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Because you can't change the past….

Americans exude joy on Gay Pride Day after court ruling

Americans marked Gay Pride Day this year with an extra measure of gusto, turning out en masse at Sunday’s festivities in New York and other cities to celebrate the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling legalizing same-sex marriage across the country.

Two days after the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the U.S. Constitution provides same-sex couples the right to marry, Governor Andrew Cuomo kicked off the New York City celebration by officiating at the marriage of two men outside of the Stonewall Inn, a Greenwich Village bar that is considered the birthplace of the U.S. gay rights movement.

“I want you to know I’m a little nervous today – it’s my first marriage,” Cuomo joked before marrying a couple in front of a crowd of several dozen onlookers

Source: Americans exude joy on Gay Pride Day after court ruling

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Barilla Earns Gay Boycott, Learns Taking Sides Is Bad For Business – Forbes

Barilla Pasta  stepped  on a landmine this week telling Italian media the company would never feature or market directly to gay couples. If they had a problem with that, said its chairman, they could eat another brand of pasta.

I pity the fool who messes with the purchasing power of the LGBT community.

The remarks as widely reported, were made by Guido Barilla on La Zanzara, an Italian radio program.

I would never make a spot with a homosexualfamily. Not out of a lack of respect but because I do not see it like they do. (My idea of) family is a classic family where the woman has a fundamental role.

He went even further saying, “Ours is a classic family where the woman plays a fundamental role. If [gays] don’t like it, they can go eat another brand,” according to a Reuters translation.

Competitor Bertolli Germany lost little time presenting itself as that very option, as told  by AdWeek. Posting a photo and caption that translates to “pasta and love for all” on its Facebook page and resurrecting a commercialfrom 2011 featuring gay couples.

via Barilla Earns Gay Boycott, Learns Taking Sides Is Bad For Business – Forbes.

Cedar Point cancels wedding contest after gays protest | The Columbus Dispatch

SANDUSKY, Ohio — An amusement park here is canceling a wedding contest after a gay couple organized a protest against the promotion.

Cedar Point amusement park initially limited the contest to heterosexual couples because it said state law doesn’t allow gay couples to legally marry in Ohio. A spokesman says the park decided to cancel the event once it started to take on political undertones.

The amusement park that sits along Lake Erie in Sandusky had planned to select 13 couples to get married there on Friday the 13th in September.

via Cedar Point cancels wedding contest after gays protest | The Columbus Dispatch.

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Advocates launch campaign to bar workplace discrimination against gays – Washington Post

A coalition of civil rights groups is launching a $2 million campaign aimed at mobilizing support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which has languished on Capitol Hill for nearly two decades.

The coalition, called Americans for Workplace Opportunity, is targeting 13 senators in 11 states in hopes of replicating the strategy gay marriage advocates have used to push successful state ballot initiatives.

The effort includes gay rights groups such as the Human Rights Campaign and the GOP-leaning American Unity Fund, as well as the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the Service Employees International Union.

via Advocates launch campaign to bar workplace discrimination against gays – Washington Post.

Joint Statement on Florida’s Path to Marriage Equality | Equality Florida

The historic Supreme Court rulings that struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and restored marriage equality to California have heightened the sense of inevitable victory nationwide and energized a community impatient to take action toward full marriage equality in every state as quickly as possible. National and state legal and political experts have worked together to create this analysis to help guide our shared enthusiasm and impatience for equality toward the best course to secure the freedom to marry.

The organizations that have participated in the drafting of this document are each pursuing coordinated programs and strategies to bring full marriage equality to Florida.

Growing Disparity

While we all celebrate the quantum leap forward the Supreme Court rulings represent, the disparity between the 30% of the population who live in states that afford same-sex couples full marriage protections and those who do not has become even more stark.

The urgency to take action is heightened for those who live in the 37 states that currently do not allow marriage for same-sex couples. Couples in those states will continue to be denied the respect and protections that come with marriage – including the full set of federal protections – even if they marry in another state.

Coordinated Strategy

Legal experts and community activists at the national and state level are exploring all the options for challenging those bans – legislative action, ballot referendums, and legal challenges.  There is no single approach, as each state faces a different political and legal environment.  It is also important for advocates to work with their counterparts from other states so that there is a coordinated national strategy that best serves the interests of the entire community.

Florida’s Path Forward

Florida has changed dramatically since 2008, when just over 60 percent of voters embedded marriage discrimination into the constitution. Florida is a leader in the south, with 54% of voters in support of marriage for same-sex couples, according to a Public Religion Research poll.  Another recent poll by Public Policy Polling showed 75% of Floridians now support providing all the benefits of marriage to gay couples either via marriage (37%) or civil unions (38%) while only 23% oppose same-sex couples having any legal protections at all.

Below is a summary of the potential paths to marriage equality in Florida and an assessment of the opportunities and challenges each presents.

