Jason Collins First Openly Gay Active Player

Jason Collins first openly gay active player in one of America’s professional team sports. ESPN brings us the details of Collins’ announcement and the reactions from other players.

NBA Celtics’ Jason Collins announces he is Gay

On Monday morning Jason Collins, a long time center for the NBA’s Boston Celtics, announced that he is gay.

There has been an outpouring of support from the likes of Bill Clinton, Kobe Bryant, Kenneth Faried, Steve Nash, and more.

Read their tweets and the full article from Yahoo! here. Congratulations to Jason Collins for his bravery and taking an amazing steps that will make the path easier for other gay athletes.

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Same Sex Marriage Legalized in Rhode Island

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The Rhode Island senate has voted and the result is a monumental movement for gay rights. Same sex marriage is now legal in Rhode Island.

David Klepper on Salon brings us the latest details on this breaking news.

Rhode Island senators put the state on the path Wednesday to becoming the 10th state to allow same-sex couples to marry.

The gay marriage legislation easily passed the Rhode Island House in January, and the Senate vote was seen as the true test. The bill passed 26-12, and now returns to the House for a largely procedural vote, likely next week, before going to Gov. Lincoln Chafee, who supports the legislation.

“This is a historic piece of legislation, one that literally has been in the works for more than 20 years,” said Sen. Donna Nesselbush, D-Pawtucket, the bill’s main sponsor in the Senate. “This is something that undoes centuries of discrimination against gay and lesbian couples.”

While the other five New England states already allow gay marriage, heavily Catholic Rhode Island has been a hold-out. Supporters this year mounted an aggressive and coordinated campaign that included organized labor, religious leaders, business owners and leaders including Chafee and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras.

Read the full article from Salon here.

South Dakota Senator Johnson Now Supports Gay Marriage

South Dakota Senator Tim Johnson says he now supports gay marriage. “After lengthy consideration, my views have evolved sufficiently to support marriage equality legislation,” Johnson said in a written statement. “This position doesn’t require any religious denomination to alter any of its tenets; it simply forbids government from discrimination regarding who can marry whom.”

Read the full article here.

Magic Johnson Supports Gay Son

Magic Johnson supports gay son, and discusses his reaction when he came out to Magic.

Supreme Court Hears Both Sides on Same-Sex Marriage

Breaking News! CNN brings us the latest update as the Supreme Court hears both sides on same-sex marriage. An excerpt of the CNN article is below.

Washington (CNN) — As partisans argued pointedly over same-sex marriage outside the U.S. Supreme Court building, either hoping for or dreading a landmark decision, justices inside seemed reluctant Tuesday to extend a sweeping constitutional right for gays and lesbian to wed in all 50 states.

In the first of two days of hearings on cases that have the potential to fundamentally alter how American law treats marriage, Justice Anthony Kennedy — considered the likely deciding vote on the divided court — questioned whether justices should even be hearing the issue.

“This was a deeply divided Supreme Court, and a court that seemed almost to be groping for an answer here,” said CNN Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin, who watched the arguments over California’s Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage.

Voters approved the proposal 52% to 48% in November 2008, less than six months after the state Supreme Court ruled that marriage is a fundamental right that must be extended to same-sex couples.

The court will listen to arguments Wednesday on a separate challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which — like the California law — defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

The overriding legal question in the California case is whether the 14th Amendment guarantee of equal protection under the law prevents states from defining marriage as that state has.

Regarding allowing same-sex couples to marry, Justice Elena Kagan, a liberal member of the court, asked, “What harm is there to the institution of marriage?”

But more conservative members of the court took a go-slow approach. Justice Samuel Alito said the law on same-sex marriage is too new.

“There isn’t a lot of data on its effect” on children and the institution of marriage, he said.

While the justices were clearly torn on the larger constitutional questions, they may be poised to dismiss the appeal on jurisdictional grounds.

A key question is whether the private citizens who put Proposition 8 on California’s ballot have standing to defend it in court when the state’s governor and attorney general have refused to do so.

If the court dismisses the appeal on those grounds, it might mean lower federal court rulings declaring the proposition unconstitutional would stand.

But it wouldn’t allow for a broader, final rule outlining the power of states to say who can or can’t get married.
Kennedy admitted the law’s supporters are “not just any citizens.”

But he later raised concerns about whether the possibility of same-sex marriage was enough to establish they had suffered harm, a key jurisdictional hurdle allowing them to appeal in the first place.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor said it is the state’s responsibility — through its elected leaders — to defend laws in court, and that private individuals could not establish “how their injury was separate from everyone else.”

