#SameSexMarriage

Australia's 'White Magazine' Shuts Down After Denying Same-Sex Wedding Inclusion

White Magazine, an Australian wedding magazine, has shuttered after facing backlash for not including same-sex couples in the publication.

Founders Luke and Carla Burrell announced in a blog post that White Magazine would be shutting down after 12 years due to pressures following the legalization of same-sex marriage in Australia at the beginning of the year.

 

Celebrating love and relationships – rather than selling products – has always been White’s message.

Last year the Australian law was changed to allow same-sex couples to marry. Since then we have been asked repeatedly why our magazine had not yet featured all couples.

Like many people, we have had to reflect on our beliefs, not to judge ourselves or others, but to intentionally make space for new conversations. It’s a long and continuing journey, it’s not black and white, there are so many grey areas that need to be explored. Our greatest mandate is to love and the biggest question we’ve continued to ask ourselves throughout it is, how do we best love?

 

Interestingly, the Burrell's version of 'best love' was to not allow same-sex weddings to be included in their publication.

Writing they have "no desire but to love," the Burrells say they had hoped to have "space to work through our thoughts and feelings."

But they claim a campaign was launched against them and they've lost sponsors due to their one-sided position on the issue.

"We hope that one day soon our society can learn to accept people’s differences and different points of view and love each other no matter what," they write in closing. "That’s where real positive change begins."

The irony here for me, as an LGBTQ advocate, is the Burrells continue to pretend they didn't 'take a side' when clearly they did. They chose to not accept people's differences.

Instead, they made the decision to ignore those same-sex couples who celebrated the happiest day of their lives.

And regarding losing sponsors, this would seem to me to be the free market at work. Folks don't like ugly.

Lara Hotz, a gay photographer who had shot three covers for the magazines, was one of those who chose to boycott the publication.

“It appears they are happy to take money, content and photographs from LGBTQI advertisers and contributors, but are yet to support and represent us in the same way as heterosexual couples are represented in the magazine,” Hotz told BBC News.

The Facebook post drew mixed results for the publishers. 

Some expressed concern for the magazine's freedom of speech. But others saw the Burrells' position as not too loving.

"It doesn't seem to me that your agenda is just to love, it seems like your agenda is just to love straight people," read one comment.

In the end, statements of "How do we best love?" and "We’re not about sides, we’re about love, patience and kindness," ring false for people running an admittedly secular publication who ultimately chose discrimination over equality.

This post represents the opinions of the author and not those of Instinct or other contributors.

(h/t Washington Blade)

Michelle Obama Snuck Out Of The White House For Marriage Equality Celebration

In her new memoir, Becoming, former First Lady Michelle Obama shares a touching episode from the day the U.S. Supreme Court declared marriage equality the law of the land.

The date was June 26, 2015.

Although she had just returned from a funeral service for the victims of the Charleston church shooting, she saw crowds gathering in front of the White House as evening fell.

From the window she could see a purple glow. The staff had arrange to illuminate the White House in rainbow lights in celebration of the landmark ruling by SCOTUS.

Seeing the energy of the people, she found she was "suddenly desperate to join the celebration."

After checking with her husband ("There are tons of people out there - you know I can't do tons of people!”), and her youngest daughter (who was engrossed in her iPad), Michelle recruited oldest daughter, Malia, for the adventure.

But the First Lady can’t just ‘walk out of the White House.’ 

From Becoming:

“Looking out the window, I saw that beyond the gates on Pennsylvania Avenue, a big crowd of people had gathered in the summer dusk to see the lights. The north drive was filled with government staff who’d stayed late to see the White House transformed in celebration of marriage equality. The decision had touched so many people.

"From where I stood, I could see the exuberance, but I could hear nothing. It was an odd part of our reality.

“We made our way down a marble staircase and over red carpets, around the busts of George Washington and Benjamin Franklin and past the kitchen until suddenly we were outdoors. Malia and I just busted past the agents on duty, neither one of us making eye contact.

"The humid summer air hit our faces. I could see fireflies blinking on the lawn. And there it was, the hum of the public, people whooping and celebrating outside the iron gates.

“It had taken us 10 minutes to get out of our own home, but we’d done it. We were outside, standing on a patch of lawn off to one side, out of sight of the public but with a beautiful, close-up view of the White House, lit up in pride.

"Malia and I leaned into each other, happy to have found our way there.”

Michelle shared the story on ELLEN yesterday with more details.

Like, the fact that a whole platoon of White House security started following her and Malia as they tried to slip out of the residence.

It means a lot that our First Lady wanted so badly to be a part of such a historic day for the LGBTQ community.

