Hawaii and Delaware same-sex couples usher in 2012 by being able to enter into civil unions.
Same sex marriage repeal top priority in NH. President Obama says he “believes strongly in stopping laws designed to take rights away.”
Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George compared the annual LGBT equal rights parade to the Ku Klux Klan. He later apologized.
Cambridge named 3rd gayest city in America by The Advocate.
Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) announced Jan. 10 that the organization is the recipient of a prestigious $100,000 grant from the Boston Foundation to expand GLAD’s youth outreach.
Another Ex-gay bites the dust. John Smid, the former Executive Director of Exodus International’s oldest ministry Love in Action, now says “For many years I tried to fit into the box of heterosexuality. I tried my hardest to create heterosexuality in my life but this also created a lot of shame, a sense of failure, and discouragement.” Yup, he’s gay.
Menino leads the way. Nation’s mayors pledge support for marriage equality.
“Freedom to Marry,” the New York-based marriage equality advocacy organization, hosted a conference on Friday morning in Washington with some of the 80 mayors who support same-sex marriage for LGBT citizens. Boston Mayor Tom Menino played a major part in the effort.
Elizabeth Warren debuts It Gets Better video. Massachusetts senate candidate Elizabeth Warren (now Senator Warren) released her It Gets Better video to commemorate No Name Calling Day. Then Senator Scott Brown was the only member of the Massachusetts’ House and Senate who did not make a video.
Romney fed the hate. The candidate’s tax returns show contributions to anti-gay groups.
Presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s charitable foundation gave $35,000 to antigay groups in 2010, including $10,000 to the Massachusetts Family Institute. Massachusetts’ citizens are familiar with the Institute’s efforts to continue discrimination against the transgender community by running ads claiming that the passage of the trans rights bill would lead to crime in public bathrooms. The Massachusetts Family Institute is also the organization that sponsored the 2007 anti-same-sex marriage amendment. Romney lost, by the way.
Children find homes. The Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange (MARE) has released a statistical analysis of its programs and services during Fiscal Year 2011. 18% of adoptable youth in foster care were placed with same-sex couples.
New Jersey Legislature takes up marriage equality bill. Democrats in the New Jersey Legislature reintroduced a same-sex marriage bill and have vowed to make gay and lesbian unions a top priority two years after similar legislation was voted d
Mayor Kevin White dies at age 82. Former Mayor of Boston Kevin White was in office from 1968 to 1984. He died Jan. 27 at age 82. White was the first mayor in the nation to name a full-time liaison to the gay community.
Congressman plans to marry longtime partner. Openly gay Rep. Barney Frank (DMass.) announced his plans to wed longtime partner Jim Ready in a Massachusetts ceremony.
Gov. Patrick swears in new members of GLBT Youth Commission. Gov. Deval Patrick swore in new members of the state GLBT Youth Commission. John Reidy, Brian Lisardo, Lane Bourn, Sean Cahill, Michel Anteby, Mara Glatzel, Phillip Veysey, Kathleen Henry, Carly Burton, Adrienne Mundy-Shephard, Ture Turnbull, Zachary Kerr, Coco Alinsug.
HUD’s final ruling ensures equal access to housing for LGBT community. On Jan. 28, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced the development of important protections against housing discrimination for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people under a new rule unveiled at the 24th National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change, a conference hosted by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
A second shot at marriage in Maine. The head of the statewide LGBT rights group in Maine was excited about the prospects for the November ballot measure that would legalize same-sex marriage. Betsy Smith, executive director of Equality Maine, said that a win in Maine on the initiative—the first voter-initiated pro-LGBT measure to appear on a state ballot anywhere in the country—would be “hugely significant.” She was right. Marriage in Maine begins January 1, 2013,
MTPC launches national media project. The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) will unveiled a new national media project.“I AM: Trans People Speak COMMUNITY” will create an empowering space on the web (community.transpeople.org)for transgender people and their allies to share their experiences and stories in order to educate the public and give hope to transgender youth and adults just starting to come out.
9th Circuit: Prop. 8 ban unconstitutional. Feb. 7 ruling upholds lower court ruling that California’s ban on samesex marriage violates the U.S. Constitution. A Feb. 7 ruling by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling that found Prop. 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage, violates the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, which guarantees Americans equal protection under the law. The issue is now at the Supreme Court.
