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THE AP: “NAVY CLEARS GAY WWII VET’S RECORD”

Sep 19th, 2011 05:16 PM By

The following is an excerpt from a story by The Associated Press:

“Nearly 70 years after expelling Melvin Dwork for being gay, the Navy is changing his discharge from ‘undesirable’ to ‘honorable’ — marking what is believed to be the first time the Pentagon has taken such a step on behalf of a World War II veteran since the repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’

“The Navy notified the 89-year-old former corpsman last month that he will now be eligible for the benefits he had long been denied, including medical care and a military burial.

“Dwork spent decades fighting to remove the blot on his record.

“‘I resented that word ‘undesirable,” said Dwork, who was expelled in 1944, at the height of the war, and is now a successful interior designer in New York. ‘That word really stuck in my craw. To me it was a terrible insult. It had to be righted. It’s really worse than ‘dishonorable.’ I think it was the worst word they could have used.’

“For Dwork, victory came with a heartbreaking truth: Last year, when the Navy finally released his records, he learned that his name had been given up by his own boyfriend at the time.

“The decision to amend his discharge papers was made by the Board for Corrections of Naval Records in Washington.”

READ THE FULL STORY >>

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BRITISH GOVERMENT DRAWS UP PLANS TO INTRODUCE MARRIAGE EQUALITY BEFORE NEXT ELECTION

Sep 19th, 2011 02:01 PM By

The following is an excerpt from a story by AFP:

british-flag.jpg“The government has drawn up plans to introduce same-sex civil marriages before the next election in 2015, Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone said Saturday.

“‘I am delighted to announce today that in March, this government will begin a formal consultation on how to implement equal civil marriage for same-sex couples,’ she told her Liberal Democrat party’s annual conference in Birmingham.

“‘And this would allow us to make any legislative changes necessary by the end of this parliament.’

“Civil partnerships for same-sex couples were introduced in Britain in December 2005, giving them similar rights to married heterosexual couples. However, the partnerships cannot legally be referred to as marriages.

“‘I believe that to deny one group of people the same opportunities offered to another is not only discrimination, but is not fair,’ Featherstone said.

“The change is expected to win strong support among the Liberal Democrats, the junior partners in Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron’s coalition.

“But while Cameron is also said to back the plans, he could face opposition from traditionalist Conservatives, who believe marriage should only be between a man and a woman.

“Gay rights groups argue that maintaining a separation between marriage and civil partnerships perpetuates the notion that same-sex relationships are not as valid as those involving heterosexual couples.”

READ THE FULL STORY >>

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THE AP: “REPEAL OF THE GAY BAN WELCOMED BY CIVILIAN PARTNERS”

Sep 19th, 2011 11:04 AM By

The following is an excerpt from a story by The Associated Press:

“After 19 years hiding her relationship with an active-duty Army captain, Cathy Cooper is getting ready to exhale. On Tuesday, the policy known as ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ will expire. And Cooper will dare speak her love’s name in public.

“‘This is life-changing,’ said Cooper, choking up. ‘I just want to be able to breathe — knowing I can call my partner at work and have a conversation without it having to be in code.’

“Much has been reported about the burdens that ‘don’t ask’ placed on gay and lesbian service members who risked discharge under the 1993 policy if their sexual orientation became known in the ranks. There’s been less attention focused on their civilian partners, who faced distinctive, often relentless stresses of their own.

In interviews with The Associated Press, five partners recalled past challenges trying to conceal their love affairs, spoke of the joy and relief accompanying repeal, and wondered about the extent that they would be welcomed into the broader military family in the future.

“Even with repeal imminent, the partners — long accustomed to secrecy — did not want to reveal the full identity of their active-duty loved ones before Tuesday.

“Cooper, who works for a large private company, moved from the Midwest to northern Virginia to be near her partner’s current Army post, yet couldn’t fully explain to friends and colleagues why she moved. ‘It’s been really difficult — it’s really isolated us,’ she said. ‘I became much more introverted, more evasive.’

“Cooper said her partner’s Army career is thriving, though she’s had to hide a major component of her personal life.

“‘I don’t know any of her co-workers,’ Cooper said. ‘She says, ‘You’re the best part of me and I have to pretend you don’t exist.”

“Looking ahead, Cooper is unsure how same-sex partners will be welcomed by the military establishment.

“‘Will it be, ‘Hey, come join all the family support programs’?’ she wondered. ‘I’m not going to be so naive as to think that … I’m just hoping the door is open.’”

READ THE FIVE INTERVIEWS >>

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BRAD PITT ON MARRIAGE EQUALITY

Sep 16th, 2011 06:13 PM By

In this weekend’s issue of Parade magazine, Brad Pitt discusses his thoughts about marriage equality and religion. Here is an excerpt:

Parade CoverON SAME-SEX MARRIAGE

“Can you believe that we’re still fighting for equality in America? To be against marriage for everyone is utter discrimination. I feel strongly about that because if equality of marriage doesn’t happen now, the next generation will have to deal with it.

“It is an amazing thing that New York has finally gotten same-sex marriage. But the real problem is that the federal government hides behind states on this issue. It is blatant, ugly bigotry, and the federal government shouldn’t be doing that. You’re denying some Americans the right that all Americans have, to live their lives as they choose.

“What are you so afraid of? That’s my question. Gay people getting married? What is so scary about that? It’s complicated. You grow up in a religion like that and you try to pray the gay away. I feel sadness for people like that. This is where people start short-circuiting—instead of being brave and questioning their beliefs, they are afraid and feel that they have to defend them.

