Michael Putney talks with guests and gives his own perspective of what the latest Supreme Court of the United States' decision means for South Florida.
June 30, 2013 in Bisexual, Business, Current Affairs, Florida, Fort Lauderdale & Broward County, Gay, Key West & Monroe County, Lesbian, LGBT, Marriage, Media, Miami & Miami-Dade County, Miami Beach, Politics, Religion, South Florida, Transgender, Weblogs, Wilton Manors, Workplace, Youth | Permalink | Comments (1)
Dominican religious groups reject gay U.S. ambassador nominee: 'He'll suffer and will be forced to leave'
BY EZEQUIEL ABIU LOPEZ, ASSOCIATED PRESS
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- Religious groups in the Dominican Republic said Friday they are outraged by the nomination of a gay U.S. ambassador to the conservative Caribbean country.
James "Wally" Brewster would be the seventh U.S. ambassador in history to be openly gay, but opponents are asking the administration of Dominican President Danilo Medina to reject his nomination.
Rev. Cristobal Cardozo, leader of the Dominican Evangelical Fraternity, said he worried about the message that Brewster's presence might send.
"It's an insult to good Dominican customs," he said.
Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez, president of the Conference of the Dominican Episcopate, echoed similar sentiments.
"You can expect anything from the U.S.," said Lopez, who is also the archbishop of Santo Domingo.
Meanwhile, Vicar Pablo Cedano criticized the nomination as "a lack of respect, of consideration, that they send us that kind of person as ambassador."
"If he arrives, he'll suffer and will be forced to leave," Cedano warned, without elaborating.
Fort Lauderdale married gay binational couple first to win an Immigration green card after DOMA ruling
BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com
Two Fort Lauderdale men are the first wedded same-sex couple recognized by the United States for a green card, winning their immigration battle two days after the Supreme Court ordered the federal government to honor gay marriages.
“We’re in the history books,” said Julian Marsh, a well-known gay music producer and DJ, who sponsored his Bulgarian-born husband, Traian "Tray" Popov, for a green card. “Oh my God, that’s totally amazing.”
Marsh got the good news on Friday, his 55th birthday. Two days before, the Supreme Court ruled section 3 of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. Section 3 had been the paragraph used by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to deny green cards for foreign-born spouses in same-sex marriages.
“We are ecstatic that our country recognizes our marriage,” Marsh said Sunday. “I never doubted the Supreme Court would not overturn DOMA. Ever. It was in my mind impossible that anybody could stop love.”
Marsh met Popov, a Nova Southeastern University PhD student, in March 2011 at a party in Plantation. They met again at another gathering in Fort Lauderdale a week later.
“I said, ‘Hey, sit next to me for a bit.’ we started chatting and that was it. We’ve been together ever since,” Marsh recalled. “On our six-month anniversary, I said, ‘I love you and I want you to move in.’”
A short time later, they decided to marry. “I wanted to know we could be together forever. Tray is here on a student visa. As long as he’s enrolled in school, he can stay,” Marsh said. “We recognized back then that when Tray graduates we might have to leave our home and our country. We were willing to do that. We were planning on doing that. We were discussing where to move to. Thanks to the Supreme Court we can stay in our home now. We can be in the country that we love.”
Marsh and Popov couldn’t marry in Florida, which in 2008 passed a constitutional amendment banning civil unions and defining marriage as between one man and one woman.
On Oct. 19, 2012, Marsh and Popov wed in Brooklyn, N.Y. They live with a pair of Yorkshire terriers in Fort Lauderdale. “That’s our happy family,” Marsh said. “Tray, me and our two dogs.”
Though relieved that they won’t have to move to another country to stay together, Marsh and Popov are angry that Florida still doesn’t recognize their marriage.
“All we have in Broward County is a very meager domestic partnership that only allows hospital visitations,” said Popov, 41, who studies conflict analysis and resolution. “Obviously that is not enough.”
Their immigration attorney, Lavi Soloway of New York and California, believes Marsh and Popov’s case will “accelerate change” in Florida.
“That new reality changes the perspective of a lot of Floridians who probably never gave a thought to marriage equality,” said Soloway, co-founder of the DOMA Project for gay and lesbian binational couples.”
Soloway, who said he represents “scores” of similar couples in South Florida, is pleased the first gay couple to get a green card is from the Sunshine State.
