president-barack-obama-square-250x250President Obama’s evolution on marriage equality continues, as he discusses in an interview with the New Yorker.

The New Yorker reports:

Obama opposed marriage equality until May of 2012. He told me that he now believes the Constitution requires all states to allow same-sex marriage, an argument that his Administration has not yet made before the Supreme Court. “Ultimately, I think the Equal Protection Clause does guarantee same-sex marriage in all fifty states,” he said. “But, as you know, courts have always been strategic. There have been times where the stars were aligned and the Court, like a thunderbolt, issues a ruling like Brown v. Board of Education, but that’s pretty rare. And, given the direction of society, for the Court to have allowed the process to play out the way it has may make the shift less controversial and more lasting.”

How many other Americans are now shifting their views on the subject, now that things are moving so quickly?

Scott and MatkWelcome to the new Marriage Equality Watch!

We started life on January 1st, 2008 as Gay Marriage Watch. At the time, the term “gay marriage” was the most-used term to describe marriage between a couple of the same gender. The phrase “marriage equality” existed at the time – I just checked our blog, and we first used the term on 1/10/08. But Web searches for “gay marriage were much more common, and it was important for us to get the word out to as many people as possible.

When we first began our partnership with Marriage Equality USA in 2011, I remember sitting down with the President at the time, Carole Scagnetti, and talking about this very issue. I still felt, fairly strongly, that the name recognition of the phrase “gay marriage” was key to getting the word out.

Over the next several years, I started to come around about “marriage equality”. Several folks made the point that “gay marriage” was sometimes used by our opponents to make our unions seem alien or different. I started to use the phrase most of the time in our posts instead of “gay marriage”, reserving that phrase for when I was discussing our opponents’ positions and claims.

Fast forward to today. Marriage equality is quickly becoming the law of the land. For my own part, I’ve always thought of it fundamentally as a gay and lesbian issue. Bisexual folks can at least marry one of their two attracted genders, right? And transgender folks are often not gay or lesbian at all, so they’re not really affected. Right?

Well, I’ve learned that I was wrong on both counts. Over the last few months, we’ve seen transgender couples who were same-sex attracted denied marriage licenses, just like the rest of us.

And then I got this email:

Being a bisexual who advocates for marriage equality I find it stunning that you would refer to your updates as Gay Marriage Watch. This is exclusionary and offensive on so many levels!! –Mark Metz, Bisexuals For Marriage Equality

Now, I don’t know Mark – I’m sure he does good work. And I have to say, we should be fighting the religious right, not each other. But he brought up a good point.

While Mark and I had good reasons at the time for calling the blog “Gay Marriage Watch”, that time has passed. We are constantly learning from others in the movement, and even after reporting on marriage equality and LGBT rights for 6 years, every single day, we are still learning new things. We hope the new name is more inclusive – especially for our bi and trans brothers and sisters who are in the fight with us.

So welcome to the new Marriage Equality Watch – we look forward to continuing to bring you the latest in marriage equality and LGBT rights news.

:)

–Scott & Matk

MatthewShepard-550x356WE NEVER thought we’d see marriage equality come to Wyoming in our lifetime. But in a wave of judicial rulings allowing same-sex couples to marry across the country, this week a federal court ruling granted our neighbors the opportunity to make history at the altar. The lives and rights of LGBT people in the “Equality State” are rarely thought about without reflection on the 1998 hate-crime murder of our 21-year-old son Matthew. His abduction, beating, and death changed the way this country and the world responded to anti-gay hate, eventually leading to a federal hate-crime law that bears his name.

In Wyoming, there is much still to do. The state continues to allow employers to fire these newlyweds for their sexual orientation and gender identity, and the reality is that they — and their children — may face social rejection simply for being who they are. We are keenly aware of the progress left to be made, but today, we celebrate this incredible step forward.

See the Full Story at the Boston Globe

Join hundreds of walkers & runners at Woodward Park to raise awareness & community support for this worldwide epidemic in our third annual Fresno AIDS Walk as presented by WestCare California. All proceeds will benefit The Living Room, a project of WestCare, Fresno's only HIV/AIDS social support center. Sponsors, vendors, walkers, & supporters are needed!

aids-walk-fresno

We welcome walkers and runners of all ages, and we encourage you to create teams of 2 or more to truly rally support for this event. This year's event will feature a 5K run.

Although it is FREE to walk and run, we encourage you to raise funds for this very worth cause:
If you are a registered participant, it's never too early or too late to secure donations in support of AIDS Walk! Donors can contribute online by clicking HERE for our secure PayPal page.
Supporter checks should be made payable to 'WestCare California.' Please add The Living Room OR Fresno AIDS Walk in the 'for' line
Checks should be accompanied by a Donation Form (link to donation form on website) with the participant name on it. To guarantee proper attribution, the walker name should also be noted on the check's memo line.
Checks should be sent to PO Box 12107, Fresno, CA 93776, ATTN: The Living Room. Please do not send cash by mail. All donations are tax-deductible.

A. Event Location
Fresno AIDS Walk will begin & end at the Park View shelter of Woodward Park in Fresno. Please enter the main entrance on Audubon Drive.

B. Event Schedule

Fresno AIDS Walk 2014 will take place the morning of Saturday, November 22nd.

Same-day registration begins 10:00am
AIDS Walk begins 12:00pm

Stick around for our post-Walk celebration with great musical performances and recognition of our top fundraising individuals and teams!

