Tag Archives: discrimination

Obama Finally Backs Law To Protect LGBT Workers In All 50 States

Though same-sex marriage is now legal across all 50 US states, there is still a lot need to do to protect LGBTs in American.

Anti-discrimination laws vary from state to state – meaning that you can still legally be fired for being LGBT in 28 states.

However, now President Obama is throwing his weight behind a proposed anti-discrimination law, which would protect LGBT workers in all 50 states.

Obama previously signed an Executive Order outlawing discrimination, but this only extends to federal contractors.

The President had declined to openly back the Equality Act last month – but this week vowed to support the law, which already has backing from most Democratic lawmakers.

His press spokesperson Josh Earnest said:

The administration strongly supports the Equality Act. That bill is historic legislation that would advance the cause of equality for millions of Americans.

We look forward to working with Congress to ensure that the legislative process produces a result that balances both the bedrock principles of civil rights… with the religious liberty that we hold dear in this country.”

Over 100 Democrats have co-sponsored the bill – which would outlaw discrimination and ensure a range of protections for LGBT people – and it also has numerous endorsements from large corporations including Google, Microsoft and Apple.


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Judge Changes Mind About Taking Baby Away From Lesbian Foster Parents

A Utah judge has reversed his order to take a foster child away from her foster parents because of their sexuality (even though the biological mother is happy for the couple to raise her child).

April Hoagland and Beckie Peirce – from Utah – are married with two children. The pair had also been hoping to adopt the one-year-old girl they had been fostering for three months.

Judge Scott Johansen claimed various studies suggested children are better off being raised in a heterosexual households – but the feel the judge used the questionable evidence to force his religious beliefs upon them.

He did not provide any statistics to support this claim, however, and the American Psychological Association said this so-called research does not exist.

The couple and the UDCFS were convinced the judge based his decision on his religious beliefs and filed court challenges to rescind the order.

Johansen is a bishop in the Mormon church, CBS News reports, which likely explains his disapproval of homosexuality.

But according to UDCFS spokeswoman Ashley Sumner, Johansen issued a revised order taking back his original ruling.

Sumner is still concerned, however, Johansen could very well order the baby to be taken away again at an upcoming custody hearing.

This is because even though Johansen took out a line from his original order that read, “It is not in the best interest of children to be raised by same-sex couples,” the revised version reportedly still contains the following line:

The court cited a concern that research has shown that children are more emotionally and mentally stable when raised by a mother and father in the same home.

Sumner hopes Johansen will take the mass outrage he produced into consideration during an upcoming court appearance on December 4.

Utah Governor Gary Herbert said on Thursday Johansen’s personal opinions should not at all play a role in his job to uphold the law.

Peirce and Hoagland have been raising the child for three months and are pursuing adoption.

Utah Judge Removes Child From Foster Parents Because They Are Lesbians

The judge has removed a baby girl from her foster parents because of their sexuality, even though the biological mother is happy for the couple to raise her child.

April Hoagland and Beckie Peirce – from Utah – are married with two children. The pair had also been hoping to adopt the one-year-old girl they had been fostering for three months.

However, a judge has ordered the Department of Child and Family Services to remove the child from their care within seven days.

Judge Scott Johansen claimed various studies suggested children are better off being raised in a heterosexual households – but the feel the judge used the questionable evidence to force his religious beliefs upon them.

The couple say they are devastated by the ruling, especially as they have not done anything legally wrong.

Talking to KUTV, Ms Hoagland said

We are shatteredIt hurts me really badly because I haven’t done anything wrong.”

Ms Peirce added

He’s never been in our home, never spent time with the child in our home or our other children so he doesn’t know anything about this.”

Brent Platt, Director of the state’s Division of Child and Family Services, said he had not seen the judge’s order – but his caseworkers must comply. At the same time, he wants to make sure his caseworkers don’t break the law by removing the child. He will have his division’s attorneys look at the judge’s order.

LGBT activists have rejected the decision, noting that recent studies prove that sexuality has no negative impact on a couple’s ability to raise a child – in fact, the opposite is often true.

President of The Human Rights Campaign, Chad Griffin, said in a statement

Removing a child from a loving home simply because the parents are LGBT is outrageous, shocking, and unjust. At a time when so many children in foster care need loving homes, it is sickening to think that a child would be taken from caring parents who planned to adopt.

It also flies in the face of overwhelming evidence that children being raised by same-sex parents are just as healthy and well-adjusted as those with different-sex parents.”

One such study by the University of Texas recently found that same-sex couples actually tend to invest more time in their children than their heterosexual counterparts.
The study – that was launched to tackle prejudice like this.

 

Missouri Wedding Venue Turns Away Lesbian Couple Saying “Same-Sex Marriages Violate Our Religious Beliefs”

Another day – another beautiful couple to discriminated against.

A Missouri couple will not be able to host their wedding next year at the venue of their choice, as the owners do not support same-sex marriage.

The owners of the venue, told the couple they’re not welcome because they’re lesbians, according to a Missouri newspaper.

The news came as a shock to brides-to-be Rachel Cathey and Beverly Vaughn, when the women and Cathey’s mother toured the venue last week and came face-to-face with owner Sara Howell’s antigay beliefs.

Cathey told the Sedalia Democrat of the venue

It is stunning. It’s so pretty — we looked at each other and said ‘This is it, this is where we’re going to get married.’ We started talking about a place for the bride to get ready. Sara said ‘we have a bridal suite.’ I said, ‘We have two brides.’”

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That’s when Howell dropped the bombshell that Heritage Ranch does not permit same-sex weddings at the venue.

Cathey told the paper.

Before she could even finish I asked why and she said ‘because we’re Christian and we don’t,’”

Howell’s husband, Josh, who co-owns Heritage Ranch, explained to the Democrat why the facility doesn’t allow same-sex marriages:

It is a violation of our religious beliefs. We would have to violate our conscious to allow that to occur here. We feel we would be dishonoring God, who we serve and He was the one who gave us this business and it is only right we serve him and honor him with it. It would be a sin for us to allow that, so we could not in good conscious do that.

