In a landmark opinion, a divided Supreme Court on Friday ruled that same-sex couples can marry nationwide, establishing a new civil right and handing gay rights advocates a historic victory.

In the 5-4 ruling, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority with the four liberal justices. Each of the four conservative justices wrote their own dissent.

Nearly 46 years to the day after a riot at New York’s Stonewall Inn ushered in the modern gay rights movement, the decision could settle one of the major civil rights fights of this era. The language of Kennedy’s opinion spoke eloquently of the most fundamental values of family, love and liberty.

The U.S. is now the 21st country to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide, including territories. Married same-sex couples will now enjoy the same legal rights and benefits as married heterosexual couples nationwide and will be recognized on official documents such as birth and death certificates.

Hundreds of same-sex marriage supporters flooded the plaza and sidewalk in front of the Court to celebrate the ruling, proudly waving rainbow flags and banners with the Human Rights Campaign’s equal sign, which have come to represent the gay rights movement. In an emotional moment, the supporters sang the National Anthem, clapping wildly after singing that the U.S. is “the land of the free.”

New York City’s landmarks commission has voted to grant official status to the Stonewall Inn, the Greenwich Village bar where resistance to a police raid sparked the modern gay rights movement.

The unanimous vote Tuesday marks the first time a site has been designated as a landmark in the city because of its significance to LGBT history.

Patrons fought back against a police raid on the Stonewall Inn on June 28, 1969.

The uprising is commemorated in gay pride events every year in New York and around the world.

The Stonewall events were a turning point in the LGBT rights movement and in the nation’s history.

At the conservative conference co-hosted by the Faith & Freedom Coalition and Concerned Women for America, anti-choice rhetoric was echoed by many of the Republican candidates vying for the presidency in 2016.

Many of the candidates who spoke discussed their faith and their traditional family values to justify their anti-choice, anti-equality platforms. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who declared his candidacy earlier this week, listed off his anti-choice credentials, including the fact that he signed into law a partial-birth abortion ban and pushed through a constitutional amendment requiring that parents be given notice when their minor daughters seek an abortion.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is likely to announce his campaign within the month, also drew loud applause from the conservative audience when he discussed his cuts to Planned Parenthood funding.

Jeb Bush stands by opposition to same-sex marriage

Posted June 19th, 2015 by pikapp44

Jeb Bush stood by his opposition to same-sex marriage in a new interview, saying he doesn’t believe it’s a constitutional right and that traditional marriage is central to Catholicism.

“It’s at the core of the Catholic faith, and to imagine how we are going to succeed in our country unless we have committed family life, a child-centered family system, is hard to imagine,” he said on Christian Broadcasting Network’s “The Brody File.”

“So, irrespective of the Supreme Court ruling — because they are going to decide whatever they decide, and I don’t know what they’re going to do — we need to be stalwart supporters of traditional marriage.”

The Supreme Court is expected to rule next month on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage, and many observers — even opponents of gay marriage — believe the court will in some way expand marriage rights to gay men and lesbians. Many in the GOP are split over how to tackle such a ruling, as Evangelical Christians make up a significant subset of the GOP base and are adamantly opposed to gay marriage.

Those Evangelical Christians remain some of Bush’s biggest skeptics as he moves towards a presidential run.

Bush didn’t offer his own prescription for how to respond to the decision, but he again reaffirmed that he doesn’t believe same-sex marriage is a constitutional right — “but I’m not a lawyer, and clearly this has been accelerated at a warp pace.”

The expected presidential contender then took aim at his likely Democratic opponent in the race, Hillary Clinton, who surprised many in recently calling for the Supreme Court to back gay marriage, a shift from just two years prior when she said marriage was a matter best left to the states.

“What’s interesting is that four years ago Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton had the same view that I just expressed to you. It’s thousands of years of culture and history is just being changed at warp speed. It’s hard to fathom why it is this way,” Bush said.

The anti-LGBT organization, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), issued a pledge that it’s asking Republican presidential candidates to sign, affirming their wholehearted opposition to marriage equality and gay rights generally.

