A Milestone for Same-Sex Marriage – NYTimes.com

The battle to legalize same-sex marriage saw a historic victory this week when the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver became the first federal appeals court in the nation to declare that same-sex couples have a “fundamental right” to wed.

The decision, striking down Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage, extended a remarkable string of favorable federal court rulings; a similar ruling was issued on the same day by a Federal District Court in Indiana. The decision also provides a vehicle for the issue’s possible return to the Supreme Court next term.

“To claim that marriage, by definition, excludes certain couples is simply to insist that those couples may not marry because they have historically been denied the right to do so,” Judge Carlos Lucero, a Clinton appointee, wrote in a majority opinion in the Utah case, joined by Judge Jerome Holmes, a George W. Bush appointee. “One might just as easily have argued that interracial couples are by definition excluded from the institution of marriage.”

The opinion affirmed a lower court’s decision in December that resulted in more than 1,000 same-sex marriages in Utah before the Supreme Court issued a stay.

All in all, this has been a year of extraordinary progress on same-sex marriage. Almost exactly a year ago, the Supreme Court left standing a lower-court ruling overturning Proposition 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage; that case has given rise in recent weeks to two books and an HBO movie.

But the prime factor behind the explosion of lawsuits challenging state bans, as well as the many court rulings rejecting discrimination in both red and blue states, is United States v. Windsor — the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling striking down the Defense of Marriage Act’s denial of federal benefits to lawfully married same-sex couples. The 10th Circuit decision in the Utah case included many references to the Defense of Marriage Act ruling.

Utah’s attorney general, Sean Reyes, has said he intends to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.

Decisions on same-sex marriage are expected in coming months from other federal appeals courts as well, with the soonest perhaps from the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Virginia.Continue reading the main st

Yet the Supreme Court need not — and should not — wait for every appeals court to act or for a conflict to emerge among different circuits to revisit the same-sex marriage question and provide a definitive ruling making marriage equality the law of the land.

via A Milestone for Same-Sex Marriage – NYTimes.com.

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STUDY: What’s the Most Gay-Friendly Brand? | Advocate.com

After surveying thousands of LGBT consumers around the country, brand-tracking company BrandIndex has announced the most gay-friendly brand, according to how customers perceive the company: This year’s top honor goes to discount warehouse store Costco. Last year Costco was on the list at number 14.

YouGov’s BrandIndex tracks real-time feedback, discussion, and social media buzz for individual brands and once a year compiles a top 100 ranking of the best brands, broken down by audience and market sector. Other top-ranking brands for LGBT consumers include Netflix, Panera Bread, Trader Joe’s, and YouTube rounding out the top five.

According to BrandIndex, companies were scored based on how LGBT people responded to the question, “If you’ve heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?”

Based on the positive and negative reviews, each company was then scored between 100 and -100, allowing BrandIndex to account for substantial shifts in public perception.

via STUDY: What’s the Most Gay-Friendly Brand? | Advocate.com.

The Forecast In Florida: Dark Days Ahead For Gay Hotels – GayCities Blog

uesthouses in South Florida: is it a sign of changing times in the industry? One of America’s most famous, or perhaps infamous, gay spots is for sale, and others are (gasp!) going mainstream to attract a broader clientele.

The biggest shake-up comes from Key West, with the news that Island House in Key West is now for sale, less than a year after the death of co-owner Martin Kay.

Joe Allen, who still owns the resort currently, opened Island House in 1976 with Kay. Allen sent an email to his entire mailing list that included the following:

“I think I can say without boast that we created at Island House a unique place, a safe and happy space for thousands of gay men to meet, to eat and drink, to make merry. I’m proud of that, but more important in this context, Island House is successful and profitable operation. I’m confident that its new owner will operate it as a gay men’s resort. It has higher ADR’s and occupancy than any comparable property in Old Town. There’s no good reason to change its model. It’s a success,” wrote Allen.

Island House has become the focal point for much of Key West’s LGBT community, as other smaller resorts on the island have become mainstream guesthouses. The restaurant is a popular meeting place for locals to have breakfast, and drag shows by the pool are common (as is sex on the upper outdoor deck and in the hotel’s porn theater).

This sale comes at a critical time for Florida’s LGBT travel industry. Despite Allen’s belief that it should stay a gay-themed property, its location on Duval St. makes it a prime target for real estate developers looking to capitalize on Key West’s ever-escalating market. More importantly, the gay guesthouse industry is on a slow downward spiral, as loyal customers continue to age and younger patrons aren’t coming in.

via The Forecast In Florida: Dark Days Ahead For Gay Hotels – GayCities Blog.

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2014’s Gayest Cities in America | Advocate.com

It’s not all piano bars, gender-specific music festivals, and giant disco houses (although we all love some of those things) that make these cities the gayest in America. You say you’re shocked Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York City aren’t at the top of the list, this year and every year? What kind of fun would that be? (Spoiler alert: San Francisco comes in at No. 11.) This year’s criteria, designed to uncover the hidden factors that give a city its queer cred, include points for a city’s LGBT elected officials (and fractional points for the state’s elected officials), points for the percentage of the population comprised by lesbian-coupled households, a point for a gay rodeo association, points for bars listed inOut magazine’s 200 Best Bars list, a point per women’s college, and points for concert performances by Mariah Carey, Pink, Lady Gaga, or the Jonas Brothers. The raw score is divided by the population to provide a ranking based on a per capita LGBT quotient. (More details on scoring.)

via 2014’s Gayest Cities in America | Advocate.com.

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After more than 900 same-sex unions in 17 days, Supreme Court blocks new gay marriages in Utah | AL.com

WASHINGTON D.C. — After 17 days of legal limbo regarding same-sex marriages in the state of Utah, the U.S. Supreme Court has blocked new unions there until a federal appeals court can spend more time debating and addressing their legality, the Associated Press reported Monday morning.

According to the AP, more than 900 same-sex couples have been married in the state of Utah since December 20, when U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby ruled that the state’s ban on gay marriages violated the constitutional rights of its non-heterosexual citizens.

via After more than 900 same-sex unions in 17 days, Supreme Court blocks new gay marriages in Utah | AL.com.

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Judge Allows Gay Marriages in Utah to Continue – WSJ.com

Days after striking down Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional, a federal judge on Monday denied a request by the state to halt gay weddings already under way there.

U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Shelby’s ruling on the ban Friday made the conservative state—home to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a leading opponent of gay marriage—the 18th in the country to allow same-sex weddings.

The Utah State Attorney General is now asking the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for an emergency stay while the state appeals the case, said Ryan Bruckman, a spokesman for the attorney general. “We thought a stay would be the best way to deal with the chaotic situation that has arisen from the ruling,” he said.

Couples continued to line up to wed in Salt Lake County on Monday, according to officials in the state’s most populous county, who said they had issued over 300 marriage licenses to same-sex couples since Friday’s ruling.

via Judge Allows Gay Marriages in Utah to Continue – WSJ.com.

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