It’s not a personal matter. It’s a matter of religious conviction and personal belief.”

Josh Howell said the couple has turned away one other couple due to their Christian beliefs. Now the victimizers are playing the victim, complaining they have been on the receiving end of telephone and social media hate messages.

We’ve had several hateful messages over the phone and social media since the article was published and we found it very hypocritical they criticized us for being hateful and then follow that up with hateful comments toward us,”

Howell told the paper he and his wife are within their rights to deny service to Cathey, as the event venue is housed on private property, though it is accessible to the public.

Meanwhile, Cathey and Vaughn have received the backing of a statewide LGBT group, Promoting Equality for All Missourians, otherwise known as PROMO.

PROMO Interim Director Steph Perkins told the Democrat.

We are working to pass the Missouri Non-discrimination Act, known as MONA. It would add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected categories to the Human Rights Statute that protects against discrimination in employment, housing, access to public services. Businesses that are open to the public — provide public accommodation — currently cannot deny service based on race, religion (and national origin, ancestry, gender or age). With MONA that would include sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Missouri is one of 27 states that do not have non-discrimination laws to protect LGBT citizens, and no federal legislation currently exists to protect LGBT people from discrimination in employment, housing, or public accommodation.

 

This Couple Kissed In Public And Ended Up In Jail

A police officer in Hawaii is under investigation after allegedly arresting two women for kissing in public.

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The couple Taylor Guerrero and Courtney Wilson from Los Angeles, were holidaying on the islands in March this year when they stopped off at a Woodland grocery store.

Officer Bobby Harrison is then said to have taken offence at the pair’s public displays of affection when they began kissing.

According to a lawsuit, the pair were hugging and holding hands as they walked through the aisles, while Harrison “observed their consensual romantic contact and, in a loud voice, ordered plaintiffs to stop and ‘take it somewhere else.’”

The couple, who have been dating for two years, complied with the officer’s demands but were allegedly told they would be thrown out of the store when he saw them being affectionate again.

Things soon turned physical when the pair queued up to pay for their goods, according to Guerrero.

He was bumping his belly against Courtney. He said, ‘you girls don’t know how to act. You don’t know the difference between a motel and a grocery store.’”

Guerrero then claimed she was shoved by Harrison when she tried to defend her girlfriend and kicked him as she fell.

Wilson added:

The whole situation got physical. I got punched in the face by him.”

Other shoppers could only watch as shop staff restrained the couple as Harrison arrested them for assault on an officer.

The pair were jailed for three days before they were released and ordered to stay in Honolulu, where they had to stay with friends and family.

Their charges were eventually dropped.

The Honolulu Police Department have now launched an investigation into wrongful arrest while Harrison remains on active duty.

Foodland have since apologised to the couple over the incident.

Pics: Jennifer Sinco Kelleher/AP

School Teacher Bullied By Principle Because She Is A Lesbian

A longtime city public-school teacher, Roseanne Kaplan-DiNola says she her homophobic colleagues made her life a living hell on a daily basis.

Mrs Kaplan-DiNola — a teacher at PS 207 in Howard Beach, Queens, since 1992 — claims in her suit that former Principal Linda Spadaro and Assistant Principal Eileen Davies “openly berated her for her ‘lifestyle choices.’”

Talking to The New York Post, she said

I used to pray to God before work and ask to not be singled out in some terrible way,”

From the moment they started working together, Mrs Kaplan-DiNola says that Spadaro told her “that she was not comfortable with her lifestyle preferences and wanted her out” of the school.

Rosanne Kaplan-DiNola DOE lawsuit. Longtime public elementary school teacher Rosanne Kaplan-DiNola says her supervisors made her work life a living hell because she's a lesbian. The Queens teacher says Principal Linda Spadaro and AP Eileen Davies "openly berated her for her 'lifestyle choices.'" Kaplan-DiNola's worked at PS 207 since 1992. PICTURED: Rosanne Kaplan-DiNola (53, in green) at her Long Island home with wife Sherri Kaplan-DiNola (49, in black) and their 16 year old son Jonathan.

Rosanne Kaplan-DiNola DOE lawsuit. Longtime public elementary school teacher Rosanne Kaplan-DiNola says her supervisors made her work life a living hell because she’s a lesbian. The Queens teacher says Principal Linda Spadaro and AP Eileen Davies “openly berated her for her ‘lifestyle choices.'” Kaplan-DiNola’s worked at PS 207 since 1992. PICTURED: Rosanne Kaplan-DiNola (53, in green) at her Long Island home with wife Sherri Kaplan-DiNola (49, in black) and their 16 year old son Jonathan.

She also said that when her son was being bullied at school because his parents were gay, her boss blamed her, saying:

Well, what did you expect, having kids as a gay parent? It is an abomination against God, and you made this child a victim of your poor choices.”

The suit also claims Davies called the teacher a “f—ing dyke” during a disagreement about parent-teacher conferences.

However, after she complained to her district superintendent, Mrs Kaplan-DiNola said that rather than receive support, she was swiftly demoted.

Kaplan-DiNola’s lawyer, Steven Morelli, added.

The comments and the treatment were obviously incredibly offensive, yet the Department of Education has failed to take any action whatever.”

Mrs Kaplan-DiNola says the discrimination made her depressed and began having an effect on her personal life.

My wife and I began to drift apart during the most stressful times largely because of the emotional toll it was taking on me. I’m making a stand so that someday this won’t happen to anyone anymore.”

There are 50 states in the United States of America and a whopping 29 of them have lacking anti-discrimination laws that allow LGBTQ to be fired solely based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Including Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and all the other usual suspects, even New York is listed as a state that fails in protecting its workers as it doesn’t protect against gender identity discrimination.

Texan Judge Rules Woman Can Inherit Late Wife’s Estate With Common Law Marriage

A Texas judge has signed a judgement, which recognises the eight year relationship between couple Stella Powell and Sonemaly Phrasavath.

After Powell died last year, Phrasavath started the legal fight to have their relationship recognised.

However, Texas’ Attorney General, Ken Paxton, filed a motion in an attempt to stop the relationship from being recognised.