Local groups mark National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. The Hispanic Black Gay Coalition (HBGC) released a video titled “I Am More Than HIV” in order to shed light on the larger impact that HIV/AIDS has on the Black community. Six community members— including one faith leader—speak during the video and reflect on how their community has been affected by the epidemic.
Ruling: Insemination custody law covers children of same-sex parents. Married same-sex parents raising children conceived by artificial insemination are bound by the same custody law as married heterosexual parents of children conceived by artificial insemination in Massachusetts, according to a Feb. 2 Appeals Court ruling.
Anti-gay-marriage group loses Maine list appeal. An appeals court on Tuesday, Jan. 31 upheld the state’s campaign disclosure law that requires a national anti-gay-marriage group to release its donor list, but the group plans to take the fight to shield the list to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The decision pertains to ballot question committees in Maine and represents a second defeat for the National Organization for Marriage, which previously lost a challenge to the state’s political action committee laws and laws governing independent expenditures and advertising attribution and disclaimers.
Romney bashes marriage equality at CPAC. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney took credit Friday, Feb. 10 for preventing the Bay State from becoming “the Las Vegas of gay marriage” by resurrecting an archaic 1913 law put in the books to prevent interracial couples from other states from wedding in Massachusetts.
Speaking before the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) in Washington, D.C., Romney addressed the amendment that legalized same-sex marriage in Massachusetts.
Washington becomes the 7th state to legalize same-sex marriage. Gov. Chris Gregoire signed the bill into law Monday, Feb. 12. But wait, it went to a vote. Marriages began in November.
AIDS Action opens new drop-in center. The AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts (AAC) announced Feb. 22 that the organization has opened a new drop-in center and onsite MOMS specialty HIV pharmacy at its Amory Street location in Jackson Square.
BLC finds stability in merger with Victory Programs. The Boston Living Center announced Feb. 8 that it will soon merge with Victory Programs, following last year’s trial in which former BLC executive director Valerie Tebbetts was convicted of embezzling more than $125,000 from the HIV/AIDS organization.
“The Boston Living Center is an anchor for hundreds living with HIV/AIDS who rely on its meals program and peer support everyday. No one wanted to see the Center close because of one person’s illicit activities,” says Victory Programs’ President and CEO Jonathan Scott.
“When approaching a merger, Victory Programs considers two levels of benefits: financial and social—this merger has both.”
Study: LGBT adults twice as likely to smoke. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender adults are twice as likely to smoke as their heterosexual counterparts, according to a report released by researchers at the University of Colorado Cancer Center. The study, published in Nicotine & Tobacco Research, also revealed that LGBT adults are half as likely to have plans to quit smoking.
Harvard student group works to achieve justice for gay students run out by “Secret Court”. Harvard University student group Their Day in the Yard is petitioning the institution to award posthumous degrees to seven students who were gay—or perceived to be—and persecuted and expelled in the 1920s by a “Secret Court” because of their sexual orientation.
Northeastern U. bans Chickfil-A from Student Center. The Student Government Association (SGA) of Northeastern University voted 31 to 5 denouncing a proposal to add a Chick-fil-A fast food restaurant to the Student Center after learning of donations the chain made to anti-gay organizations.
Marry-land to become 8th state to legalize same-sex marriage. Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, a longtime supporter of the state’s push for marriage equality, is expected to sign the bill into law this Thursday, making Maryland the eighth state in the country to legalize marriage for gay and lesbian couples.
Maine marriage issue heads to the polls. Same-sex marriage advocates in Maine are celebrating the Feb. 23 news that marriage equality will be back at the ballot box in a Citizens Initiative this November. Maine’s Secretary of State Charlie Summers confirmed Thursday that supporters had collected enough signatures to allow a ballot measure on the issue this year. If passed in November, Maine’s gay and lesbian couples will gain the right to marry in the Pine Tree State. More than 105,000 signatures were submitted for verification at the end of January.
“We’re one step closer to winning marriage for lesbian and gay couples in Maine!” EqualityMaine field director Amy Mello wrote in a message to supporters. “We’re working to make history and win marriage at the ballot.”
First openly transgender woman appointed to Newton Human Rights Commission. Holly Ryan was appointed to the Newton Human Rights Commission Feb. 21 by Mayor Setti Warren. Ryan, a former chair for the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) and lifelong Newton resident, is the first transgender woman appointed to the Commission. Her term lasts for three years.
