On the final day of its session, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case of Colorado baker Jack Phillips, who refuses to make cakes for same-sex weddings on the basis of his “religious beliefs.” Unfortunately, we are going to have to wait to see if “religious freedom” includes the freedom to discriminate as the case likely won’t be argued until late in the next session, which begins in October. (more…)
Friends and family and the LGBTQ community at large are mourning the loss of a pioneer in LGBTQ civil rights. Gloria Casarez passed away this weekend after battling a long bout with an aggressive form of cancer. She was 42-years-old and is survived by her strong and compassionate wife, Tricia Dressel. (more…)
On Sept. 11, two gay men, ages 27 and 28, were brutally gay-bashed, allegedly by a group of young people who were dining earlier that evening at La Viola in Philadelphia. The two men went to the hospital with injuries, one with a broken jaw that needed to be wired shut, all of which police say was preceded by disparaging remarks about their sexual orientation. Since then, it has been a whirlwind; after two weeks of investigation and through the help of social media, three of the alleged 15 assailants were charged with crimes associated with the incident—simple assault, aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person and criminal conspiracy—but shockingly, hate crimes are missing among the charges listed. (more…)
Last Thursday, two gay men, ages 27 and 28, were brutally gay-bashed allegedly by a group of young people who were dining earlier that evening at La Viola. Today, Philadelphia Councilman Jim Kenney sent a letter to the U.S. Attorney’s Office asking the Department of Justice to partner with the city’s D.A. and police to investigate. Kenney asked in his letter that authorities bring federal charges, under the Federal Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. (more…)
Remember the good old days of marriage when all you had to worry about choosing was a centerpiece and whether or not to invite that annoying second cousin on your mother’s side of the family? These days, as the battle for national recognition of same-sex marriage rages on, choosing what state you get married in is more important than ever—and not just the venue.
What very few heterosexual people know and, shockingly, very few gay people realize, is that while 18 states will now grant and recognize same-sex marriages, they almost all have residency requirements, often for up to a year, in order to file for a divorce—essentially leaving a couple “wedlocked.” Your state of celebration and state of residence might not see eye to eye on the issue of same-sex marriage and, while the federal government will now recognize your nuptials after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional because it violated Fifth Amendment rights in United States v. Windsor, 133 S. Ct. 2675 (2013), you could find yourself wedlocked if you do not choose wisely.
When Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into Russian legislation a law that criminalized all conduct supporting, encouraging or positively portraying the LGBT orientation in June 2013, it sparked an international outcry that has been growing in intensity, especially leading into the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. This broad law specifically bans “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations,” making it illegal to distribute information on gay rights or even suggest that homosexual relationships are equal to their heterosexual counterparts. The law was originally conceived and enacted to protect the well-being of minors, but it has been enforced through countless brutal civil rights violations that have outraged human rights activists and world leaders alike.
Undeniably, 2013 was a landmark year for LGBT rights in the United States, yet as we celebrate the many victories at home for LGBT citizens, other countries are not faring as well. And as the world comes together on the Olympic stage, all eyes are on Russia, which is currently undergoing a homophobic renaissance under President Vladimir Putin’s ban on “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations.”