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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Actor Wentworth Miller says he’s gay, turns down Russian festival invite | Reuters

Aug 21 (Reuters) – Actor and screenwriter Wentworth Miller, best known for his leading role in Fox television drama “Prison Break,” came out as a gay man on Wednesday in a letter declining an invitation to attend a Russian film festival in light of Moscow’s recently adopted anti-gay laws.

Miller, 41, turned down an offer to attend the St. Petersburg International Film Festival as a “guest of honor” in a letter posted on the website of advocacy group GLAAD, which monitors media representation of gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender people and issues.

“Thank you for your kind invitation. As someone who has enjoyed visiting Russia in the past and can also claim a degree of Russian ancestry, it would make me happy to say yes. However, as a gay man, I must decline,” Miller wrote to festival director Maria Averbakh.

Miller wrote that he was “deeply troubled by the current attitude toward and treatment of gay men and women by the Russian government,” and did not want attend a festival in a country where “people like myself are being systematically denied their basic right to live and love openly.”

via Actor Wentworth Miller says he’s gay, turns down Russian festival invite | Reuters.

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Comedians We’re Proud Of: Brad Loekle | Advocate.com

If you’ve ever set sail on a gay cruise with Atlantis Events, then you may remember (or better yet, not remember) getting drunk with Brad Loekle. His racy and bombastic style of comedy has landed him a headlining spot on cruises in more than five continents.

If staying home to watch TV is more your speed, then catch him every Thursday making fun of the

World’s Dumbest on TruTV. His summer calendar is packed with shows all over the country, so do yourself a favor and get out of the house. You won’t be disappointed by Loekle.

Comedians We’re Proud Of: Brad Loekle | Advocate.com.

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PHOTOS: Europe’s 11 Best Prides for Summer 2013 | GayCities Blog

Summer’s nearly here, which of course means that Pride season is about to return with a bang.

But if you think Prides are pretty much the same everywhere, maybe it’s time to check out one (or more) these European versions, where national differences – and all those gorgeous old buildings as backdrops – add some truly unique flavors to the celebrations.

To jump start you in your travel planning, we’ve picked out the top Prides happening on the European continent this summer. And to give you a taste of what you’re in store for once you get there, we’ve

gathered a bunch of hot Europics from previous years’ events.

So enjoy the view. And Happy Pride.

via PHOTOS: Europe’s 11 Best Prides for Summer 2013 | GayCities Blog.

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Celebrate LGBT History at Key West Pride 2013

Travelers should not overlook Key West Pride, which takes place from June 5 to June 9 —particularly since the city of Key West has made its own contributions to LGBT history.

In New York, it was the 1969 Stonewall Riots that eventually initiated the tradition of gay marches in the U.S; and San Francisco is known for The Castro and Harvey Milk’s political work.

But travelers should not overlook Key West Pride, which takes place from June 5 to June 9 —particularly since the city of Key West has made its own contributions to LGBT history.

Key West has been home to lesbian and gay writers such as the Pulitzer Prize winning poet Elizabeth Bishop and playwright Tennessee Williams.  It was the first U.S. city to have an openly gay mayor.  It was even the first travel locale to reach out to the gay community. The Key West Business Guild (KWBG) organizes Key West Pride, and was started as a non-profit in 1978 to encourage LGBT travelers to visit the island.

“Key West has always been an accepting island,” said Pete Arnow, Community Liaison of KWBG.  Arnow also noted that same-sex couples have “always been able to hold hands here.”  Furthermore, he spoke about how the LGBT community and straight community have created a sense of togetherness:  “The motto [of Key West] is One Human Family.  And it truly is.”

This year, Key West Pride 2013 stays true to the motto, and celebrates another moment in LGBT history: The 10th Anniversary of the “Sea to Sea Rainbow Flag.”  In 2003, Gilbert Baker, the designer of the Rainbow Flag, created the “World’s Longest Gay Pride Flag” for Key West Pride.  When it was finally displayed, the flag covered the distance of Duval Street, which is located between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.

