Birth certificates in California would be changed to more accurately reflect families in which parents are of the same gender under a bill passed by the legislature on Wednesday.

The bill, which now goes to Democratic Governor Jerry Brown, would allow parents to identify themselves as father, mother or parent when a child is born, a nuanced change from the current birth certificate that backers say is more reflective of growing rights and acceptance for same-sex couples.

“This bill seems subtle but I think it’s going to make a profound impact on how people view each other,” said the bill’s author, Democratic Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez of Los Angeles.

The measure, if signed by Brown, would be the latest in a spate of actions taken by states to recognize the rights of same-sex couples.

In March, a baby in Tennessee became the first child in that state to have two women listed on her birth certificate, although one was in the spot marked “father.”

In Florida last year, a judge approved an adoption of a baby girl that listed three people as parents on her birth certificate: a lesbian couple and a gay man, who was the sperm donor for the baby but sought a bigger role in his daughter’s life.

California already allows same-sex couples to put their names on a child’s birth certificate, offering the choices of Mother/Parent and Father/Parent, Gomez said.

The applications for the new birth certificates, which will be available in 2016, allow both parents to choose any of the three ways to identify themselves – as mother, father or simply as a parent.

“It’s a recognition that families come in different compositions now,” Gomez said.

The bill, backed by the LGBT advocacy organization Equality California, passed the state assembly on a vote of 58 to 15. Six members did not vote.

There were more than 15,000 same-sex couples with children in California in 2010, according to the U.S. Census.

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Michelle Duggar has recorded a controversial message campaigning against an anti-discrimination bill in her home state of Arkansas in which she slams the transgender community — saying children and women will be “endangered” and “traumatized” by them.

The shocking audio is a robocall that was sent out to voters on Monday in the Fayetteville area, narrated by Duggar and obtained by RadarOnline.com.

“I doubt that Fayetteville parents would stand for a law that would endanger their daughters or allow them to be traumatized by a man joining them in their private space,” Duggar says in the recording.

“We should never place the preference of an adult over the safety and innocence of a child. Parents, who do you want undressing next to your daughter at the public swimming pool’s private changing area? I still believe that we are a society that puts women and children first.”

Associated with the Family Council, an organization that promotes “traditional” family values and is known for their disapproval of the LGBTQ community, is fighting the bill known as ordinance 119 claiming is “threatens to infringe on the rights of churches as well as religious business people in Fayetteville.”

Duggar and her husband Jim Bob star on TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting and are known for their conservative views and Christian beliefs.

But the family has been caught in numerous scandals surrounding the ministries and churches they support — including the Quiverfull movement and Basic Life Principals, a ministry founded by Bill Gothard, who resigned after more than 35 young women and teenagers came forward alleging sexual harassment.

Hello, this is Michelle Duggar. I’m calling to inform you of some shocking news that would affect the safety of Northwest Arkansas women and children. The Fayetteville City Council is voting on an ordinance this Tuesday night that would allow men – yes I said men – to use womens and girls restrooms, locker rooms, showers, sleeping areas and other areas that are designated for females only. I don’t believe the citizens of Fayetteville would want males with past child predator convictions that claim they are female to have a legal right to enter private areas reserved for women and girls. I doubt that Fayetteville parents would stand for a law that would endanger their daughters or allow them to be traumatized by a man joining them in their private space. We should never place the preference of an adult over the safety and innocence of a child. Parents, who do you want undressing next to your daughter at the public swimming pool’s private changing area? I still believe that we are a society that puts women and children first. Women, young ladies and little girls deserve to use the restroom or any other women’s facility in peace and safety. Will you speak up for protecting women and children

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One Portland, Oregon Apple retail location now finds itself in hot water following an incident involving anti-gay discrimination.

An Apple customer is the victim of discrimination at the hands of an Apple Store employee, who entered the man’s email address as “f@g.com” on his receipt.

“I got called a f@g by an Apple employee in Portland,” the customer wrote in a post on his Facebook page. He says he spoke to the store manager about the incident, but the manager failed to rectify the situation.