“Florida ranks third behind California and New York in binational gay couples,” said Soloway, still angry that last month Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida said he would be “done” with immigration reform if gay couples were included.
On Wednesday, Rubio said he disagreed with the Supreme Court DOMA decision: “Rather than having courts redefine marriage for all Americans, my hope is that the American people, through their state legislatures and referendums, can continue to decide the definition of marriage,” Rubio said.
Soloway accused Rubio of “scapegoating and marginalizing gay Americans.”
“His shamefully and cowardly hiding behind the outdated notion that the civil rights of any minority should be determined by the majority and the democratic process is ludicrous,” Soloway said. “He is the child of Cuban immigrants. Had the question about whether Cuban immigrants should be allowed to come to the United States and given special preference — immediate legal status, which has been the case for decades — had that been put up for a popular vote, Marco Rubio may today be living in Havana."
June 30, 2013 in Bisexual, Business, Current Affairs, Florida, Fort Lauderdale & Broward County, Gay, Immigration, Key West & Monroe County, Lesbian, LGBT, Marriage, Media, Miami & Miami-Dade County, Miami Beach, Music, Politics, Religion, South Florida, Transgender, Travel, Weblogs, Wilton Manors, Workplace, Youth | Permalink | Comments (1)
BY LYDIA MARTIN, LYDIA@LYDIAMARTIN.COM
In 2004, Dallas County, solidly Republican, solidly conservative, elected its first woman sheriff. Lupe Valdez, the daughter of migrant farm workers, a Latina and an out lesbian, made history. Soon after her win, she was on an airplane and her seatmate, the mother of a young gay man who had struggled with his sexuality, immediately recognized her.
“With your election, you have validated my son,” the woman told her.
“And I wanted to scream. Why can’t we just get validated for being human beings?” Valdez says as she recounts the exchange in The Out List, the just-released HBO film featuring a cross-section of out lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender figures talking about their lives, loves, issues with self-acceptance and hopes for equality under the law.
Against the backdrop of a gay community waiting to see which way the U.S. Supreme Court would go on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Prop 8, high-profile subjects such as Neil Patrick Harris, Ellen Degeneres, Wanda Sykes, Oscar-winning filmmaker Dustin Lance Black, Scissor Sisters lead singer Jake Shears, former pro football player Wade Davis, New York City politician Christine Quinn, financial guru Suze Orman and several others speak candidly about coming out and about the challenges inherent in being LGBT in America.
“My hope is that this film is seen by a lot of young people,” says director and producer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, a Miami native who was in town recently for a premiere of The Out List at the Olympia Theater at the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts. A portrait photographer whose works are in the collections of New York’s Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum and The National Portrait Gallery, he is also director and producer of the films The Black List, The Latino List and 2012’s About Face, featuring conversations with aging cover girls and supermodels including Christie Brinkley, Jerry Hall, Isabella Rosellini and Paulina Porizkova.
A fan has posted to YouTube Lady Gaga's appearance Friday night at the 2013 New York City Gay Pride Rally:
Lady Gaga finishing her speech & singing a spectacular rendition of the National Anthem at Pier 26 on Friday June 28, 2013. So proud to be a Little Monster! She's truly an amazing idol.
Posted Saturday morning to Facebook by immigration attorney Lavi Soloway:
The DOMA Project WINS FIRST GREEN CARD APPROVAL FOR A MARRIED GAY COUPLE IN U.S. HISTORY, JUST TWO DAYS AFTER SUPREME COURT STRIKES DOWN DOMA!
The men are Fort Lauderdale DJ Julian Marsh, right, and his husband Traian Popov, who married in October 2012 in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Marriage equality returns to California: Plaintiffs in Proposition 8 court case wed in San Francisco
BY LISA LEFF, ASSOCIATED PRESS
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."
On The Florida Roundup, we take a look at three big decisions out of Washington, D.C. this week: the U.S. Supreme Court decisions on gay marriage and the Voting Rights Act as well as the U.S. Senate's vote on the immigration bill.
The George Zimmerman trial began on Monday with racial expletives and a joke. But what happens outside the courtroom is almost as important as what happens inside. And although the city of Sanford anticipated throngs of protesters, few have shown up.
Guest host and WLRN anchor Kelley Mitchell speaks with Steve Rothaus and Nancy Ancrum of The Miami Herald and Dan Ricker of the Watchdog Report.
