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Gay marriage couple wins green-card petition –

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.

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via Gay marriage couple wins green-card petition –

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Ten states to tackle gay marriage next – U.S. News

Energized by two big victories at the Supreme Court, advocates of gay marriage are turning their attention to a handful of states that they believe are most likely to allow it next.

One of those two wins made California the 13th state where gay couples can now legally get married. Counting the District of Columbia, gay marriage is legal in places covering about 30 percent of the U.S. population.

National gay rights groups say they now hope to persuade either the Supreme Court or Congress to legalize gay marriage across the country — in a matter of years, not decades.

via Ten states to tackle gay marriage next – U.S. News.

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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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Justice Scalia Is Not Happy About The Decision – Forbes

My fellow Son of Xavier, Antonin Scalia, did not like the majority decision one little bit:

This case is about power in several respects. It is about the power of our people to govern themselves, and the power of this Court to pronounce the law. Today’s opinion aggrandizes the latter, with the predictable consequence of diminishing the former. We have no power to decide this case. And even if we did, we have no power under the Constitution to invalidate this democratically adopted legislation. The Court’s errors on both points spring forth from the same diseased root: an exalted conception of the role of this institution [the Supreme Court] in America.

As I have observed before, the Constitution does not forbid the government to enforce traditional moral and sexual norms.

A reminder that disagreement over something so fundamental as marriage can still be politically legitimate would have been a fit task for what in earlier times was called the judicial temperament. We might have covered ourselves with honor today, by promising all sides of this debate that it was theirs to settle and that we would respect their resolution. We might have let the People decide.

But that the majority will not do. Some will rejoice in today’s decision, and some will despair at it; that is the nature of a controversy that matters so much to so many. But the Court has cheated both sides, robbing the winners of an honest victory, and the losers of the peace that comes from a fair defeat. We owed both of them better. I dissent.

I thought Justice Scalia might have already thrown in the towel, since in his dissent in Lawrence v Texas, he more or less said that if we can’t prosecute them for sodomy, we might just as well let them get married:

If moral disapprobation of homosexual conduct is “no legitimate state interest” for purposes of proscribing that conduct…what justification could there possibly be for denying the benefits of marriage to homosexual couples exercising “the liberty protected by the Constitution”? Surely not the encouragement of procreation, since the sterile and the elderly are allowed to marry.


I don’t know about the sterile, but personally, I think it would be a good idea if the elderly were not allowed to marry, but that’s just me as I’m getting elderly.

via DOMA Unconstitutional – Scalia Unhappy – Let’s Get Practical – Forbes.

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DOMA: Military spouses to see benefits ‘as soon as possible,’ Hagel vows –

With the Supreme Court decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)the Pentagon will move “as soon as possible” to make all the same benefits available to all military spouses, regardless of sexual orientation, the nation’s top defense official announced Wednesday.

via DOMA: Military spouses to see benefits ‘as soon as possible,’ Hagel vows –

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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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Marriage equality returns to California: Plaintiffs in Proposition 8 court case wed in San Francisco | Steve Rothaus’ Gay South Florida

SAN FRANCISCO — The lead plaintiffs in the U.S. Supreme Court case that overturned California’s same-sex marriage ban tied the knot at San Francisco City Hall on Wednesday, about an hour after an appeals court cleared the way for same-sex couples to obtain marriage licenses for the first time in 4 1/2 years.

State Attorney General Kamala Harris presided at the wedding of Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, of Berkeley. The couple sued to overturn the state’s voter-approved gay marriage ban along with Jeff Katami and Paul Zarrillo, of Burbank, who planned to marry Friday evening at Los Angeles City Hall.

“They have waited and fought for this moment,” Harris said. “Today their wait is finally over.”

Harris declared Perry, 48, and Stier, 50, “spouse and spouse,” but during their vows, they took each other as “lawfully wedded wife.”

Click here for updates.

Read more here:

via Marriage equality returns to California: Plaintiffs in Proposition 8 court case wed in San Francisco | Steve Rothaus’ Gay South Florida.