Legislative Track

There is a general consensus that the Florida legislature, as it is currently comprised, is highly unlikely to take any action in support of marriage equality. However, we are seeing movement on other important protections for the LGBT community, including growing bipartisan support for a statewide non-discrimination bill and some form of relationship recognition. A younger group of legislators from both parties is pushing their leaders to take strong stands in support of LGBT rights, and the election of Florida’s first two out, gay legislators is also improving the climate in Tallahassee. We will continue to work in the capitol to build on that support and gain ground on both sides of the aisle.

Ballot Measure

Fundamental rights by their very nature should not be subject to a public vote. But in a state with a hostile legislature and a challenging legal path we must consider the possibility of returning to the ballot box to undo the harm.

Florida has particularly burdensome requirements to get a public referendum on a statewide ballot. Furthermore, while public opinion has shifted dramatically since the ban was added to the constitution in 2008, it has not moved sufficiently to clear the 60% favorable vote required in Florida for passage of a ballot measure.  Even in 2012’s historic ballot victories in Maryland, Maine, and Washington, the side of marriage equality obtained nowhere near 60% of the vote. Statistical wizard Nate Silver predicts that support among Florida voters will only be at 52.9% in 2016 and will be just shy of 60% by 2020. But those numbers are based on no acceleration in the shift of public opinion. Rather than a rush to the ballot in 2014 with time, resources, turnout, and polling stacked against us, it is better to invest in the tried and proven public education campaign that has helped to accelerate the shift in public opinion in states where victories have been achieved. We can reassess how significantly those numbers have shifted after a solid year, leaving ourselves ample time to prepare for 2016 or 2018 as a more favorable time for taking the issue back to the ballot.

Legal Challenge

A lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Florida’s marriage ban may be the most viable immediate option in Florida but must be pursued with care. The wrong case poorly timed could do more harm than good. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit – the federal appeals court with jurisdiction over Florida, Georgia, and Alabama – is one of the most conservative appellate courts in the federal court system.  That court has previously issued decisions that created very unfavorable precedent on the issue of LGBT discrimination.  However, the Supreme Court’s recent decision in U.S. v. Windsor may provide a path to overcoming the unfavorable rulings in the Eleventh Circuit.

The question is not if a lawsuit should be filed to overturn Florida’s discriminatory constitutional amendment – it’s when.  To maximize the chance of winning and to avoid jeopardizing lawsuits already pending in other states, a legal challenge needs to be thoughtfully timed.  The few successful lawsuits that have won marriage equality, for example in Massachusetts, Iowa and California (and a look at those that have lost), have shown that it takes more than a strong argument and justice to win.  It also takes the right legal building blocks; constitutional litigation expertise; extensive background in LGBT legal issues; and millions of dollars in attorney time, expert witness fees, and costs.

There are at least 8 such lawsuits currently pending, with more expected to be filed closer to home very soon.  Most of these cases were strategically filed in federal courts where the possibility of favorable rulings is far greater than in the Eleventh Circuit.  Because each win creates precedent that helps improve the chances of a successful case in Florida, the best strategy is to file a case that builds on good precedent (instead of filing one prematurely and creating bad precedent for other circuits to grapple with).  Wins in other jurisdictions increase the chances of a win in Florida, and, of course, the ultimate goal is for one of these winning cases to end up at the U.S. Supreme Court, where the Court will be forced to squarely answer the question of whether or not the U.S. Constitution tolerates blatant discrimination against same-sex couples and their families.  That decision will affect every state, including Florida.  A lower court ruling in our favor has a much greater chance of being accepted for review by the Supreme Court than an unfavorable one, and as the recent DOMA and Prop 8 decisions show, it’s much better to be on the winning side of a case going up to the U.S. Supreme Court on appeal than on the losing side.

We are building a team of top national and state attorneys who are monitoring the progress of these lawsuits and will be prepared to initiate a Florida lawsuit once favorable precedent has been established or changes in the legal landscape otherwise improve our prospects in the Eleventh Circuit.

Potential Plaintiffs

Equality Florida has begun soliciting stories from Florida couples who have indicated a willingness to be potential plaintiffs in the legal challenge. Stories can be shared via www.GetEngaged.org, the website for Equality Florida’s campaign in partnership with Freedom to Marry to increase public support for marriage equality.

It is important to the legal case that the representative plaintiffs are willing to be public about their lives, have compelling stories that reflect their long-term commitment, and can provide examples of current, specific injuries or harm in areas most likely to bring the court to a positive decision, as a result of being denied the right to marry or being denied recognition of their marriage.  In addition, it is helpful that plaintiff couples reflect the full diversity of LGBT Floridians.

Timing

With all of this in mind, we are asking the community work with us in implementing the best strategy and laying the necessary foundation for a successful legal challenge to Florida’s marriage ban.

