Esse Blog está no! Coloque o seu também! "GLBTI Weddings PLUS!": July 2007

"GLBTI Weddings PLUS!"

The Blog of the U.S.'s first GLBTI-specific Wedding and Events firm. Discussion spot for clients and visitors to interact with staff and experts, in an informal forum, regarding Gay Weddings or Same-Sex Marriage, LGBT weddings and Traditional weddings and other issues affecting the GLBTI.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Equality Florida: LGBT community outraged by Daytona murder

By: Steve Rothaus

Gay South Florida:

Steve Rothaus' blog for and about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people throughout Miami and Fort Lauderdale.

News release:

Represents the Latest Victim of Brutal Anti-LGBT Hate Crimes in Florida

DAYTONA -- Equality Florida today expressed deep sorrow and outrage at the Sunday morning murder apparently motivated by anti-gay and anti-transgender bigotry.

Troubling also are early reports that the accused killer is using the "homo-panic" defense, claiming an unwanted sexual advance led to the shooting.

According to police reports, Oscar Mosqueda, 34, was shot in the head around 2:20 a.m. following an argument with Cesar Israel Villazano, 18, of DeLand, the police report stated. Mosqueda was transported to Halifax Medical Center, and died about noon Sunday, police said.

Details remain sketchy. News accounts describe Mosqueda as "a man in a mini-skirt and heels" increasing the likelihood that this is yet another in a long line of transgender murders.

The Daytona Police Department told Equality Florida that the murder has not been classified as a hate crime.

“We will continue to gathering information from the community and work to ensure this case is properly investigated and that appropriate charges are brought,” said Brian Winfield, Equality Florida spokesperson. “We will not allow yet another brutal murder apparently spurred by bigotry to go ignored."

According to the Florida Attorney General’s Hate Crimes Report, physical assaults against LGBT people in Florida have increased in 6 out of the last 7 reported years.

In 2003, Attorney General Crist described anti-gay hate crimes as increasing “relentlessly over the past 5 years.” The following year saw an additional 21% increase in the number of physical attacks against LGBT people.

During 2005, the most recently reported year, 62% of hate crimes against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people were in the most violent categories. No other group came close.

Equality Florida is also working in partnership with Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) to challenge any media coverage of this horrific murder that is not respectful of the victim and accurate in the portrayal of Florida’s LGBT community.

Equality Florida is Florida’s only statewide human rights organization dedicated to the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. Through education and advocacy, the organization is committed to building a state of equal rights for all Floridians, inclusive of all sexual orientations and gender identities.


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Monday, July 30, 2007

United Parcel Service caved in and announced that it would give benefits to employees in New Jersey civil unions.

Monday, July 30, 2007 -

Moments ago, United Parcel Service caved in and announced that it would give benefits to employees in New Jersey civil unions on the same basis as the company gives benefits to married straight employees. Yet as of today, Garden State Equality has 211 cases of couples complaning (sic) to the organization that their employers are not recognizing their New Jersey civil unions. Among the companies flaunting the civil unions law, according to two of the complaints, are two competitors of UPS: Fed Ex and DHL.

"Equal protection under the law is not supposed to wind through a tunnel of hell, where gay couples have to threaten companies with lawsuits and where Governors have to write letters to shame the companies into doing the right thing," Goldstein said. "But that's what gay couples have been reduced to under New Jersey's civil unions law. This law is one of the biggest civil-rights failures of this or any other generation.

"Because of the New Jersey civil unions law, which isn't consistently respected in the real world, many gay couples have been reduced to begging. It's worthy of a cinematic tragedy, like when Oliver had to beg for more porridge. 'Please sir, may I have my civil union benefits?'

"The torture that UPS put this one couple through, before the company finally relented and gave the couple benefits, shows how pathetic the law is," said Steven Goldstein, chair of Garden State Equality. "Many companies don't understand the civil unions law, and many other companies understand the law but don't respect it. Either way, the law is an abject failure in consistently providing same-sex couples equal protection.