“Being queer and having worked with queer youth, I know first-hand that this is an example of the type of homophobic beliefs and actions that lead young people to harm themselves” This type of action is NOT OKAY, especially from a company that prides itself on being LGBTQ inclusive and welcoming.”

According to OregonLive.com, an Apple spokesperson confirmed that the company is aware of the incident but declined to provide any further comment.

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Gay marriage property law studied by Florida Bar committee

Posted August 14th, 2014 by pikapp44

With gay-marriage bans collapsing nationwide, a leading section of the Florida Bar has assembled a special committee to investigate real estate and probate laws as they pertain to same-sex couples.

The Bar’s Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section created the eight-member group in June to study property and estate issues as same-sex couples legally married in other states move to Florida, and to anticipate statutory changes needed if challenges to Florida’s prohibition of gay marriage are successful

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A U.S. appeals court on Wednesday declined to delay its ruling striking down Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage, meaning gay people in the state will be able to get married unless the U.S. Supreme Court intervenes.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond struck down the state ban in July. The state’s Democratic attorney general, Mark Herring, who backs gay marriage, and opponents of same-sex marriage had asked the court to stay its ruling while the Supreme Court considered the case.

But in a brief order issued on Wednesday, the three-judge panel said it voted 2-1 to deny the requests. The ruling is due to go into effect sometime next week, according to court papers.

In a case concerning a similar ruling in Utah that struck down the ban in that state, the Supreme Court ultimately stayed the ruling pending further appeals.

Ken Connelly, a lawyer representing gay marriage opponents, said a stay request will be filed at the Supreme Court in the Virginia case “as soon as possible.”

If the ruling is not stayed, the status of gay men and women who get married in Virginia would be unclear if the Supreme Court ultimately were to uphold the state’s ban.

The Supreme Court is expected to take at least one gay marriage case in the coming term, which begins in October and ends in June.

Since the June 2013 ruling in the case United States v. Windsor striking down a federal law defining marriage as between one man and one woman, nearly 30 federal and state courts have ruled against same-sex marriage bans at the state level. Only one court in the past 14 months has ruled in favor of a state ban.

Currently, a total 19 of the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriage.

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When former “Good Morning America” weatherman Sam Champion announced in 2012 that he was marrying his longtime partner, Rubem Robierb, it was the first time he had discussed his sexuality publicly. While some viewers may have been surprised by the personal disclosure, Champion tells “Oprah: Where Are They Now?” that being gay wasn’t something he intended to hide.

“I had been openly gay since I was at Channel 7,” he says. “I just never took it on as a topic. I never sat down and talked to someone about it.”

Champion’s friends and family were aware of his homosexuality, but not everyone was immediately accepting.

“My dad was not as supportive,” Champion admits. “I always felt like I was a little disappointing to him. [He was] 6’4″, Marine Corps colonel, all these great guy things. I just didn’t have any of that.”

Champion recalls the harsh words his father said to him after learning of his sexuality.

“I remember him saying to me, ‘I cannot support this lazy lifestyle choice,’” he recalls. “I’m like, ‘You’re the smartest guy I know. You sound so incredibly dumb right now. You knew I was different from the time I was a kid. I was just different. I would not choose this. I would not!’”

The two went a while without speaking, but when Champion’s father fell ill with three different cancers, they were able to talk things out and reconcile. Before he passed in 2010, Champion’s dad spoke the words his son had been waiting to hear.

“I remember standing on the back deck of their house in Texas, and he reached out and touched me and he said, ‘I’m so proud of the man that you became,’” Champion says, becoming choked up. “That’s my favorite minute with my dad.”

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A bridal store’s refusal to sell wedding gowns to a same-sex couple is stirring debate in a central Pennsylvania town.

The Press Enterprise of Bloomsburg reports the women tried to schedule an appointment but were turned down.

W.W. Bridal Boutique owner Victoria Miller tells the newspaper that “providing those two girls dresses for a sanctified marriage would break God’s law.”

Bloomsburg Town Council plans to discuss the incident at a meeting on Monday. Council members say they will consider whether to propose legislation to ban businesses from refusing to serve gays and lesbians.

