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Marriage rights seminar scheduled

wedding expo, wedding rings, gay news, Washington Blade, seminar

(Photo by iStock)

For those newly married same-sex couples and those planning to tie the knot, a seminar covering a variety of legal and financial matters will take place on Jan. 25 in Towson. Issues to be discussed include estate planning, inheritance and estate tax benefits, health issues and qualification for Medicaid, tax law issues and income tax pros and cons.

Pessin Katz Law estate planning attorneys Kimberly L. Battaglia and Helen M. Smith will be on hand for an informal discussion of these issues. The seminar will take place from 10 a.m.-12 p.m., with registration beginning at 9:45 a.m. at Pessin Katz Law, P.A.’s Seminar Room, 901 Dulaney Valley Rd., Suite 400, Towson.

The seminar is free, but registration is required. RSVP by calling Rhonda King at 410-938-8800 or email rking@pklaw.com. Parking is available in the Sheraton garage.

22
Jan
2014

HHS backs gay couples, HIV/AIDS patients

Barack Obama, Global AIDS, gay news, Washington Blade

Married gay couples will be eligible for a family health policy under President Obama’s health care reform law. (Washington Blade file photo by Lee Whitman)

WASHINGTON — Married gay couples will be eligible for a family health policy under President Obama’s health care reform law, beginning in 2015, the U.S. government said on March 14, Reuters and other media outlets reported. Insurers were encouraged to begin offering coverage this year, the article said.

HHS exercised federal authority to prevent discriminatory insurance market practices on an issue that has been caught up in state marriage laws.

The move follows a February lawsuit filed by an Ohio gay couple that was unable to obtain family coverage under Obamacare, they said, because their state does not recognize same-sex marriage, Reuters said.

“If an insurance company offers coverage to opposite-sex spouses, it cannot choose to deny that coverage to same-sex spouses,” Dr. Matthew Heinz, who heads HHS outreach to LGBT communities, said in a posting to a government website.

The HHS also said insurers cannot turn down HIV/AIDS patients whose premiums are being paid through the federal Ryan White program, the AP reports.

19
Mar
2014

Oregon becomes 18th state to legalize gay marriage, weddings already begun

"We can see in these plaintiffs nothing more or less than our own families."

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19
May
2014

Yale profs suggest US as bad as Russia on gay rights – and they`re wrong

Yale law profs Ian Ayres and Bill Eskridge think that US anti-gay laws are as bad as Russia's. They're not.

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04
Feb
2014

A milestone in the hourglass

Will Horton, Sonny Kiriakis, Marlena, Deidre Hall, Freddie Smith, Guy Wilson, Days of Our Lives, soap opera, gay marriage, same-sex marriage, marriage equality, Salem, gay news, Washington Blade

Guy Wilson (left) as Will, Deidre Hall as Marlena and Freddie Smith as Sonny on ‘Days of Our Lives.’ Will and Sonny made history this week as the first same-sex male wedding on a daytime soap. (Photo by Howard Wise, JPI Studios)

Long-running NBC daytime soap “Days of Our Lives” made history this week when characters Sonny Kiriakis (son of Justin and Adrienne) and Will Horton (son of Lucas and Sami) were united in marriage by Dr. Marlena Evans (Deidre Hall), Will’s grandmother. They’re not the first ever same-sex couple (“All My Children” had a 2009 lesbian wedding) but they’re the first male soap power couple and first same-sex male wedding.

Actor Guy Wilson, who took over the role of Will in episodes airing in January (actor Chandler Massey won two Daytime Emmys playing Will starting in 2010), caught up with the Blade during a break in filming this week. The Los Angeles-based actor, who, along with co-star Freddie Smith who plays Sonny, is straight, says it’s been an honor to work on the show in a groundbreaking storyline.

“I’ve had to pinch myself,” the 28-year-old San Francisco native says. “You know, part of my interest in going into entertainment at a young age was to hopefully make a difference in life. And I feel at 28, which I still feel very, very young, so to be part of something so special at a young age and that I care about on a personal level, it’s a blessing. It’s part of why I was so excited back in August when I heard I had a chance of getting this part, to see it now come to fruition and to get to do what I love everyday, it’s all I need to be happy.”

Wilson, who met his predecessor Massey a couple times in 2011 when Wilson had auditioned for two other roles on the show, says he and Smith have “found a really comfortable place.”

