September 03, 2014

Federal judge’s ruling for Louisiana breaks pro-gay marriage streak

BY KEVIN MCGILL
ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW ORLEANS -- A federal judge upheld Louisiana's ban on same-sex marriages on Wednesday, a rare loss for gay marriage supporters who had won more than 20 consecutive rulings overturning bans in other states.

U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman also upheld the state's refusal to recognize same-sex marriages performed legally in other states. His ruling was the first to uphold a state ban since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act last year.

In 2004, 78 percent of Louisiana voters approved an amendment to the state constitution banning gay marriage. Gay marriage is legal in 19 states and the District of Columbia.

Feldman said gay marriage supporters failed to prove that ban violates equal protection or due process provisions of the U.S. Constitution. He also rejected an argument that the ban violated the First Amendment by effectively forcing legally married gay couples to state that they are single on Louisiana income tax returns.

Click here to read more.

Same-sex couple suing over marriage ban asks Miami-Dade commission for support

From Miami Herald reporter Patricia Mazzei (@PatriciaMazzei), via Naked Politics blog:

One of the six couples suing Miami-Dade Clerk of the Courts Harvey Ruvin over Florida's same-sex marriage ban implored county commissioners Wednesday for their support.

Jorge Diaz and Don Johnston urged the county for a symbolic resolution -- similar to ones passed in cities such as Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando -- backing their case.

"We love each other, and we want to remove the barriers so that we can care for one another," Johnston said.

"This commission has taken strong stances in the past, has stood for what it believes in," said Diaz, the younger brother of former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz.

Commissioners made no commitment to any legislation. But Chairwoman Rebeca Sosa made an apparent reference to newly elected board member Daniella Levine Cava, a same-sex marriage supporter who will be sworn into office in November.

"I heard through the grapevine that some votes are coming our way," she said.

September 02, 2014

Sources: Michael Sam to visit Dallas Cowboys

BY CHAREAN WILLIAMS
FORT WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM

The Dallas Cowboys will host Michael Sam at Valley Ranch on Wednesday, according to sources. The defensive end will take a physical, and the Cowboys expect to sign him to the practice squad if all goes well during his visit.

Sam became the first openly gay NFL player to be drafted when the St. Louis Rams selected him in the seventh round. He had three sacks and 11 tackles in the preseason, but the Rams cut Sam on Saturday. Their 10-player practice squad did not include Sam.

Click here to read more.

Northern Mexico state approves same-sex marriage

ASSOCIATED PRESS

CoahuilaMEXICO CITY -- The northern state of Coahuila has become the second place in Mexico after the capital to recognize same-sex marriage.

State lawmaker Samuel Acevedo said Tuesday he presented the bill that was voted into law because he wants gay couples to have the same rights of straight couples.

The state of Coahuila on the border with Texas began allowing same-sex civil unions in 2007, but gay couples couldn't adopt children or get social security.

Acevedo said that the law approved on Monday will help "fight discrimination."

Currently, the only place in Mexico where same-sex marriage is legal is Mexico City, where a same-sex marriage law was enacted in 2010.

Law firm Becker & Poliakoff: Anti-gay email from senior attorney Walter Kubitz is 'reprehensible'

On Aug. 25, a senior attorney at South Florida-based Becker & Poliakoff sent an email to practically everyone at the law firm trashing a federal judge's recent ruling that Florida's gay marriage ban is unconstitutional.

Wrote Virginia-based senior attorney Walter Kubitz:

Today’s reckless trashing of morality has been damaging on many fronts. For one, there has been a significant increase in sexually transmitted disease over the past few decades, with the gay plague of AIDS being a classic example.

We would do well to heed the Proverbs 11:21 warning of our ultimate Judge: “Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished.” In other words, popularity does not trump peril.

Homosexuality, clearly condemned throughout Scripture, is especially perilous in that it tends toward the “reprobate mind” as spoken of in Romans 1:18-32 that makes its participants all the more hardened in their ways. The message to the homosexual, as to all, is “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found . . .” (Isaiah 55:6).

