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Delaware to recognize Utah same-sex marriages

Beau Biden, Delaware, gay news, Washington Blade, gay marriage, same sex marriage, marriage equality, HB 75, marriage equality

Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden on Wednesday said his state will recognize same-sex marriages performed in Utah.

“Marriage equality is the law in Delaware and I strongly believe that individuals outside our state borders should be equally free to choose whom to love and whom to spend their lives with,” said Biden in a statement that announced his decision. “More than 1,300 marriages of same-sex couples were legally performed in Utah between Dec. 20, 2013, and Jan. 6, 2014, after couples received marriage licenses by Utah authorities. It is our position that these marriages are and should be recognized as valid under Delaware law.”

Biden made the announcement hours after Equality Delaware President Lisa Goodman and Equality Delaware Foundation President Mark Purpura sent him a letter that urged the Democrat “to confirm that same-sex marriages validly solemnized in Utah from Dec. 20, 2013, to Jan. 6, 2014, are recognized as valid marriages for all purposes of Delaware law.”

“The Biden family has been strong supporters of marriage — both in Delaware and nationwide,” Goodman told the Washington Blade after Biden made his announcement. “We are very happy and not surprised that Attorney General Biden would rule that Utah marriages, which we believe are and continue to be valid in the state of Utah, are valid and will be recognized as such in the state of Delaware.”

The U.S. Supreme Court last week blocked any future same-sex marriages from taking place in Utah pending the outcome of an appeal of U.S. District Court Judge Robert Shelby’s Dec. 20 ruling that struck down the state’s gay nuptials ban.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert on Jan. 8 announced his state would not recognize same-sex marriages performed between Dec. 20 and Jan. 6 pending the outcome of his administration’s appeal of Shelby’s ruling. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder two days later said the federal government will recognize these unions.

Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler and his counterparts in Maine and Washington subsequently announced their states will follow suit. D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray on Monday said the nation’s capital should also recognize same-sex marriages performed in Utah.

Delaware’s same-sex marriage law took effect last July. It is now among the 18 states and D.C. in which gays and lesbians can legally marry.

“We hope that other attorneys general nationwide will follow Attorney General Biden’s lead and recognize these Utah marriages as valid in their states as well,” Goodman told the Blade.

Biden is among those who attended a gay Wilmington couple’s wedding that took place on the first day same-sex couples could legally tie the knot in the state.

“Today we are witnesses to a historic event for Delaware and for our community and quite frankly our future,” said Biden before Joseph Daigle, II, and Daniel Cole exchanged vows at the Gibraltar Mansion in Wilmington.

15
Jan
2014

Rehoboth celebrates Fourth

Fourth, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, gay news, Washington Blade

(Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Fourth of July festivities are also in full gear in Rehoboth Beach, Del.

The annual Rehoboth Beach Main Street fireworks begins at 9:15 p.m. There will be live musical performances by the Funsters before and after the fireworks show. For more information, visit rehoboth.com.

6 Futcher holds its Mardi Gras-themed pool party at 6 Futcher Dr., Rehoboth Beach, Del. today from noon-6 p.m. DJ Mike Reimer will spin tracks for the day. There is a suggested $15 donation. For more information, visit camprehoboth.com.

02
Jul
2014

How to get married in D.C., Maryland & Delaware

Clayton Zook, Tracy Staples, Wayne MacKenzie, gay news, Washington Blade, gay marriage, same-sex marriage, marriage equality, Maryland, Tilghman Island

Marriage equality expanded throughout the mid-Atlantic in 2013 with Maryland and Delaware joining D.C. in allowing same-sex couples to wed. Clayton Zook and Wayne MacKenzie tied the knot on New Year’s Day in 2013 on Tilghman Island. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

So you’re considering taking the plunge, but do you know exactly how to get married? Where to obtain a license? Where it’s legal?

The good news for D.C.-area couples is that you have three local options for tying the knot, as same-sex marriage is legal in D.C., Maryland and Delaware. Virginia lags but two lawsuits are working their way rapidly through the courts and could lead to marriage equality in the commonwealth in the not-too-distant future.

