The following are the nominees for the 2014 Academy Awards (the ones I care about) announced by Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, on Thursday. For some strange reason, she was joined by "Hunger Games" actor Chris Hemsworth. Weird. I wonder who he had to screw to get that spot... Anyway, The Academy Awards will air live on ABC on March 2, starting at 7 p.m. ET. Share your picks in the comments.
CNN Coverage | Official Oscar Site
Rev. Frank Schaefer was, under Methodist church law, sentenced to a thirty day suspension on Tuesday as the result of Monday's hearing which determined he broke his vows by officiating his son's marriage to another man. If, during those thirty days, Rev. Schaefer violates any church laws or breaks another vow, he will lose his credentials. More importantly, the church is calling on Rev. Schaefer to surrender his credentials if he decides he can't uphold all of the church's Book of Discipline.
Before the punishment ruling, Schaefer, who was convicted for officiating at his son's 2007 wedding ceremony in Massachusetts, told the jury Tuesday that he is unrepentant and refused to promise he wouldn't perform more gay unions.
Rather than beg for mercy Tuesday in the trial that has rekindled debate within the nation's largest mainline Protestant denomination over church policies on homosexuality and same-sex marriage, the pastor upped the stakes, telling jurors that he has been called by God to be an advocate for the rights of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people.
The church "needs to stop judging people based on their sexual orientation,'' he said. "We have to stop the hate speech. We have to stop treating them as second-class Christians.''
Schaefer donned a rainbow-colored stole on the witness stand and told jurors it symbolized his commitment to the cause.
"I will never be silent again,'' he said, as some of his supporters wept in the gallery. "This is what I have to do.''
> NBC Philadelphia's Coverage of the Story
I was shocked to see Josh Hutcherson, who plays Peeta Mellark in the Hunger Games movies, on the cover of Out magazine's October issue. I remember very carefully concealing the cover of the magazine as I brought it to the cashier at Barnes and Noble before I came out. It was exhilarating and very scary at the same time. Now, in 2013, you have stars appearing on the cover who aren't really gay, but wouldn't rule out the possibility of having love for another man. As is the case of Josh Hutcherson who, in an interview, says he wouldn't kick a handsome man out of bed.
“I would probably list myself as mostly straight," Hutcherson, who Jennifer Lawrence has joked is "in love" with their "Hunger Games" co-star, Sam Claflin, said. “Maybe I could say right now I’m 100% straight. But who knows? In a f**king year, I could meet a guy and be like, Whoa, I’m attracted to this person.”
Josh, who had two gay uncles who passed away from AIDS, seems to be a firm ally of the gay community. He said his mother is an advocate for the LGBT community and he has decided to use his celebrity to do the same, which earned him GLAAD's esteemed Vanguard Award in 2012. I'm really impressed with this 20-year-old actor, who is more open minded than some gay people I know. I'm proud to have Josh on our team. You go, Josh Hutcherson!
Shane and Tom had a love that I am envious of. Both come from small towns with closed minded townspeople, and both have a similar history of being closeted gay men before coming out and embracing their sexuality. When they found each other, they began a love story that ended in tragedy. Bridegroom - The Movie documents their adventures together, spreading love and a message of hope to all those who felt their sexuality was wrong. What happens in the end is truly unfair, but the way Shane handles the situation is inspiring. Everyone, not just gay people, should watch this movie.
From the Bridegroom movie website:
"BRIDEGROOM is a documentary directed by Linda Bloodworth-Thomason that tells the emotional journey of Shane and Tom, two young men in a loving and committed relationship — a relationship that was cut tragically short by a misstep off the side of a roof. The story of what happened after this accidental death– of how people without the legal protections of marriage can find themselves completely shut out and ostracized– is poignant, enraging and opens a window onto the issue of marriage equality like no speech or lecture ever will.
Indian Prince Manvendra Singh Gohi is living the life of a proud gay man, though he is shunned by his family, people, culture, and religion. He lives in New York City after being cut-off financially by his parents after coming out as gay. He does have a stunning apartment, though, which begs the question, "Did he and his parents reconcile?" I certainly hope so. Come to think of it, I never saw his coming out in the news, so I wonder if it was only a small deal in the news media when it happened. It's a big inspiration for me.
Listen, I understand the importance of the government shutdown and the roll-out of Obama Care, but that feeling of urgency is secondary to the most important things in my life. I have been blessed with the most amazing friends, family, therapist, and doctors a person could ever have. While I know it is imperative that we settle this impasse in government funding of the Affordable Care Act, I have a treatment team which includes my amazing therapist Nancy, who I can depend on to take good care of me despite the government being shuttered and all the problems surrounding enrollment in the Affordable Care Act.
My therapist would never let me go without care, neither would my doctors, friends, or family. I don't depend on the government to take care of me. I depend on my support system. I just feel so sorry for those Americans who have no one to depend on to take care of them should their health insurance or assistance be interrupted because of the government hullabaloo. I feel even sorrier for those people who have no one to advocate for them, ensuring they receive continued treatment--the best treatment for them--come hell or high water. It is so unfortunate that those people happen to be the most vulnerable: the homeless, the elderly, the mentally ill, the addicts, and the minorities.