This came just a day after Paxton pledged to comply with the Supreme Court’s ruling in favour of same-sex marriage.

Paxton filed a motion on 25 August, in an attempt to block Sonemaly Phrasavath from inheriting any portion of her late partner Stella Powell’s estate.

Powell died in 2014 without a will, and her siblings set out to exclude Phrasavath from inheriting any of the estate, despite that the couple had been together for eight years.

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Phrasavath has since appealed to have the relationship recognised retroactively as a common law marriage.

Paxton got involved in February, to defend the state of Texas and its same-sex marriage ban.

But now that the Supreme Court has ruled in favour of same-sex marriage, Phrasavath said she can’t understand why the Attorney General is still involved in “what’s essentially a family dispute.”

Her lawyer Brian Thompson, said this proves that Paxton is “not recognizing the full force of the Obergefell opinion.”

Thompson said of his client

This is not, for her, about the money. This is about respect and dignity, the kinds of words Justice Kennedy used in his opinion in Obergefell, and all [Paxton’s office is] trying to do is deny Sonemaly the dignity of being recognized as Stella’s spouse.”

Paxton still argues that, because the same-sex marriage ban in Texas was active for the entirety of the women’s relationship, they should not be recognised as having been in a common law marriage.

This is despite the couple signing an affidavit of domestic partnership, and having held a blessing ceremony at a church in 2008.

Lesbians Really Do Earn More Than Straight Women (But That’s Not Really A Good Thing)

In the world of work there lays a clear biased – women earn less than men. Caucasian folk earn more than ethnic groups. And gay men, and transgender people make less than their heteronormative friends.

Yet there’s one minority group that flies in the face of conventional wisdom with a positive wage gap: lesbians.

Lesbians in Western countries suffer many types of discrimination, but being underpaid is not one of them.

Why? Well a new study by the University of Melbourne and San Diego State University found gay women earn more because they are better at “leaning in.”

Nick Drydakis, co-author of the study and senior lecturer in economics at the University of Anglia, also suggests this is because lesbians often know early in life that they will not marry into a traditional household where a male could provide for them. So they invest more in themselves, study longer than heterosexual women and make more career-oriented decisions.

Good for them, right? Not necessarily. While the lesbian pay premium is certainly good news for us hardworking women, it may also be due to the systematic discrimination against other groups.

Mothers, for example, earn less than childless women. And lesbians have fewer children than heterosexual married women.

Drydakis says

This might make employers more interested in promoting lesbians, who are less likely to move in and out of the labour market.”

He also suggests that employers, colleagues and consumers often favour personality traits traditionally associated with men — like ambition, authority and pragmatism.


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Lesbians might also benefit if they exhibit more of those attributes than their heterosexual counterparts or gay male co-workers.

Research however did find that the wage premium was lower for those lesbians who had previously been in heterosexual marriages.

Jeffrey Waddoups, who conducted this particular study and is the graduate coordinator for economics at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, explained

This is because the typical household division of labour for married couples focuses on career advancement of men.”

To be sure, we still face other types of discrimination in and out of the workplace.

And research indicates the marketplace continues to benefit primarily men or women who are perceived as being more “manly.”

So the key is to be assertive, stay longer in school and select a lifelong partner who understands career advancement is not a male privilege.

School Tries And Fails To Suspend Student For ‘Lesbian’ T-Shirt

Senior Briana Popour had worn the shirt to her South Carolina school plenty of times before, but earlier this month, she was suspended for it for the first time. “Nobody knows I’m a lesbian” it read.

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The Chesnee High School official pulled Popour out of class to tell her the shirt was disruptive. The student handbook bans “clothing deemed distracting, revealing, overly suggestive, or otherwise disruptive,” as well as any attire that is “immodest, obscene, profane, lewd, vulgar, indecent or offensive.”

She explained to WSPA,

When I said something to him about the handbook, he said, ‘Well, not everything is in the handbook.’”

Briana’s mother, Barbara Popour, confronted the official when she went to pick up her daughter.

He does not like people in his school wearing anything that says anything about lesbians, gays, or bisexuals. I was told to change my shirt or go home, so I went home because I wasn’t going to allow him to tell me I can’t wear a shirt that shows who I am.”

When asked for comment, school officials said that the t-shirt was “offensive and distracting”.

However, for Miss Popour, the t-shirt is part of her identity.

She also says that rather than punishing students for self-expression, the school should instead be encouraging their pupils to “be happy with who you are”.

Isn’t that what school is supposed to teach you? To be happy with who you are? Maybe people will be more comfortable showing who they are because you should be able to wear what you want to wear.”

The school has since overturned Popour’s suspension. According to Spartanburg School District 2 spokeswoman Rhonda Henderson,

The dress code disciplinary decision you inquired about was overturned when administration realized that although the shirt was offensive and distracting to some adults in the building, the students were paying it little attention.”

Poll Finds Most Americans Don’t Agree Kim Davis Stance On Same-Sex Marriage

As we all though, anti-gay clerk Kim Davis of Rowan County was jailed for contempt of court after she ignored direct orders from a court, by continuing to refuse to let same-sex couples marry.

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Why? Well, even after begin married herself four times, she still claims God doesn’t want gays to marry.

However, a poll has found that despite a sizeable amount of public support for her position at the start of the controversy, now nearly two thirds of Americans disagree.

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The Washington Post-ABC News poll found 63% of those surveyed say Davis should be required to do so regardless of her religious objections.

According to pollsters, almost one in two, or 45%, approved of the decision by a federal judge to send Davis to jail for not complying with his order to issue those licenses. And 16% preferred Davis be forced to issue the licenses, but were against sending her to jail for her refusal.

Nearly three-quarters of respondents said when civil rights and religious beliefs conflict, it is more important to treat everyone equally than to accommodate someone’s objections based on faith. And it wasn’t just Democrats but Republicans, liberals, and conservatives who offered broad support for that concept.