All couples, including same-sex couples, planning to get married in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Delaware must first obtain a marriage license at a designated government office or courthouse.

Each of the three jurisdictions provides couples with the option of getting married at a courthouse or county government office in a civil ceremony performed by an official appointed by the jurisdiction. The couples may also select a member of the clergy to perform the marriage at a religious institution or other location of the couple’s choosing.

 

District of Columbia

Marriage Bureau

D.C. Superior Court

500 Indiana Ave., N.W., Room 4555

Washington, D.C.

 

• One or both of the parties or a designated surrogate must come to the Marriage Bureau to complete a marriage license application.

• Identification and proof of age is required for both parties in the form of a government-issued ID such as a driver’s license, birth certificate or passport.

• The minimum age for marriage in D.C. is 18. Persons of the age of 16 or 17 may marry with the consent of a parent or guardian.

• The marriage license application fee is $35 and the marriage certificate fee is $10. All fees must be paid in cash or by money order payable to the Clerk, D.C. Superior Court.

• Previous marriage information is required from both parties, such as documentation of a divorce or the death of a former spouse and the state or jurisdiction of the previous marriage.

• Religious celebrants and judges other than those of the D.C. courts must be authorized by the court and registered by the Marriage Bureau in order to perform a legal marriage in D.C.

• The full name of the intended celebrant must be given at the time the application is submitted.

• A recently enacted D.C. law, the Marriage Officiant Amendment Act of 2013, allows the couple getting married to select any adult to perform their marriage as a “temporary officiant.” The new law also allows the couple to perform their own marriage. The law applies only for marriage ceremonies performed outside the courthouse.

• Under a separate, longstanding D.C. law, three full days must pass between the time the marriage license application is submitted and the time the license can be issued. One or both members of the couple or a designee must return in person to pick up the license. The license has no expiration date.

• At the time the marriage license application is submitted, a request for a civil wedding at the courthouse may be made. A clerk will schedule the ceremony with a court official who will perform the marriage on or close to a date selected by the couple but not sooner than 10 business days after the license is issued.

• The marriage ceremony room accommodates approximately 10 to 15 guests. There is no fee for the ceremony.

 

Maryland

 

• Marriage licenses in Maryland are issued by the Clerk of the Circuit Court in each of the state’s 23 counties and the City of Baltimore, which is treated as a county. The fee for a marriage license varies from county to county but is usually within the range of $35 to $55.

• Maryland law requires that the marriage license be obtained from the Circuit Court in the county where the marriage is to take place regardless of the place of residence of the couple to be married.

• The marriage license must be obtained at least 48 hours before the marriage ceremony. Couples may seek a waiver of the two-day waiting period from a judge, and military service or illness is considered grounds for a possible waiver.

• A divorced person must provide a copy of the divorce decree that shows where and when the divorce took place. A license cannot be processed without this information.

• Identification for both parties, such as a driver’s license, birth certificate, passport, or military I.D. must be presented at the time the application is submitted.

• In some counties, such as Montgomery County near D.C., out-of-state residents may obtain a license application form by email for a fee of $55. The application must be returned along with the fee by mail. In Montgomery County, officials will mail the license to the couple.

• A marriage license in Maryland expires in six months if the couple doesn’t marry within that time.

• In many counties, a judge, Clerk of the Circuit Court or a designated deputy clerk of the court are available to perform civil marriage ceremonies at the courthouse for a fee. Couples interested in a civil ceremony by the court should contact the Circuit Court in the county in which they plan to marry.

• An individual of the age of 16 or 17 must present proof of consent of a parent or guardian in order to obtain a marriage license. An individual of the age of 16 or 17 that doesn’t have parental permission and an individual at age 15 may be granted a marriage license if a licensed physician provides a certificate stating that the woman to be married is pregnant or has given birth to a child.