“This is an important step for the transgender community to have openly identified transgender woman appointed to a city commission. This shows that society is changing and because of that, we all benefit when citizens like Ms. Ryan are given the opportunity to participate in her community this way,” said Gunner Scott.
Eastern Bank honors LGBT advocates. Eastern Bank on March 6 announced new additions to its organization: Kara Suffredini, Executive Director of MassEquality, and Gunner Scott, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) were named Corporators, and Rebecca Haag, President and CEO of AIDS Action Committee (AAC) was elected to the Board of Trustees.
“Eastern Bank is very fortunate to have such a talented group of individuals added to our governance structure, and looks forward to their input and guidance in helping us further achieve our mission,” said Richard E. Holbrook, Chairman and CEO of Eastern Bank.
Lady Gaga at Harvard, launched youth foundation. Pop star Lady Gaga descended on Harvard University with some powerful friends Wednesday, Feb. 29 to launch her new foundation aimed at empowering young people. The singer was joined by Oprah Winfrey, spiritual leader Deepak Chopra, and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to kick off the Born This Way Foundation that Gaga’s mother and inspiration will help steer. Gaga spoke to more than 1,100 students from several states, faculty and invited guests at Harvard, urging the young audience to “challenge meanness and cruelty.”
Gay US Marine says he just wanted to show partner love. Sgt. Brandon Morgan didn’t expect to become a global phenomenon when he kissed his partner upon returning from a six-month deployment to Afghanistan. But then last weekend, a friend posted a photo of their embrace on the Gay Marines page on Facebook. Morgan, in desert camouflage, is seen wrapping his legs around Dalan Wells’ legs. A large U.S. flag is in the background. Photos of exuberant servicemen and homecomings aren’t new. But this one, taken some five months after the repeal of the military’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy prohibiting gay and lesbian servicemen from openly acknowledging their sexuality, is among the first showing a gay active-duty serviceman in uniform kissing his partner after coming home.
Marriage Equality survives attack in NH. The New Hampshire House voted 211 to 116 to kill a Republican-backed bill repealing the state’s marriage equality law to the Senate. The vote was taken Wednesday, March 21st as Bay Windows went to press. The bill would have replaced same-sex marriage with civil unions for New Hampshire’s gay and lesbian couples. Any same-sex marriages that occurred before the repeal would have still been valid.
Brown marches in discriminatory parade. Thousands of revealers lined the streets of South Boston to watch the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade; an event with a discriminatory history. The organizers of the parade continued to exclude LGBT groups and rejected an application by MassEquality to participate in Sunday’s parade. In doing so, organizers cited the 1995 US Supreme Court decision in Hurley v. Irish-American Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Group of Boston, which held that parade organizers are legally able to exclude lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people from marching.
Lawsuit: US pastor runs anti-gay effort in Uganda. An East African gay advocacy group filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday, March 14 against a Massachusetts evangelist, alleging he has waged a decade-long campaign to persecute gay men and lesbians in Uganda. The suit was filed in federal court in Springfield against minister Scott Lively under a statute that Sexual Ministries Uganda says allows non-citizens to file U.S. court actions for violations of international law. Frank Mugisha, who heads the advocacy group, said it was singling out Lively for “helping spread propaganda and violence” against Uganda’s gay people.
Senate sends marriage equality question to Maine voters. Maine voters will get their second chance since 2009 to decide whether the state should recognize marriage between same-sex couples. The Senate on Wednesday, March 14 went along with the House and voted to kill the citizen-initiated bill, sending it to voters this November. In 2009, Maine voters repealed a legislatively passed same-sex marriage law 53 percent to 47 percent.
RI bishop: Same-sex marriage ‘ill-advised’ experiment. The leader of Rhode Island’s Roman Catholics has renewed his opposition to legalized same-sex marriage, calling it an “ill-advised social experiment.” Bishop Thomas Tobin wrote in The Rhode Island Catholic newspaper on Wednesday, March 15 that same-sex marriage is a “serious sin” and poses a threat to religious liberty because those who oppose it are often labeled intolerant. He said the debate over gay marriage distracts state leaders from more important issues. Tobin said the Diocese of Providence will work to defeat any attempt to pass marriage equality legislation. Supporters have vowed to keep pushing the bill, though it’s not expected to pass this year.
