With two major Supreme Court rulings on gay marriage in the works, there is the possibility that America will finally start seeing a lot more same-sex weddings. With gay marriage legal in several states already, we've seen the "I do" industry become more welcoming for gay and lesbian couples. A part of this inclusion includes wedding-planning books, which historically have catered to hetero couples but are now tackling the common questions and hurdles gay partners face leading up to their big day. If you're planning same-sex nuptials or know someone who is, then check out these handy wedding planning books for LGBT lovebirds!
In the midst of the Supreme Court hearings this week on gay-marriage laws, the Human Rights Campaign is urging supporters of same-sex unions to "go red" with their Facebook profile picture by using this red and pink version (to symbolize love) of its blue and gold equality logo. The campaign got a major boost when Star Trek star and gay-rights advocate George Takei posted about it on Facebook to his 3.7 million followers, writing:
For those friends wondering, this special "red" equality symbol signifies that marriage equality really is all about love. Thanks to the Human Rights Campaign for this effort. Please consider changing your profile today in support — esp if you are a straight ally.
So no matter what your sexual orientation is, will you be "going red" with your Facebook profile picture?
The Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments on two gay-marriage cases this week that could either affirm a constitutional right to same-sex marriage across the country or keep DOMA and state bans in place. With so much at stake, advocates on both sides of the debate are camping out in DC to make their presences felt. They include gay couple Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, the plaintiffs in Hollingsworth v. Perry who are trying to overturn California's gay-marriage ban, Proposition 8. They addressed the media before the hearing. Also in attendance was Chief Justice John Roberts's lesbian cousin.
Today, the court heard arguments on Prop. 8, and legal observers note that in their questions, justices appeared skeptical of whether the case had a right to be before the Supreme Court in the first place. If the court decides it does not, and thus fails to make a decision on the constitutionality of gay-marriage bans, then a lower-court decision to invalidate Prop. 8 would stand and gay marriage would be legal in California — although, this would not overturn bans in other states. Tomorrow, the court will hear arguments on the Defense of Marriage Act, and we'll have to wait until the Summer for a decision in either. Until then, check out the demonstrations in front of the Supreme Court now.
— Additional reporting by Annie Scudder
In 1996, President Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act into law, and in 2008, California voters passed Proposition 8, banning gay marriage in the state. But 2013 could be the year the bans become history and gay marriage becomes legal across the US. That's up to the Supreme Court, which hears arguments this week on both laws. Oral arguments on Prop. 8 begin Tuesday, while Wednesday is all about DOMA. A decision likely won't come until July, so until then, let's look into what might impact the court's ruling.
First, What's at Stake
If the court declares DOMA unconstitutional, the federal government would have to recognize same-sex couples legally married in different states and grant them benefits like Social Security. As for Prop. 8, if the Supreme Court rules California's ban is unconstitutional, then gay-marriage bans in every state could be overturned, making gay marriage legal across the US.
Various Outcomes Are Possible
While the court might establish a nationwide constitutional right to gay marriage in the Prop. 8 case, it also could rule in a way that limits its decision to California only. For example, the court could rule that the parties in the case lack "standing" to be in front of the Supreme Court, and thus that it does not have jurisdiction to rule. Without granting a constitutional right to same-sex marriage across the country, a narrower ruling could leave intact lower-court decisions, meaning that California would have to grant gay marriage and that Section 3 of DOMA, which mandates the nonrecognition of same-sex marriages for all federal purposes, would be thrown out.
Today, Queen Elizabeth II is signing a new charter for the Commonwealth that supports gender equality and possibly gay rights, as well. It states, "We recognise that gender equality and women's empowerment are essential components of human development and basic human rights . . . We are implacably opposed to all forms of discrimination, whether rooted in gender, race, colour, creed, political belief or other grounds."
This is the first time the monarch is acknowledging the same-sex population in her capacity, an important detail when you consider gay relationships are recognized in only five out of the 54 Commonwealth nations and "homosexual acts" are illegal in 41. That said, we're not likely to see the queen waving a rainbow flag in a gay rights parade. A Buckingham Palace spokesperson made sure to note that she's not allowed to give a personal endorsement on political matters such as these, saying, "The Queen is apolitical and is signing the document in her capacity as head of the Commonwealth." The signing of the 16-point charter is one element of Queen Elizabeth's Commonwealth Day duties, including a message she delivered at Buckingham Palace. She did, however, pull out of the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey due to health problems that sent her to the hospital earlier this month.