“Everybody was celebrating, people were crying, and I thought, I want to be in that," she told Ellen DeGeneres. "It was beautiful.”

Watch the appearance on ELLEN below.

 

 

'First Wedding Dance' Goes Viral

At their wedding in upstate New York this month, Noah and PJ decided their ‘first dance’ was going to be something special.

And thanks to the mashup of dance music most of us know too well and a wide-ranging choreography covering just about every dance style, it looks like they accomplished their goal.

It all begins oh-so-innocently with the boys slow-dancing to the romantic “It’s a Quiet Thing.”

But then, the music cuts out.

Cue the Miami Sound Machine's “Conga,” and the boys are off!

Soon they segue into some “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now),” before slipping in some “Vogue” by Madonna.

You can’t have a wedding dance without classic disco so next up is KC and the Sunshine Band’s “Get Down Tonight,” followed by some tap dancing “Puttin on the Ritz” via Young Frankenstein.

But you need a big finish, and the boys bring it with “The Time of My Life” from Dirty Dancing complete with high-flying lifts.

And the crowd goes wild!

In posting the video, PJ and Noah share, “We seriously did have ‘the time of our lives.’ An incredible night surrounded by incredible people!”

We can all use some uplifting moments these days, and this certainly fill the bill.

Check out Noah and PJ’s ‘first dance’ below.

And congratulations, boys!

 

 

(h/t Pink News)

Religious Groups Get Approval For A Referendum On Marriage Equality In Taiwan

Taiwan’s race towards same-sex marriage has just reached a major obstacle.

We’ve kept you updated on the entire situation surrounding Taiwan and its legal battles towards marriage equality. Despite the country’s highest court stating that the Civil Code’s definition of marriage, being between a man and a woman, was unconstitutional, religious groups are fighting to keep the definition that way.

After making that historic ruling in 2017, Taiwan’s parliament, the Legislative Yuan, was tasked with creating a new law that would overrule the old one or updating the old Civil Code to match the court’s ruling. Unfortunately, the parliament was given till the start of 2019 to enact this law.

While the parliament made sure to take the full two years, religious groups have been advocating for an overruling of that court decision.

Religious groups in Taiwan started working towards a referendum earlier this year, and now it looks like they got it.

Conservative group, the Happiness of the Next Generation Alliance, has been petitioning for a referendum (or public vote) on marriage equality and the legal definition of marriage.

According to the Japan Times, the organization got enough signatures for the second round and the referendum was approved earlier today. Even worse, the election commission has also agreed on a referendum focusing on LGBTQ education in schools.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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LGBTQ activists have expressed being upset by this turn of events, but as Jennifer Lu, the coordinator of Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan, expressed, “We do not have time for disappointment.”

Lu has urged allies of LGBTQ citizens in Tawain to have “millions of conversations” on the topic and let everyone know that marriage equality is a good thing. In addition, she has urged citizens to show up and vote for same-sex marriage.

Perhaps this referendum will end up like Romania’s where citizens chose not to show up to vote on marriage equality. This then kept it from being blocked.

If the vote does take place in Taiwan, the situation could get sticky. Several polls before the historic court decision showed that the general populace was nearly split on the topic. With religious groups becoming more vocal to stop marriage equality, there is worry that they will incite more citizens to join them.

We’ll see what happens in Taiwan, the country that almost became the first Asian country to legalize same-sex marriage, as we get closer to the vote.

h/t: The Japan Times

Trump Administration Will No Longer Grant Visas To Same-Sex Partners Of Diplomats

In reversing a nine-year policy begun by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Trump administration continues to demonstrate hostility to same-sex couples.

Beginning Monday (October 1), the U.S. State Department will require same-sex partners of staff of international organizations based in the U.S. to be married in order to qualify for a proper visa.

The policy change will affect foreign employees of organizations like the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

From the State Department’s website on G-4 visas: “Effective immediately, U.S. Embassies and Consulates will adjudicate visa applications that are based on a same-sex marriage in the same way that we adjudicate applications for opposite gender spouses.”

The State Department issued a statement saying the policy change is meant to “help ensure and promote equal treatment” between straight and gay couples. In order to obtain a G-4 visa, straight couples are required to be married.

The difference for same-sex couples, however, is that in many of their native countries same-sex marriage, or even homosexuality, is illegal.

Of the 193 United Nations member states, only 25 have recognized same-sex marriage. And then there are countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran which have death penalties for being gay.