 

Delaware

 

• Marriage licenses in Delaware are issued by the County Clerk’s Office in each of the state’s three counties – New Castle County (Wilmington), Kent County (Dover), and Sussex County (Georgetown, which is near Rehoboth Beach).

• The couple must appear together at the county clerk’s office to apply for the license and must bring identification such as a driver’s license or birth certificate to confirm their identities.

• There is a one-day waiting period for obtaining the marriage license upon completion of the application for state residents and a four-day waiting period for out-of-state residents. The license is valid for 30 days.

• The application fee ranges from $30 to $100 depending on the county.

• In Sussex County a marriage license can be applied for online for an additional processing fee of $14.95. However, it must be picked up in person by both applicants at the Sussex County Marriage Bureau. It may be used anywhere in the state.

• Applicants must be at least 18 years old to be eligible for a marriage license. If either applicant is under the age of 18 they are considered minors and must petition the Delaware Family Court for authorization to marry.

• An original copy of a divorce decree or annulment decree is required for individuals who have been divorced or whose marriage has been annulled in order to be eligible for a marriage license in Delaware.

• If either applicant is on probation or parole, they must obtain written permission to marry from their probation or parole officer.

• In Sussex County, the Clerk of the Peace John Brady is available to perform “Memorable Marriage” ceremonies any day of the week and at any location within Sussex County, according to information on the Sussex County website, www.sussexcountyde.gov.

• Under state law, a witness is required to be present during a wedding ceremony. In Sussex County, the office of Clerk of the Court Brady has arranged for volunteers – including some associated with the Rehoboth Beach LGBT community center, CAMP Rehoboth, to serve as witnesses with a non-mandatory contribution suggested for the center.

14
Feb
2014

Del. school district kills summer reading list over lesbian book

Cape Henlopen High School, gay news, Washington Blade

Students at Cape Henlopen High and other schools in the Delaware county are issued a summer reading list, which led to a flap over a lesbian-themed book. (Washington Blade photo by Lou Chibbaro, Jr.)

The Cape Henlopen School Board, which represents students living in the LGBT-friendly resort towns of Rehoboth Beach, Lewes and Milton, last week abolished a recommended summer reading list after a controversy over a lesbian-themed book.

The board in June removed that book, “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” by Emily Danforth, which tells the story of a teenage girl from Montana who loses her parents in an auto accident and moves in with an “old-fashioned” grandmother and conservative aunt. When they learn she is a lesbian they send her to a religious conversion camp.

Although the board voted not to use the entire suggested book list, called the “Blue Hen List,” provided by the Delaware Library system, the vote last week restored “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” to the summer reading list and upheld the reading and essay writing requirements of both college prep students and honor students.

At issue was The Blue Hen List, which contains books recommended for summer reading by state librarians for young adults aged 14-18. Ten books were recommended, but only Danforth’s book was removed from the list on June 12 by a vote of 6-1, with lesbian board member Roni Posner voting against the action.

In Delaware, incoming high school freshmen are required to read at least one book and write an essay during the summer to qualify for college preparatory courses, and to read and report on at least two to qualify for honors. Posner said, “parents can Google the Blue Hen list for suggested book titles, including ‘The Miseducation of Cameron Post.’” The book is also available in the school library.

Spencer Brittingham, president of the board at the time of the first vote was taken, said that “in three minutes I knew” that the book was unacceptable.

That vote was taken, according to Posner, without following the normal procedure of being placed on the agenda and allowing the public to address the issue. She also objected because, “the responsibility of school boards is to focus on policy and governance; a governing board’s role is not to manage the schools and the content of curricula.”

After the earlier vote to remove the book, there was a backlash against the decision that created a lot more interest in the issue. A number of community members donated copies of the book to a local bookstore, which has been giving the book away to interested teenagers. In addition, there was much discussion in local media outlets, and the ACLU threatened a lawsuit.

On July 24, the board met again and this time placed the issue on the agenda. Board member Sandy Minard indicated that they had to vote quickly, on June 12, because the end of the school year was approaching. She said, although she had not read the book, its content was brought to her attention by a community member, and she felt it was urgent to act.