Today, President Barack Obama spoke out at an impromptu news conference against California's Proposition 8 ballot measure that bans gay marriage. He said that Prop. 8 "doesn't provide any rationale for discriminating against same-sex couples other than just the notion, 'Well, they're same-sex couples.'" Obama's remarks come a day after his administration issued a brief urging justices to overturn California's gay marriage ban. The president said, "I felt it was important for us to articulate what I believe and what this administration stands for."
Obama went on to say that since the brief was specifically about California, it didn't explicitly argue that gay marriage should be legal in every state. "That's an argument that I make, personally," he said. "The court may decide that if it doesn't apply in this case, it probably can't apply in any case. There's no good reason for it."
This is an important milestone, as Obama's comments could influence the Supreme Court's decision on the Prop. 8 case — which will be argued March 26 — causing a domino effect with the seven other states that give gay couples the benefits of marriage through civil unions or domestic partnership without allowing them to wed.
In the past, Obama has held a stance that the legalization of same-sex marriage should be decided by the states, but he's become bolder with his backing of the cause since officially voicing his support of gay marriage in May of last year. In his State of the Union address last month, Obama referenced his stance on gay rights, saying, "It is our unfinished task to restore the basic bargain that built this country — the idea that if you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead, no matter where you come from, what you look like, or who you love."
Carrie and Stanley, Kurt and Rachel, Will and Grace — a girl and her best gay pal are a TV trope, but new research says both benefit from the relationship in ways they don't from other friendships. A new study published in Evolutionary Psychology concludes straight women perceive the dating advice from a gay man to be more trustworthy than advice from straight women or straight men. In addition, gay men also perceive the dating advice of straight women to be more trustworthy than advice from gay men or women.
An "absence of sexual interest or competition" is the thing to thank. In other words, you don't have to worry that your gay friend might have ulterior romantic motives. And while you probably don't worry that your best girlfriend will steal your crush, even subtle competition could impact how much you trust her advice. There are other benefits of the gay guy/straight girl friendship, according to the study. It reads: "Gay men are viewed as accepting and admiring women for who they are, regardless of their physical appearance. As a result, women with more gay male friends report increased feelings of sexual attractiveness and greater appreciation for their body relative to women who do not have gay male friends." Do these findings ring true in your experience?
California delivered a victory for gay-rights activists this past Saturday when the state's governor signed a bill banning therapy that attempts to change a minor's sexual orientation. The golden state was the first to pass such a law. Gov. Jerry Brown said: "This bill bans nonscientific 'therapies' that have driven young people to depression and suicide. These practices have no basis in science or medicine and they will now be relegated to the dustbin of quackery."
The legal move backs up recent campaigns to support gay teens following a wave of publicized suicides. Two years ago, columnist Dan Savage and his husband, Terry Miller, started the It Gets Better Project, hoping that video messages from gay adults would encourage alienated gay teens who faced bullying or antigay therapy. The project went viral, and more than 200 inspiring videos were uploaded in the first week from gay and straight allies alike. The Human Rights Campaign also specifically petitioned lawmakers to take action against "reparative therapy."
At least one former activist in the so-called "ex-gay" community has admitted that it is not possible to "treat" homosexuality. John Smid, an "ex-gay" who used to run Love in Action, a fundamentalist Christian program that claimed homosexuality was a curable addictive behavior, resigned from the group in 2008 and eventually said that he had "never met a man who experienced a change from homosexual to heterosexual" — including himself. If you want to know more about the ex-gay "therapy" movement, which California just outlawed, check out the film This Is What Love in Action Looks Like. The trailer is below
"So you heard that," Anderson Cooper said to guest cohost Kristin Chenoweth when she brought up Anderson's recent coming out. On the premiere of his show Anderson Live, the now openly gay journalist was in good spirits, if not a tiny bit bashful, when Kristin mentioned his sexuality. He told Kristin, "I came out in high school. I told my friends. I told my family. I've always been out to my co-workers." Anderson said he didn't believe it was appropriate to talk about his personal life in public as a reporter. Yet, he came to change his mind and explained why he decided this year to come out publicly. Watch him explain now.
So I've been prepping to do this for several weeks now, refining and rewriting my letter over and over until it's exactly what I want to say and how I want to say it. I just clicked the send button and now it's in God's hands, awaiting their response . . . Have my support structure in place, just hope I am as ready as I think I am.
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