"What will happen to the employees who work for the many other companies, like Fed Ex and DHL, that won't cave in? How many of these couples and their children will have to suffer before the New Jersey legislature corrects the epidemic of inequality that the civil unions law has created?"

"Marriage is the only currency of commitment the real world universally accepts. Marriage is the only way same-sex couples in New Jersey will ever receive equality."

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Beating the Odds
Q&A with Terri O'Connell, NASCAR's only trans driver.
by Daniel Weil, via

If you grew up as a good ol’ boy from Mississippi, a NASCAR career may have been higher among the echelon of your future dream achievements – especially if you wanted to make your racing-hero dad proud. J.T. Hayes faced just such a situation. With 500 wins on the NASCAR circuit and a promising career ahead of him, he thought he had found the “right” track - Almost.

A series of events and one particularly awful racing accident in 1991 shifted J.T.’s perceptions. Trapped upside down by his seatbelt with fuel pouring and smoke billowing from the vehicle, J.T. Hayes decided life was really too short to not live it as who you are.

To greatly simplify the story, a decision was made and cars sold to finance a sexual reassignment surgery that put a racing career on hold. In time, the sheltering and constraining cocoon of J.T. Hayes had disappeared and Terri O’Connell emerged to take the wheel.

Full of inner conflicts and fights with the world to be who she is and do what she loves, Terri’s is one of those stories to which many gay people can relate. But ask Terri her story today and she’ll tell you, “I’m a woman fighting the odds… I may have come from a very unique set of circumstances, but today, I’m a woman whose fighting to do what she loves to do the most.” With a new book coming out soon, television appearances behind and ahead of her, movie deals in the works and a new competitive NASCAR team being assembled, Terri O’Connell’s dream of once again setting hot rubber against professional pavement will soon be a reality. Only this time she has an added advantage – she lives as the person she was born to the link to continue

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Garden State Equality applauds Governor Corzine for writing to the chairman of UPS

Statement of Garden State Equality chair Steven Goldstein:

Garden State Equality applauds Governor Corzine for writing to the chairman of UPS today calling on the company to offer benefits to civil-unioned couples in New Jersey. Once again, the Governor proves himself to be a compassionate leader and champion of civil rights for all.

The problem, however, is that writing to companies won't solve the epidemic of inequality in New Jersey that the civil unions law has caused. The only way to fix a failed law is actually to fix the law.

As of today, 193 couples have told Garden State Equality that their employers are not recognizing their civil unions. The state reports that 1,359 couples have gotten civil-unioned in New Jersey since the law took affect on February 19, 2007. That's a failure rate of 1 in every 7, at least.

It wouldn't matter if the legislature screams until it's blue in the face about the intention of the civil unions law. Imagine if the legislature passed a law declaring that cubic zirconias – the synthetic diamond substitutes available on home shopping channels – shall now be considered equal to real diamonds.

Would the people of New Jersey ever accept that law? Of course not, and it wouldn't matter if the law had all the pages in the world mandating equal value.

In his letter today to UPS, the Governor points out what powerful symbolism it would be for UPS to grant benefits to civil-union partners even if Federal law provides a loophole. We agree with the power of symbols. That's why the symbolism of the label "marriage" for same-sex couples would go a long way toward solving the inequality they continue to endure.

Why? Many companies point to a provision in Federal law that allows them to ignore the laws of various states that recognize same-sex relationships. Yet the Washington Post recently did an investigation in which it reported that companies in Massachusetts hardly ever use federal law as an excuse to deny equal benefits to same-sex couples married in that state.

Companies in Massachusetts - thankfully robbed of nomenclature of "civil unions" to hide behind - are choosing not to use Federal law to discriminate because the companies would have to admit they discriminate against gay people because they're gay.

Same-sex couples married in Massachusetts, as that state’s law allows, are getting equality. Civil-unioned couples in New Jersey are not.