Many would argue that they work long and hard to receive the health care that they have, but they are the ones who have it and never use it except for the routine check-up. My best advice for those in need of care, in any capacity, is to seek out community assistance and treatment. Most counties, and definitely those in Pennsylvania, have set aside funds to help members of their community in need of treatment and medical assistance. Community or county assistance is among the best resources in the country because they are invested in making sure that members of their immediate communities are well taken care of. Local constituents may also be of help, because they, just like the county, want to ensure that their communities aren't plagued by vagrants and crime. Safe, clean communities ensure these constituents will be re-elected time and time again.
Please, please e-mail me if you need help. I live in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and would be more than happy to help anyone local to me. Even if you aren't local, I'll help you as much as I can by doing research, making calls, or whatever else you may need. I want to help you just like I was helped when I was in need. I lay awake at night thinking of all the people in the world who die on the streets or alone in their homes because they have no one to care about them. I am here to tell you that I care. If you have a loved one that you'd like to help, but don't know where to begin, let me know. You have my word that I will do anything and everything I can to help. No matter who you are.
I love this letter, and can absolutely forgive the misspellings, grammar and punctuation mistakes because this grandfather is an inspiration to all men everywhere. It just gives me this good feeling that the country and its ideals are moving in the right direction. Here's my favorite part:
"The only intelligent thing I heard you saying in all this was that "you didn't raise your son to be gay." Of course you didn't. He was born this way and didn't choose it any more than he being left-handed. You, however, have made a choice of being hurtful, narrow-minded, and backward. So, while we are in the business of disowning our children, I think I'll take this moment to say goodbye to you. I now have a fabulous (as the gays put it) grandson to raise, and I don't have time for a heart-less B-word of a daughter."
How can you top that? He actually wrote that he has "a fabulous grandson to raise." My heart melted, and I laughed out loud at the same time. I can just imagine my dad saying something like that. If only he would. Grandson, if you're reading this, you are the luckiest guy on earth to have a grandfather as cool and supportive as he is. I'm jealous.
> New York Times Article "New Jersey Judge Rules State Must Allow Gay Marriage"
> Official Ruling/Decision Summary from the State of New Jersey (PDF file)
> The Garden State Equality Organization Website
I don't see myself getting married in the foreseeable future, but I do eventually want to get married. Hopefully that doesn't scare my boyfriend Corey off. Haha! Great news, though, from the courts in New Jersey. On Friday, September 27, 2013, a New Jersey judge ruled that the state must allow same-sex couples to marry. Refusal to do so would be a defiance of the United States Supreme Court's June ruling guaranteeing the rights of same-sex couples across the country. Finally, a state close enough to Pennsylvania is allowing me to marry whomever I choose. Don't you think it's about time Pennsylvania started allowing same-sex marriages too? I do. And while we're at it, let's legalize marijuana. It's bound to happen sooner or later. Let's just get it all over with. Pennsylvania needs to modernize. We're stuck in the dark ages. What do you think? Leave comments below, like and share on Facebook and Twitter, or send me an e-mail.
Pope Francis Says Church is Obsessed with Gays, Abortion, and Birth Control and Wants to Make it a "Home for All"
Pope Francis, the coolest Pope ever in my opinion, blasted the Catholic Church by saying it is "obsessed with gays, abortion, and birth control." More sensible words were never spoken. He went on to say he refused to discuss these issues, and wants to focus on making the church a '"home for all' and not a 'small chapel' focused on doctrine, orthodoxy and a limited agenda of moral teachings." Read the full New York Times article here.
A Harrisburg, PA judge is stopping a Montgomery County official from issuing marriage licenses for gay couples. It was only a matter of time because gay marriage is not yet legal in PA. There have been a couple of controversies surrounding the issuance of the licenses and finding an officiant, so this official was bound to be stopped. I'm just surprised it took this long.
Bruce Hanes, the Register of Wills for Montgomery County, has issued 174 marriage licenses for same sex couples this year. The Commonwealth Court judge Dan Pellegrini said that Hanes did not have the power to issue such licenses, and their issuance defies Pennsylvania state constitution.
Earlier this year, however, the U.S. Supreme Court threw out portions of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, and state Attorney General Kathleen Kane called the Pennsylvania ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional.
It's only a matter of time before Pennsylvania legalizes same sex marriage. I have faith that my home state will follow the trend set by several other states that have already legalized it. Voters, especially those in the city of Philadelphia, will ensure the marriage equality bill is passed. I'm certain of it. It's only a matter of time.
Read the blog about the New Hope, PA mayor who refused to officiate a gay marriage ceremony.
> Bakery owners speak out after being shut down.
> Daily Mail article covering the story with photos.
Two lesbians walk into a bakery... Let's try that again... In January, two lesbians entered a bakery called Sweet Cakes by Melissa, and placed an order for a wedding cake. Simple enough, but once the Christian owners realized that they'd be making a cake to celebrate the marriage of two women, they refused the order citing their strong Christian belief that marriage is a union between a man and a woman.