By signing the five-point pledge, candidates would commit to running administrations calibrated to enforce discrimination against the gay community. First, they’d support a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, a proposal that last failed 236 to 187 in the House of Representatives in 2006. They’d also work to overturn any marriage equality decision by the Supreme Court through their judge and justice nominations and by appointing a “similarly committed” attorney general.

Next, they’d undo every single administrative protection from the Obama administration that has “the effect of undermining marriage” while imposing policies that only recognize “marriage as the union of one man and one woman.” The pledge specifies their commitment to preventing ” the promotion of a redefined version of marriage in public schools and other government entities.” This would likely include much of the federal recognition of same-sex marriages that followed the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision overturning the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

NOM also expects candidates to support a piece of legislation deceptively called the “First Amendment Defense Act” (FADA). Previously introduced by Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-ID) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) under the moniker of the “Marriage and Religious Freedom Act,” FADA is nothing short of a nationwide license to discriminate against same-sex couples. As the Family Research Council explained endorsing the bill this week, anybody who refuses to recognize a same-sex couple’s marriage would be immune to any penalization by the government.

Likewise, NOM wants candidates to direct the Department of Justice to focus on protecting religious Americans who are held accountable for discriminating instead of those in the LGBT community who might actually be discriminated against. “Investigate, document, and publicize cases of Americans who have been harassed or threatened for exercising key civil rights to organize, to speak, to donate or to vote for marriage and to propose new protections, if needed,” it advises.

Nationwide polling on marriage equality is currently hovering around 60 percent support. A recent CNN/ORC poll found that 63 percent believe same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry, including 59 percent of Republicans under the age of 50. Pew polling recently found that 57 percent support allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally.

In other words, wholly committing to undoing all of marriage equality — as NOM is unequivocally asking — is a nothing short of a death wish for a candidate actually hoping to win the general election. Still, it seems likely that at least a few candidates will sign the pledge. Ted Cruz surely will; he has already filed for the passage of a federal marriage amendment. Scott Walker, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, and Rick Perry have all expressed support for an amendment. Marco Rubio has claimed he’s never supported such an amendment, though he actually has.

NOM President Brian Brown explained to CNN that “Republicans need to not just give lip service to marriage,” but commit to “concrete steps to protect marriage.” He added that regardless of how many candidates sign the pledge, “We are [only] going to support he candidates that stand up and sign the pledge.” With a Supreme Court seemingly about to put the final nail in NOM’s coffin (and coffers), it remains unclear what their support would even mean for a candidate.

At the Florida Democratic Party’s Leadership Blue Gala last weekend in Hollywood, Guillermo Smith announced intentions to seek the House seat now held by Republican Rene “Coach” Plasencia.

A public policy specialist for the civil rights organization, Equality Florida, Guillermo Smith knows Tallahassee well. In an interview with SFGN, he referenced the recent legislative session as proof of his ability to protect the LGBT community.

“There were so many hostile bills targeting the LGBT community,” Guillermo Smith said.

Together with like-minded lobbyists, Guillermo Smith said he was able to defeat those dangerous bills, such as the infamous “bathroom bill” put forth by Miami Representative Frank Artiles. Formerly known as HB 583, the bill targeted transgender people, denying them access to public bathrooms. The bill died in committee and never made it Governor Rick Scott’s desk.

“What we learned in Florida is that activism is not dead,” Guillermo Smith said.

Working with Equality Florida, Guillermo Smith said he was able to effectively use multiple measures to get lawmakers in the place where they need to be.

The 34-year-old Orlando man said he classifies himself as a gay Latino. His father is Peruvian and his mother is of French Canadian ethnicity. He is a bachelor with no children who attended the University of Central Florida with former Florida Representative Joe Saunders. Saunders now works for the Washington, D.C. based Human Rights Campaign. He narrowly lost the District 49 seat to Plasencia in the 2014 midterm elections.

Franklin Graham, the president of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, has had enough. He was outraged after watching a Wells Fargo commercial featuring a lesbian couple who are learning sign language before adopting a deaf child. Graham took to Facebook and called the ad an example of “the tide of moral decay that is being crammed down our throats by big business, the media, and the gay & lesbian community.”