It proves that civil unions just don't work in the real world. Marriage is the only currency of commitment the real world consistently accepts. And the only way to New Jersey will ever see equality is to give same-sex and opposite sex couples the same freedom to marry.

Corzine Urges UPS to Provide Civil Union Benefits

by: Juan Melli; Blue Jersey

Governor Corzine today wrote a letter to UPS Chairman and CEO Michael Eskew urging the company to reconsider it's denial of benefits to civil union couples in New Jersey. Corzine argues that New Jersey law considers civil union couples as spouses, even though we can't actually call them that.

So, civil union couples are exactly like married couples and partners are just like spouses, but we can't actually use those words because...who the (***) (Expletive deleted by knows?

The need for this letter is further evidence that this law simply doesn't work. Eliot Spitzer took a lead on marriage equality and the New York Assembly subsequently passed marriage equality legislation. Corzine is armed with evidence that this law is a failure. He should step up and lead the state out of this mess and bring true equality for all our residents.

Below is the governor's letter:

Dear Mr. Eskew:

On February 19, 2007, New Jersey's civil union law took effect. The purpose of the statute is to ensure the equal treatment of committed, same-sex couples in New Jersey by providing those couples who enter into a civil union with all of the benefits, protections and obligations of marriage. An important component of the equality envisioned by the law is the provision of health and other benefits to civil union partners of employees on the same terms as are provided to employee spouses. To accomplish this goal, the New Jersey law mandates that employers operating in the State provide benefits on equal terms to civil union partners and spouses.

It has recently come to my attention that employers who self-fund employee benefits, such your company -- that is, companies who do not provide employee benefits through a contract of insurance -- may assert that federal law, namely the Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA") and the Defense of Marriage Act ("DOMA"), prevent enforcement against them of the mandatory provisions of New Jersey's civil union statute with respect to employee benefits for civil union partners.

While these statutes arguably provide that State anti-discrimination laws relating to employee benefits cannot be enforced against self-funded employers through legal action, nothing in federal law prevents self-funded employers from providing the civil union partners of employees with benefits on terms equal to those provided to spouses.

It is my understanding that UPS has demonstrated this fact by going beyond the minimum requirements of federal law and providing benefits to the civil union partners of non-unionized employees. I applaud you for this decision, which represents a significant step toward eliminating inequality for committed, same-sex couples in New Jersey.

Equal benefits have not, however, been provided by UPS to the civil union partners of employees represented by collective bargaining agents. It is my understanding that a clause in the applicable collective bargaining agreement(s) providing benefits to employee "spouses" has been interpreted by UPS as not applying to civil union partners from New Jersey. This interpretation of the contract(s) leaves a subset of your employees, including employees who work in New Jersey, without benefits for their civil union partners, creating inequity at the workplace and furthering the inequitable treatment of committed, same-sex couples that the New Jersey law is intended to eradicate.

To the extent that the interpretation of "spouse" in the collective bargaining agreement(s) is based on the status of civil union partners under New Jersey law, I call to your attention a provision of the New Jersey civil union statute, N.J.S.A. 37:1-33, that provides that "[w]henever in any law, rule, regulation, judicial or administrative proceeding or otherwise, reference is made to . . . `spouse' . . . or another word which in a specific context denotes a marital or spousal relationship, the same shall include a civil union pursuant to the provisions of this act." The quoted provision makes plain that New Jersey law intends that civil union partners be viewed as spouses under all facets of New Jersey law and that a reference to "spouse" in a legal context, including in a contract, embraces civil union partners. This interpretation of "spouse" as it appears in the collective bargaining agreement(s) applicable to UPS employees who are in a New Jersey civil union would be consistent with New Jersey law and the intended purpose of the civil union statute. I urge you to reconsider your company's reading of its collective bargaining agreement(s) on this point to facilitate implementation of the goals of the civil union law.

