools. We posted a similar story from the Washington Post on Monday, which is here if you missed it.

And further context to the struggle to protect LGBT youth: a North Carolina anti-bullying bill is stalled due to its inclusion of LGBT students.

Sen. McCain concedes his stance on same-sex couples and adoption after receiving criticism from LGBT organizations.

Intellectual Conservative, a blog that touts "Extremism You Can Believe In," ridicules Sen. Obama’s LGBT-inclusive policies and public addresses.

A House subcommittee will hear testimony for the repeal of the military’s "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy on July 23.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Morning Sweep

Conservative Democrat State Senator Ruben Diaz, discontent with his party’s support of same-sex marriage, will run for re-election as both a Republican and Democrat, and says he may lend his support to majority leader Dean Skelos instead of Democratic conference leader Malcolm Smith in the future.

The Governor of Mass. says he would “proudly” sign a bill to extend the state’s same-sex marriages to out-of-state couples if it comes to him. Plus, there’s a financial bonus: same-sex couples traveling to Mass. to marry would add millions to the state’s economy.

The number of same-sex couples that dissolve their civil unions in Connecticut is less than one third the divorce rate for straight couples.

John McCain has incurred the wrath of gay celeb blogger Perez Hilton, and the Huffington Post says this means trouble for a candidate who needs to win the support of the middle while catering to the ideals of the right.

GLAAD has ranked FX and ABC as the TV networks that are most responsible when it comes to the quantity, quality and diversity of representations of LGBT individuals on their stations.

In Italy, a man who was given a driver’s license for the disabled because he revealed he was gay -- and was therefore considered mentally disturbed -- has been awarded $160,000 in his lawsuit against the country. This might be the first time the Italian government has been sued on the grounds of sexual orientation discrimination – but it likely won’t be the last.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Scenes from the 16th Annual Hamptons Tea Dance

This year’s Hamptons Tea Dance took place on Saturday, July 12 at the Diamond Ranch in Water Mill. With the combination of perfect weather, festive party-goers and endless entertainment, we got plenty of feedback that this was the Pride Agenda’s best Tea Dance yet! The event will be featured in some of the Hamptons’ hottest blogs and news sources, including this write-up that claims all the gays and lesbians in all of the Hamptons came out for the Tea Dance (We’re not sure, but it’s a great goal for next year!) Altogether, we had a great crowd including our energetic attendees, stellar volunteers, the spectacular DJ Lady Bunny, and our dedicated event co-chairs, Mark Paviluk, Mitch Karsch, Juliana Frei, Joel Isaacs and Alfredo Paredes. And of course we can’t forget our special guests, three of the lovely ladies of “The Real Housewives of New York,” Jill Zarin (with her gay "husband" Brad Boles), Countess LuAnn de Lesseps and Bethenny Frankel.

The crowd at the Diamond Ranch.

"Real Housewives of New York" stars Bethenny Frankel, Jill Zarin, and Countess LuAnn de Lesseps hit up the dance floor with Pride Agenda Executive Director Alan Van Capelle.

"Real Housewives" cast member Countess LuAnn de Lesseps.

Our wonderful staff and volunteers working registration!

DJ Lady Bunny taking a break from spinning tunes.

Corey Shields, Event Co-Chair Mitch Karsch, Jack Wettling, and Event Co-Chairs Alfredo Paredes and
Mark Paviluk.

Left to right: Event Co-Chair Mark Paviluk, Pride Agenda Board Member Maneesh Goyal, Pride Agenda Board Co-Chair Kim Kakerbeck, and Executive Director Alan Van Capelle.

Pride Agenda Board Member M.J. Vineburgh (2nd from left) and friends.

Morning Sweep

Rochester City Council VP William Pritchard presides over the city's first LGBT flag-raising during Pride week. A picture of the rainbow flag in its prominent display here.

Here's an update in today's New York Times on the Queens LGBT youth shelter incident.

Newsday financial columnist Lynn Brenner takes a question from a gay couple on the issue of New York's recent out-of-state marriage recognition.

The Washington Post covers the widening gap between schools and their responsibility protect LGBT students from harassment, bias and violence.

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Sen. McCain restates his opposition of same-sex marriages, but says he would not interfere in a state's right to decide on the issue if elected. He also stands by his belief that gay couples don't make good parents.

The 2010 U.S. census will omit tens-of-thousands of gay married couples per the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

Two-spirit Native Americans are regaining respect in tribes, though ostracism and a rise in HIV/AIDS diagnoses continue to threaten the rare population within the LGBT communities.

Plans to exclude openly gay U.S. Episcopal bishop Gene Robinson from the once-a-decade Anglican Lambeth Conference backfires. Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, who supported Bishop Robinson's election, defends his attendance as well as their Church's tolerance of LGBT people at the Anglican meeting.

Stonewall, the LGBT rights organization in the United Kingdom, says it will work with the British army to promote recruitment and retention of gay service members. The top British Army general calls gay military personnel "vital for our success in operations."