Shortly thereafter, the lesbian couple reported the discrimination to Oregon's bureau of Labor and Industry. They're still reviewing the case and deciding whether a suit should be filed against the bakery. It seems cut and dry to me, so I assume a suit will be filed soon enough.
An interesting thing happened while the investigation was taking place. The people of Oregon began to protest the bakery, sending hate mail and death threats to its owners. The protests barred the bakery from obtaining lucrative accounts in the special events industry, which is any bakery's lifeline. If you're not making birthday, bar/bat mitzvah, and wedding cakes, you're not going to be able to pay the rent and overhead that comes standard with operating a bakery in a storefront.
Unfortunately for the owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, Oregon passed the Oregon Equality Act of 2007, which protects the rights of gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender people in employment, housing and public accommodations. Had they known that, they would have known they could be sued for declining the two women's order for a wedding cake.
If you own and operate a business that serves the public, common sense tells you not to decline ANY order. It's bad for business. I think it's amazing how this town in Oregon banded together to put a bigoted bakery out of business. I think it's even more amazing that there are laws in place to protect us from things like this happening. When they do happen, there are consequences. Sweet Cakes by Melissa is feeling them. For the GLBT community, this revenge is so sweet!
For whatever reason, I love Macklemore. He's got a different style, and I think he's sexy. I like his music to a certain extent. It does for me what I think it's meant to do: make you smile. I'm all for happy music, especially if it's supporting the gays. I'm a gay, and while I love the message in "One Love", I don't totally love it as a song. I like an uptempo song, myself. Kudos for standing up for us if you're not gay. That takes balls.
This is a funny clip from Chelsea Lately about how everyone thinks Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are gay. It's true, as he says in the clip, the second thing that comes up in the Google recommendations when you type "Macklemore" is "Macklemore gay". Poor guy. He takes it well, though, and even jokes about it. Watch the clip, it's a good laugh.
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New York Times/NPR articles that I wrote about:
> Read the "Facebook Inquiry" article
> Read the "Android Security" article
> Read the "How to Disappear" article
> Read the "White Supremacist" article
> Read the "Gay Marriage Tax" article
Well, the news is all about Syria, as it should be, and Britain not wanting to be a part of it. That's fine, and I care that it's going on, but I like to leave war politics to politicians. The first thing I want to talk about has nothing to do with Syria, but is definitely a war of sorts. It's the digital information war. The war that government is fighting against our privacy.
I'm one of those people who has nothing to hide from the government, but I support freedom of speech and a right to one's privacy. That being said, I was disgusted to see that Facebook released a report the other day, according to this New York Times article, outlining the government's requests for information on specific Facebook accounts linked to specific people. It doesn't list names, obviously, but I couldn't help wondering if I was one of the 37,954 people the requests pertained to. I'm clearly no threat, but what if something I said on Facebook used one or more of the keywords that the National Security Agency is looking for? I sure hope not.
Facebook said it didn't honor all of the requests, but didn't specify the criteria it used to approve and deny requests. How do you say no to the government? I guess when you're as big as Facebook, and everyone in the world has an account, you can do pretty much whatever you want. I don't think the agency is poking around in innocent people's information, I think they're looking for very specific people who have committed crimes, or conspired to commit crimes that were terrorist related. Still, what should be off limits, and what is fair game? After Facebook released their report, Microsoft and Google came forward and issued similar reports. I don't want the government accessing private information without my consent. I hope these three companies inform the people whose information is being requested. Otherwise, it would be like Big Brother watching us and tracking our every click. Maybe they're already doing it. Who knows? Meanwhile, the government issued a statement warning against security threats on Android phones. Gee, thanks. NPR just published a humorous article called "How to Disappear if Someone is Spying on You" which is appropriate to mention here.
> Read the article from 08/27/13
> Read the article from 08/28/13
> Read "Is Facebook Making Students Terrible Writers?" (Unrelated)
There was an article on a local news website yesterday that caught my attention. The mayor of New Hope, a small, very gay friendly town that hosts a gay pride parade on its main street every year, refused to marry a same sex couple. The couple had obtained a marriage license in neighboring Montgomery County, despite the fact that it is illegal to do so. They then brought the license to New Hope's mayor, Larry Keller, who refused to officiate, citing the the definition of marriage in Pennsylvania being the union of a man and a woman.
He defended himself stating, "“If it was legal, I’d be happy to do it. But, it’s not the law yet.” I agree with Keller. How can the mayor of a borough defy the law and marry a same sex couple? If he broke the law and got a DUI, there would be an uproar. I don't see why this situation should be any different. Keller is a public figure who, when sworn into office, took an oath to obey and uphold the law.
I had an interesting conversation on Facebook with my friend Brandy after I had posted a link to the article on my timeline. I'm going to re-post it here. I hope she doesn't mind. Here's what was said, including all the bad punctuation, grammar, and syntax that comes with the way everyone writes on Facebook. That's a conversation for another blog. Full conversation after the jump... Click "Read More".
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