Minard indicated that she knows that the other books on the list also contain profanities that are not suitable for young adults, but when questioned by Posner as to why they banned only the lesbian-oriented book, Minard indicated that this was the only book brought to her attention.

Dozens of citizens were present at this meeting to voice their support or opposition to the recommendations. Observers noted that this was one of the largest crowds to attend a school board meeting in quite some time.

Madison Bacon, a June graduate of Cape Henlopen High School spoke in favor of the book, indicating that “there was a lot of bullying going on in school, and literature can serve as a bridge to understanding.”

Rebecca Lowe, a librarian at Lewes Public Library and a parent, said that “of 100 books which are considered classics, 46 were faced with issues of censorship, so this is not unusual.”

Harry Metcalf, the parent who originally made the complaint said, “it is up to the parents to make the decisions on what books their children should read.”

Annie Norman, the Delaware State Librarian said that young people should be encouraged to read.

29
Jul
2014

Miss Pixie’s opens in Rehoboth

Miss Pixie's, Rehoboth, gay news, Washington Blade

Pixie Windsor with members of Chamber of Commerce, staff and friends open her new location in Rehoboth. (Photo courtesy Peter Schott)

Spring is when new businesses in Rehoboth Beach complete their renovations and preparations for the summer season. Such LGBT-friendly businesses as the L Bar (formerly Double L), Cloud 9 and the Maggio and Shields Real Estate Brokerage and Café in First Street Station will be replaced, among others.

Recent weeks have brought other changes to the Rehoboth retail scene. Last month, one popular D.C. business opened its shore branch, when Pixie Windsor, of Miss Pixie’s, the iconic home furnishings store, which has operated in D.C. since 1997, opened her Miss Pixie’s by the Shore at 40 Baltimore Ave. in Rehoboth Mews, across the street from Blue Moon.

Windsor, who previously owned a business in Rehoboth Beach, said it was time for her to open the beach branch of her popular store, which started in Adams Morgan in 1997, and then reopened on 14th Street in 2008. She will maintain the store in D.C.

“People in Washington know me, so I have a built-in customer base with the summer crowd, as well as giving us a chance of getting known by the year-round residents,” she said.

In its press release announcing the opening of the store, the Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Chamber of Commerce states that “Miss Pixie’s sells every whatnot from the Victorian era to yesterday with a bit of midcentury and shabby chic thrown in.”

Miss Pixie’s isn’t the only new addition to the home décor retail scene. The gay-owned R Squared Home opened March 1 at 39 Baltimore Ave. featuring items for the home and offering full interior design services.

05
Mar
2014

Del. organizers mobilize for LGBT youth

teen suicide, gay news, Washington Blade, lgbt youth

As many as 64 percent of LGBT youth are likely to suffer from depression, suicide attempts and substance abuse.

DOVER, Del. — Organizations in Delaware are joining to implement intervention services in schools there in the wake of a National School Climate survey reporting that as many as 64 percent of LGBT youth are likely to suffer from depression, suicide attempts and substance abuse, the Belleville News-Democrat reports.

The Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families in conjunction with Delaware Guidance Services for Children and Youth formed an informal task force two months ago to combat the problems LGBT youth face from their peers and society, the article said.

“We want to promote awareness in a non-threatening way. You can’t deny the facts, and the data that show our youth are struggling,” Yolanda Jenkins, an administrator at the Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families, was quoted as having said.

The department and Delaware Guidance Services provide similar services in regard to suicide prevention so it was a natural fit for the two to work together on the initiative started by the state, the News-Democrat reports.

 

12
Mar
2014

Beau Biden to not seek re-election

Beau Biden, Delaware, gay news, Washington Blade, gay marriage, same sex marriage, marriage equality, HB 75, marriage equality

Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden on Thursday announced he will not seek re-election in 2014 in order to run for governor.