Apart from any purely legal considerations, the provision of employee benefits to civil union partners on the same terms as spouses would be more than a symbolic gesture of your company's commitment to eliminating discrimination. Spousal benefits are a key element of the financial and physical well-being of working couples and their children. The provision of those benefits can, in some cases, mean the difference between the security of having health insurance, the financial strain of acquiring coverage at significant expense, or the risk of financial ruin by remaining uninsured. Surely, as a company with a longstanding commitment to its employees and the community, UPS would not want to make its employees and their families face these difficult choices based on the subtleties of the interaction of federal and State law, the happenstance that an employee is in a collective bargaining unit rather than an unrepresented position, and an unnecessarily restrictive interpretation of a phrase in a collective bargaining agreement(s).

Thank you in advance for your consideration of this matter.

Sincerely yours,

Jon S. Corzine


Juan Melli :: Corzine Urges UPS to Provide Civil Union Benefits

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

NEWS: Failure rate of New Jersey Civil Union Law GETS WORSE

Wednesday, July 18, 2007 -- As of today, five months after New Jersey's Civil Union Law took effect, at least 1 in every 7 civil-unioned couples in New Jersey is being denied equal protection under the law.

In today's meeting of the New Jersey Civil Unions Review Commission, the state registrar reported that 1,359 couples have gotten civil-unioned in New Jersey since the law took affect on February 19, 2007.

During the same five-month period, 191 civil-unioned couples have reported to Garden State Equality that their employers refuse to recognize their civil unions. That is a 14 percent, or 1 in 7, failure rate, at least.

During the first four months of the law, the failure rate had been at least 1 in 8, demonstrating that employers have not increased their acceptance of the law as they've become more familiar with it. Employers are actually becoming more resistant.

"What society would tolerate a law's failing 1 in 7 times?" said Steven Goldstein, chair of Garden State Equality. "If New Jersey's Civil Unions Law were a person, it would be arrested for committing fraud."

In fact, the law's failure rate is likely way higher than 1 in 7 because the 191 couples encompass only those who have come to Garden State Equality. The New Jersey Division on Civil Rights reports it is hearing from 90 couples a month inquiring about problems with civil union implementation -- which would be potentially 450 couples.

The Star-Ledger recently ran a front-page story, picked up by news organizations across the country, on how one company, United Parcel Service, refuses to provide equal benefits to civil-unioned employees in New Jersey even though UPS provides equal benefits to its employees in Massachusetts who are married to same-sex spouses there.

Today's new numbers demonstrate that the failure of New Jersey's civil unions law goes way beyond UPS. The 191 cases that have come to Garden State Equality involve almost 191 companies.

Many of these companies point to a provision in Federal law that allows them to ignore the laws of various states that recognize same-sex relationships. This begs the question: If Federal law is the problem, what difference would it make to call same-sex relationships "marriage" rather than "civil union"?

A big difference. The Washington Post recently did an investigation in which it reported that companies in Massachusetts are hardly ever using federal law as an excuse to deny equal benefits to same-sex couples married in that state. Even with the problem of federal law, same-sex couples married in Massachusetts, as that state’s law allows are getting equality. Civil-unioned couples in New Jersey are not.

"Month after month, as new statistics of the Civil Unions Law's failure are released, there's tragically no improvement in acceptance of the law," said Goldstein. "Civil unions just don't work in the real world. Marriage is the only currency of commitment the real world consistently accepts. And the only way to New Jersey will ever see equality is to give same-sex and opposite sex couples the same freedom to marry."

If you have gotten civil-unioned in New Jersey and your employer is not recognizing your civil union, please contact Garden State Equality as soon as possible. E-mail us your story, including your name and phone number, to We will keep all information confidential. Garden State Equality chair Steven Goldstein is at cell (917) 449-8918. Garden State Equality deputy director David Smith is at cell (908) 917-0654. Thanks so much.