“We’re obviously friends but playing roles that are so emotionally intimate, you know, we’ve definitely developed a special kind of bond. It’s almost too simple to say he’s one of my best friends because we’ve shared this emotional journey together for the last almost seven months. … He’s definitely one of the most important people in my life.”

Wilson, who’s also had roles on “NCIS,” “Castle,” “Bones” and “Breaking Bad” says the fast shooting schedule in daytime has been a challenge with most scenes shooting after one quick rehearsal, but he’s growing accustomed to the pace. The wedding scenes were shot about four months ago, which is typical.

Working with soap parents Bryan Dattilo (Lucas) and Alison Sweeney (Sami), both longtime vets of the show, has been grounding. He says Hall has gone above and beyond in her efforts to make him feel welcome and get him up to speed.

“She never hesitated at any point to share all of her knowledge and all of her experience with me and to be really detailed with that information and with that level of specificity made it so much easier to continue the relationship between Will and Marlena, which is very important to the show.”

And long-time executive producer Ken Corday whose parents started the show in 1965? Wilson isn’t sure if he was around when he auditioned, but says he’s seen him “a few times” on the set.

“I really like that man,” he says. “He’s very cool.”

Wilson laughs when asked if Salem, the show’s fictional base town, has a gay bar.

“If there are, I haven’t been to them,” he says with a chuckle.

Of course, given the medium, it’s inevitable that Will and Sonny will have many ups and downs if they stay on the show. Wilson says as an actor, he looks forward to that.

“With conflict comes growth,” he says. “One thing that’s been very satisfying about the whole WilSon (as fans have dubbed it) storyline is they do a really good job of communicating with each other. I actually think they have one of the healthier relationships on daytime TV. … But with adulthood comes adult problems so as an actor I’m very excited to tackle those.”

02
Apr
2014

BREAKING: Presbyterian church recognizes gay marriages

In an overwhelming 3-1 vote, the Presbyterians have just opened the way to conducting gay weddings.

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19
Jun
2014

2013 in photography

2013 was a banner year for the LGBT community. Here are the top Washington Blade photos of the year. (Washington Blade photos by Blake Bergen, Tyler Grigsby, Michael Key, Kevin Majoros, Damien Salas, Lee Whitman and Jon Wooten) buyphoto 

03
Jan
2014

LGBT Wedding Expo in Frederick

wedding expo, wedding rings, gay news, Washington Blade

(Photo by iStock)

On March 16, Studio C Photography of Frederick presents “Over the Rainbow,” Frederick’s first LGBT Wedding and Fashion Expo. The show will feature more than 30 gay and gay-friendly wedding vendors in all categories. There will be a fashion show with same-sex couples in wedding attire to include M. Stein Tuxedo, private designer dresses, gowns, and suits, and “Under A Hundred” budget-conscious ensembles.

The Expo will be held in the Atrium at the FSK Holiday Inn, 5400 Holiday Dr. in Frederick from 1-4 p.m. There is ample free parking, and the Expo is conveniently right off I-270, I-70, and Rt. 15.

“To date, LGBT wedding shows have been made up of vendors who are there to sell their services, which of course is the point; but not all of them are truly gay friendly,” Susan Centineo, owner of Studio C Photography, told the Blade.  “This show promises vendors who have been screened and who are truly committed to providing red-carpet service for same-sex weddings, and we have added a same-sex fashion show to boot.”

Admission is free, and there will be drawings, raffles, and discounts for same-day bookings with vendors. You may RSVP in advance to qualify for a cash drawing. Email Susan at studiocphotos@yahoo.com or call/text 240-446-6085. A few vendor openings are still available.

24
Feb
2014

Jo Becker’s revisionist history on marriage

Proposition 8, Supreme Court, gay marriage, same-sex marriage, marriage equality, gay news, Washington Blade, Becker

(Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Jo Becker’s book “Forcing the Spring,” which lauds the work of the American Foundation for Equal Rights has generated much debate in the LGBT community. Andrew Sullivan trashed the book and its author and claimed some major credit for himself in the fight for marriage equality.

Elizabeth Birch, former president of the Human Rights Campaign trashed Sullivan in her Huffington Post column. But they apparently agree on one thing: The book by Becker is far from an accurate history of the fight for marriage equality.