ARE YOU INTERESTED IN BEING A VOLUNTEER? Our deadline for volunteer registration for the day of the event is Friday, November 7th.

gaywedding-01Although there are a few Flat-Earthers out there who still believe gay marriage can be stopped, everyone else has accepted (or celebrated) it as an eventual inevitability. So now the question is: what’s next? Not just what’s next for LGBT equality–but also, what’s next for marriage?

Earlier this year, I took up this question and asked whether marriage will change gay people (by domesticating and normalizing us) or whether gay people will change marriage (by mainstreaming non-monogamy and lessening gender roles).

poll-250x199A new poll shows strong support for the US Supreme Court action on marriage equality, mirroring an earlier poll by the same organization on marriage equality in general.

ABC News reports:

Most Americans in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll support the recent U.S. Supreme Court action allowing gay marriages to go forward in several states – including a bare majority in the 11 states in which such marriages have begun in the past week and a half. Overall, 56 percent of Americans support the court’s action, while 38 percent oppose it – exactly matching opinions on whether or not gay marriage should be legal, asked in an ABC/Post poll in June. These results reflect the public’s dramatic shift in support of gay marriage the past decade.

Even the 11 states affected by the non-decision decision show majority support, at 51%. But more importantly, this poll refutes the results of an earlier Pew Poll, which seemed to show a drop in national marriage equality support. That poll is looking more and more like an outlier.

Join Fresno Immigrant Youth in Action (#TeamFIYA) on Sunday November 2, 2014 at Fresno’s Two Cities Marathon & Half as we #RunForLiberation, demand #Not1MoreDeportation, because #MigrantLivesMatter and we need #HealthForAll! 

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The fight for marriage equality in the US may be almost over, but the fight for transgender rights is just starting.

Vocative has five maps and the story:

…as important as visibility is for creating awareness, it’s just one step toward equality. For all the positive changes taking place, transgender Americans are still treated as lesser-thans when it comes to policy and legislation that affords them legal rights and protections. “The recent media attention that the trans community has received is a helpful starting point for working toward greater rights and equal rights,” says Arli Christian, policy counsel at the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE). “Now we have all of these legal and policy changes that really need to be made. And looking at the number of states that have more accessible trans policies versus the states that need to improve their policies, we have a ways to go.”

Here are a couple of the maps to back up that point.

caleb laieskiCaleb Laieski may be young, tall and lanky, but he’s a fighter.

At his Arizona high school, anti-gay bullying was so bad that he had to drop out and complete his education in a GED program. But the intense persecution he suffered had a sort of purifying effect – he channeled the bigotry against him into action. As he put it, he refused to “be another statistic.” In 2011 he advocated and lobbied for the Student Non-Discrimination Act in The Grand Canyon State and served as a diversity liaison in the Phoenix, Arizona mayor’s office. He also caught the attention of members of Congress and the White House and tried to take non-discrimination act to Capitol Hill.

Now he’s taking on the FDA. The 19-year-old LGBT activist, and good friend of mine, sued the FDA earlier this month for its “unnecessary” and “discriminatory” policy of banning MSM (men who have sex with men) blood donors from donating.

Since then, our understanding medical science has exponentially increased. For one, the FDA scrutinizes and tests all blood donations it receives for viruses and cancers. Samples that don’t pass the tests are destroyed. People receiving blood transfusions are in very good and capable hands. But what has been one of the biggest breakthroughs in medicine has been the demotion of HIV/AIDS from a life-ravaging Grim Reaper to a treatable, chronic condition. The miraculous Truvada, for example, essentially prevents transmission.

And yet the blood ban is still on the books. Even though experts and the American Medical Association have denounced the lifetime ban as an unnecessary, bigoted policy, the FDA still turns away possibly millions of donors because of their sexual orientation. The American Red Cross has estimated that nearly two million more people could be saved if the ban were to be eliminated and that as many as three people can be helped from a single donation.

Laieski’s lawsuit uses the precedents set in famous historical cases, including Lawrence v. Texas (2003), Loving v. Virginia (1967), and United States v. Windsor (2013) to argue that turning away and singling out a group of people because of their sexual orientation is unconstitutional. Medical privacy is also cited; only homosexuals are asked to disclose if they’ve had multiple partners.

Laieski has a compelling case, to say the least. The FDA’s ban is discriminatory and not even needed to begin with. Asking gay and bisexual men how many people they’ve slept with may have been an uncomfortable precaution in the ’80s, but it’s 2014. HIV/AIDS doesn’t just effect millions of straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people – it’s a treatable condition that can be managed and prevented.

Is the FDA just nostalgic for the Reagan years or does it see all LGBT people as diseased and unworthy of blood donation? We will soon find out. With marriage equality sweeping the nation and renewed efforts to pass the Employment N0n-Discrmination Act (ENDA), I can’t think of a better time for the FDA to join the rest of the country in the 21st century than now.

Read more from Micah at Micah's Two Cents

jersey-boys-fresno-tickets

“Oh what a night” it will be on Oct. 28 when the national tour of “Jersey Boys” swaggers into the Saroyan Theatre.  Now’s your chance to see the show for free! Three lucky winners will each receive a pair of opening-night tickets. Enter to win HERE.

JERSEY BOYS
 
is coming to Fresno, October 28th - November 2nd. Official Ticket Source JERSEY BOYS, is the Tony®, Grammy® and Olivier Award winning Best Musical about Rock and Roll Hall of Famers The Four Seasons: Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi. This is the story of how four blue collar kids became one of the greatest successes in pop music history. They wrote their own songs, invented their own sounds and sold 175 million records worldwide – all before they were 30!


To enter: All you have to do is fill out our super-easy entry form 
here
.

For more information about the play, click here.