Friday, February 28, 2014

'Looking' Renewed For Second Season


HBO has decided to renew Looking for a second season, with production on the comedy slated to resume later this year in the Bay Area. Along with the announcement of the renewal, recurring characters Lauren Weedman (Doris, who needs her own spin off, like now), Raul Castillo (Richie) and Russell Tovey (Kevin) have been bumped up to series regulars.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the show, which debuted in January to 338,000 viewers, has improved significantly. "After a few weeks of dips, the most recent episode (Feb. 23) averaged a series high 519,000 viewers. Like all HBO series, it has drawn its greatest audience in gross views -- that includes originals, replays, On Demand, HBO Go -- with a season-to-date score of two million weekly viewers."

I know Looking isn't everyone's cup of tea, but I have to say the show has really grown on me, particularly with the last two episodes, "Looking For The Future," and "Looking In The Mirror," which IMO are the series' strongest so far.

Now for the shameless plug: read my recap of "Looking In The Mirror," HERE.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer Vetoes 'Religious Freedom' Bill, Calls It Pointless


Praise the gods of logic and sanity. Arizona governor Jan Brewer vetoed the "license to discriminate" bill today, after pressure from LGBT groups, businesses and if you can believe it, some GOP members. Brewer said she "had not heard one example" of any religious Arizona resident being forced to compromise their beliefs, and felt the law "has the potential to create more problems than it purports to solve."

Unfortunately, Arizona's not only state considering these kinds of bill. Check HERE for the status of similar bills in other states.

WATCH: Anderson Cooper Destroys Arizona Politician Over 'Anti-Gay' Law


God, this was such a one-sided battle of wits--who prepped this guy before the interview? On second thought, what happened to his common sense? Anderson was speaking in tongues, just connecting the dots to the potential consequences of this ludicrous, discriminatory bill. Chile, just watch this epic wig snatch below.

Texas Judge Declares Marriage Ban Unconstitutional


Oh snap! A federal judge in Texas has struck down the Lone Star State's ban on same-sex marriage. District Judge Orlando Garcia ruled the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on marriage last summer overrules the state's constitutional amendment,, approved by voters in 2005.

 “Today’s court decision is not made in defiance of the great people of Texas or the Texas Legislature, but in compliance with the U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court precedent,” he said in his order, The Dallas Morning News reports. “Without a rational relation to a legitimate governmental purpose, state-imposed inequality can find no refuge in our U.S. Constitution.” 

Garcia has stayed his ruling from taking effect until it goes through the appeal process, so couples can't jump the broom just yet. The case, brought forward in a lawsuit by couples Cleo DeLeon and Nicole Dimetman, and Victor Holmes and Mark Phariss, is one of 23 pending state-level marriage cases.

Friday, February 21, 2014

WATCH: Stephen Colbert Interviews Janet Mock


Watch the interview with Mock, in which she talks about her book Redefining Realness, and Colbert's joke segment on recent transgender-related issues, such as the Piers Morgan Live and Katie Couric brouhahas (though I stand by my opinion on the latter) and Facebook's gender identity policy change below.


The Colbert Report
Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,Video Archive

The Colbert Report
Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,Video Archive

Lambda Legal Sues Louisiana Blue Cross Over AIDS Drug Assistance Program Payment Refusals


Lambda Legal has filed suit in federal court against Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS), alleging the insurance company's decision to reject third-party payments from non-related parties puts people's lives in jeopardy, and are seeking an emergency injunction.

The suite comes after BCBS sent letters to patients notifying them their AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) subsidies will not be accepted. Two other Louisiana-based insurers, Louisiana Health Cooperative and Vantage Health, have stated they will follow in BCBS's footsteps.