Samaritan’s Purse, the charitable organization run by Graham, is running a campaign to raise money for maternal and child health care. “All mothers deserve to be celebrated,” the Samaritan’s Purse website proclaims. The organization is “sharing the message of unconditional love” and “making a difference in the lives of mothers.”

So let me get this straight.

All mothers deserve to be celebrated, except lesbian mothers who adopt deaf children, because those particular mothers are part of the moral decay being crammed down the throat of Christians in America? Is that right? Am I understanding that correctly?

In his Facebook post, Graham supports a boycott of businesses that are supportive of gay rights: “At the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, we are moving our accounts from Wells Fargo to another bank … Let’s just stop doing business with those who promote sin and stand against Almighty God’s laws and His standards.”

Graham used his Facebook account to spread his message. Facebook is a gay-friendly business. Facebook is one of 379 corporations and employer organizations who have urged the Supreme Court to strike down state bans on gay marriage in a friend-of-the-court brief.

So let me get this straight.

We should stop doing business with those companies that promote sin and stand against Almighty God’s laws and His standards, except Facebook. Yes?

Well, maybe Twitter, too. At the bottom of the “Celebrate Moms” campaign page, readers are urged to share the message on Facebook and Twitter. Twitter is another one of the 379 corporations supporting gay marriage.

So we should stop doing business with those companies that promote sin and stand against Almighty God’s laws and His standards, except Facebook… and Twitter.

Oh, wait a minute. There is also a tab for Google+ on the bottom of the Samaritan’s Purse donation page. If you click on it, you will be directed to the Samaritan’s Purse Google+ account. And — you guessed it — Google is also one of those gay-supportive 379 businesses.

OK, let me try again: We should stop doing business with those companies which promote sin and stand against Almighty God’s laws and His standards, except Facebook and Twitter and Google.

Doesn’t Google own YouTube? There is a YouTube tab on the Samaritan’s Purse site, too, which leads to the Samaritan’s Purse YouTube channel, which provides “Stories of Faith & Hope.”

Stop doing business with those companies that promote sin and stand against Almighty God’s laws and His standards, except Facebook and Twitter and Google and YouTube.

Graham is moving his accounts to another bank to get the attention of Wells Fargo. He is boycotting Tiffany & Co. because they are selling wedding rings to gay couples. He reasons that “there are plenty of other jewelry stores.” So since he is moving his money to another bank and shopping for rings at other jewelry stores, is it safe to assume that he will be moving his Facebook and Twitter and Google and YouTube accounts to other media? Friendster, maybe? MySpace?

If you would like to donate to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, they accept Visa and American Express. Visa and American Express are on the list of 379. So we will have to make a few more exceptions. We should stop doing business with those companies that promote sin and stand against Almighty God’s laws and His standards, except Facebook and Twitter and Google and YouTube and Visa and American Express.

And Amazon. They sell Billy Graham’s books.

And Barnes and Noble. Same.

And eBay. There’s lots of Billy Graham stuff on there, too.

And Pfizer. And GlaxoSmithKline. Because we can’t just stop taking our medicines.

And Coke. And Pepsi. Because we might get thirsty.

And… and… and…

A Welsh hair salon is making a powerful statement after a customer refused to let an employee cut his son’s hair because he perceived the man to be gay.

Russell Hughes, an openly gay man, runs Russell Paul Hairdressing in Prestatyn, North Wales and has for the past 14 years. He told The Daily Post that last week, a man came in with his son who appeared to be about ten years old and asked Hughes it anyone was available to cut his son’s hair. The owner asked his colleague, a man named Richard Evans, to do it.

“The man came up to me at that point and said: ‘I’m not being funny but did you just say that lad’s going to cut my son’s hair’, to which I replied ‘yes’,” Hughes explained. “He then said, ‘Well I assume he’s gay and I don’t want him cutting my lad’s hair so could you do it,’ to which I said no because I’m gay as well.”

The man then stood up and immediately left.