Baker has been named the Parade Grand Marshall for Key West Pride 2013.  Other featured events for the 10th Anniversary of the “Sea to Sea Rainbow Flag” include a meet and greet with Baker at La Te Da Hotel, and a documentary film screening about the flag, “Key West, City of Colors.” Although there is a cash bar at La Te Da, both events are free.

In fact, Key West Pride has a number of free events.  The 6th Annual Key West Pride Film Fest presents two free films: I Am Divine, a documentary about the star of John Waters’ Pink Flamingoes and Hairspray; and deepsouth, a documentary on the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the Southern United States.

The Barefoot Wine Pride Beach Clean-Up is a free event that helps the environment.  Volunteers who are of drinking age will be provided with wine and appetizers afterwards.

Several venues offer events without a cover charge.  Whether it’s a women’s pool party at Lighthouse Court, 70s/80s dance music at Pearl’s and 801 Bourbon Bar, or happy hour at Alexander’s Traffic Light Party — all have no cover.

Families with children can enjoy the Conch Cruisers “Show Your Pride” Bike Ride, the Street Fair, and the Parade.

Other events vary in price from $10 to $50.  Arnow recommends that visitors “get out on our waters.”  Sailing, snorkeling and other water escapades can be found with Venus Charters, Fury’s Key West Pride Ultimate Adventure, as well as other companies on the Key West Pride website.

In the evenings, there are cabaret shows, or comedy and music like The Kinsey Sicks, known as “America’s Favorite Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet.”

Key West is “only the size of Central Park in New York,” said Arnow.  “But a lot can happen here…we invite everyone to come to Key West Pride.”

via Celebrate LGBT History at Key West Pride 2013.

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Long Beach’s Young Gay Vice Mayor on Why You Should Visit His City | OUTTraveler.com | The Standard of Gay Travel

California’s seventh-largest city often lives in the shadow of its largest (L.A.), but Long Beach’s handsome vice mayor wants you to know his city is worth coming to.

Long Beach was once thought of as the gritty little sister to Los Angeles; the Oakland to San Francisco, the Newark to New York. But the city has been on an upswing, constructing bike lanes and building green space, while the city’s large LGBT population helps gentrify formerly rough sections. Long Beach, with nearly half a million people, is renown for its diverse, raucous Pride festival, which happened earlier this month.

The city’s out vice mayor and city councilman, Robert Garcia, is a young man on the move, who will no doubt be rising in the political ranks. We asked Garcia to give us five reason why LGBT travelers should make the trek to Long Beach. Here’s what he said:

1) Long Beach is home to the only park in America named after Harvey Milk. The park includes a replica of Milk’s famous soapbox, a local leaders plaza, and a pride rainbow flag that flies 365 days a year. In addition, the park is adjacent to the Promenade in Downtown Long Beach, an incredibly active open space with craft brew pubs, and great restaurants.
2) We have an incredible waterfront that includes the Aquarium of the Pacific, LGBT friendly establishments, and boat tours of the harbor. The Queen Mary is always a great destination, and the Atlantis Cruise docks from Long Beach to Mexico every Fall.
3) Long Beach boasts over 12 local gay bars and nightclubs, and numerous gay owned businesses. LGBT residents and tourists will also feel welcome in almost all local bars and restaurants.
4) The city is centrally located between Los Angeles and Orange County so every destination is only 20 minutes away. From Disneyland, to West Hollywood, to Downtown LA, Long Beach sits in the center of all the Southern California action.
5) We were one of only 10 cities in the nation who received a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign City Equality Index. Long Beach has led the way on LGBT issues in city government, employee benefits and municipal law. We have 2 openly LGBT members of the City Council, and a community who overwhelmingly supports equality for everyone.

via Long Beach’s Young Gay Vice Mayor on Why You Should Visit His City | OUTTraveler.com | The Standard of Gay Travel.

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