The Post-ABC poll was conducted Sept. 7-10 among a random national sample of 1,003 adults, including land-line and cellphone respondents. Overall results have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

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Lesbian Coming Out Story Illustrated By Stunning New Photo Series

The series – by photographer Arjun Kamath – captures the struggle that LGBTs go through when coming out, as well as the rejection and ridicule they may still face.

The images show the journey of Alpana and Maitreyi, who are shown climbing out of a closet, before finding peace and acceptance together.

The powerful imagery aims to show the fear and confusion many people feel when realising their sexuality, and the strength it takes to be honest with oneself, as well as society.

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Speaking about his inspiration for the photographs, Kamath said:

Being straight, I think I can look at the whole situation more objectively. I don’t think discrimination against gay people is any different from other types of discrimination, such as discrimination against overweight people or discrimination against dark skinned people. People should be allowed to lead their lives without judgement. It’s cowardly to make fun of people who are different from you. That said, I don’t consider myself to be a gay activist. I’m an artist and I work on subjects that move me.”

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Asked about the reaction to the series, the photographer said its reception had been nothing but positive.

The most heartening aspect has been receiving messages of support from strangers. Just today, a bisexual woman messaged me that saying how the photo shoot had moved her to tears. She says she’d been ostracised throughout her life for being bisexual and being dark skinned. She said she was really happy I’d brought this issue out into the open.”

Diversity Study Confirms Film Industry Still Mostly White, Straight and Male

A study conducted by the Media, Diversity and Social Change Initiative at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism analysed the top 100 films of each year from 2007-2014 (excluding 2011).

The study took into account gender, racial and LGBT representation and — surprise, surprise — the results over the past seven years are disappointingly bleak.

Across 4,610 speaking characters in the 100 top films of 2014, only 19 were lesbian, gay or bisexual.

Not one transgender character was portrayed.

Ten characters were coded as gay, four were lesbian and five were bisexual.

Only 14 movies sample wide featured an LGB depiction and none of those films were animated.

Overall, those LGB characters were overwhelmingly male (63.2%) and overwhelmingly white (84.2%).

When it comes to character portrayal, the study finds there was little representation of “healthy romantic/sexual relationships”.

None of the gay or bisexual male characters were shown in committed relationships, and no LGB characters were portrayed as parents raising children together.

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The study also shows the portrayal of women has become increasingly sexualised; moving from 27% to 27.9% over the years, while nudity has jumped to 26.4%. Shockingly, girls aged 13-20 were just as likely be shown in sexy attire or referenced as attractive.

Dr. Stacy L. Smith, the Initiative’s director said:

We’re really seeing this focus on appearance and sexiness, the male gaze if you will, starting with a very young age for female actors.”

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Women only represented 30.2% of the 30,835 speaking roles in the 700 top-grossing films from 2007 to 2014 (excluding 2011). Overall, only 11% of those films had women for roughly half of the speaking roles.

Broken down by genre, women only represented 21.8% of speaking roles in action/adventure films, and 34% of characters in comedies. Less than a quarter of speaking characters in animated films were female, a 7.4% decrease from 2010.

Dr. Stacy L. Smith added

If we existed in a world described in the pages of this report, we would have a population crisis on our hands.”

Only two women directed the top 100 films of 2014. Over the past seven years, only 28 women have directed films in the top 700. Three of those women were African-American.

Black or African American speaking characters were not featured in 17 of the top 100 films of 2014. Asian speaking characters were not included in 40 films in 2014’s top 100.

Smith said

When more than 40 films do not depict one Asian character, I think we have a representational crisis going on in the film industry.”

Behind the scenes, only 4.7% of the top 2014 directors were black, which breaks down to 5 out of 107 directors. Only 5.8% directors of the top 700 films overall were black.

That figure is even lower for Asian directors, who only helmed 19 of the top 700 films.

Lesbians and Gays Banned From Bisexual Dating Site

Recently, BisexualFish.com, the website for bisexuals looking love, declared that the site is dedicated to bisexual individuals only, and will not allow gays and lesbians to be on it.

Marshall, founder of BisexualFish.com

We want to reiterate that our service is only for people who are attracted to both men and women. We just want to provide a place where everyone has the same orientation. Common interest is very important when it comes to dating, more important for the bisexual crowd. It would be a very unpleasant experience when you come across someone on the site you want to say hi to but she replies ‘sorry, I’m not interested in dudes’.”

Marshall was quick to reiterate that this wasn’t about discrimination

This isn’t about discrimination at all. As part of the LGBT community, we certainly know what it’s like to be prejudiced and no one wants feeling. However, we want to create a more dedicated platform for our members. I’m sure there are services that are for gay and lesbian only, where gay and lesbian will have a much bigger chance to meet that one.”

Unlike any other dating sites, BisexualFish.com doesn’t allow its members to select their “orientation”. The only option is for “bisexuals” to meet “bisexuals”, which means if you’re a member, you could only be bisexual.

However, Marshall mentioned another term which sounds a little bit vague, “bi-curious”.

There are people who are curious about bisexuality. They might be uncertain about their sexuality thus can’t identify themselves as ‘bisexuals’, but as long as they’re interested in both men and women, I don’t see why we shouldn’t give them a big welcome.”

Mother Has Perfect Response to Anti-Gay Vandals Targeting Her Bisexual Daughters

Miranda DeLong, who identifies as bisexual, returned from work with a transgender friend to find her garage doors spray painted with the words: ‘I’m Gay.’

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She immediately woke up her parents and her younger sister, who is also bisexual, and the family gathered outside to inspect the damage.

The sisters were in state of shock and their parents were furious, but their mother responded in the coolest way possible.

Instead of covering the graffiti in the original white, Erin and her daughters repainted the door in rainbow colours.

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Our kids are our everything, and to see them hurt is worse than being hurt ourselves.

We decided that some announcements deserve more than gray spray paint. We made it rainbow so we could include all sexualities, we have many LGBT friends that visit our house and we wanted them to all feel accepted. It was a way to support them all.”

The DeLongs then posted the before and after photos on the Stop Homophobia and Have A Gay Day Facebook pages, where the family have received an outpouring of support.

Writing on the Have A Gay Day page.