The incident left the staff at Russell Paul Hairdressing shaken, and Hughes decided to take action. In order to avoid future interactions with bigoted individuals, Hughes installed this sign on the front of his store:

“If you are racist, sexist, homophobic, or an …hole, don’t come in”

“I was so shocked. You don’t expect to be treated like that in this day and age,” Evans reportedly stated. “I’ve worked at the salon for seven years and have never experienced anything like that before. I think Russell’s new sign will make sure people like that don’t come in here again.”

As the social climate has changed for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, signs have become a useful way for businesses to declare their support for queers.

Earlier this year, a North Dakota coffee shop posted a sign that banned state House members who voted to strike down a bill intended to protect the LGBT community from discrimination from patronizing the establishment.

Well over 100,000 people were participating in the parade, police said, while Israeli media put the number at 180,000. The event also drew thousands of people from around the world.

Large sections of Tel Aviv were shut for traffic and loud music blasted along the parade’s route. Streets were packed thick with people waving rainbow flags and dancing. The theme of this year’s parade, which was the city’s biggest ever, was “Tel Aviv loves all genders.”

People participate the annual Gay Pride Parade in Tel Aviv, Israel, Friday, June 12, 2015. Thousands …
“I have been to many gay pride parades around the world and this is one of the best,” he added.

Israel has emerged as one of the world’s most gay-friendly travel destinations in recent years, in sharp contrast to the rest of the Middle East where gay culture is not tolerated and gays are persecuted and even killed.

Across the rest of the Mideast, gay and lesbian relationships are mostly taboo. The pervasiveness of religion in everyday life, along with strict cultural norms, plays a major factor in that. Same-sex relations are punishable by death in Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen.

Gays serve openly in Israel’s military and parliament, and many popular artists and entertainers are gay. However, leaders of the gay community say Israel still has far to go in promoting equality.

There is no gay marriage in Israel officially, primarily because there is no civil marriage of any kind. All Jewish weddings must be conducted through the Jewish rabbinate, which considers homosexuality a sin and a violation of Jewish law. But the state recognizes same-sex couples who marry abroad.

Among most Palestinians, gays tend to be secretive about their social lives and some have crossed into Israel to live safely. In the West Bank, a 1951 Jordanian law banning homosexual acts remains in effect, as does a ban in Gaza passed by British authorities in 1936.

The only other parade in the region that comes close to the scale of the one in Tel Aviv is in the mainly-Muslim Turkey’s largest city of Istanbul, where up to 70,000 people are estimated to have participated in the past two years.

Started a decade ago, the parades were initially small gatherings but are now bringing out tens of thousands of people. Turkey’s Islamic-rooted government tolerates the festival as part the country’s bid to join the European Union. The city also separately hosts a transgender pride parade.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) said Sunday that he supports a constitutional amendment that would bar the Supreme Court from granting marriage equality rights nationwide.

The Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision this month that could grant, for once and for all, same-sex couples the right to wed across the country. But Walker said on ABC’s “This Week” that he would support amending the constitution to protect states that still want to ban same-sex marriage.

“I personally believe that marriage is between one man and one woman,” Walker, a prospective GOP presidential candidate, said. “If the court decides that, the only next approach is for those who are supporters of marriage being defined as between one man and one woman is ultimately to consider pursuing a constitutional amendment.”

He added that “the decision on defining marriage should be left up to the states.”

Same-sex marriage is legal in Wisconsin. Walker has said that he voted for the state’s constitutional ban on marriage equality in 2006, which was overturned eight years later by the courts.

In April, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who is also running for president, introduced legislation to establish a constitutional amendment protecting states that want to bar same-sex marriage.

Democratic National Committee Press Secretary Holly Shulman criticized Walker’s comments Sunday, saying, “Walker showed us today the same divisive policies that he has supported throughout his career when it comes to the rights of LGBT Americans. We don’t expect more, but the American people should know what a Walker presidency would mean for the rights of their family and friends.”

Walker refused to give an opinion on the transition of Caitlyn Jenner and her Vanity Fair cover when asked about the topic Sunday morning.

President Barack Obama tweeted last week that Jenner has shown “courage.”