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

South African Lesbians Tortured, Murdered

by Newscenter Staff

(Cape Town, South Africa) LGBT civil rights activists in South Africa are calling on the government to do more to end the growing number of attacks on lesbians in the Black townships following the brutal murders on the weekend of two women.

Sizakele Sigasa, 30, an outreach coordinator at the Positive Women's Network and a lesbian and gay rights activist, and her friend Salome Masooa, 23, were tortured and murdered in Soweto.

(Caution: Graphic description at the source. Reader's discretion is advised.)


Brides Dump Tradition, Trash Wedding Dresses

Grooms Also Get In On New Trend


Brides are taking the plunge into rivers, oceans, lakes and fountains for outlandish wedding pictures.Most of them said their wedding dresses are just taking up space, and they want to put them to good use for some edgy pictures in their photo album, reported KERO-TV in Bakersfield, Calif. Brides tend to be picky about where they sit and what they do while getting pictures taken before their wedding, so trashing their dress after the honeymoon allows them to get the pictures they really want.Dress trashing has become popular in the last year, with brides diving underwater or even rolling in the dirt. But women are not the only ones getting down and dirty. Their husbands are joining in the fun, too. Although the name suggests these women are trashing their dresses, it's not totally true. Most of the dresses can be cleaned and made to look just like new.

NOTE from the CEO:

Yes. It is a growing phenomena--- dress trashing. We've all seen it on TV commercials, gossip and reality TV programs and the like. I remember a celebrity diving in to the Caribbean.

It's not that I'm saying its a good idea or not. It is entirely up to the Brides and Grooms!

The questions that should be asked, though, are:
Do I CARE about having to get the garment properly cleaned?
Will I have a blast and ENJOY the relaxation that comes from 'getting loose'?
Will we LOVE looking at these photos forever?
How many 'real' shots should we take, just in case?
Do we think its a cool and FUN thing to do?
Will this be the PERFECT way to release all the tension of the day!?

If you can answer immediately, and without hesitation, "yes!" then maybe it's just the thing you need to send your event over the top!!! Just make sure to give the number of your dry cleaner to your coordinator!



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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Gay Allies Form Group In Florida Marriage Battle

Gay Allies Form Group In Florida Marriage Battle
by Newscenter Staff

Posted: July 11, 2007 - 3:30 pm ET

(Tallahassee, Florida) A new organization made up mainly of people who are not gay has amassed more than $1 million to battle a proposed amendment to the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage.

Florida Red & Blue boasts both Democrats and Republicans among its members. The organization says that the proposed amendment could be devastating not only for gay and lesbian couples but also for unmarried opposite-sex couples who live together.

The group says that many straight couples in non-married relationships depend on domestic partner registries.

Florida Red & Blue is led by Bob Farmer, a former treasurer for the Democratic National Committee and a key fundraiser for four Democratic presidential campaigns; and by Jon Kislak, the former financial director for Republican Attorney General Bill McCollum's campaign.

In just 60 days they raised $1.01 million.

''This is not just a gay marriage amendment,'' the Miami Herald quotes Stephen Gaskill, a spokesperson for the group as saying.

"It's easy to focus on that because that's what is controversial, but it goes way beyond that.''

The proposed amendment is being pushed by conservative Christian group Florida4Marriage. It attempted to have the measure placed on the 2006 ballot but fell short of the required number of signatures.

Of the 611,009 signatures necessary to place the amendment on the November 2006 ballot, only 455,363 were gathered by the February 1, 2006, deadline. (story)

But under Florida law Florida4Marriage, can continue to add names to the petition in a bid to get it on the 2008 ballot.

The group says it needs 18,000 more signatures by February to get the amendment on next year's ballot.

© 2007

Read Further Coverage in the Miami Herald by Steve Rothaus

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A UPS representative offered this explanation to Blue Jersey's Juan Melli.

Source: Juan Melli, Blue Jersey

A UPS representative offered this explanation to Blue Jersey's Juan Melli.