And, as Fabrice Houdart, a human rights official at the United Nations told NBC News, “The policy seems to presume that same-sex partners should be able to easily visit the United States on a tourist visa where they could get married. But for people in many countries, particularly poor and conservative countries like the ones that do not permit same-sex marriage, obtaining a tourist visa to visit the United States is extremely difficult.”

Under the new policy, the partners of United Nations workers, for example, that are not legally married will have 30 days after the new year to either get married or exit the United States.

So, what do these couples do?

The choices available to them are to abandon their careers here in the U.S. or get married here only to face possibly severe penalties back home.

Former Ambassador to the U.N., Samantha Power, called the move “needlessly cruel & bigoted” via Twitter.

 

 

And the Human Rights Campaign followed up saying the policy change “reflects the hostility of the Trump-Pence administration toward LGBTQ people and our friends and allies.”

“It is hatred, and it is unacceptable,” the HRC added.

 

 

(h/t NBC News)

(image via Flickr/Paul VanDerWerf - CC License)

The Social Security Administration Wants To Remind Married Gay Couples To Apply For Benefits

The Social Security Administration (or SSA) is trying to make sure that same-sex couples in the United States of America know their social security benefits.

For decades, gay couples in America have wished for the same rights as their straight peers. Instead, they had to worry about the lack of benefits and rights like hospital visits/information, financial backing, and post-mortem support.

Thanks to 2015’s Obergefell v. Hodges however, same-sex marriage is now legal in all 50 states of the USA. That said, many gay couples are unaware of their rights as legally married citizens. In addition, several couples have yet to claim the benefits that they can now legally acquire.

And what benefits do same-sex couples under those categories have? The SSA is reaching out to let gay couples know.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Modern LGBTQ+ Weddings (@dancingwithher) on

Same-sex couples, and especially married couples, can collect spousal benefits based on their wife or husband’s work history.

In addition, any children can claim benefits from both of their legally recognized gay parents. Plus, both parents can then place their names on the child’s Social Security number record.

Also, disability benefits are available for the family if a partner becomes disabled and meets the government’s requirements.

As the SSA writes:

“One in four of today’s 20-year-olds will become disabled before they retire.”

Disability benefits provide financial support for disabled workers and their dependents, including our wounded warriors. You can apply for Social Security disability benefits online.”

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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That support during the hard times continues even in death.

“The loss of a loved one can be both emotionally and financially difficult. Some widows, widowers, and children may receive survivor benefits to help them cope with the financial loss,” writes the SSA.

That said, it’s not all on the SSA as same-sex couples will need to put in effort too. Not only will same-sex couples need to apply for benefits as soon as possible, but couples also have to report on other updates like divorce or death.

“You must tell us if you get married, enter a non-marital legal relationship, or divorce because your marital status may affect your entitlement to benefits. If we stop your benefits because of marriage or remarriage, we may start them again if the marriage ends,” says the SSA.

If you are married, going to get married, or are entering a new phase after getting married, you should keep the SSA up-to-date. They will have you covered with legal benefits, so it’s only right (and responsible) to keep them in the loop.

"Social Security has always changed to meet the needs of the people we serve and will continue to help secure today and tomorrow for you and your family," said the SSA.

After you do that, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy both your relationship and your legal rights.

h/t: The SSA

President Miguel Díaz-Canel Of Cuba Endorses Same-Sex Marriage

American LGBTs saw the power of the presidency in action when President Obama announced his ‘evolution’ and support for marriage equality in May 2012.

His statement made an enormous impact on the fight for marriage equality. And three years later, same-sex marriage came to all of the United States.

Now, Cuba is preparing for a nationwide referendum on changing the language in its constitution from defining marriage as a “voluntary union of a man and a woman,” to recognizing marriage as “between two people.”

And the president of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel, has publicly announced his support.

According to the BBC, Díaz-Canel said in an interview with Telesur he favors recognizing “marriage between people without any restrictions.”

He added that embracing marriage equality is “part of eliminating any type of discrimination in society.”

The Cuban president acknowledges that Cuba has “been going through a massive thought evolution and many taboos have been broken.”

Much of the credit for Cuba’s ‘evolution’ on marriage is due, in great part, to the efforts of Mariela Castro, daughter of former President Raúl Castro.

Ms. Castro, who leads the Cuban National Centre for Sex Education, has spent years speaking out on behalf of LGBTQ rights. And those efforts are clearly paying off today.

Cuba bears a long, hideous history regarding the treatment of LGBTs.

In 1959, after the rise of Fidel Castro, 25,000 gay men were rounded up and sent to labor camps.

And during the height of the AIDS pandemic, those with HIV were quarantined in government-run sanitariums. That practice ended in 1993.