Premature lawsuits filed by individuals without considering all of thesefactors could be very harmful to this effort. A federal appeals court is unlikely to revisit its own recent rulings, and an adverse decision could set the goal back for years or even decades.

Joint Statement on Florida’s Path to Marriage Equality | Equality Florida.

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Gay marriage couple wins green-card petition – POLITICO.com

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A Bulgarian graduate student and his American husband are the first gay couple in the nation to have their green card petition approved after the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriages, their lawyer says.

But Traian Popov, here on a student visa, won’t be able to work or visit his family back home for at least another six months while his green card can be processed. And his marriage to Julian Marsh, performed in New York, still won’t be recognized in Florida where they live.

“It’s unbelievable how that impacts you,” Marsh told The Associated Press on Sunday. “They make you feel more and more like a second-class citizen and they don’t want you. And that’s how I feel about Florida.”

Two days after the Supreme Court struck down a provision of a federal law denying federal benefits to married gay couples, Marsh and Popov were notified Friday afternoon that their green card petition was approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/07/gay-couple-green-card-petition-93614.html#ixzz2Xr0WajLC

via Gay marriage couple wins green-card petition – POLITICO.com.

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DOMAs Demise Celebrated by Apple, Other Top Tech Firms – Mike Isaac – Social – AllThingsD

In a pair of 5-4 decisions, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled in favor of same-sex couples in two major cases, effectively allowing federal benefits for gay couples and clearing the way for same-sex marriages in the state of California.

One ruling overturned the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, the bill passed in 1996 that ruled same-sex marriages unconstitutional. The other decision left intact a lower-court ruling that invalidated California’s Prop. 8 ban on same-sex marriage.

Among progressive Silicon Valley tech companies, the reaction was incredibly positive.

“Apple strongly supports marriage equality and we consider it a civil rights issue. We applaud the Supreme Court for its decisions today,” an Apple spokesman told AllThingsDin a statement.

Google, in typical Google fashion, has had fun with its statement of support for same-sex couples. Type the word “gay”, “lesbian”, “transgender” or “bisexual” into Google’s search bar, and the box quickly morphs into a pride-colored rainbow, a not-so-subtle showing of celebration. (As Staci Kramer points out, this isn’t a new thing for Google — the company has done the rainbow search bar thing for Pride week for years now.)

HP also hopped on board, pointing to its history of support for the gay community: “HP has more than 30 years of partnership with and participation in pride events, and works throughout the year to build and strengthen HP as an organization that values all employees, customers and communities,” said Michael Thacker, global communications chair, HP Pride Employee Resource Group. “Our sponsorship at San Francisco Pride this year is a great example of how HP is committed to diversity and to creating a flexible, inclusive environment for everyone inside and outside of the company.”

Facebook declined to comment, but earlier in the week, a Facebook spokesman pointed out that of the roughly 200 million U.S. Facebook users, 70 percent have a gay friend on the social network. That’s a noteworthy indication that in recent years, more Americans have increasingly accepted — or at least acknowledged — gay friends and family members.

It’s worth noting that CEO Mark Zuckerberg did post a pretty warm and fuzzy message to his Timeline (though not till later in the afternoon): “I’m proud that our country is moving in the right direction, and I’m happy for so many of my friends and their families. #PrideConnectsUs,” he wrote.

Instagram posted to its company blog a photo-documented celebration of the Supreme Court’s ruling as shot by people around the world.

Twitter didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, but big business made clever use of the microblogging service. Companies like Mastercard and ABC purchased promoted tweets around the #gaymarriage hashtag, which meant that every time a user looked up the hashtag, they would have one of those promoted tweet ads pop up. Smart, quick thinking.

Of course, the Valley has quite a history around being progressive in its view of same-sex rights, especially compared to the rest of corporate America. Facebook, Twitter, Cisco, Intel and Qualcomm, along with hundreds of other companies, filed an amicus brief opposing the Defense of Marriage Act earlier this year.

And Apple, in particular, has traditionally stood against inequality, having long offered health benefits to same-sex couples employed by Apple, and publicly donating to the “No on Prop 8” campaign in 2008.

via DOMAs Demise Celebrated by Apple, Other Top Tech Firms – Mike Isaac – Social – AllThingsD.

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Simple equality

 

It amazes me how people are turning the death of the Defense of Marriage Act into a religious debate (6-27, A1, “Closer to equal”). I am not asking for you or your God’s approval, forgiveness or acceptance. I don’t want or need you or your God’s tolerance.

I’m not asking you to advocate for me to go to heaven. I can advocate for myself.

I work every day. I pay taxes. I support charity. Im a good neighbor. I just want the same rights you have as a human being. Rights given to you by other human beings. Just give me what you got.

Jo Michael

Kansas City

 

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