"The situation is urgent," said Scott Schoettes, HIV Project Director at Lambda Legal. "Refusing federal funds that provide life-saving care to people living with HIV could potentially affect thousands of low-income Louisiana residents. This discriminatory policy keeps low-income people living with HIV off of BlueCross BlueShield's insurance rolls, perpetuating the deliberate insurance industry practice of denying coverage to those living with HIV that the Affordable Care Act was designed to reverse. Continuous coverage is critical for people living with HIV. The health care crisis these insurers have created must be stopped."

Read Lambda Legal's press release about the suit HERE, and BCBS's statement HERE.

Illinois Federal Judge: Same Sex Couples Can Start Marrying Immediately

Vernita Gray (L), Patricia Ewert (R)

Good news for Windy City gay couples. A federal judge in Illinois has declared same sex couples can start getting hitched immediately in Cook County, which includes Chicago and the surrounding area.

U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman said in a ruling, filed this morning, that there is no reason for same-sex couples to have to wait until the state's marriage equality law takes effect in June to begin marrying.

"'There is no reason to delay further when no opposition has been presented to this Court and committed gay and lesbian couples have already suffered from the denial of their fundamental right to marry,' Coleman said in her ruling, which appears to only apply to Cook County, according to local news sources."

Coleman's ruling is in response to a class action lawsuit filed by Lambda Legal and the ACLU on behalf of same-sex couples in Cook County.

"Since the parties agree that marriage is a fundamental right available to all individuals and should not be denied, the focus in this case shifts from the 'we can’t wait' for terminally ill individuals to 'why should we wait' for all gay and lesbian couples that want to marry," Coleman's continued in her ruling. "To paraphrase Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: the time is always ripe to do right." 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Random Question: How's 2014 Treating You So Far?



How's your 2014 been going two months in? Good? Bad? Or more like chile I don't know, it's only February!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Anglican Bishops Bar Priests From Blessing Same-Sex Marriages



Ugh, this is a mess. Bishops of the Church of England have adopted new guidelines saying priests could not bless same-sex unions. The decision comes days after the head of the church warned bishops opposing LGBT rights would give the organization a bigoted reputation.

With same-sex marriages set to start in March, the House of Bishops wrote up new guidelines stating "blessing should not be provided" to same-sex weddings, but suggests priests "should respond pastorally and sensitively in other ways." In addition, those married to someone of the same sex will be barred from ordination, while those "in holy orders" are prohibited from entering a same-sex union.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, spiritual head of the Anglican Church, mentioned when speaking on the church's anti-gay stance,"a great fear that our decisions will lead us to the rejection of LGBT people, to irrelevance in a changing society, to behavior that many see akin to racism."

These bishops better listen.

Kentucky Couples Sue For State Marriage Rights


In the wake of a federal judge ruling Kentucky should recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions, two gay couples have filed suit, requesting the state issue marriage licenses to gay couples. On Friday the couples filed an "intervening complaint," asking District Judge John G. Heyburn to expand on his original decision.

"The couples, Timothy Love and Lawrence Ysunza, and Maurice Blanchard and Dominique James, 'say they should be allowed to join the earlier lawsuit in the interest of ‘judicial economy’ and because there are issues common to both cases.'"

"'The court was not presented with the particular question whether Kentucky’s ban on same-sex marriage is constitutional,'” Heyburn wrote in his ruling. 'However, there is no doubt that Windsor [last year’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowing federal recognition of same-sex marriages] and this court’s analysis suggest a possible result to that question.'” 

Heyburn's ruling won’t be final until he works out details of its implementation. A hearing on the subject is in the works.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

WATCH: 'Orange Is The New Black' Season 2 Teaser


I am SO here for this.

Food For Thought: Ellen Page


“I am tired of hiding and I am tired of lying by omission...I suffered for years because I was scared to be out. My spirit suffered, my mental health suffered and my relationships suffered. And I’m standing here today, with all of you, on the other side of all that pain.”