A couple nights ago someone thought it was a good idea to spray paint “I’m gay” on my house at an attempt to insult/humiliate my sister and I, we’re both bi and many of our friends who spend time at our home are lgbt members. Today, me and my mother painted it rainbow. Being gay is rad!!!”

Founder of LGBT Teen Support Website Fined Thousands by Russian Courts

Lena Klimova, the founder of an online community for LGBT teenagers in Russia has been fined under the country’s law against gay propaganda.

She was fined 50,000 roubles ($840 / £540) by a court in Nizhny Tagil concluded that Deti-404, which has pages on Facebook and Russian social network VK, was guilty of distributing “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations among minors”.

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Klimova said she would appeal against the ruling. She has already successfully appealed against a fine levied by a court in the same town in January.

Klimova website encourages young people to share experiences on how it feels to grow up as an LGBTI person. It is a much-needed resource, with teens forced to live under the strict ‘gay propaganda’ law that bans the promotion or discussion of homosexuality to children.

Over the past 18 months, Klimova has come under pressure for her website. In a 2014 charge filed by Vitaly Milonov, the politician that spearheaded the gay propaganda law, he demanded the social worker and journalist be fined, and her website shut down.

In November, Russia’s media watchdog Roskomnadzor said it had received more than 150 complaints from ‘citizens and organizations’ calling for the closure of Children-404.

Klimova called the country’s anti-gay laws ‘harmful’ and ‘ridiculous’, accusing the authorities of failing to provide support for LGBTI teenagers.

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This court ruling is just the latest to find the social worker ‘guilty’.

Reacting this week, Klimova said:

It helps to see how many good people around. It helps not to fall into the abyss.”

She also posted a drawing a young girl, who she called Unicorn, of her as a gay rights superhero.

Unicorn you made my day. All I need to do is get knee-high gold boots and a huge red cape and it will be exactly me. Thank you for the drawing! =)”

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I’m Christian But I’m Also a Very Out Lesbian (Video)

Crystal Cheatham was told by her church that she had the voice, an incredible gift of playing the guitar, the ability to lead a band, to write music, and to mentor children. But all that meant nothing to them because she’s a “practicing homosexual.”

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Today, I am more than comfortable with my orientation and my faith.

Watch her touching story below

 

Fallon Fox: The First Openly Transgender Fighter in MMA Describes Abuse She Encounters as ‘Mind-Blowing’ (Video)

Fallon Fox, the first openly transgender mixed martial arts competitor, has spoken about coming out, and about the astonishing hate she encountered.

Now 39, her early career was dogged by fear that someone would out her when she wasn’t ready.

I expected that someone was going to out me; you just can’t go through life with a microscope on your career without someone delving into your past a little bit. But it’s something you really can’t prepare yourself for.”

Fox is a ground-breaking woman in the history of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). She is the first of her kind in a plethora of ways.

Not only did she dutifully serve for four years in the Navy, but her MMA athletic record is undeniably impressive: Fox began her training in 2008, and she currently holds a record of 5-1-0.

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Along with her military background and extraordinary MMA success, Fox also happens to be the first openly transgender woman in MMA history.

Though she had gender reassignment surgery just shy of a decade ago, she vividly remembers grappling with her gender identity from the time she was just 5 years old. She frequently dressed up in her sister’s clothes behind closed doors.

Unlike a lot of LGBTQ+ youth, Fox never suffered through the throes of feeling “different” from her peers. Fox assumed all male-bodied young boys felt the same way she did.

As she got older, the displaced feeling of being born into the wrong gendered body never left Fox. After leaving the military in 2000, she began to research what she was coping with. She found a name that described exactly what she was experiencing: gender dysphoria.

So, what exactly is gender dysphoria? To put it in the simple and articulate words of Fox herself:

It’s when your brain sex doesn’t match your physical sex.”

After so many years of alienation and confusion, Fox was finally was able to identify her struggle. She began taking hormones in order to begin the process of transition.

In 2006, after working as a truck driver for years, Fox finally saved enough money to embark on her life-changing transition and underwent gender reassignment surgery.

So, what exactly sparked Fox’s interest in women’s fighting? As soon as she was exposed to MMA fighting, she found herself magnetized to the sport. She was deeply inspired by the strength and the confidence of the incredible women fighters of the MMA.

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Feeling empowered, she set her intention to be one of them.

When Fox first started her career, no one knew her backstory.

Fox says through gender reassignment surgery and hormones, her testosterone levels are lower than any non-transgendered woman.

She fought like every other woman in the industry until the day came when a reporter began to contact her and vehemently press her about the past. Fox knew she had a choice: She could either be outed, or she could out herself.

The fighter wisely chose the latter.

After coming out to SportsIllustrated.com, she found herself in a whirlwind of controversy. Most hurtfully, UFC color commentator and stand-up comedian Joe Rogan repeatedly expressed his vast disapproval of her fighting with other women.

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Fellow fighters claimed she had an alleged “unfair advantage.”

Seemingly overnight she was the target of excessive criticism and bullying from within her own industry, an industry in which she felt she belonged.

Fox was so devastated by the surplus of hateful words bestowed upon her, she found herself suicidal – until she realised she had an important story to tell.

It was one that could help save the lives of so many LGBTQ+ young people who suffer in silence. She now uses her media attention as a platform, a powerful tool that serves as a lifeline to an otherwise voiceless youth.

To those who disapprove of her fighting, Fox strongly feels education is the key to acceptance. She says,

The solution is education on the subject.

All of us, especially LGBT youth who are struggling to find there way in a world that often excludes them, deserves the respect of inclusion on every level.

Jamaican Government Revises Security and Safety Policies To Combat LGBT Bullying In Schools

Jamaica’s Ministry of Education has revised the School Security and Safety Policy guidelines in order to include the protection of LGBT youths from bullying within schools across the island.

The guidelines will be implemented by the start of the new academic year in September.

Jamaica’s Minister of Education, Rev. Ronald Thwaites, reminded the public that the guidelines would address acts of bullying by and against all persons.