"I saw your blog post on UPS. What the Star Ledger doesn't explain is that UPS doesn't legally have the right to give same sex benefits to Ms. Brazier because she is part of the Teamsters and any changes to benefits have to be done as part of the collective bargain process.

The contact expires in 2008. Absent a law that specifically categorizes same sex partners as married spouses such as in Mass., UPS cannot unilaterally change a union contract to offer same sex benefits. We have already brought up this issue to the Teamsters for consideration.

As a matter of corporate policy, UPS currently offers same sex benefits to all non-union employees -- management as well as administrative workers. This includes all such employees in New Jersey, even though the state has failed to recognize gay partners as married spouses. Beyond health care, UPS also offers benefits such as medical leave, pension rights, funeral leave, relocation and transfer benefits. We recently added same-sex benefits as part of a new contract with UPS pilots too. The situation regarding Ms. Brazier and her partner is just as disappointing to UPS as it is to them. Our corporate policy is very clear. But for unionized employees, we can only address the issue through the union at contract renewal time.

Lynnette McIntire

Click the link to follow the discussion on Blue Jersey

Tori Spelling's Gay Union

Tori Spelling's Gay Union

by The Associated Press

(New York City) Tori Spelling is now available for weddings. "Yep, that's right. ... Reverend Tori Spelling! I did it last week online and my official certificate is in the mail. I'm so proud," the 34-year-old actress said in a posting Monday on the site she shares with her husband, Dean McDermott.

Spelling officiated at a same-sex union last weekend at Chateau La Rue, the bed-and-breakfast that she and McDermott run in Fallbrook, Calif., on their Oxygen network unscripted series, "Tori & Dean: Inn Love," her spokeswoman, Meghan Prophet, said Tuesday.

"I was so honored when the couple asked me to officiate. We did it on the front steps of the Chateau as 40 of their friends looked on seated in a loungelike atmosphere," Spelling wrote.

Spelling and McDermott, who were married in May 2006, will reprise their innkeeper duties for the show's second season, which premieres Aug. 14.

"It was so beautiful as I united Tony and Dex as life partners in love. They wrote their own beautiful vows and there was so much love surrounding them that there wasn't a dry eye in the driveway!" wrote Spelling, adding that she was "beyond nervous."

"I've done live theater and presented at the Emmys and this by far was my scariest moment simply because they had bestowed such an honor upon me and I didn't want to let them down."

Spelling and McDermott took their 4-month-old son, Liam, out for a spin on the dance floor at the wedding reception. "The three of us swayed and smiled to Madonna," she said. "It was a magical evening of pure love."

Spelling starred on the long-running '90s TV series "Beverly Hills, 90210," produced by her father, Aaron Spelling, who died in June 2006.

© 2007

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Civil union isn't enough

Civil union isn't enough

NJ Star-Ledger EditorialTuesday, July 10, 2007

"During the debate in the New Jersey Legislature last fall over granting gay and lesbian couples the same benefits as heterosexual couples, much was made about what to call a partnership of two men or two women. Should it be labeled a marriage, a civil union or something else?

Lawmakers, hoping to avoid controversy, took the easy way out by concluding that the language really didn't matter. In sum, they decided to vote for gay marriage but call it by some other name. But it turns out that this other name, civil union, is a problem -- and will continue to be.

In a society of laws, definitions matter, and New Jersey's civil union law -- on the books for five months -- does not define those involved in a domestic partnership or civil union as spouses...

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Monday, July 09, 2007

Even the Founding Fathers Had to Worry About Gay-Baiting

George Mason University's History News Network:
Even the Founding Fathers Had to Worry About Gay-Baiting

By Thomas A. Foster

Mr. Foster teaches history at DePaul University. He is the author of Sex and the Eighteenth Century Man: Massachusetts and the History of Sexuality in America and editor of Long Before Stonewall: Histories of Same-Sex Sexuality in Early America.