Ex-Rutgers student guilty in webcam suicide case. A former Rutgers University student convicted Friday, March 16 in the webcam spying episode that ended in his gay roommate’s suicide could be headed off to prison in a case experts say stands as a tragic lesson for young people about casual cruelties and unintended consequences in the Internet age. Dharun Ravi was found guilty of all 15 charges against him, including invasion of privacy and anti-gay intimidation. The jury decided that he not only spied on Tyler Clementi and another man as they were kissing but also singled out Clementi because he was gay.
Ben & Jerry’s issues promarriage equality flavor. Ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s is supporting same-sex marriage in Britain by relabeling an apple pie flavor as Apple-y Ever After. The Vermont-based subsidiary of the global food and cosmetics conglomerate Unilever is issuing the newly labeled ice cream in the United Kingdom, where the government has said it plans to legalize same-sex marriage and has begun public consultation before introducing legislation. When Vermont passed such a law two years ago, the ice cream company celebrated by briefly repackaging its Chubby Hubby flavor as Hubby Hubby.
Ballot wording finalized for Washington state’s Referendum 74. A Thurston County Superior Court judge ruled Tuesday, March 13 that a proposed referendum seeking to overturn a new law legalizing same-sex marriage in Washington will not contain the phrase “redefine marriage.” Judge Thomas McPhee was charged with finalizing language for the ballot title and summary of Referendum 74 after both sides of the debate challenged the original wording by Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna. McPhee’s language is final and cannot be appealed.
Exposing the National Organization for Marriage. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) publicized a series of documents marked “confidential” that outlined the National Organization for Marriage’s (NOM) plan to stop marriage equality. The plan details a multiyear attack including this shocking passage:
Pit Gays Against Blacks & Latinos
(1) Make opposition to gay marriage a key identity badge for
African-Americans and Latinos. (2) Interrupt the equation of gay
with black. (3) Get blacks to object to call-
ing gay marriage a civil right. (4) Provoke gays to denounce
blacks as bigots. (5) Find attractive, young, black
Democrats to oppose white, gay marriage advocates.
Vt. military college holding first gay pride week. Barely six months after the expiration of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy prohibiting gay service members from serving openly, the nation’s oldest private military academy is holding its first gay pride week. Norwich University’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, and Allies Club held its first meeting in September within hours of the end of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” the rule that prevented gay service members from serving openly in the military. Now, the organization is planning a week of events to be highlighted by Norwich’s first queer prom, where Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin is going to be the keynote speaker. And many alumni are expected to return to campus, said club president and Norwich senior Joshua Fontanez, 22, of Browns Mills, N.J.
Bay Windows to Sen. Scott Brown: Call me, maybe. After 738 days in office, and nearly 100 requests from Bay Windows staff and readers for an interview or guest opinion from Senator Scott Brown—the Senator submitted a guest opinion for publication. The LGBT community was underwhelmed.
Women raise $375,000 for Fenway. More than 1,100 lesbian and bisexual women, transgender people, friends, supporters and volunteers who attended the 2012 Women’s Dinner Party for helping to make the event such a huge success. The event was chaired by Theresa Murray, Gina Savageau, and Aimee VanWagenen. Over $375,000 in cash, pledges and in-kind support for Fenway Health.
In historic first, appellate court will decide constitutionality of DOMA. On Wednesday, April 4, seven married same-sex couples and three widowers went to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit to hear appellate arguments in their challenge to Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which disqualifies their marriages from marital protections and responsibilities ordinarily available to spouses under federal law. This was the first time an appellate court heard arguments concerning the constitutionality of DOMA.
Anti-Gay Activist Scott Lively Triggers Uproar at Tea Party Rally. An April 15th Patriot’s Day rally on Boston Common sponsored by the “North Shore Tea Party” drew a spirited turnout, but was not what organizers planned. Featured speakers Scott Lively and Brian Camenker, who lead the two Southern Poverty Law Center-designated hate groups in Massachusetts, shifted the focus of the event away from the fiscal issues the “tea party” movement purports to emphasize to the social issues many Republicans would rather avoid. Lively is best known for his role in promoting the “Anti-Homosexuality Bill” pending in the Ugandan Parliament, which would impose the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality.” Camenker stands out for his strident opposition to safe schools programming designed to reduce bullying and harassment of LGBT youth. The controversy Lively and Camenker touched off resonated even before the rally, as Libertarian Party Presidential candidate Gary Johnson, a former Governor of New Mexico, cancelled his plans to appear at the event.