From the White House:
MEMORANDUM FOR HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES
FROM: Elaine Kaplan, Acting Director
SUBJECT: Guidance on the Extension of Benefits to Married Gay and Lesbian Federal Employees, Annuitants, and Their Families
As you already know, on June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. As a result of this decision, the United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM) will now be able to extend benefits to Federal employees and annuitants who have legally married a spouse of the same sex.
There are numerous benefits that are affected by the Supreme Court’s decision, and it is impossible to answer today every question that you may have. Nevertheless, I want to assure you that the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is committed to working with the Department of Justice to ensure swift and seamless implementation of the Court’s ruling.
OPM will be issuing additional information covering a broader range of issues, but at this time, OPM can offer the following guidance regarding specific employee benefits that may be of particular interest:
Health Insurance (FEHB): All legally married same-sex spouses will now be eligible family members under a Self and Family enrollment. In addition, the children of same-sex marriages will be treated just as those of opposite-sex marriages and will be eligible family members according to the same eligibility guidelines. This includes coverage for children of same-sex spouses as stepchildren. Employees and annuitants will have 60 days from June 26, 2013 until August 26, 2013, to make immediate changes to their FEHB enrollment. Enrollees will continue to be eligible to make changes to their coverage options during Open Season later this year. For those employees and annuitants who already have a Self and Family insurance plan, coverage for their same-sex spouse will begin immediately upon their notifying their FEHB carrier that there is a newly eligible family member. For those employees and annuitants electing Self and Family for the first time, benefits will be effective on the first day of the first pay period after the enrollment request is received. While online enrollment systems are updated, it may be necessary for employees and annuitants to update their elections using the paper (rather than electronic) version of the SF2809 form.
Life Insurance (FEGLI): All legally married same-sex spouses and children of legal same-sex marriages are now eligible family members under the FEGLI Program, which means that employees may add coverage for a same-sex spouse and any newly eligible children under Option C. Employees will have 60 days from June 26, 2013 until August 26, 2013, to make changes to their FEGLI enrollment.
Dental and Vision Insurance (FEDVIP): As with FEHB, all legally married same-sex spouses will now be eligible family members under a Self and Family enrollment or a Self Plus One enrollment. Current FEDVIP enrollees may now call BENEFEDS (877-888-FEDS (3337)) directly to make the necessary enrollment changes. Employees will have 60 days from June 26, 2013 until August 26, 2013, to make changes to their FEDVIP enrollment. Current enrollees will also be able to make changes to their coverage options during Open Season later this year, and individuals wishing to enroll in FEDVIP for the first time may also do so at that time.
Long-Term Care Insurance (FLTCIP): All legally married same-sex spouses can now apply for long-term care insurance under FLTCIP. Same-sex spouses of employees will have 60 days from June 26, 2013, to apply for FLTCIP coverage with abbreviated underwriting.
Retirement: All retirees who are in legal same-sex marriages will have two years from the date of the Supreme Court’s decision (i.e., June 26, 2015) to inform OPM that they have a legal marriage that now qualifies for recognition and elect any changes to their retirement benefits based on their recognized marital status. In the coming days, OPM will be developing guidance to help retirees determine whether they wish to change their pension benefits in a way that will provide benefits for their surviving spouse. Retirees will need to determine whether this option makes sense for them, as making this election will likely result in a deduction to the monthly annuity that the retiree currently receives. Going forward, the same-sex spouses of retiring employees will be eligible for survivor annuities.
Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA): All employees who are in legal same-sex marriages will now be able to submit claims for medical expenses for their same-sex spouse and any newly qualifying (step)children to their flexible spending program.
* * *
Additional guidance regarding these and other benefits will be coming soon. In the meantime, questions regarding the effect of the Supreme Court’s DOMA decision on Federal employee and annuitant benefits should be directed to OPM through your agency Chief Human Capital Officer.
We appreciate your cooperation in our effort to implement the Supreme Court’s decision, and provide greater equality to Federal employees and annuitants regardless of their sexual orientation.
cc: Chief Human Capital Officers
Posted by the Defense Department to YouTube:
Service members deployed to Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan observe the 1st Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender Pride Event in a deployed environment. Service members discuss what pride means, what they hope to accomplish, and why it is important to fight for equality.