Ellen Page on coming out 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

WATCH: Texas Sports Anchor Gives Supportive Speech On Gay Athletes

Beyonce Loves Us Like XO

Photo: Getty Images/Steve Granitz

Just in time for Valentine's Day, Beyonce has blessed the gays with a gift--not a free one, but ya' know Mama gotta make them coins. Queen Bey is selling "Yours and Mine" underwear box sets that include boxers and boyshorts emblazoned with the words "Yours" and "Mine."

As a shout to her most loyal audience, the box sets are available for male-female, as well male-male and female-female couples. Take look at what could be a good V-Day gift for your boo below.


Monday, February 10, 2014

DOJ Makes Same-Sex Spousal Benefits Official


Yaas. Today, U.S. attorney general Eric Holder published the Justice Department's formal guidance on how to treat legally married same-sex couples. According to The Advocate:

"The formal announcement confirms that the federal government will extend most of the benefits and privileges of marriage to same-sex couples whose marriage was legal in the jurisdiction where it was performed, regardless of where the couple resides permanently. Legally married same-sex spouses will be granted the same privileges as opposite-sex married couples when it comes to testifying against a spouse in court, declaring bankruptcy, and visiting a spouse who is incarcerated. 

Holder's policy memo establishes that "It is the Department’s policy, to the extent federal law permits, to recognize lawful same-sex marriages as broadly as possible, and to recognize all marriages valid in the jurisdiction where the marriage was celebrated."

Read the full memo HERE.

Teen Suspended For Defending Bullied Gay Classmate


A Florida high school student has been suspended for 10 days after he reportedly stepped in to defend a bullied classmate. Mark Betterson, a senior East Lee County High School says he got in the middle of a fight after another student, James Griffin, threw milk in an openly gay student's face, called him an anti-gay slur and started to beat him.

The student, 18-year old Johnathan Colon, sustained bruises to the head, but Betterson believes his injuries would have been worse if he hadn't intervened. According to WFTX TV's report, Griffith began attacking Betterson after he jumped in.

 "It’s not fair for somebody to get beat up for something that he is," Betterson told WFTX. "I’m not going to sit there and watch someone get bullied if I used to get bullied too." 

The school has a zero-tolerance policy on fighting, so Betterson was suspended for 10 days, though he plans to appeal the decision. Griffith has been charged with battery. Watch WFTX's TV report HERE.

Missouri Football Star Michael Sam Comes Out


College football star Michael Sam, star defensive lineman for the University of Missouri, told the New York Times he is gay. Sam, who earned the 2013 SEC Defensive Player of the Year and was named All-American team, came to his team and coaches during the pre-season.

“I looked in their eyes, and they just started shaking their heads — like, finally, he came out,” Sam said Sunday to the Times. "Once I became official to my teammates, I knew who I was. I knew that I was gay. And I knew that I was Michael Sam, who's a Mizzou football player who happens to be gay. I was so proud of myself and I just didn't care who knew. If someone on the street would have asked me, ‘Hey, Mike, I heard you were gay. Is that true?' I would have said yes."

Sam graduated last December and is likely to be drafted to the NFL, which would make him the league's first openly gay player. Good for him, and if he is drafted, it could be a watershed moment for both professional sports and LGBT visibility.

 

Monday Man Candy


Saturday, February 8, 2014

George Zimmerman And DMX Boxing Match Canceled



Thank goodness! George Zimmerman and DMX will not be facing off in that abomination called a "celebrity" boxing match. Apparently the promoter had a change of heart.  Even so, why he or anyone ever considered George Zimmerman a celebrity--or how DMX, strung out or not, would ever agree to this--boggles my mind.

George Zimmerman stalked and fatally shot an unarmed teenager. He is indirectly responsible for Trayvon Martin being vilified in death as a lawless thug instead of a teenager who made a few of the same bad/dumb decisions many of us made as teens (smoking a little weed, getting into trouble at school, etc.). And somehow he managed to beat the rap for it. A public figure? In the broadest definition of the word, yes. But a celebrity? A star? Hell no. Never.

Anyway, read several of promoter Damon Feldman's apologetic tweets for this mess below.