GLAD publishes groundbreaking transgender family law book
Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders is proud to announce the publication of Transgender Family Law: A Guide to Effective Advocacy, the first book to comprehensively address legal issues facing transgender people in the family law context and provide practitioners the tools to effectively represent transgender clients.
President Obama announces that he supports same-sex marriage. Officially affirms his support for same-sex marriage in an exclusive interview with ABC News’ Robin Roberts.
10th Anniversary Pride and Passion Fundraiser breaks records for Greater Boston PFLAG. Corporations, celebrity chefs, and a multitude of contributors together made this year’s Greater Boston PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) Pride and Passion fundraiser the most successful ever. As a result, the organization’s proven, life-changing Safe Schools and Communities youth empowerment and bullying prevention program will reach even more schools and help them become safer for LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning) youth and allies; parent education and support programs will expand throughout the state; and communities become more inclusive.
EDGE Media Network announces free Boston Pride app for iPhone. The EDGE Media Network and www.edgeboston.com debuted it’s Boston Pride App on Tuesday. It is now available for download from the iTunes App Store. Through the app, developed in partnership between Boston Pride and EDGE Media Network, iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users will be able to keep track of festivities during Pride Week as well as all other official Boston Pride events. App users will be able to access information and receive updates on Boston Pride events, upload photos, and connect with other revelers.
The app was designed and developed by EDGE Media Network, working with Boston Pride.
Expanded HIV testing a reality in Massachusetts. Gov. Deval Patrick signed “An Act to Increase Routine Screening for HIV,” which waapproved by the Senate in March and the House in May.This bill modernizes the Commonwealth’s HIV testing laws by replacing the need for written consent before an HIV test can be administered
RI recognizes out of state marriages. On May 14, Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee issued an executive order directing state agencies to recognize the marriages of the state’s same-sex couples. In 2011 the legislature passed civil union legislation. According to the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, very few Rhode Island same-sex couples have entered into civil unions, but many have been married in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and other states the have marriage rights.
GLSEN calls on Romney to clarify position on bullying, harassment. The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) called on Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney to clarify his position on efforts to prevent bullying, harassment and assault in schools after revelations regarding his own behavior as a student led to a dismissive “apology” for his participation in an assault on a gay student.The Washington Post reported that while a senior at Cranbrook Schools in Michigan Romney led a group of classmates who tackled and pinned a gay classmate and forcibly cut his hair while the student screamed for help and tears filled his eyes. Romney lost, by the way.
NAACP supports marriage equality. National organization makes statement supporting full marriage equality.
Memorial for Robin MacCormack organized. After news reports that the former liaison to the gay community for the City of Boston, Robin MacCormack, had died in obscurity and no plans had been made for a burial; community members raised funds and held a memorial during Pride week.
The Theater Offensive launches 99% Stone Neighborhood Pride Tour. New guerilla musical 99% Stone takes to the streets with the liberating energy of a flash mob and the urgency of a pepper spray blast. Starting in June, The Theater Offensive OUT in Your Neighborhood takes playwright Letta Neely’s bold workshop production 99% Stone on a Neighborhood Pride Tour through Boston, including performances at UFORGE Gallery in JP, Haley House in Roxbury, the Boston Center for Adult Education with The History Project, and the Dyke March.
Gill Decision Day. First Circuit Court of Appeals rules in favor of the plaintiffs in GLAD’s Gill DOMA lawsuit.
Federal appeals court declines to reconsider Prop 8 decision. A federal appeals court in San Francisco announced on Tuesday that it denied a request to reconsider a February ruling that struck down California’s voter-approved ban on marriage for same-sex couples.
Gov. Patrick, Auditor Bump, Treasurer Grossman, Asst. AG Healy, testify at GLBT Commission Hearings. The Massachusetts Commission on GLBT Youth will are holding State House hearings on the state of life today for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth in our schools and in our communities. LGBT youth, anti-bullying experts, policy makers, parents, educators.
National LGBT newspaper alliance forms. A new National Gay Media Association (NGMA) has formed to bring together the top regional newspapers serving the U.S. lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities. The LGBT market controls more than $600 billion in annual spending, and NGMA will work to coordinate advertising spending in effective local LGBT media markets.