Reading the excerpt published in the New York Times, it was easy to accept both Sullivan and Birch were right even if their language was harsh. Michael Calderone in his Huffington Post piece quotes Sullivan’s comments on Becker’s book in which he said it is “truly toxic and morally repellent,” and that it includes instances of “jaw-dropping distortion” and statements “so wrong, so myopic and so ignorant it beggars belief that a respectable journalist could actually put it in print.” I guess Sullivan and Becker won’t be going for brunch anytime soon.

Birch calls Sullivan “insufferable,” and notes, “While it is true that the struggle for marriage equality predates the Proposition 8 case and its aftermath, it also predates Andrew Sullivan. (Did anyone else notice no less than four of Sullivan’s books are pushed in the opening paragraphs of his diatribe against the Prop 8 team? So much for collective credit).”

But why is anyone surprised that Sullivan thinks the world revolves around him? I remember his New York Times magazine cover story on the AIDS epidemic, “When Plagues End,” in 1996 when he declared the AIDS epidemic over because the new medications worked for him. The millions who have died and been infected since may not see themselves in the same light.

Both Sullivan and Birch offered strong statements about what was left out of Becker’s book and after reading the excerpt, I was left wondering how much money AFER paid her to write it. It clearly is not a history of the fight for gay marriage but rather a book trying to create heroes of a select few. This is not to denigrate the work of Chad Griffin or the actual work of attorneys who fought the Prop 8 fight or the real heroes of that fight, the couples who brought suit.

But in the excerpt (I haven’t read the full book) she portrays Ken Mehlman as a hero, glancing over his personal responsibility for the anti-gay rhetoric and devastating policies of the Bush administration. She never mentions that while Olsen was one of the lawyers for these couples he was at the same time supporting the Romney/Ryan ticket that was promising to repeal all gay rights advances and to appoint justices to the Supreme Court who would be guaranteed to rule against this case.

There are so many people and organizations deeply involved in the struggle for marriage equality. The fact is, the case brought by AFER to the Supreme Court was a partial victory instead of a possible total loss because Walter Dellinger, former acting solicitor general in the Clinton administration, submitted a brief offering the court what some called an “off-ramp.” It was his brief quoted in Chief Justice Roberts’ opinion that allowed the court to reject the case and return it to the Appellate Court in California where the ruling would only impact that state.

The Becker book apparently leaves out nearly all the activists who have spent a good part of their lives fighting for full human and civil rights for the LGBT community. Many have spent the years working for marriage equality that Mehlman and Olsen spent developing and supporting policies to prevent it.

From Hawaii, where the Supreme Court first ruled in 1993 that marriage equality was constitutional beginning the long fight there, to Massachusetts, which became the first state to legalize marriage equality in 2004; to Iowa that legalized it in 2009 to D.C., the fight for marriage was an effort by thousands. D.C. advocates spent 20 years preparing the stage and working to elect a City Council that would vote yes when the right time came. The question Becker says Griffin put to Obama about when he would “evolve” was asked by many others at those small $37,500 a couple fundraisers. I myself put him on the spot with the same question, and got the same answer, at one of those events on Sept. 30, 2011.

I hope that when marriage equality becomes a reality across the entire nation that someone will write the real history of the fight that won it. That book will be beneficial to future generations in a way that the Becker book will never be.

24
Apr
2014

Marriage advocates criticize Ind. lawmaker

Indiana State House, gay news, Washington Blade

Indiana State House (Photo by Jason82; courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

INDIANAPOLIS—Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) on Jan. 21 moved a proposed state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in the Hoosier State to another committee after it stalled.

The Indianapolis Star reported that Bosma moved the proposed amendment — House Joint Resolution 3 — from the House Judiciary Committee to the Elections and Appointment Committee. Republican leadership of the House Judiciary Committee last week declined to allow a vote on the proposal after they held a hearing on it.

“We’ve followed the legislative process with an earnest expectation that legislators truly seek to represent their constituents,” said Freedom Indiana Campaign Manager Megan Robertson in a Jan. 21 press release. “We found that to be the case with the legislators serving on the House Judiciary Committee, but House Speaker Brian Bosma broke his commitment to Hoosiers to uphold the traditional legislative process.”

23
Jan
2014