A state judge just ruled the Louisiana same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional


Only weeks after a district judge upheld Louisiana’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, a Louisiana state judge just ruled the law is unconstitutional.

Judge Edward Rubin ruled the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and in violation of the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the full faith and credit clause.

Since the Supreme Court struck down DOMA in 2013, we witnessed 21 sequential rulings against same-marriage bans that was abruptly, and erroneously, broken by District Judge Martin Feldman.

This latest ruling is good news, my friends…although I would wager it will be appealed.

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U.S. appeals court upholds New Jersey’s gay-to-straight conversion therapy ban


In Trenton, NJ today, a federal appeals court upheld a lower court’s ruling and New Jersey’s ban on gay-to-straight conversion therapy for minors.

The law prevents a licensed therapist, psychologist, social worker or counselor from using sexual orientation change efforts on children younger than 18.

According to the three-judge panel, the law does not violate freedom of speech or religion and the state has substantial interest in regulating the speech of professionals dealing with mental health to protect the public.

Days after Governor Chris Christie signed the ban into law, opponents filed suit. They claimed the law violated their responsibility to their clients who wanted the treatment (you know, the minors that were unable to consent and typically forced into therapy by their parents).

Supporters, on the other hand, cited scientific reports by the American Psychological Association and other professional organizations that question the efficacy of the treatment and criticize the practice as emotionally demoralizing and damaging.

Supporting our youth – Your Holiday Mom


The holiday season is upon us, but you would never know it watching the evening news. The holidays are a time to rejoice, to celebrate love and life…but recent tragedies and the worst of humanity has been on display recently. Amidst all the negativity and turmoil, I wanted to share something joyful, uplifting and full of the true spirit of the holidays.

A group of 40 moms (and a few dads) banned together under the common goal of sharing their love for LGBT youth in need of it this holiday season called Your Holiday Mom. The moms are mostly straight, some with children of their own and some without. Some have several children and from large extended families and others are single moms with no extended family. Some have LGBT children, some do not. Many of the 40 moms have not met the founder or each other, they simply came together to offer a message of love and to be a stand-in mom for an LGBT youth that may have been rejected by their own family.

Each of the 40 volunteers have recorded a video and written an open letter in which their offer to be a surrogate mom to a lonely LGBT child this season. Youth can sign up to receive emails each day from Thanksgiving until New Years, or they can read the letters online if they wish to remain anonymous.

In case you were unaware, LGBT children are often rejected or become estranged from their families as young teens and many are the victims of religious intolerance. LGBT teens are all too often told to leave their homes or are subjected to emotional abuse until they run away, even as psychologists contend that the greatest indicator of how successful a gay teen will be as an adult is the acceptance and support they receive from their family when they come out. Organization such as Your Holiday Mom or the It Gets Better project are working to offer love and support to these teens yearning desperately to know they someone is out there and someone cares.

And I will leave you with one final thought. Maybe the term LGBT youth is misleading or causes many to fixate on the LGBT rather than the most important part, the youth. The average age of a homeless LGBT youth is 14 years. Thus, thousands of children out there are 11, 12 and 13 years old and living on the streets, homeless. Imagine an 11- or 12-year-old being tossed from his/her home and forced to live on the street. This statistic shocks me, and should shock the public conscience as much as any recent news story. This is neglect, and these children need a voice…you may not be able to do everything, but you can do something…just as the 40 moms of Your Holiday Mom have done. Make your voice heard, give rejected LGBT youth a voice.

 

Top NY Executives Lobbying for Same-Sex Marriage


A group of New York business moguls released a letter lobbying state legislators to legalize same-sex marriage. They argue the decision is not only fair, it makes good business sense.

The group includes the CEOs of Goldma Sachs, Thompson Reuters, Con Edison, and 23 other firms.

The letter is titled, “An open letter from business leaders on the importance of marriage equality” and argues that not allowing same-sex couples to marry affects the state’s ability to attract qualified workers.

As New Yorkers and business leaders, we believe that attracting talent is key to our state’s economic future,” the letter reads. “We strongly urge New York State to enact marriage equality legislation to help maintain our competitive advantage in attracting the best and brightest people the world has to offer.

Other notable signers include Jes Staley (CEO of JP Morgan’s Investment Bank), John J. Mack (executive chairman of the board of Morgan Stanley), and Daniel L. Doctoroff (president of Bloomberg).

Children’s Story About a Same-Sex Penguin Couple Tops Library Complaint


“And Tango Makes Three” is a children’s book based on the adorable true story of two chinstrap penguins named Roy and Silo who live in the Central Park Zoo. Roy and Silo are both male penguins, and they adopted and raised a chick named Tango. The story is touching and the book helps parents teach children about same-sex couples.

My personal favorite is the final line of the book:

And like all the other penguins in the penguin house, and all the other animals in the zoo, and all the families in the big city around them, they went to sleep.

Adorable, right? Well, not according to the American Library Association. The book once again topped the list of most frequently challenged books. (It was also number one in 2007, 2008, and 2009.) According to the American Library Association:

A challenge is defined as a formal, written complaint filed with a library or school requesting that a book or other material be restricted or removed because of its content or appropriateness.

How tragic is it that this book that helps children to understand a topic most parents do not know how to even approach is being attacked and taken off of shelves for being controversial? When are we going to start teaching our kids about inclusion? Why not tell kids about different people? We need to tell our children that is is okay to be gay. Because, if we don’t…we could lose them before they learn that it gets better…

Keep that in mind.

Top NOM Official Defects, Takes 290,000 Facebook Fans With Him


Louis Marinelli was a key strategist for the National Organization for Marriage (NOM). He was responsible for developing the grassroots and online messaging strategy for the group and had been leading NOM’s national bus tour.

Recently, Marinelli defected to announce that he has undergone a “transition” from ardent opponent of LGBT rights and marriage equality to supporting full marriage rights for same-sex couples.

Marinelli posted this on his blog:

Having spent the last five years putting all of my political will, interest and energy into fighting against the spread of same-sex marriage as if it were a contagious disease, I must admit that it is hard for me to put the following text into words let alone utter them with my own voice.

Whether it is an issue of disbelief, shame or embarrassment, the one thing that is for sure is that I have come to this point after several months of an internal conflict with myself. That conflict gradually tore away at me until recently when I was able to for the first time simply admit to myself that I do in fact support civil marriage equality.

Apparently traveling the nation and witnessing the handful of NOM supporters and anti-LGBT protestors met with hundreds or even thousands of supporters of equality really puts things into perspective.

But the best part is, with Marinelli’s exit from the group, NOM lost 290,000 Facebook followers. The group’s page was down to only 15 fans at one point, but has since regained a few hundred crazies.

Texas State Budget Bill Forces Colleges to Spend Equally on LGBT and ‘Traditional Values’


Rep. Wayne Christian proposed the amendment

An amendment to the Texas state budget bill just passed the Texas House that requires that if public universities wish to spend taxpayer dollars on projects like LGBT resource centers, they must spend the same amount on promoting “traditional and family values.”

The amendment passed the state House 110-24 (Republicans outnumber Democrats in the Texas House 2:1).

But what exactly does “traditional and family values” mean? Well, that could be our loophole to sneak around this ridiculous proposal. In my family, it is traditional to value your friends, neighbors, and strangers as equal members of society. Thus, an LGBT resource center would be the “traditional and family values” I like to call inclusion and acceptance.