“I don’t mind a world with religion in it. There are some beautiful tenets within all religions. What I get hot about is when they start dictating how other people must live. People suffer because of it. They are spreading misery.

“My family is all devout Christians. Yes, absolutely. We don’t see eye to eye on this one, yet at the end of the day we love each other, we’re still family.”

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CLINT EASTWOOD: “I DON’T GIVE A F**K ABOUT WHO WANTS TO GET MARRIED TO ANYBODY ELSE!”

Sep 14th, 2011 12:56 PM By

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In an interview with GQ about their new movie about J. Edgar Hoover, Clint Eastwood and Leonardo Dicaprio express their support for marriage equality. Here is an excerpt from their inteview:

GQ: [To Eastwood] You’ve described yourself as a social libertarian. What does that mean to you?

Clint Eastwood: I was an Eisenhower Republican when I started out at 21, because he promised to get us out of the Korean War. And over the years, I realized there was a Republican philosophy that I liked. And then they lost it. And libertarians had more of it. Because what I really believe is, let’s spend a little more time leaving everybody alone. These people who are making a big deal out of gay marriage? I don’t give a f**k about who wants to get married to anybody else! Why not?! We’re making a big deal out of things we shouldn’t be making a deal out of.

Leonardo Dicaprio: That’s the most infuriating thing—watching people focus on these things. Meanwhile, there’s the onset of global warming and—

Clint Eastwood: Exactly!

Leonardo Dicaprio: —and these incredibly scary and menacing things with the future of our economy. Our relationship to the rest of the world. And here we are focusing on this?

Clint Eastwood: They go on and on with all this bullshit about “sanctity”—don’t give me that sanctity crap! Just give everybody the chance to have the life they want.

Leonardo Dicaprio: It’s the great diversion. Politicians are masters at getting you to be on their side so that you don’t look at how big business—

Clint Eastwood: I love big business! [They both laugh.]

Clint Eastwood: I love big business if it hires everybody and does all the right things, and if they get off track then they’ll have to deal with whatever—

Leonardo Dicaprio: But they often do get off track, unfortunately. See, now you’ve got us in a political debate!

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KATE WINSLET SAYS IT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE TO HER IF HER SON IS GAY

Sep 12th, 2011 03:48 PM By

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In the new issue of V Magazine, Oscar winner Kate Winslet shares how it makes no difference to her if her son is straight or gay. We applaud Kate for being such a wonderful role model and parent. Here is an excerpt from her interview:

“I like the diversity that my children are exposed to every day. I love the way their brains work. Joe [her son] turns to me the other day and says, ‘One day, I will have a girlfriend. But I might have a boyfriend. If I’m gay.’ He’s 7! And I said, ‘You might have a girlfriend or a boyfriend, darling.’ And he said, ‘Which would you prefer?’ And I said, ‘My love, that would be entirely up to you, and it doesn’t make any difference to me.’ But that he knows! It’s a real privilege. Talk about the best education.”

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HRC: NORTH CAROLINA LEGISLATURE MAY VOTE TODAY ON ANTI-MARRIAGE EQUALITY BILL

Sep 12th, 2011 12:23 PM By

According to our friends at the Human Rights Campaign:

Today HRC and Equality North Carolina staff and volunteers are pulling out all the stops to ensure that the anti-marriage equality amendment goes down in defeat. The delivery of 45,000 postcards to legislators is underway, as is the delivery of a letter signed by nearly 500 clergy and people of faith. The North Carolina legislature is poised to take up the discriminatory bills this week, and will likely vote today or tomorrow. Should they pass these bills, a constitutional amendment to ban marriage equality will appear on the 2012 ballot.

If you live in North Carolina, your legislator needs to hear from you today. Please contact your legislators right now and urge them to oppose these hateful bills.

Take Action! Tell your representatives that the legislature was sent to Raleigh to tackle jobs, the economy and the state budget, not to advance a divisive social agenda.

Volunteer at one of our in-person phone banks in Raleigh, Greensboro, Asheville, and Pinehurst and find out about our rally for equality tomorrow.

If you’re not able to join us at one of our in-person phonebanks, we’ve made it easy for you to help from your home, your office or anywhere in the state through our virtual phonebanks. Sign up today!

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TREVOR PROJECT: TALK TO ME CAMPAIGN

Sep 06th, 2011 11:30 AM By

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WHY TALK?

Sure, it’s easier to text, poke, like, or chat. But, when you TALK to someone you get a sense of how they’re really feeling. You’ll show that you care enough to listen. And, when a person has someone to talk to, they feel supported and are more likely to ask for help when they need it.

WHY NOW?

September 4th – 10th is National Suicide Prevention Week. Now is the time to check in with friends and family. Let them know that you’re available to talk. And, make sure you know what to do if someone is in crisis.

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PASTOR JAY BAKKER ON INCLUSIVITY IN CHRISTIANITY

Aug 24th, 2011 06:33 PM By

CNN’s Don Lemon talks with Pastor Jay Bakker, son of televangelists Jim Bakker and Tammy Faye Bakker Messner, about his inclusive and welcoming views of gay people in religion and Christianity.

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DOLLY PARTON ON ACCEPTANCE

Aug 23rd, 2011 11:28 AM By

Longtime equality advocate Dolly Parton shares her inspiring views on acceptance:

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