In the News

Gay Rights Protest Greets Opening Night at the Met
source: The New York Times
posted: 9/23/13
After the lights dimmed for the Metropolitan Opera’s Russian-themed opening night gala on Monday evening, the first solo voice that rang out in the house was not of a tenor or soprano, but of a protester criticizing the recent antigay laws signed by President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.

“Putin, end your war on Russian gays!” a man shouted in the vast auditorium, which was packed for the black-tie gala opening of Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin,” before turning to two of the evening’s Russian s

Pope Says Church Is ‘Obsessed’ With Gays, Abortion and Birth Control
source: The New York Times
posted: 9/19/13
Six months into his papacy, Pope Francis sent shock waves through the Roman Catholic church on Thursday with the publication of his remarks that the church had grown “obsessed” with abortion, gay marriage and contraception, and that he had chosen not to talk about those issues despite recriminations from critics.

His surprising comments came in a lengthy interview in which he criticized the church for putting dogma before love, and for prioritizing moral doctrines over serving the poor and m

Russia: Bill Would Allow Children to Be Taken Away From Gay Parents
source: The New York Times
posted: 9/6/13
In the latest sign of government pressure on gay men and lesbians in Russia, a member of the State Duma, the lower house of Parliament, has proposed a bill that would allow the authorities to take custody of children if one or both of their parents are gay. Russia is already facing a barrage of international criticism, including some calls for a boycott of the coming Winter Olympics in Sochi, over a new law that bars “propaganda on nontraditional sexual relationships.” Supporters of the law say

San Antonio Passes Far-Reaching Antidiscrimination Measure
source: The New York Times
posted: 9/6/13
Nearly 200 cities across the country have enacted ordinances in recent years that prohibit bias by municipal employees or in city contracts over someone’s race, sex, age, religion or sexual orientation. Houston, Austin, Dallas and Fort Worth are a few of the Texas cities that adopted such measures.

But in San Antonio, a nondiscrimination ordinance that includes protections for sexual orientation and gender identity turned into a divisive political battle this summer, the likes of which this

V.A. to Provide Spousal Benefits to Gays, Administration Says
source: The New York Times
posted: 9/4/13
The Obama administration on Wednesday escalated its effort to dismantle federal barriers to same-sex marriages, announcing that the Department of Veterans Affairs would immediately begin providing spousal benefits to gay men and lesbians despite a federal statute that limits such benefits to veterans’ spouses who are “of the opposite sex.”

In letters to Congressional leaders, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said that President Obama had directed the executive branch to stop obeying the s

Landmark Gay Marriage Hearing Approaches In Pa.
source: NPR
posted: 9/1/13
For two months, an elected court clerk in the Philadelphia suburbs has been giving something to same-sex couples they have not been able to get anywhere else: a Pennsylvania marriage license.

Now a court has to decide whether the clerk has singlehandedly added Pennsylvania to the growing list of states that formally sanction same-sex marriages or whether he has been acting illegally and must be stopped.

Wednesday's hearing in Harrisburg pits Gov. Tom Corbett's Health Department against D.

Russia responds to Leno's stand over gay rights
source: SFGate/San Francisco Chronicle
posted: 9/1/13
The efforts of a San Francisco legislator to keep California's largest pension funds from investing millions of dollars in Russia is turning into an international affair - with a Russian diplomat claiming that a new law has been unfairly characterized by the media as antigay.

State Sen. Mark Leno, whose resolution would curb investments from the state's largest pension funds, said Russian officials' dismissive attitude toward the backlash over the law shows that they are in "deep denial."

Justice Ginsburg to officiate at same-sex wedding
source: SFGate/San Francisco Chronicle
posted: 8/31/13
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will officiate at a same-sex wedding this weekend in what is believed to be a first for a member of the nation's highest court.

Ginsburg will officiate Saturday at the marriage of Kennedy Center President Michael Kaiser and John Roberts, a government economist.

"Michael Kaiser is a friend and someone I much admire," Ginsburg said in a written statement Friday. "That is why I am officiating at his wedding."

The private ceremony will take place at

Darren Manzella, gay soldier who challenged ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ killed in NY car accident
source: The Washington Post
posted: 8/30/13
Darren Manzella, a gay combat medic discharged from the Army after criticizing the military’s ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy in a 2007 television interview, has died in a traffic accident in western New York. He was 36.

His aunt, Robin Mahoney, on Friday confirmed his death. Manzella lived in the Chautauqua County town of Portland; he and his partner were married in July.

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office said Manzella was driving on Interstate 490 in suburban Rochester about 8:30 p.m. Th

Gay marriage advocates shift focus in Illinois, turning to unions, immigrant rights movement
source: The Washington Post
posted: 8/30/13
After their efforts to legalize gay marriage fizzled in Illinois this year, advocates gave their campaign a serious makeover: They called on unions, focused longer-term and recalibrated their message by using personal stories instead of civil rights comparisons.

It’s a formula picked up from their fellow activists who made Chicago an influential player in the push for immigrant rights.

Proponents will try again this fall to push gay marriage legislation through the Illinois Legislature, wh