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LGBT Global Church Celebrates Marriage Equality and Addresses Violence

Known globally as the “The Human Rights Church,” Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) convenes in Chicago, July 1-5, to mark 45 years of marriages and human rights for LGBT people and to support MCC’s ministries in 40 countries. Their 25th General Conference is at the Fairmont Millennium Park Hotel—200 North Columbus.

Celebration of the historic US Supreme Court decisions is on the docket, but MCC leaders are committed to lifting up ongoing persecution of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in the US and in the more than 70 countries where being gay is illegal and sometimes punishable by execution.

On Wednesday, at 1 p.m. (Central), Bishop Christopher Senyonjo – ardent opponent of Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill – and US Ambassador Dan Baer will join top MCC leaders in a press conference to mark the 40th anniversary of the worst arson attack against LGBT people in US history. Thirty-two people – almost all MCC members – died, but it was ignored for decades. Through recent documentary, theatre and television productions, this fire is becoming a milestone in the history of violence against LGBT people. If you cannot join in person, please call in: (605) 477-3000, Access Code: 774241#

MCC has been a driving force for decades to provide an alternative to shame-based churches. Nearly two thousand members and supporters from the USA and around the world will build on the 45 years of MCC ministries under the 2013 banner, “Believe!”

Keynote speakers and workshop leaders include:

  •     Daniel Baer, US Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE);
  •     Bishop Christopher Senyonjo, who is fighting Uganda’s proposed “Kill the Gays” bill;
  •     Rev. John Thomas, retired head of the 3 million member United Church of Christ;
  •     Rev. Dr. Bob Johanson, Distinguished Fellow, author of Leaders Make the Future;
  •     Rev. Dr. Gary Paterson, Moderator of the United Church of Canada;
  •     USA Marriage Equality leaders, Rev. Candy Holmes, Rev. Dr. Jim Merritt, Rev. Dr. Neil Thomas;
  •     Rev. Cristiano Valero, leader in Brazil where the country looks to MCC for marriage leadership;
  •     Eastern Europeans leaders: Florin Buhuceanu (Romania), Leah (Moldova) – high risk areas;
  •     Rev. Jim Mulcahy (working in Ukraine) and Yuri (Moscow) face Orthodox Church resistance;
  •     Rev. Elder Hector Gutierrez speaks to marriage equality in Argentina, Brazil and Latin America;
  •     Leaders of the Global Justice Institute, Rev. Pat Bumgardner and Pastor Joseph Tolton.

MCC was the first to marry same-gender couples in 1968, first to legally wed a Colorado couple in 1993, and provided key leadership for marriage equality in Canada. MCC has been in the White House and on the steps of courthouses for over four decades. MCC leaders are still risking their lives in Eastern Europe where they have been attacked and arrested at pride events. They are on the ground in Uganda, Kenya, Cote d’Ivoire, Zimbabwe, South Africa, etc. living out the future of equality before God and the law.

MCC’s human rights and justice work addresses the rights of women, people of color, sexual minorities and other groups facing challenges. MCC members and leaders work to empower and effect change by building bridges that liberate and promote sacred respect for all people. Calls to action and global dignitaries will drive the agenda for this policy-setting meeting, which now happens once every three years.

“Metropolitan Community Churches are on a bold mission to transform hearts, lives, and history…. Just as Jesus did, we are called to: Do justice, show kindness, and live humbly with God.” (Micah 6:8) – From MCC’s Statement of Vision.

For more information about the MCC and their affiliates, please visit

via LGBT Global Church Celebrates Marriage Equality and Addresses Violence.

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Larabee: DOMA ruling grounded in Constitution | The Salt Lake Tribune

“The liberty protected by the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause contains within it the prohibition against denying to any person the equal protection of the laws. While the Fifth Amendment itself withdraws from Government the power to degrade or demean in the way this law does, the equal protection guarantee of the Fourteenth Amendment makes that Fifth Amendment right all the more specific and all the better understood and preserved.” — U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

via Larabee: DOMA ruling grounded in Constitution | The Salt Lake Tribune.

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