Now comes a public response from Becker & Poliakoff, describing Kubitz's email as "reprehensible":

Statement of Becker & Poliakoff

Statement of Becker & Poliakoff regarding the "all attorney" email sent on August 25, 2014

This past Monday, Walter Kubitz, an Intellectual Property attorney in our Northern Virginia office, sent a reprehensible email to all attorneys in the firm. His email was in response to a routine email sharing news about an important legal decision in Florida. 

Mr. Kubitz’ s remarks violated our firm’s email communication policy and our stated core values, which promote inclusion, openness and diversity. Of course, firm employees are entitled to differing opinions on religion and other subjects, however it was inappropriate for him to share such views in the workplace.

Gary Rosen, the firm’s Managing Shareholder and Richard Litman, the Managing Shareholder of the Northern Virginia office, have communicated clearly and directly to Mr. Kubitz that his rogue, disrespectful behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated at Becker & Poliakoff. We regret any harm caused by his misguided action. 

Vote now: Nominees announced for 2014 Pink Flamingo Awards (with video by comedian ANT)

The LGBT Visitor Center has announced nominees for the 2nd annual Pink Flamingo Awards to be held Sept. 23 at Miami Beach Convention Center.

Comedian ANT will emcee the event, which runs 7 to 10 p.m. and includes open-bar cocktail reception, silent auction, three-course sit-down dinner and live entertainment.

Below is the official nominees list. Click here to vote.

MIAMI BEACH – September 2, 2014The people have spoken. The top five vote-getters in each of 21 hospitality-related categories have been declared the finalists in the LGBT Visitor Center’s 2nd Annual “Pink Flamingo Awards.” Miss Miami Beach Gay Pride 2014 TP Lords unveiled the finalists, surrounded by sexy “Pink Flaminguys” outfitted in pink Speedos, at a Kick-Off Party on Friday, August 29, at Palace South Beach. The winners will be announced at a high-spirited reception and dinner party on Tuesday, September 23, at the Miami Beach Convention Center with celebrity stand-up comedian ANT emceeing the evening affair.

The finalists were determined by write-in nominations from the community as well as from tourists who visit here, said Lori Lynch, executive director of the LGBT Visitor Center. The “People’s Choice”-style awards recognize the people and places that have helped make Miami Beach a world-class city and travel destination.

Finalists in the 2nd Annual “Pink Flamingo Awards” are:

 