Bullying not only affects this society (LGBT), as we have heard reports of issues with regards to older students interfering with younger students, issues of gender also arise, all of which offer a clear position on offering zero tolerance for bullying of any sort. The manual is now being prepared and will be fleshed out in short order.”

However, the Inner-City Teacher Coalition proclaims that the guidelines favoured LGBT students and that heterosexual students faced more bullying from groups practicing an alternative lifestyle is much more widespread.

Reverend Thwaites added that the government had the right to protect all its citizens including the LGBT community.

A number of civil society groups, including members of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender), fraternity, have raised with me, issues of bullying. It is of serious concern and the policy of Government and of the ministry (of education) is to protect the sexual integrity of everyone, so the fact that they raise the concern would be an important issue for us.”

The Jamaican government has received criticisms from local and international human rights group over the country’s homophobic culture. Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller ran on a campaign to improve the conditions of the LGBT community in Jamaica, and this move is seen as a step in that direction.

Lesbians Answer Questions Some People Are Too Afraid To Ask (Video)

When someone finds out you’re a lesbian, they can’t stop themselves from asking you a zillion questions.

The ladies in this video, set out to answer some of the top prying questions we all get…

I knew I was into women before I even knew anything else concrete about myself.”

Taiwan Looks to be The First Asian Country to Legalise Same-Sex Marriage

Taiwan’s government’s plans to draft a “same-sex partnership” law, which would make Taiwan the first region in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage.

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s legalisation of same-sex marriage last month, the authorities in Taiwan have announced that they have decided to draft a same-sex partnership law to mirror with the global trend and keep up with the public’s changing opinion regarding the subject.

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Lo Ying-hsueh – head of Taiwan’s judicial body – said the government will put proposed bills regarding same-sex marriage online, allowing the public to vote on them freely.

The results of these votes would then serve as a guide to the government when they make changes to legislature, the Global Times reports.

Last year, an online poll revealed that 68% of the population supported same-sex marriage.

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Taiwan’s LGBT community have been campaigning for same-sex unions for years – last week, thousands of supporters flooded the streets of Taipei in a bid to urge the government to change the country’s stance on gay marriage.

And although many welcome a law aimed at giving homosexuals legal protection, some activists have questioned why the government’s decision to draft a completely new law, rather than make amendments to the current marriage law.

Chen Ling – a lesbian as well as gay rights activist – argued

The fact that the government decided to set a new same-sex partnership law discriminates against homosexuals and it shows that homosexual couples are different from heterosexuals.”

Also read: Lesbian Couple in Taiwan Fight Court Over Adoption Rights

However, politicians from the country’s main parties have attempted to quash rumours that the change is simply an attempt to gain votes in the upcoming election and promised that the proposed changes will only strengthen the LGBT community’s place in Taiwanese society.

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Hong Chih-kun, a member of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)’s central executive committee said

Taiwan’s gay movement has been active for at least 10 years and many polls show that Taiwan society is mature enough to accept gay marriage.”

DPP chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen said gay marriage reflects equality and upholds human rights, while Hung Hsiu-chu, Kuomintang’s head, also said she maintains an “open and optimistic” attitude toward homosexuality.

The marriage equality bill – which would legalise same-sex marriage and allow married gay couples to adopt children – was reviewed for the first time at the Judiciary Committee in December last year, after the DPP described current laws as discriminatory and unfair.

However, the discussion was put on hold, due to opposition from conservative Christian groups who have formed a network to organise rallies and petition signature collections to lobby against marriage equality.

Judge Rules That Utah Must Recognise Lesbian Couple as Joint Mothers on Birth Certificate

On Wednesday a federal judge ordered the state of Utah to list the names of a lesbian couple on a birth certificate of their new baby. Lawyers say the ruling is the first of its kind since the U.S. Supreme Court legalised gay.

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U.S. District Judge Dee Benson said the assisted reproduction case wasn’t hard to decide.

The state has failed to demonstrate any legitimate reason, actually any reason at all, for not treating a female spouse in a same-sex marriage the same as a male spouse in an opposite-sex marriage.”

Angie and Kami Roe of West Jordan said in their lawsuit on the issue that the state should treat wedded lesbian couples the same as heterosexual couples who use sperm donors to have children.

State law automatically recognises a husband who agrees to assisted reproduction as a father, but the Utah attorney general’s office contended that doesn’t extend to same-sex couples because child bearing is legally different from marriage.

State attorneys wrote in court documents

It is a fact that a non-biologically related female spouse can never be the biological father of a child. It is a biological impossibility for a woman who does not give birth to a child to establish paternity of a child through the act of birth.”

Parker Douglas with the Utah attorney general’s office said Wednesday that listing non-biological parents on a birth certificate could throw off state record-keeping and disrupt the ability of authorities to identify public health trends.

The judge, however, pointed out that the same problem could apply when married heterosexual couples use sperm donors.

Douglas declined to comment on whether the state would appeal the ruling.

The Roes sued after hospital staff members refused to take their birth certificate paperwork shortly after Kami Roe gave birth in February. Utah officials told the couple that one mother must adopt the baby as a step-parent, a process the Roes say is costly, invasive and unfair.

The ruling requires Utah to declare married lesbian parents to be legal moms from birth, but it doesn’t apply to male same-sex couples because they typically use a surrogate.

Similar cases have come up in Iowa and Arkansas, said family law expert Douglas NeJamie. He expects to see more, especially in states that had sought to keep laws banning same-sex marriage on the books. Utah spent $1.2 million to defend its ban on same-sex marriage, state officials have said.

Many states have similar laws governing artificial insemination that previously had not applied to same-sex unions because the rules were specific to married couples, said NeJamie, a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles.

This is an easy way to actually try and discriminate against same-sex couples.”

The Utah case could have an effect on other pending cases, though the parental rights of same-sex couples will depend on what state laws are already on the books for heterosexual couples, he said.

LGBT Rights Campaigners Tackle Job and Housing Discrimination Following Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Last month, history was made when the Supreme Court of the United States ruled 5-4 in favour of same-sex marriage. While some states around the county have been steadily bringing same-sex marriage into law, in many others it remained illegal to marry a same-sex partner, meaning that same-sex couples may have to travel across the other side of the country just to get married.