... An unusual image from a Massachusetts colonial newspaper reveals that even the founding generations had to watch how they carried themselves. The satire implied that the Freemasons, that venerable, but disturbingly secretive, fraternity that so many of our Founding Fathers belonged to – the group that was made popular in the movie National Treasure -- were engaged in homoerotic intimacy. The satire included a graphic engraving that appeared on the front page of the Boston Evening Post in 1751.

It was one of the few times for an engraving to appear in a newspaper accompanying a poem. Together the image and poem mocked the Freemasons and their virtuous manhood – an early version of gay-baiting to be sure. The rarity of an engraving in itself would have captured readers’ attention. The image itself, however, was designed to shock. It depicted two smiling men, one bent over receiving a trunnel, or wooden spike, the other, with a hammer raised overhead, ready to strike.

The poem included several lines that implied the Freemasons enjoyed penetrating each other as the image depicted:

I’m sure our TRUNNELS look’d as clean
As if they ne’re up A—se had been;
For when we use ‘em, we take care
To wash ‘em well, and give ‘em Air,
Then lock ‘em up in our own Chamber,
Ready to TRUNNEL the next Member.

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Sunday, July 08, 2007

United Parcel Service has denied health benefits to some same-sex couples in New Jersey

Health care coverage woes show limitations of civil union law

July 8, 2007, 6:13 PM EDT
AP New Jersey/Newsday

TRENTON, N.J. -- United Parcel Service has denied health benefits to some same-sex couples in New Jersey, a decision gay rights advocates say starkly illustrates the limitations of the state's civil unions legislation.

The company provides health benefits to its employees' spouses, including married gay couples in Massachusetts. However, it said the Garden State's decision to recognize same-sex relationships as civil unions, rather than marriages, has tied its hands.

In a letter to Gabriael "Nickie" Brazier, a driver for UPS, and her civil union partner, Heather Aurand, the company concluded that "New Jersey law does not treat civil unions the same as marriages." It said if the state had done that, Aurand could have been included in the health coverage plan as a spouse.
"This is a problem the Legislature created," Steven Goldstein, chairman of the gay rights group Garden State Equality, told The Star-Ledger of Newark for Sunday's editions. "Civil unions are never in our lifetime going to be respected by employers like marriage."

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Friday, July 06, 2007

New polls show gay acceptance on the rise

Younger Americans more likely to support same-sex marriage

ELIZABETH PERRY/ Washington Blade

Washington Blade  -  John and Elizabeth Edwards, and their daughter Kate, have differing views on gay marriage. Recent polls indicate that younger Americans are more supportive of gay rights than their parents. (Photo by Kristie Bull/

John and Elizabeth Edwards, and their daughter Kate, have differing views on gay marriage. Recent polls indicate that younger Americans are more supportive of gay rights than their parents. (Photo by Kristie Bull/

A few weeks after John and Elizabeth Edwards made their differing views on gay marriage public, a flurry of polls on gay issues suggests the Edwards family appears to be in step with the rest of America on the debate.

During a June 25 appearance on NBC’s “Tonight Show,” John Edwards told host Jay Leno that he disagrees with his wife on the issue of gay marriage.

“It’s not the only thing we disagree about,” he said. “A lot of people I love and care about feel the same way Elizabeth does. I’m very strong about ending discrimination against gay and lesbian couples. But I’m not quite where Elizabeth is yet.”

Elizabeth Edwards previewed that assessment during a joint interview with her husband on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” last December at the beginning of his campaign. She also said their daughter Kate, a 24-year-old student at Cambridge, has talked with children of Republican and Democratic politicians her age and believes the issue will “disappear with their generation.”

A joint poll conducted June 15-29 by the New York Times, CBS News and MTV examined the attitudes of 659 individuals and put them into two groups, ages 17-29 and older adults. The survey found younger people had more progressive attitudes toward gay marriage and civil unions. Some 290 respondents in the 17-29 age group said gay couples should be allowed to marry, compared to 184 of the older respondents...