Miller’s attorney, Al Luschas, says the shop owner has a “liberty interest” in refusing to take part in a process that would violate “firmly and honestly held religious beliefs.”

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No story breaks the heart quite like one about love.

In a conversation with HuffPost Live’s Marc Lamont Hill about whether Alabama is falling behind in the nationwide fight for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality, the story took a more personal turn.

Paul Hard, an associate professor and department counselor at Auburn University, opened up about how he was denied access to his husband’s hospital room after he was killed in a car accident. Hard said he “had to stand and plead to be allowed into his room” but was forbidden because of Alabama’s ban on gay marriage.

“The nurse that I saw in the emergency room that said, ‘I’m sorry, but I can’t let you see David,’ apologetically and very tearfully later on said, ‘I’m sorry. I would have let you in if I could,’” Hard said. “This law makes unwilling accomplices of decent people.”

The “final straw,” however, was when Hard found out that his husband’s death certificate read “never married.” Even though the couple had legally wed in Massachusetts, Alabama did not recognize the marriage or grant Hard any legal standing over his partner’s will. Hard is now suing Alabama to challenge the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

He added that the more personal the fight of LGBT rights becomes, the more likely change is to happen.

“Very often folks here in Alabama say, ‘You know, I voted for that law, but I would never have put you through what you’ve gone through,’ Hard said. “It’s one thing … as a matter of my personal principal to stand up for traditional marriage, however that’s understood to be. But when [opponents] start seeing the human toll that takes on people and how that affects other human beings, I’ve seen people back up from that.”

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Anti-Gay Fans Rant On Facebook Over White Sox LGBT Night

Posted August 6th, 2014 by pikapp44

Last week the Chicago White Sox announced that the sporting organization would begin sponsoring a night called “LGBT Pride Night: Out at the Sox,” in celebration and support of the queer community. According to the organization’s Facebook post, the night is in partnership with Equality Illinois and will take place on Aug. 16 when the White Sox take on the Blue Jays.

This move, predictably, brought out the bigots who are once again here to remind us how backwards some people in America still are when it comes to issues of power and privilege.

Hey, look… it’s a bunch of people whining because a baseball team is holding a night for people who aren’t liked by an ignorant section of a religion. I don’t see any whining about Jewish Heritage Nights, or Latino Heritage Nights, etc. Why should this be any different?

And to those “Where is straight pride night” people… come back to me when you can point out a time when straight people were persecuted and alienated because of their orientation. I’ll give you a hint and save you time: IT’S NEVER HAPPENED. EVER.

You jerks are an absolute disgrace to humanity.

Regardless of the backlash (or, perhaps because of it), we’d like to offer our thanks to the Chicago White Sox for supporting LGBT individuals and standing on the right side of history.

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A Broward County judge ruled Florida’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional on Monday.

Broward Circuit Judge Dale Cohen issued the decision. Cohen is the third Florida circuit court judge in less than three weeks to strike down the state’s ban.

“To discriminate based on sexual orientation, to deny families equality, to stigmatize children and spouses, to hold some couples less worthy of legal benefits than others based on their sexual orientation is against all that this country holds dear, as it denies equal citizenship,” Cohen wrote in his decision. “Marriage is a well recognized fundamental right, all people should be entitled to enjoy its benefits.”

The case was brought up when Heather Brassner, a woman involved in a civil union issued in Vermont in 2002, wanted to divorce her partner.

Brassner and her partner, Megan Lade, have been separated for about four years. According to Brassner, Lade cheated on her and disappeared soon after. Brassner had hoped to file for a divorce in absentia, but was unable to dissolve the union because the state of Florida didn’t recognize it.

“It’s what I was hoping to happen,” Brassner said of the ruling, according to the Sun Sentinel. “Now, we get ready for the appeal, I guess.”

Her attorney, Nancy Brodzki, said they expect the process is “going to take time,” as Florida State Attorney General Pam Bondi has already appealed the two previous rulings striking down the gay marriage ban in the state.

“We are confident that the Florida Supreme Court, when it finally gets to rule in this case, is going to rule in exactly the same way that Judge Cohen ruled,” Brodzki said.

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