Thanks to the Supreme Court’s ruling, same-sex marriage is now legal in all of the United States, and same-sex couples can get married wherever they would like.

This is a monumental achievement and it follows the growing acceptance of the LGBT community  – something also signified by the fact that many straight allies and many companies have turned their social media icons ‘rainbow’ in support. However, it’s not the be all and end all of the LGBT rights movements and much needs to be done.

For example, in 27 states, employees can still be fired for being gay. While President Obama did recently sign an executive order that banned federal agencies and contractors from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity, that doesn’t include everyone.
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Furthermore, some local governments have antidiscrimination laws (even if the state does not) but Ruth Colker, an expert on discrimination law at Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University, told The New York Times that

typically, the penalty for violating a city ordinance is more akin to a traffic violation” and that “state-level penalties can be much more significant.”

As a result, LGBT rights activists will be tackling job and housing related discrimination as their big, post-marriage equality fight. While there has been a lot of push back previously, specially from right-wing religious groups who feel that discrimination law will be used to persecute them for their religious beliefs, things do seem to be looking up.

Chai R. Feldblum, a commissioner at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, says that under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, LGBT discrimination is illegal and that they have pursued over 200 cases based on this. Meanwhile, Shannon P. Minter, legal director at the National Center for Lesbian Rights, says that

I think there’s a very strong consensus now among advocacy groups that we need a broader bill that puts discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity on the same footing as race, religion and gender”

It is yet to be seen how activists’ efforts will pay off, or the work of politicians such as Senator Jeff Merkley, Democrat of Oregon (who wants to specifically add LGBT protections to the Civil Rights Act), but hopefully the Supreme Court’s ruling will snowball into comprehensive equality.

 

Turkish Police Fire a Water Cannon and Rubber Bullets at Istanbul LGBT Pride March (Video)

Thousands of men, women and children gathered in Istanbul’s historic Taksim Square on Sunday for the annual gay pride festival only to face water cannons, rubber bullets and tear gas.

“Where are you, my love?” sang one group of LGBT rights activists, waving rainbow flags and holding hands, swaying to the popular Turkish love song. “I am here, my love!”

Moments later, Turkish riot police aimed a water cannon into a crowd of people sending them running for safety as water pounded them from behind. Belongings flew off with the force of the water as people struggled to stay on their feet — a scene that caused several young police officers to laugh openly, mocking the drenched protesters.

It was just one of many assaults Sunday against peaceful gay pride participants, reportedly the first time in 13 years that the annual festival was forcefully dispersed.

Many people expressed confusion as to why the peaceful parade was blocked by police forces after more than a decade of successful gay pride marches. Just the week before, on June 21, a smaller transgender pride parade took place in roughly the same location without encountering police force.

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Despite being squashed by police forces, Sunday’s pride festival was one of hope and acceptance for Turkey’s LGBT community and its growing group of allies. Even after police dispersed crowds from Taksim Square, people poured into side streets singing, dancing and chanting.

Portugal’s Parliament Formally Adopts National Anti-Discrimination Day

Portugal’s Parliament took a step forward for LGBT rights, by unanimously approving a measure to adopt May 17th as the National Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

In doing so, the Parliament committed to

… engage in fulfilling national and international commitments to combat homophobic and transphobic discrimination.”

The text of the resolution reads that the day

… [the day] is celebrated around the world and officially recognised in several states and within the European Union as the date that marks the long journey to combat homophobic and transphobic discrimination and struggle for recognition of rights under the law, recalling the moment when, in 1990, the World Health Organisation removed homosexuality from its International Classification of Diseases, knocking both a real and symbolic barrier of homophobic prejudice. “

While Portugal legalised same-sex marriage in 2010, the country still prohibits adoption by same-sex couples.

Jamaican Lesbian Couple Wants to Get Married Before They Die

As far as LGBT rights goes, Jamaica has a pretty abysmal track record. Sexual acts between two men are still punishable by law (they face up to 10 years of imprisonment if caught), and levels of anti-LGBT violence in the country are incredibly widespread.

There are regular reports of ‘corrective rapes’ of non-heterosexual women and it’s not uncommon to hear about gay men being stoned or beaten to death – and these crimes are often overlooked by the police, who fail to acknowledge them as a hate crime.

In the past few years, Jamaica has been criticised by both the United Nations (who said that the country allowed legalised homophobia) as well as by President Barack Obama who recently spoke about the need for equality in the country when he visited the island earlier this year.

However, the country has a long history of homophobia due to British colonialism and the religious beliefs of its citizens too.

As a result, Jamaica’s current landscape makes same-sex marriage – or any LGBT rights at all –  a far off possibility.

This is a shame for lesbian couple Carla and Krystal, who recently gave an interview with the Jamaica Gleaner saying that they hope to get married in Jamaica before they die.

Speaking to the publication, Carla said that:

My partner and I used to contemplate marriage. Perhaps we were naive at first, but that blossomed into a bit of boldness. I’m not sure if my partner knows how disheartening it has been for me, when I sometimes sit in solitude and question why things have to be this way. Why are people so opposed to allowing lesbians to marry each other?

She has always been there for me when I was unemployed and on the verge of depression. She always provided emotional support like no other, and who remains equally, if not more committed to us and the prosperity of our union, and yet, I am not allowed to marry her.”

Carla also added that when the time is right, she and Krystal would like to challenge Jamaica’s Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms; these state that marriage is a human right. Though, Carla also realises that she will have a hard time getting two-thirds of Jamaica’s government to rule in favour of a same-sex marriage ruling should she go ahead with that legal battle.

Male Police Officer Suspended After Allegedly Threatening Rape a Gay Woman

Police sergeant, Jesus Menocal Jr. from Florida has been suspended after being accused of sexual abuse by a young lesbian couple he pulled over.

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The couple – who have asked not to be identified – said that Menocal pulled them over for making a U-turn and then detained them for questioning. He told one of the girls, who is 17, to get in the back of his cop car, and had her 20-year-old girlfriend follow behind in her car.

