Hawaii governor signs same-sex marriage bill into law
Star-Advertiser: Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed the marriage equality bill into law today, making Hawaii the 15th state to legalize same-sex marriage.
He signed the bill before a crowd of several hundred people at the Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu.
Now, the struggle over marriage equality will shift to the courts, where Rep. Bob McDermott (R, Ewa Beach-Iroquois Point) and a group of Christians will seek to block the state from issuing marriage licenses to gay couples on Dec. 2, as the measure allows.
The lawsuit contends that the 1998 constitutional amendment that gave the Legislature the power to reserve marriage to heterosexual couples outweighs a statutory change. Another public vote, the lawsuit argues, would be necessary to redefine marriage.
Judge Karl Sakamoto has scheduled a hearing for Thursday in Circuit Court.
Photo: Gov. Neil Abercrombie and his wife Nancie Caraway sit in the auditorium at the Hawaii Convention Center before today’s bill-signing ceremony. (Craig T. Kojima / Star-Advertiser)
Until two years ago, Sasha Fleischman was a shy teen, a loner with odd hobbies and a bright mind, but far from a civil rights activist.
But between Fleischman’s freshman and senior year something changed: Fleischman decided to identify as agender or “nonbinary” gender, neither male nor female. Sasha asked to be referred to by the pronouns “they,” “them,” and “their.”
Family members say that very personal decision helped the teen blossom. But police believe it also led another teenager to light Fleischman’s skirt on fire as the student slept on a local bus, causing severe injuries that could take months to heal.
Since the incident, public support for the injured 18-year-old has been overwhelming, with more than $20,000 raised to help with medical expenses and civil rights leaders expressing outrage about the case. And understanding seems to be growing about the issues of gender identity that Fleischman hoped to call attention to.
On Friday, about half the 100 students at Maybeck High School in Berkeley, where Fleischman attended, wore skirts for Skirts for Sasha Day and carried signs reading, “Get well, Sasha, we miss you.”
(Photo: Seth Perlman / AP)
The Illinois House of Representatives approved a bill on Tuesday to allow gays and lesbians to marry in the Land of Lincoln, capping a months-long wait for a vote on the legislation while same-sex marriage advocates worked on getting the support needed to pass the measure.
Allen Klein and Bliss Hebert married last week after 51 years together.
"Though Mr. Klein and Mr. Hebert met in 1962 while working at the Washington opera and quickly became a couple, it wasn’t until one evening in 1964 that anyone else brought up their relationship.
Mr. Klein recalled that he and Mr. Hebert had just seen the movie “Fantasia,” with its classically derived soundtrack, including an excerpt from Mr. Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring.” On the way home, crossing 57th Street in front of Carnegie Hall, they ran into Mr. Stravinsky; his wife, Vera, and the conductor Robert Craft.
“They all greeted Bliss with great happiness and many kisses,” Mr. Klein said, adding, “Stravinsky was tiny and glowing with electricity.” Mr. Hebert immediately introduced Mr. Klein to Mr. Stravinsky.
“I had to speak business with Robert Craft,” Mr. Hebert said, “and Allen was with Stravinsky alone.” At one point, Mr. Stravinsky took Mr. Klein by the arm, separating him from the group.
That was when Mr. Stravinsky, in his Russian accent, asked Mr. Klein, “Tell me, my dear, do you love our Bliss very much?”
“I recall being rather shocked by such a question,” he said. “Remember, this was 1964. I stuttered out, ‘Yes, I do,’ to which the composer responded, ‘Well, then, my dear, you must take very good care of our Bliss.’ ”
Mr. Klein added, “ I’ve tried to do that ever since.”
Last week, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter signed legislation that will make the city one of the most trans-friendly places in the country and even in the world.
The law passed the City Council last month and extends a host of rights to trans and gender nonconforming individuals. The most prominent aspect of the law mandates that city-owned buildings have all-gender bathrooms in addition to gendered ones, but there are other changes, too. For example:
There is more to the bill than just a neutral place to relieve oneself. Nutter, city and state lawmakers and gay rights advocates said the legislation makes Philadelphia the first city in the U.S. to offer tax credits to companies that extend the same health care coverage to LGBT employees’ domestic partners and their children as they provide to heterosexual spouses and their children.
Officials said the legislation also makes Philadelphia the first city to offer businesses tax credits as a way to encourage providing transgender-specific health benefits. …
In addition to the business tax incentives, which were backed by the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce as well as LGBT advocacy groups, and the gender-neutral restrooms, the legislation revises Philadelphia’s anti-discrimination law to include transgender people, extends decision-making rights to life partners on medical and other issues, and changes city forms and websites to offer options for same-sex couples and transgender people.
This is really just incredible. Let’s make this the standard.