“Over the past few months, as I’ve been planning to run for re-election, I have also been giving a great deal of thought to running for governor in 2016,” said Biden in a statement his office released. “What started as a thought – a very persistent thought – has now become a course of action that I wish to pursue.”

“After careful consideration, I have concluded that it is not right to ask for your support in 2014, knowing that my focus would be divided between doing my job as attorney general while at the same time running as a candidate for governor,” he added.

Biden, who took office in 2007, backed a bill last year that extended marriage rights to same-sex couples in Delaware. He attended a gay Wilmington couple’s wedding that took place last July on the first day same-sex couples could legally marry in the state.

Biden joined 14 state attorneys general who filed two amicus briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court ahead of last March’s oral arguments in cases that challenged the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8.

“I know that momentum is on our side on this,” Biden told the Washington Blade during a March 2013 interview.

Biden also backed a transgender rights measure that Gov. Jack Markell signed into law last June.

“We are grateful for the support and leadership that Attorney General Biden has provided with respect to matters of LGBT equality during his time as attorney general for the great state of Delaware,” Equality Delaware Foundation President Mark Purpura told the Blade after Biden made his announcement. “In Delaware, we feel blessed to have the strong support of many of our elected officials, including Attorney General Biden.”

Biden would succeed Markell if elected.

17
Apr
2014

J. Todd Miller dies at 68

J. Todd Miller, obituary, gay news, Washington Blade

J. Todd Miller (Photo courtesy of Parsell Funeral Homes)

J. Todd Miller died April 12 at his home in Lewes, Del. He was 68. His family, through contacts at Parsell Funeral Homes, declined to give the cause of death.

Miller was born Aug. 14, 1945 in Washington. He was preceded in death by his life partner, John Byron Kleminsky. He is survived by his son, Todd Adam and his wife Michele Frame-Miller; his grandson, Kevin Nolan Miller of Chicago; as well as his brother, Robert Miller.

Following graduation from the University of Maryland in 1968, he joined Aetna Life & Casualty and was appointed brokerage general agent of its Washington office in 1979. He founded J. Todd Miller, CLU & Associates, a general insurance firm, in 1982. Miller joined the firm in 1995 and it operates today as the Miller & Shook Companies of Washington, D.C.

As a result of his life-long fascination with the Eastern Shore and the Delaware beaches, Miller and Kleminsky built their first beach home in Lewes in 1980. In 1981, they founded beachaire, a small commuter airline offering flights between Washington’s National Airport and Rehoboth’s airport. The Air Traffic Controller’s strike in August 1981 forced the small new airline to cease operations.

In 1984, beachaire reorganized and became BeachAire Environments, a builder of custom homes and developer of Beachwoods and Beachwoods II at Lewes. Miller retired in 1997 and shared his time between homes in South Beach, Fla., Washington and his beloved Beachwoods. He traveled extensively, visiting about 30 countries, gardened and enjoyed every moment with his grandson and his golden retriever, Joshua.

A public viewing was scheduled for Thursday in Lewes, Del. Interment will be private. A memorial event is being planned.

Memorial contributions in Miller’s memory may be made to CAMP Rehoboth, 37 Baltimore Ave., Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971 and/or Goldheart Golden Retriever Rescue Inc., P.O. Box 34, Phoenix, MD 21134.

A memorial website is at parsellfuneralhomes.com.

23
Apr
2014

Miss Pixie’s Now Open In Rehoboth

Miss Pixie's, Home & Garden, gay news, Washington Blade, Rehoboth

(Photo courtesy of Miss Pixie’s)

Miss Pixie’s of Rehoboth is now open and will be open every day for the season starting May 18th!

Pixie will be doing free consultations for rental properties.

The store “By The Sea” includes mostly the same style of fun, functional, affordable pieces as the D.C. location, but more of the whatnots and small finds: Garden furniture, lamps, and local art, as well as Lancaster farm tables available for order!

There will be a design consultant on staff to work with clients in the beach area. Fun weekend events will be held in the store.

