We just marked the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which sparked the modern gay-rights movement, with Pride events in New York City and San Francisco. The events featured transgender celebrities Laverne Cox and Janet Mock as grand marshals; the symbolic inclusion was an attempt by Pride organizers to signal trans-inclusion. Read more »
Tune in to the FIRST official segment of my new LGBTQ specific radio show, SpeakOUT airing on Q102, 104.5 and Mix 106.1 during the What’s Going On show on Sunday morning!
SpeakOUT will highlight varying LGBTQ topics in our community ranging from cultural happenings, legal issues and poignant interviews with leaders in our community. SpeakOUT would not be possible if it weren’t for the formidable Loraine Ballard Morrill who is producing and engineering the show!
The next segment we’ll be releasing is a conversation between Loraine and I talking about our trip to Gay World Pride in Toronto and all of the eye-opening things that Loraine learned in just a few days with the GAYS!!
Here’s a question most of us haven’t pondered before: What’s a dad to do if he’s out and about with his baby who needs a new diaper and there’s no changing table in the men’s restroom? As the dynamics of the “modern family” (and no, I don’t mean families with iPhones!) evolve, lawmakers are considering two bills with similar intentions mandating businesses to grant men equal access to changing tables. Read more »
Last week marked the one year anniversary since the Supreme Court decisions on same-sex marriages were made from the Edie Windsor case.
In just on year so much has already happened and yet, there is much more to come!
Take a listen to my discussion on America Weekend for an update of the same-sex marriage rulings as they are now and what is predicted to happen next…
On Wednesday, June 25th I will be joining Andres Reyes, Mixto Philly’s bartender extraordinaire, as I flash back to my college days to guest bartend for a great cause! We’ll be slinging “Double A Mojitos” from 5-7pm!
A “Double A Mojito” is an awesomely random concoction I developed one night when Andres was patient enough to let me experiment behind the bar! Come taste a mojito like you’ve never experienced!
Mixto is kind enough to donate 5% of the proceeds raised to the GALLOP- Gay and Lesbian Lawyers of Philadelphia – an organization near and dear to my heart for years and of which I sit on the Board of Directors. So, please join Andres and I as we mix, muddle, and make drinks for the happiest happy hour you’ve ever had! We better see you there!
Look for the event here!:
The fight for marriage equality has entered into a new phase garnering a different perspective with respect to legal strategy. Pennsylvania joined the ranks (becoming the 19th state) on May 20 when U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III of the Middle District of Pennsylvania declared that Pennsylvania’s version of the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional, ruling in favor of the plaintiffs in Whitewood v. Wolf, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68937 (May 20, 2014). The elation was palpable in Philadelphia, as hundreds of LGBT individuals and their allies gathered on the steps of City Hall to celebrate no longer being second-class citizens in Pennsylvania, alongside the American Civil Liberties Union, the Whitewood legal team of Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller and several of the plaintiffs.
Of the same-sex marriage rulings that occurred in other states so far this year—Utah, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia, Michigan, Oregon, Arkansas and Idaho—seven (except for Oregon) had their rulings stayed pending appeal, and thus those cases have been kicked up to their respective circuit courts. Unlike most other marriage equality cases, Pennsylvania’s decision was not appealed.
We have entered a new era. Every single state with a ban against same-sex marriage has a lawsuit in place — now that the nation’s last unchallenged state, North Dakota, has lost that status. A lawsuit was filed last week to challenge that state’s bans, along with ones in Montana and South Dakota. While we in Pennsylvania are celebrating our hard-earned victory for marriage equality, the battle is just beginning in these and other states. But, these state-by-state battles are securing that an inevitable Supreme Court ruling will be in our favor.
The same-sex marriage movement has enjoyed a streak of more than a dozen victories in federal courts since Windsor v. United States. In six states we’ve had clean wins: New Jersey, Hawaii, Illinois, New Mexico, Oregon and Pennsylvania. Federal judges have invalidated bans in six other states — Utah, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia, Michigan and Idaho — but those decisions have been stayed pending appeals. Lastly, in Arkansas, a state judge struck down that state’s ban; the ruling has been stayed and is under appeal. Regardless of the process, since Windsor, no state ban against same-sex marriage has survived a court challenge and the last two cases, in Oregon and Pennsylvania, were delivered with governing officials in both states saying they would not appeal. Same-sex couples are now allowed to legally marry in 19 states, and more than two in five Americans live in such states.
Today on WHYY’s Radio Times, Marty Moss-Coane hosted myself, one of my best friends and colleague, PA Rep Brian Sims, and someone I’ve known for way too long for just meeting in person, Law professor and author, John Culhane, discussing Judge Jones’ ruling legalizing same-same marriage in the Commonwealth. We chatted about Pennsylvania legalizing same-sex marriage (at least we’re before Alabama!) and it’s impact moving forward.
Love, love, love Marty Moss-Coane and I was thoroughly impressed by my left-handed comrades!
Listen here for the broadcast!
Independence Day has come early in Pennsylvania! LGBTQ individuals are no longer second-class citizens in Pennsylvania and will be legally recognized as wholly legitimate and equal citizens; same-sex marriage is legal in the commonwealth!
Judge John E. Jones III declared yesterday that Pennsylvania’s Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional, ruling in favor of the plaintiffs in Whitewood v. Wolf. His order directs the state to allow same-sex couples to marry and to recognize valid out-of-state marriages. The losing side in Whitewood v. Wolf now has 30 days to decide whether to appeal to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia.
Pennsylvania was the only state in the Northeast that didn’t allow marriage equality. It is entirely possible that this could be a deciding factor in it not being appealed. Gov. Corbett, who likened gay marriage to incest back in October 2013, could appeal, but since the commonwealth defendants agreed to summary judgment in the case rather than going to trial, one would hope this wouldn’t be the case.
What we know to be true is that EVERY ruling since Utah has been stayed pending appeals … until Oregon this week. Oregon, which received a similar ruling less, had its order appealed, yet the appeal was instantaneously shot down by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and marriage licenses were issued immediately to same-sex couples.
Jones could therefore put his ruling on hold during the appeal. Absent such a stay, same-sex couples could race out to seek marriage licenses yesterday afternoon, and the Philadelphia Register of Wills office opened today a 8 a.m. and was planning on staying open until 7 p.m. to accommodate just such a rush. State law requires a 72 hours waiting period before couples marry, although that rule can be waived by a judge.
Windsor v. United States has created a domino effect around the nation and there is no turning back as judge after judge decides to stand on the right side of history. These rulings are leading up to an inevitable return to the U.S. Supreme Court where they will hopefully echo their ruling in Windsor and declare marriage equality throughout the country. That day will come.
In the meantime, I had the pleasure of speaking personally with Edie Windsor of the aforementioned Windsor v. United States during her recent trip to Philadelphia who said that she WILL be returning back to her hometown to celebrate with us all! Whether the decision is appealed or not: decision day in Pennsylvania’s fight for marriage equality has arrived!