Friday, July 11, 2008

Morning Sweep

UPDATE: Last week we posted a story about a sign that appeared to be written by the management of a Rite Aid in Greenwich Village prohibiting LGBT folks from entering the store. Further investigations by residents and Rite Aide’s corporate office found that it is unlikely that the sign was posted by a manager.

The New York Times blog writes on the historic and social import of the LGBT Community Center in New York City. "The Center" as its most commonly referred to is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court found that marriage benefits cannot be extended to same-sex couples married prior to the landmark 2004 case.

Two columnist square-off as the Atlanta Journal Constitution asks, "Did the California Supreme Court act properly in overturning California’s Proposition 22?"

Andoni from Citizen Crain was able to get a few comments from Sen. Obama on the issue of immigration equality at a private fundraiser last night.

An Obama campaign staffer that works on LGBT issues confirmed that no money will be granted to faith-based organizations (FBOs) for proselytizing or reparative therapy under Sen. Obama's plans for FBOs. Pam’s House Blend has the scoop.

The Washington Post editorial board calls the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy wrong from the get-go, noting the growing consensus against the military ban on openly-gay service members. Dixon Osburn, co-founder and former E.D. of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) criticizes the language in the Michael D. Palm Center’s report on DADT, saying the report's suggestions may undermine full LGBT equality.

South Carolina's state government reneged on a pro-LGBT tourism ad campaign.

Gay Catholics plan to protest the Pope in Sydney, Australia this weekend.

A tribunal in the UK sided with a registrar who refused to preside over civil unions on the basis of her religious beliefs. The plaintiff alleged that she faced ridicule by colleagues given her stance on LGBT people and feared being fired for not doing her job.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Morning Sweep

The New York Times reports on Gov. Paterson’s intention to sign the Family Court bill into law. The bill opens NY family courts to same sex couples and all families.

Lawmakers in Massachusetts are expected to vote next week on the possibility of repealing the law that makes it illegal for the state to sanction marriages that are not legal where the couple lives. This law is what keeps same-sex couples who don’t live in Mass. from marrying in the state, and if it were repealed, lesbian and gay New Yorkers could be married there and then have their marriages recognized as fully legal back home.

The NYCLU has filed a lawsuit against Blue Cross & Blue Shield on behalf of a Buffalo lesbian couple that has been denied partner health insurance despite being married in Canada two years ago.

Possible McCain choice for Veep Mitt Romney doesn’t think now is the time to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

McCain might not be so thrilled about this new set of wheels set to debut on Fire Island on July 25.

A gay rights organization in Maryland is challenging the signatures on a petition to overturn a county law that prohibits discrimination based on gender identity.

According to the courts in Budapest, pelting marchers in a gay pride parade with eggs is just an exercise in free speech.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Morning Sweep

Four teenagers were charged with assaulting a priest who runs Carmen's Place, a shelter for LGBT youth in Astoria, Queens. The priest, Father Louis Braxton Jr., told police that yesterday's incident was not the first of its kind.

Pam's House Blend asks, is "Straight Pride" really just gay ridicule? Brooklynites will find out this Labor Day when a Straight Pride music festival hits Eastern Parkway.

The presumptive Democratic nominee for president Barack Obama puts LGBT equality on the DNC platform and appoints openly gay U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin (WI) to the platform drafting panel.

Life for transgender communities in Thailand is on the up-and-up, though many trans people still face stigma and a lack of career options.

LGBT students in Northern Ireland gain a hero: Education Minister CaitrĂ­ona Ruane.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Morning Sweep

David Paterson talked to the New York Blade about his longtime support for marriage equality, while acknowledging that he respectfully disagrees with some religious communities on the issue.

The Daily News highlights a lesbian couple--originally from Queens and now Long Island residents--and how they've enlisted the support of several straight allies simply for being who they are.

The New York Sun discusses New York Court of Appeals' Chief Judge Judith Kaye's retirement and Paterson's first opportunity to shape New York's highest court. Judge Kaye wrote the poignant dissent in the Court of Appeals' ruling against gay marriage on July 6, 2006.

A gay couple of ten years who was married in New Paltz by former mayor Jason West (the marriages were later nullified) will be heading to California this week for a fully valid marriage.

The Palm Center at the University of California at Santa Barbara has released a comprehensive report that calls for the elimination of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

The Roxy may not be gone for good: community activists are set to crowd into Community Board 4's Business, License and Permits meeting today to show support for the venue owners who are requesting a liquor license. The meeting is at the Westin Hotel on 43rd St. (at 6:30 PM)

SAS, Scandinavia's primary airline, has unveiled a website specifically for LGBT travelers who are looking for gay points of interest in Stockholm and/or Copenhagen.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Morning Sweep

Most state agencies will have no problem interpreting the law as it currently stands and recognizing marriages of same-sex couples that were legally performed out-of-state, according to Gay City News.