Check the Miss Pixie’s Facebook pages — https://www.facebook.com/Pixiesbythesea  and https://www.facebook.com/misspixies — and Web site http://www.misspixies.com/ for more details on events, inventory, and store hours!

25
Apr
2014

Queery: Kevin Buice/Mona Lotts

Although Kevin Buice says he loves performing and wishes he had started his drag career earlier, his alter ego was almost an afterthought.

Working in restaurant management, some friends at Partners (now Rigby’s Bar & Grill) in Rehoboth Beach, Del., were talking about ways to bolster their brunch about 10 years ago.

“I said, ‘You should have a drag queen,’ and they said, ‘OK, you’re on this Sunday,’” the 49-year-old Atlanta native says. “I said, ‘I don’t do drag.’ They said, ‘You do now.’”

Buice, who performs as Mona Lotts every Thursday and Friday night at the Blue Moon (bluemoonrehoboth.com) year round (except when it’s closed in January), says, “it became obvious very quickly that entertaining was something I was supposed to do.”

Splitting time between Washington and Rehoboth, Mona also performs regularly at Freddie’s Beach Bar, Ziegfeld’s/Secrets, and other gay bars. She has a basement in D.C. and a storage unit in Rehoboth where she keeps more than 100 wigs and “probably” 500 gowns. Mona never likes to be seen in the same gown more than twice a year, Buice says with a laugh.

“Mona has her own personality, I would say,” Buice says. “I know that sounds like mental illness, but I find it’s much easier to say things, do things and be more outgoing as her. Kevin’s actually a pretty shy person. Mona is very extroverted.”

Buice and partner John Foley have been together 13 years. Buice was married to a woman years ago and has a daughter, Katie, 24. He enjoys singing, reading, movies and time with friends in his free time.

“I love meeting new people,” he says. “If you’re in Rehoboth, definitely come by and say hi.”

 

How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell? 

Twenty-five years. My daughter Katie.

 

Who’s your LGBT hero? 

I have two. Tim Ragan, one of the owners of the Blue Moon where I work. Tim is a very successful businessman and has lived his life with his partner Randy for over 30 years. He is a hero of mine because success in public and personal life does not come easy and I have huge respect for the way he’s mastered both! Also the individuals who participated in the Stonewall Riots in New York. These individuals were the catalyst that started the movement that changed the perception of LGBT persons in the USA.

What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present? 

Ziegfeld’s/Secrets

 

Describe your dream wedding.

Twenty to 30 friends and family gathered to share a short ceremony with me and my partner at the National Cathedral in D.C. followed by a HELLACIOUS party at Blue Moon in Rehoboth!

 

What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?

Literacy. If you cannot read and write your chance of survival and success in life is almost nonexistent.

 

What historical outcome would you change? 

I would have stopped 9-11. America and the world were changed forever that day.

 

What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime? 

The cell phone.

 

On what do you insist? 

Honesty and loyalty.

 

What was your last Facebook post or Tweet? 

I posted Shania Twain’s video of “Dance With The One That Brought You” to my partner John’s FB page. It was my way of telling him I was thinking of him and that he’s the only one for me!

 

If your life were a book, what would the title be? 

“Mona – Life In and Out of Lipstick Was Never A Drag”

 

If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do? 

Run like hell!

 

What do you believe in beyond the physical world? 

Somebody bigger than me has got to be looking out for me. Otherwise I’d be dead.

 

What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders? 

Keep on going! We have to leave this world better than we found it.

 

What would you walk across hot coals for? 

My mother’s cooking.

 

What LGBT stereotype annoys you most? 

Everyone who does drag wants to be a woman.

 

What’s your favorite LGBT movie? 

“To Wong Foo”

 

What’s the most overrated social custom? 

Shaking hands

 

What trophy or prize do you most covet? 

The applause and smiles of an audience every time I perform.

 

What do you wish you’d known at 18? 

I wish I had known that I could have a career performing. I love what I do and wish I had started the art of female impersonation as early as possible.

 

Why Washington? 

You tell me — I’d rather be at the beach!

14
May
2014