Wash. Native American Tribe Recognizes Marriage Equality
The Colville Tribal Council of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Nation voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to recognize same-sex marriages, according to The Wenatchee World. The ruling will extend to all of the tribe’s more than 9,300 members, about half of whom live on the Colville Reservation in north-central Washington State, according to the World.
(Photo: Jeff Fusco / Getty Images for NBC News)
D. Bruce Hanes, an elected county clerk in the suburbs of Philadelphia, has become something of a gay rights hero for granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples in defiance of Pennsylvania law. But the Civil War buff and married father of two says he is only doing what’s right.
Ginsburg becomes first Supreme Court member to officiate at same-sex marriage
NBC News: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg became the first Supreme Court member to conduct a same-sex marriage ceremony on Saturday.
Ginsburg officiated at the marriage of longtime friend Michael M. Kaiser to economist John Roberts. Kaiser serves as president of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
The wedding took place in Washington, D.C.
Photo: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg marries Michael M. Kaiser, left, and John Roberts in a ceremony at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday. (Margot Schulman)
Betty Crocker donates cakes for Minnesota’s first same-sex marriages
Three of the first same-sex couples who will legally marry in Minnesota on August 1st visited the Betty Crocker Kitchens at General Mills Headquarters in Golden Valley, Minnesota to taste-test wedding cakes for their ceremonies. The company has kindly donated the cakes to the couples for their celebrations, which will take place this Thursday at midnight. The couples will be wed at Minneapolis City Hall and the Como Park Conservatory in St. Paul.
Margaret Miles and Cathy ten Broeke, the first couple who will be married, were joined by Reid Bordson and Paul Nolle, the second. Both will be married on Thursday by Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak. The third couple was Al Giraud and Jeff Isaacson, who will be the first couple married in St. Paul. The three couples tasted three Betty Crocker cakes, designed specifically to their tastes, in order to select one for their ceremony.
The trio of cakes were designed and baked by Terri Leckas from Queen of Cakes in Edina, Minn. “We did a little taste testing of our own at my cake shop over the weekend and it was a lot of fun to walk in to the smell of baking at home. It was a really good feeling,” Leckas says.
New Jersey to ban gay conversion therapy
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie plans to sign a bill today banning licensed therapists from trying to turn gay teenagers straight. New Jersey will join California as the second state to ban so-called conversion therapy.
AP reports that, in a signing note accompanying the bill, Christie says he believes people are born gay and that homosexuality is not a sin.
Photo: Mel Evans / AP
California has become the first state to enshrine certain rights for transgender K-12 students in state law, requiring public schools to allow those students access to whichever restroom and locker room they want.
Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown announced Monday that he had signed AB1266. The new law gives students the right “to participate in sex-segregated programs, activities and facilities” based on their self-perception and regardless of their birth gender.
U.S. says visas from gay spouses will get equal treatment
Reuters: The United States will immediately begin considering visa applications of gay and lesbian spouses in the same manner as heterosexual couples, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday.
Kerry made the announcement at the U.S. Embassy in London.
"When same-sex couples apply for a visa, the Department of State will consider that application in the same manner that it considers the application of opposite sex spouses," Kerry said shortly after his arrival in London.
Gay rights campaigners drive a bus past Britain’s Houses of Parliament (Andrew Cowie / AFP - Getty Images)
Chicago House opens nation’s first transgender housing
On Monday, Chicago House cut the ribbon on the TransLife Center (TLC), a first in the nation facility for members of the transgender community, located in Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood.
The non-profit organization said it hopes to offer full wrap-around services to members of Chicago’s transgender community, which includes housing, health and employment servicecs, in a discrimination-free space.
"This will set a new model and a new standard for other cities," said Chicago House CEO, Rev. Stan J. Sloan during the morning ceremony.
The ribbon was cut by Stormie Williams, the first resident of the house, which includes nine bedrooms.
(Photo: Andrew Cowie / AFP - Getty Images)
Britain has legalized gay marriage after Queen Elizabeth II gave her royal stamp of approval on Wednesday.
Same-sex marriage resumes in California; Prop 8 plaintiffs marry
NBC News: Proposition 8 plaintiffs Kristin Perry and Sandra Stier became the first same-sex couple to marry in California on Friday night after a surprise ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Just two days after the US Supreme Court declined to rule on a case about the 2008 ballot measure declaring same-sex marriage illegal in California State, the circuit court cleared the way for marriages to resume immediately.
Courts around the state are extending hours through the weekend to accommodate marriage rush.
Photo: Prop 8 plaintiffs Kristin Perry and Sandra Stier were the first to be married at San Francisco City Hall, Friday, June 28, 2013, after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the stay on same-sex marriage. (NBC Bay Area)