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

The Sky Isn't Falling

Experience may be trumping hysteria over gay marriage.

Thursday, July 5, 2007; Page A16/ Washington Post Editorial

Photo: St. Petersburg Times

WHEN THE high court of Massachusetts ruled in 2003 that the commonwealth's constitution gave same-sex couples the right to marry, detractors railed against "activist judges" who were "imposing" their will on the people. Only the people, through their elected representatives, should decide something so fundamental, they said. Thus began an effort to amend Massachusetts's constitution by referendum to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Four years and about 10,000 same-sex marriages later, here's what the people have said: never mind.

To get the referendum on the 2008 ballot, opponents of gay marriage needed only 50 of Massachusetts's 200 legislators to vote for the amendment during consecutive two-year sessions. The first vote at the end of the last session, in January, garnered the support of 62 lawmakers. But the second vote last month attracted only 45. Now the earliest the amendment could hit the ballot is 2012. By then, the response from the people very well might be "What's the big deal?"

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Have a terrific Fourth of July!!!!! Holiday Concierges Schedule

We're closed until Monday good people, so we're working a bit later tonight for your convenience!

Clients calling the office after 10pm this evening with urgent Concierge assistance requests: Your call will be returned within 10 Minutes of receipt, throughout the holiday.

Thanks so much for all your support and confidence! Have a great weekend!

Myspace Glitters

Event and Floral Designer Philip Baloun Dead at 61

Philip Baloun, Darcy Miller, Martha Stewart, and Sylvia Weinstock

Photo: New York Social Diary

Leslie Koren, BizBash, New York

Event and floral designer Philip Baloun died at his Manhattan home Thursday after a short bout with pancreatic cancer. Known for creating fantastic and dramatic arrangements, he had a loyal following of high-society clients.

"He became a pioneer of combining floristry, interior design, lighting, carpenters, painters, seamstresses, and electricians to transform the most generic space into a custom world of wonder," said frequent collaborator Polly Onet, president of the event and marketing company Ober, Onet & Associates.

Baloun, 61, was a theater student and originally came to New York to be a director, but instead he worked for event designer Robert Renny Reynolds and others. He started his eponymous firm in 1979.

Baloun designed hundreds of events for prominent clients including George Soros, Shelby White, the LeFrak family, and Sandy Weill. He created corporate extravaganzas such as the Faberge gala at Metropolitan Museum of Art's Temple of Dendur and Time magazine's 75th anniversary dinner, as well as over-the-top benefits including a Venetian-themed gala for the Washington National Opera and the Prince Charles gala at Lincoln Center, for which he created an enchanted forest and a classical garden on the promenade.

Go to New York Social Diary
for their tribute/Obituary?

Sunday, July 01, 2007

West Village [NYC] Restaurant Ejects Lesbian Customer After Gay Pride March

Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund Calls for Immediate Action; Plans Monday, July 2 Press Conference
Photo: 1000 Bars / The New York Daily News


Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF) expressed outrage today after a West Village restaurant threw out a lesbian customer for appearing too masculine shortly after the city's annual Gay Pride march.

Khadijah Farmer patronized the Caliente Cab Company restaurant on Seventh Avenue South, in the heart of New York City's historically-gay Greenwich Village, on June 24. While she was using the women's restroom, a male bouncer came in and began to pound on the door of the stall she was using. The bouncer insisted Farmer was a man and refused to accept her identification as proof she is a woman. The bouncer proceeded to eject Farmer from the bathroom and threw her, her girlfriend, and the rest of their party out of the restaurant...

Khadijah Farmer

Khadijah Farmer was mistaken for a man in the ladies' room at Caliente Cab Co. and shoved out by a bouncer.

Diana’s Little Corner in the Nutmeg State: West Village [NYC] Restaurant Ejects Lesbian Customer After Gay Pride March: "Caliente Cab Company restaurant on Seventh Avenue South"