Nearly 3,000 Gay Marriages in Jersey, So Far

The Star-Ledger reports: “A total of 2,955 gay couples were married in New Jersey from Oct. 21, when same-sex weddings began under the orders of a state judge, through the end of March, according to the state health department. At the same time, 43,619 heterosexual couples were wed. That means about one of 15 marriages performed in the state during that period were for same-sex couples.”

The paper adds: “Activists said they expect the pace will increase as the wedding season begins next month. One observer said gay marriages could bring up to $94 million to New Jersey’s economy over the next three years. She suspects many couples from Pennsylvania, which does not allow gay marriage, will also cross the border to get hitched.”

 

 

Meet the Millennial Behind Philly’s LGBT Equality Bill

millenials chris goy closeLast spring when I was covering Jim Kenney’s LGBT Equality Bill, I visited the councilman’s office in City Hall to learn more about it. During our conversation, I noticed he kept deferring to his young assistant in the corner, particularly when I asked about the many components extending rights to Philly’s transgender community. The assistant’s name was Chris Goy, 26, and what I later found out is that he was the driving force behind creating the bill, the person who hit the streets to talk to locals about ways to make Philadelphia better when it comes to offering all-inclusive LGBT rights, the person who wrote the entire thing — all 35 pages of it.

Read more »

Toomey Backs Bill Banning Workplace Discrimination Against Gays

The Allentown Morning Call reports: “Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Pat Toomey broke with the majority of his party Monday evening by voting to move forward with legislation that would ban workplace discrimination against gay employees. … The vote underscores a narrative Toomey is building ahead of his re-election campaign: He’s bullish on economic issues but is softer on social issues like guns and gay rights.”

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Governor Corbett’s Incest Comment Was Not Homophobic

Tom Corbett

On Friday morning, I saw the unsurprising headlines exploding all over social media: “Governor Corbett compared gay marriage to incest!!!

I was about to share one such story on Facebook, along with a comment to the effect of: “Just one more reason for us to hate on Governor Corbett.” I’m not a fan of the 46th leader of our state.

But then I decided to watch the video for myself. And it’s just not that simple. Read more »

Western PA School Won’t Let Transgender Teen Run for Homecoming King

AP:

A western Pennsylvania school board won’t let a studentwho was born female but identifies as male run for homecoming king.

The Richland School Board didn’t rule on Kasey Caron’s request Monday night, but simply let stand an earlier decision by school administrators which leaves the 17-year-old senior on the ballot for homecoming queen.

Kasey’s mother, Kathy Caron, says she’s disappointed by the decision. Kasey says, “My heart sunk a little.”

 

Miss’d America Returns to AC: The Real Queen Will Be Crowned

The Press of Atlantic City reports:

The 2013 Miss’d America competition will be held at 8 p.m. (Saturday) at the House of the Blues at Showboat Casino Hotel. This year’s event, which has a circus theme, is presented by the Greater Atlantic City Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Alliance and the Schultz-Hill Scholarship Foundation.

The event draws female and celebrity impersonators from throughout the country to compete in a night designed for fun and to raise money for local charitable organizations, Miss’d America co-founder Gary Hill said.

“It’s a different kind of venue and show,” Hill said. “It’s a lot of fun and has a lot of energy. It works with the Do AC (promotion) of having something different in Atlantic City during the off- season.”

AC Weekly fills in the history:

During Miss’d America’s early years, there were rumors that the Miss America Organization — then led by local attorney Leonard C. Horn — was considering legal action to prevent the drag show from taking place, or at the very least force it to find another name.

Cross-dressing gay men poking good-natured fun at the gold standard of beauty pageants? On the very same day that pictures and television footage of the newly crowned real queen were being printed and aired?

Not in their backyard.

But some attorneys said that little apostrophe probably made a big difference in creating enough of a separation between the names that the public wasn’t likely to confuse them.

 

 

 

Bill Would Ban Gay “Conversion Therapy” for Kids

Our G-Philly friends are all over this story:

In a press conference this afternoon at the Attic Youth Center, Philly State Rep. Brian Sims and Luzerne Rep. Gerald Mullery announced plans to introduce a bi-partisan bill that will make it illegal for Pennsylvania mental health providers to perform gay conversion therapy on minors. The bill is similar to one recently introduced in the State Senate by Anthony H. Williams. If passed, Pennsylvania would become the third state to pass such a law, following in the footsteps of New Jersey and California.

During the conference, Sims said:

“It’s been 40 years since the American Psychological Association excluded homosexuality from being classified as a mental disorder, and the APA has published studies showing that patients younger than 18 suffer from a multitude of harmful effects associated with this so-called therapy, including withdrawal and suicidal thoughts. It’s time to protect Pennsylvania children from this quackery that can inflict years of harm for those who manage to survive it.”

 

Kenney Wants Philly to Sever Ties With Russia

Josh Middleton at our sister blog, G-Philly, has the scoop:

A few weeks ago I reported on a petition that called on City Council to sever Philly’s sister-city tie with Nizhny Novgorod, Russia’s fifth largest municipality that voted last year to enact a heinous law banning “LGBT propaganda.” Though more than 1,300 voters signed up to persuade City Council, Mayor Nutter is actually the only person who can break ties with a sister city, and last month a spokesman from the Mayor’s office announced that he wouldn’t do it, because, “Severing ties would cut off communication and would be counterproductive. … Ending our sister-city relationship with Nizhny Novgorod would sever our ability to support their LGBT community today and in the future. It would also invalidate 21 years of work that would likely never be repaired.”

This wasn’t a good enough answer for some local LGBT advocates, including Councilman Jim Kenney, who penned the following letter and sent it to Mayor Nutter last night:

Dear Mayor Nutter,

I am deeply troubled by the actions of the Russian government to blatantly target its LGBTQ citizens for outright discrimination and criminal punishment for violating “a ban on homosexual propaganda,” whatever that may be!

I am equally troubled that our Russian Sister-City, Nizhny Novgorod, was one of the first cities in Russia to enact this abhorrent law that is a complete and total violation of the human rights and dignity of LGBTQ citizens.

I believe that we — as a cradle of liberty and a beacon to the world for freedom of expression and human rights, cannot sit idly by without expressing our indignation and opposition to this clear and direct targeting of LGBTQ citizens in Russia.

As such, I would ask you to join me and other members of City Council in severing our Sister City relationship with Nizhny Novgorod — as well as expressing Philadelphia’s opposition to this clear violation of the human rights of LGBTQ citizens throughout Russia.

While I disagree with your spokesman’s stated position that “severing ties would cut off communication and would be counterproductive,” I would ask you to reconsider and join with me in supporting our efforts to send a strong and direct message to the Russian government that Philadelphia will not tolerate or remain silent while LGBTQ citizens are targeted for abuse, discrimination and criminality.

Have we not learned from our recent history, that silence often times equals death? We can not and should not — and I for one — will not remain silent.

In reminding you that one of the main tenants in our Sister City program is to “educate our citizens about the world and its diversity and promote tolerance and mutual understanding among nations,” I ask that you reconsider your decision and move quickly to sever ties with Nizhny Novgorod.

Sincerely,

Jim F. Kenney

 

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