Attorneys who represented the two couples seeking to overturn Proposition 8 said they couldn’t tell how the court would rule.

“We are confident where the American people are going with this,” said Theodore Olson. “We don’t know for sure what the United States Supreme Court is going to do, but we’re very, very grateful they listened, they heard, they asked hard questions, and there’s no denying where the right is.”

Andrew Pugno, general counsel for the Protect Marriage Coalition, the group defending Proposition 8, said their attorney had “credibly presented the winning case for marriage.”

“We think the hearing went very well,” he told reporters.

Two of the key plaintiffs are Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo, a Burbank, California, couple who want to marry but can’t because of Proposition 8. They say the state is discriminating against them for their sexuality.
“It’s as simple as that,” Katami said after the hearing. “It’s our constitutional right and I cannot wait to start my family with Jeff.”

The court is unlikely to announce its decision until June.

Read the full article from CNN here.

Ethos Equality Fund for LGBT Elders

Issues for elders are numerous and the challenges facing LGBT elders are even more so.

Take a peek at the Ethos Equality Fund for LGBT Elders, or read more about the organization below.

Today, few groups age with more challenges than lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBTs). Less likely to be partnered, more likely to be childless and too often estranged from their own families, LGBTs face significant barriers to healthy aging. Isolation, depression, substance abuse, and suicide are major risks.

The challenge of LGBT aging is one Ethos has eagerly taken on. A co-founder of the LGBT Aging Project, it is proud of its work helping LGBTs age with dignity and respect and has been a leader in addressing LGBT issues, namely:

-the first eldercare agency in the state to go through LGBT staff training,
-the first to open LGBT-friendly elder lunch sites,
-the first to offer LGBT-friendly volunteers, and
-the first to host support groups for LGBT caregivers, as well as those grieving the loss of loved ones.

While other mainstream aging services organizations in the state may finally be embracing the challenge, no other has shown as much leadership on LGBT issues as Ethos. We are also painfully aware of how much more needs to be done:

-more venues for older LGBTs to socialize and learn,
-more support for stressed-out and grieving LGBT caregivers,
-more LGBT-trained home care aides and personal care attendants,
-more support for LGBTs aging with HIV/ AIDS, and
-more safe LGBT-affirming housing opportunities are all desperately needed.

The announcement of the launch of the Ethos Equality Fund on Thursday, February 16th, 2012 will take place at the Boston Public Library in Copley Square, where we’ll be screening the award-winning documentary Gen Silent (filmed in Boston.) The Fund will be a resource to initiate, improve and expand aging services for LGBTs throughout greater Boston and will mark a significant step-forward for equality for older LGBTs and their caregivers.

Determining life’s final course should be a question of choice, not sexual orientation or gender identity.

Bill Clinton for Marriage Equality

In the most recent video, Bill Clinton for Marriage Equality, from Marriage News Watch, we learn that not only is the former president for gay rights but that in addition to forward movement for Colorado’s civil unions, there are several favorable polls for marriage equality in key political states.

See more videos from Marriage News Watch here.

LGBT Percentage-Where does your state rank?

In 2012, Gallup examined the LGBT percentage by state, by a poll that asked the following: “Do you personally identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender?”

Colorado came in with 3.2% identifying as LGBT, see a list of all of the states and their results here. You might be surprised!

LGBT Percentage

Here is a summary of the poll straight from Gallup.

The percentage of U.S. adults who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) ranges from 1.7% in North Dakota to 5.1% in Hawaii and 10% in the District of Columbia, according to Gallup surveys conducted from June-December 2012. Residents in the District of Columbia were most likely to identify as LGBT (10%). Among states, the highest percentage was in Hawaii (5.1%) and the lowest in North Dakota (1.7%), but all states are within two percentage points of the nationwide average of 3.5%…Overall, the results from this analysis of LGBT identity by state may run counter to some stereotypes that portray the LGBT community as heavily grouped in certain states of the union.

Marriage Equality and the Superbowl

Marriage News Watch

American Equal Rights brings us a video highlighting recent developments for marriage equality.

Marriage Equality and the Superbowl
Anti-gay comments overshadow the Superbowl, but they can’t stop progress in Arizona, Hawaii, and Rhode Island. We have new legislation and strong polling to carry marriage forward from coast to coast.

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