Back at the station, the couple say Menocal took the younger girl into a private room and began asking her inappropriate questions.

Talking to WSVN, the young woman said

… [He asked me] how do I have intercourse, and I told him, ‘Why do I need to answer that? Why is that necessary?’ He insisted me to answer it, so I told him how me and my partner have intercourse, which is me and my girlfriend. After, he asked if I was a virgin. He asked me, if he was to test me right that moment, if I had any diseases on me.”

She went on to say that Menocal began rubbing his genitals over his pants and alleges he told her to “take off my pants or I was going to get arrested.”

After putting her shorts back on, he asked to see her tattoos.

He wanted me to take off my shirt and my bra together, and I told him, ‘No. Why do I have to do that? There’s no reason to do that,’ Then he said, ‘Oh I thought you wanted to fuck’. Honestly, I thought I was going to get raped. I thought he would make me sleep with him.”

The teen reported that the officer returned her to her worried girlfriend about fifteen minutes later, and they immediately filed a police report.

The day after the alleged sexual assault, Menocal was suspended with pay while the Hialeah Police Department began an investigation into the couple’s allegations.

The Hialeah Police Department, Police Chief, Sergio Velázquez said in a statement.

Very serious allegations were made, which require a methodical, detailed and thorough examination of all statements and evidence. This is a very delicate road … and we seek to be impartial. Our job is to get to the bottom of this. If it is proven that there is wrongdoing, the appropriate decision will be taken. Otherwise, he will return to work.”

‘Gay O.K.’ T-Shirts Banned at a Texas Middle School (Video)

In support a seventh grader who recently came out as gay in their school, students from Faubion Middle School in McKinney, Texas, designed t-shirt with Gay O.K.

However, the move did not go down well with the schools authorities, with two students being sent home, and a dozen others were made to cover up their homemade t-shirts.

Administrators at at the Middle School, were greeted by a small riot in the school cafeteria when they decided to eject two boys for wearing handmade Gay O.K. t-shirts and force another dozen or so students to cover up their shirts.

Sammy Heiman, the seventh grader who designed the shirts told NBCDFW News.

We were doing perfectly fine until lunch. And then (school officials) called us all out, all the people wearing them, called us out of the cafeteria. And people started getting rowdy because they knew what was going on. They were making us take off the shirts.”

The kids wore the shirts to show support for a seventh grader who recently came out.

They looked at the dress code, which bans “Clothing including tee shirts which displays sex, violence, drugs, tobacco, alcohol, death, gang or hate slogans or pictures,” and thought the Gay O.K. message would pass muster.

But administrators used another part of the dress code that reads, “Any disruptive or distractive mode of clothing or appearance that adversely impacts the educational process is not permitted,” to ban the shirts. It turned out making the kids take off the shirts was a lot more distractive than letting them wear them.

NBCDFW reported that videos posted to Twitter showed a cafeteria full of students chanting, Gay O.K. as administrators confronted the students. The rebellion only escalated when two of the boys were removed.

Cody Cunningham, spokesman for the McKinney Independent School District said

In this particular case, a verbal disruption occurred between a large number of students in the cafeteria as a result of the shirts. This was not a civil debate, but rather yelling and shouting, and alarmed a large number of students.”

School officials offered no thoughts on how the positive message of the shirts might bolster the seventh grader who came out, nor how their own intolerance for the students’ messages of support might be hurtful to him.

Women Disclose the Sexist Questions They’ve been Asked at Job Interviews

Employment law firm Thomas Mansfield asked graduates from 20 British universities to share the most bizarre and offensive things they’ve ever been asked whilst applying for jobs.

Many of the women’s responses show that sexism is very much alive some workplaces.
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'Do you get PMT?'

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'What do you think about dating someone in the office?'

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'Are you planning on having children soon?'

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'Can you wear more make up next time?' 

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'Can you flirt with the customers to make them stay longer?'

Julie Goodway, a lawyer at the firm, told The Independent: “Unfortunately the experience of those surveyed are not one-offs. We are often asked how interviewees should respond to questions like these.”

She says that such questioning can amount to sex discrimination if it is unlikely that male candidates will be asked such questions.

Alabama Minister Jailed for Trying to Marry Lesbian Couple

Alabama has handed out a prison sentence to a minister for exercising her ‘religious freedom’ and trying to marry a lesbian couple, even though state’s ban on same-sex marriage was declared unconstitutional.

Anne DiPrizio – a non-denominational minister – was sentenced to 30 days in jail and a fine of $250 after she pleaded guilty to misdemeanour disorderly conduct. The sentence was then suspended for six months.

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DiPrizio was arrested on 10 February after she offered to wed a lesbian couple inside Autauga County Probate Office, where the pair had received their marriage license just a few minutes before.

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But Probate Judge Al Booth had banned all marriage ceremonies in the office the day before – coincidentally the same day that gay marriage became legal in Alabama – and called the police when DiPrizio refused to leave.

Six deputies arrested DiPrizio, who they found kneeling on the floor in protest.

She spent about three hours in jail then immediately returned to continue her protest after posting bail.

After sentencing DiPrizio said

I’m glad this is over and we can put this behind us.”

Lesbian Couple Fulfil Dying Wish With Fairy Tale Wedding

With just weeks to live, an Australian woman has fulfilled her dying wish to marry the woman she loves.

After waiting years for gay marriage to be legalised in Australia and being left disappointed, Sandra Yates and her partner, Lee Bransden, decided to take their marriage into their own hands.

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With the help of a crowd-funding campaign, the couple flew to neighbouring New Zealand to finally complete their short-lived fairy tale.

Surrounded by ferns and flowers in the Rotorua’s beautiful Mitai Village, Sandra and Lee celebrated their wedding in a wide glade near a flowing spring, with Maori warriors blessing the marriage.

We’re blown away by all the support and friendship. All our dreams are coming true.”

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In a recent update after the wedding, new bride Ms Brandsen has announced she has just weeks to live as her lung cancer has progressed.

We wish them all the best.