Favorite Hotel/Resort

· The Clevelander Hotel

· Fontainebleau Miami Beach

· National Hotel

· The Standard Spa Miami Beach

· W South Beach

Favorite Hotel/Boutique

· Essex House

· Gale South Beach

· Hôtel Gaythering

· The Angler's Boutique Resort

· The Betsy South Beach

Favorite Restaurant-Fine Dining

· BLT Steak @ The Betsy

· Juvia Miami Beach

· Milos

· The Forge

· Zen Sai Restaurant

Favorite Restaurant-Casual

· 13 Even

· City Hall The Restaurant

· Palace South Beach

· Spris

· Yardbird Southern Table & Bar

Favorite Chef

· Guily Booth

· Hedy Goldsmith

· Michael Schwartz

· Michelle Bernstein

· Todd Erickson

Favorite Drag Queen

· Adora

· Elaine Lancaster

· Noel Leon

· Pussila

· Tiffany Fantasia

Favorite Singer

· Diana Mera

· Envee

· Jane Castro JEI

· Karina Iglesis

· Robbie Elias

Favorite Nightlife Destination

· Clevelander Hotel

· House

· Score

· The Cabaret South Beach

· Twist

Favorite Dance Club

· House

· Hunter's Beach Bar

· Score

· The Manor

· Twist

Favorite DJ

· DJ Abel

· DJ Citizen Jane

· DJ Maximus 3000

· DJ Pride

· DJ Zheno

Favorite Bartender

· Charlie - Score

· Kelly Cambell - Rumors

· Kesia - Score

· Lorenzo – Hotel Gaythering

· Nathan – Twist

Favorite Promoter

· Dustin Reffca

· Edison Farrow

· Hilton Wolman

· Icandee Events

· Pandora Events

Favorite Media Personality

· Belkys Nerey

· Craig Stevens

· Louis Aguirre

· Roxanne Vargas

· Steve Rothaus

Favorite Miami Attraction

· Jungle Island

· Lincoln Road

· Miami Beach Botanical Garden

· Miami Seaquarium

· Perez Art Museum Miami

Favorite Retail Store

· Banana Republic

· Base

· H&M

· Macy's

· Zara

Favorite Gym

· Crunch

· Equinox

· LA Fitness

· Mpower Project Gym

· Steel Gym

Favorite Spa

· Bliss

· Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa

· Mandarin Oriental Miami

· Shore Club South Beach

· The Standard Spa Miami Beach

Favorite Non-Profit Organization

· Beta Phi Omega Sorority, Inc.

· Care Resource

· Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival

· National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

· The Aqua Foundation for Women

Favorite Fundraising Event - One Day

· AIDS Walk Miami

· Miami Beach Botanical Garden Taste of the Garden

· Pridelines Masquerade Ball

· Task Force Recognition Dinner

· Unity Coalition Leaders, Legends and Lovelies Ball

Favorite Fundraising Event - Weekend or Longer

· Aqua Girl

· Miami Beach Gay Pride

· Miami Beach White Party

· Orgullo

· Winter Party Festival

Favorite Local Hero

· Cindy Brown

· Elizabeth F. Schwartz

· Gisela Vega

· Mark Gilbert

· Michael Gongora

September 01, 2014

MSNBC Video | Buzzfeed's Chris Geidner, Freedom to Marry's Evan Wolfson discuss gay marriage cases

Video from MSNBC:

marriage

The next battlegrounds in the fight for marriage equality

Buzzfeed’s Chris Geidner and Freedom to Marry’s Evan Wolfson talk with Jonathan Capehart about same-sex marriage cases in Indiana and Wisconsin, and where the marriage equality movement stands at this moment.

Unity Coalition seeks Hispanic lesbian writers for Celebrate Orgullo panel discussion in fall

writers

Herb Sosa, president of Unity Coalition, is seeking Hispanic lesbian writers for an upcoming Celebrate Orgullo panel discussion.

Celebrate Orgullo, South Florida's Hispanic LGBT Pride Festival will be Oct. 4, 2014 in Miami Beach.

If you know of anyone, contact info@celebrateorgullo.com

August 31, 2014

Documentary on gay rights, ‘The Day It Snowed In Miami,’ wins Aurora Award

snow-teaseThe Day It Snowed In Miami, a documentary showcasing South Florida’s role in the gay rights movement, has won a 2014 Aurora Award.

The documentary, by director Joe Cardona in association with the Miami Herald Media Company, was recognized for “great technical execution, good variety of material sources, clear, in-depth interviews.”

The Day It Snowed In Miami which has been broadcast nationally on PBS and screened at South Florida theaters, covers the political battle lines in Miami in 1977 when gays sought approval of a then controversial human rights law. Singer and orange juice pitchwoman Anita Bryant led the opposition.

The Aurora Awards recognize excellence in film and video in international competitions

August 30, 2014

Florida Agenda publisher Bobby Blair, tennis legend Billie Jean King promote his coming-out memoir

Blair and Billie Jean

baselineBobby Blair, publisher of the gay Florida Agenda and Guy magazine, shares this photo of him with tennis legend Billie Jean King, taken at a book signing in New York for the U.S. Open.

Blair, a former world-ranked tennis player, recently published a coming-out memoir, Hiding Inside The Baseline.

King is quoted on the book's jacket:

“Bobby Blair is committed to providing a safe and confidential support team for LGBT athletes around the globe and by sharing his own experiences and showing how important it is to live your truth, I know he will make a major impact in the lives of those he reaches through his foundation and his new book.”