But even with the country’s “thought evolution,” it comes as no surprise that there are still hills to climb in the form of Cuba’s religious leaders.

Cuba’s Catholic Church, Assembly of God Pentecostal Church, the Evangelical League and Methodist Church all vigorously oppose the idea of marriage equality.

Cuban citizens head to the polls in February to cast their votes on the new constitution.

(h/t BBC)

UK Study: LGBTs Waiting Later In Life Than Heterosexual Couples To Marry

New data from the UK shows same-sex couples are more likely to marry later in life than heterosexual couples.

Commissioned by the Office of National Statistics in the UK, the study, titled “Being 18 in 2018,” examines different aspects of life for young adults who were born in 2000.

The subjects of the study include life expectancy, employment, becoming parents, and getting married, among many topics.

While couples are allowed to marry in the UK at the age of 18 without parental consent, the statistics show young folks are waiting longer and longer to walk down the aisle.

In 1970, for instance, the average age for women getting married was 22-years-old; and for men, it was 24-years-old.

Of course, that didn’t include any LGBT folks since marriage equality didn’t arrive in the UK until 2014.

Note: same-sex marriage is still not legal in Northern Ireland, although civil partnerships are allowed.

Looking at 2014, the average age of women who married men had risen to 31, and for men marrying women it was 33.

But when it comes to gay and lesbian couples, the average ages are noticeably higher.

The average age of lesbian couples getting hitched as 35, and for gay male couples it was 38.

By 2015, the average age for gay male couples had risen to nearly 40-years-old.

These stats do spark the question: why are LGBTs getting married later in life? Or - put another way - are young people not that drawn to the idea of marriage?

What do you think, readers?

(h/t Gay Star News)

LGBTQ Ally Kelly Clarkson Does Not Suffer Haters Lightly

Do not come for the gays on Kelly Clarkson’s Twitter account or you will be named and shamed.

On Sunday, the ever-and-always American Idol offered congrats to a couple of fans who had just tied the knot.

 

 

But one fan wasn’t down with Clarkson’s support for same-sex marriage, tweeting, “Sorry Kelly…. love your music but I don’t dig the dikes…still a sin any way you cut it.”

 

 

The Voice judge clapped back saying originally she wasn’t going to give the hate a spotlight, but decided the truth was more important.

Clarkson tweeted: “I almost didn’t respond 2 this because hate doesn’t deserve a spotlight but u know what, truth does, & the truth is that God is Love, & Love shared between two people should be praised not condemned in my personal opinion. I love u 2 although we see the world/love differently.”

 

 

BOOM!

#WeLoveYouKellyClarkson

Episcopal Church Approves New Rules To Allow Same-Sex Marriage in All Dioceses

There’s good news for LGBTQ folks who belong to the Episcopal Church. 

At the Episcopal Church’s General Convention last week, a triennial event, the Church’s House of Bishops and House of Deputies approved resolution B012, which will allow gay and lesbian couples to be married in their home parish even if their local bishop has moral objections to gay marriage.

At the Church’s 2015 convention, gender-neutral marriage rites were approved for use in same-sex marriage ceremonies to be performed by clergy who were willing to participate. But, bishops were still allowed to forbid such ceremonies in their diocese if they disapproved.

Under the new resolution, which goes into effect in December, when a same-sex couple wishes to marry in a diocese where same-sex marriage is not condoned, the priest who has agreed to conduct the ceremony will be allowed to reach out to an Episcopal bishop in another diocese who can step in and provide pastoral support for the couple.

To be clear, though: no priest can be forced to perform any marriage ceremony they do not wish to be a part of.

The majority of convention attendees agreed with the solution.

From LifeSiteNews:

One priest said, “For 40 years our LGBT brothers and sisters have been at the back of the bus and, every so often, they are invited to move forward one row at a time.”

Another delegate who is a longtime pro-LGBT leader said she supported the resolution “recognizing that this is a hard-won compromise but one which I believe will lead us forward into that work as the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement.”

The chairman of the General Convention’s Task Force on the Study of Marriage, “implored deputies to complete convention’s actions on marriage. ‘We are fond of saying around the Episcopal Church that all are welcome, and all means all, y’all,’” according to an Episcopal News Service report.

According to the Episcopal Church website, the 8 holdout bishops who did not condone same-sex marriages were:  Albany Bishop William Love, Central Florida Bishop Greg Brewer, Dallas Bishop George Sumner, Florida Bishop John Howard, North Dakota Bishop Michael Smith, Springfield Bishop Dan Martins, Tennessee’s Bauerschmidt and U.S. Virgin Islands Bishop Ambrose Gumbs.

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