Thursday, February 6, 2014

California School Plans Fried Chicken and Watermelon Lunch For Black History Month


Oh goodness...what happened to just watching Eyes On The Prize or doing a report on Madame C.J. Walker? Apparently the Carondelet High School for Girls in California thought it'd be a good idea to celebrate Black History Month by having a special lunch menu of fried chicken, watermelon and cornbread.

Taken on their on their own, watermelon, fried chicken and cornbread aren't bad (if not the most dietary friendly) food choices, but taken together, and given the circumstances...well, you get the picture. They might as well have had chitlins for a side dish.

Not surprisingly, the announcement sent folks into an uproar, with parents and students criticizing the school administration. Principal Nancy Libby responded to the backlash, explaining in a letter "I'd like to apologize for the announcement and any hurt this caused students, parents or community members. Please know that at no time at Carondelet do we wish to perpetuate racial stereotypes."

Watch KNTV-TV's report HERE.

Food For Thought: W.E.B. Du Bois


Obama Nominates Another Black Gay Federal Judge Candidate


If at first you don't succeed...after Sen. Marco Rubio blocked the nomination of out black gay judge William Thomas back in 2012, President Obama has nominated Judge Darrin Gayles, an out state court judge, to serve on the same federal court.

Gayles, who received an endorsement from the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund in his last selection, was nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Rubio withdrew his support of Thomas by withholding his "blue slip" on the nomination, causing Sen. Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to not allow it move it forward since Thomas lacked the support of one of his home-state senators. This time around though, Rubio has suggested he won't block the nomination.

“I welcome today’s four nominations to the district courts in Florida. As I previously indicated to the President, I do not anticipate having an objection to moving forward on any of these nominations pending the outcome of the customary background check conducted on every nominee,” he said in a statement. “I am disappointed, however that given the opportunity to fill four vacancies on the court, the White House has declined to nominate any of the Republican finalists jointly suggested by Senator Nelson and myself.”

We shall see.


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Scotland Embraces Marriage Equality

Jim Eadie, Parliament member

Scotland has passed the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill today, paving the way for same-sex couples to marry, beginning in the fall. The bill, which passed by a vote of 105-18 in the Scottish Parliament, allows the country to join with jurisdictions in the United Kingdom and England and Wales in establishing marriage equality.

Both England Wales passed similar bills last year, and are set to marry same-sex couples next month. The bill also ends Scotland's spousal veto rule, a law that required transgender people's spouses to sign off on changing their gender.

"I believe this bill will have a hugely positive impact on our society and on the health and well-being of LGBT of people in our country," said Jim Eadie, a member of Parliament. "This is a profound moment in our nation’s history."

Although the Church of Scotland and Scottish Catholic Church opposed the bill, religious groups will not be required to perform same-sex marriages, but can opt in if they choose to. If only we can realize the same thing could work here in America...

Good Lookin' Out

Photo:HBO

If you're a little behind on HBO's Looking, head over to Butlerway.com and read my recaps of "Looking For Uncut," in which Patrick ruins what could be a good thing with the handsome Richie, and the latest episode, "Looking At Your Web Browser History," where Paddy against puts his foot in his mouth.  An excerpt from the latter:

Patrick strolls into a launch party for new video game Naval Destroyer with co-worker Owen, vowing to have fun and put the whole Richie debacle behind him. Unfortunately he hasn’t learned to stop putting his foot in his mouth. After a short conversation, during which he rather defensively answers Kevin’s question as to why he always plays with female character–he identifies with their outsider status in the gaming world– Patrick mocks his British accent before chasing after him to prove he’s gay.

While straddling a torpedo, Patrick clumsily makes a play for Kevin, before he reveals a) yes he is gay but b) he’s got a boyfriend and c) he’s moving to San Francisco to put together a team for new game for Patrick’s company. Which means he also Patrick’s new boss. “I asked out my boss while straggling a torpedo,” he tells Owen. Oh Paddy.


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