A Greenwich Village Rite Aid has a message for gay and lesbian customers: Go away.

Study shows young gay men and youth of color are largely effected by crystal meth, or methamphetamine, use in areas around Albany. The Capital District Gay and Lesbian Community Council in Albany and In Our Own Voices has launched "Crystal Free", a campaign raising awareness for the myriad reasons why crystal meth equals death.

Gov. Janet Napolitano of Arizona opposes a constitutional amendment on marriage.

Weekly Standard editor Fred Barnes wants McCain to use the LGBT civil rights struggle to rile conservative voters. Barnes says issues like support for gays in the military are effective energizers.

Citing the federal Defense of Marriage Act, the conservative Washington Times editorial board calls the recent California marriage decision a "mere partial legal victory."

By consecrating openly-gay Archbishop Gene Robinson, leaders of the Episcopal Church sided with humanity over Biblical authority.

Outspokenly anti-gay former U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms (NC) died on Friday. His bios and obits for better, not great and worse.

An international survey interviewing over 350,000 in almost 100 countries shows people are happier when human rights (including LGBT rights) prevail. Denmark, Iceland, The Netherlands and Canada -- all home to some of the most comprehensive pro-LGBT policies -- rank in the top ten in the happy-factor, whereas the United States rank sixteenth. Full report here.

Make marriage equality a part of your wedding or commitment ceremony

With spring wedding season upon us and an increase in gay wedding bells since the California Supreme Court’s decision, the Pride Agenda has some suggestions for both straight and same-sex couples looking to incorporate the fight for marriage equality into their ceremonies. Whether for straight allies saddened by their gay friends’ inability to get married or partners planning a commitment ceremony, there are many easy ways to raise awareness and support for equality and justice on your special day.

Our Wedding Toolkit has several ideas for how couples can stand up for justice and love for all, including using pro-marriage equality language in their invitations and announcements, suggesting donations to LGBT organizations be made in their name as gifts or making a donation as a wedding favor, and including a message about marriage equality in their wedding toast.

Check out the Toolkit to find out more about the ways that you and your partner can make your wedding or ceremony more meaningful by bringing New York closer to the day when there will be marriage equality for all loving, committed couples in the state.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Morning Sweep

New Jersey Congressman Steve Rothman has had a change of heart on his position against same-sex marriage: he’s become a member of the House Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Caucus after being convinced by his stepdaughter, a lesbian.

Several prominent gay Republicans are having difficulty stomaching the idea of voting for McCain. Conservative Evangelicals seem hesitant, too.

A gay sauna was bombed in Budapest yesterday, despite the police’s promise to provide better protection following the bombing of a gay bar there just last week. Not a good way to kick off the city’s gay pride parade, scheduled for this Saturday.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Morning Sweep

The LA Times looks at how McCain’s support and Obama’s opposition of the Ca. same-sex marriage ban amendment might affect their campaigns.

A NY gay couple is suing an Arizona-based adoption service that won’t allow same-sex partners to register.

Concerned Women for America reflects on their Power in the Pulpit rally in June, when they brought more than 400 ministers to Albany to speak out against same-sex marriage. P.S. Does anyone know what they mean by “prayer warrior marine,” and how we can get some of those fierce individuals on our side?

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, famous for challenging Ca.’s same-sex marriage ban back in 2004, is looking into running for Governor in 2010.

An estimated 40,000 U.S. binational lesbian and gay couples risk being separated because without the protection of marriage, the non-citizen partner isn’t safe from deportation.

The European Union’s recent report urges its member nations to provide better rights and protections to LGBT citizens.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Morning Sweep

The crowd greeted Gov. Paterson with hugs and smiles as he made his way down Fifth Avenue in New York City’s 39th annual LGBT Pride March on Sunday.

LGBT Pride celebrated worldwide: San Francisco, Chicago, New Delhi, Seattle, Houston, St. Petersburg, Toronto, Minneapolis, Mexico City, Brno and Sofia.

Chaplain Michael Nicosia makes a moral case for transgender equality in an opinion piece for the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.

With much remiss, New York City says goodbye to two legendary establishments, Florent and Ruby Fruit.

A former Watertown High School hockey player who sued his coaches and the school board received a $30,000 settlement. Jonathan Jablonowski filed the suit in 2005, after enduring 4 years of homophobic slurs by his teammates.

Sen. Barack Obama came out against the Ca. marriage ban in a letter this weekend.

Another same-sex marriage ban is placed on the ballot in Arizona.

West Hollywood, Ca. launches a marketing campaign to become the gay marriage Mecca of the U.S.

The Concord Monitor checks-in with New Hampshire couples after six months of civil unions.

Unlike Ma., Justices of Peace in Connecticut can opt out of officiating civil unions for any reason.

The head of the universal Anglican Church expressed concern with a conservative group of priests’ plans to disjoin.