Idaho Won’t Let 74-Year-Old Lesbian Navy Veteran Be Buried With Her Wife…


74-year-old US Navy veteran Madelynn Taylor wants to be buried with her wife Jean Mixner’s ashes but Idaho’s state military cemetery won’t let her while that state retains its ban on same-sex marriage.

Taylor had been in a relationship with Mixner beginning in 1995 but she died of emphysema in 2012 and was cremated – leaving Taylor to think about what she would like to have done when she died.

She decided she wanted to be interred with Mixner’s ashes but when she contacted Idaho Veterans Cemetery in November to reserve a plot she was told that they could not be buried together.

It’s not even an issue of space. Taylor wants to be cremated too and both women’s ashes could easily fit in the same niche in the cemetery.

But the Idaho state constitution bans any recognition of same-sex marriage so the couple’s 2008 California marriage cannot be recognized by the cemetery.

The Idaho Division of Veterans Services says they have to abide by the Idaho state constitution.

Taylor told KBOI 2 News that she is concerned that she may not have much longer to live.

‘I’m a stroke waiting to happen,’ Taylor said, ‘I don’t see where the ashes of a couple old lesbians is going to hurt anyone.’

Taylor and Mixner could be buried together in a national military cemetery but Taylor wants to be buried in Boise where there are family close by.

Taylor said she has gone public with her story in the hope it will move legislators and she has joined the Add The Four Words campaign who have been holding silent protests in the Idaho Statehouse since 2010 in support of Idaho passing legislation protecting LGBTI people from discrimination.

The 74-year-old was even arrested as one of those protests last month.

Taylor spent six years in the US Navy before being dishonourably discharged after her superiors learned of her sexual orientation though she had that amended to honorable following the repeal of the ban on openly gay and lesbian people serving in the US military.

She told KBOI 2 News that being discriminated against was nothing new for her.

‘I’m not surprised,’ Taylor said, ‘I’ve been discriminated against for 70 years, and they might as well discriminate against me in death as well as life.’

Taylor says if lawmakers do not act before she dies she will leave instructions with a friend to hold onto both their ashes so that they can be interred together when Idaho’s ban on same-sex marriage finally comes to an end.

Andrew Potts – Gay Star News

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Lambda Legal Files Federal Lawsuit Challenging Georgia’s Gay Marriage Ban….

Lambda Legal announced Tuesday it has filed a federal lawsuit challenging Georgia’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia on behalf of a widow and three same-sex couples, and seeks class action status. They are suing the state registrar, a clerk of the Gwinnett County Probate Court and a Fulton County Probate Court judge in their official capacities.

“The history of the United States has been defined by the ability of each succeeding generation to recognize that social, economic, political, religious, and historical norms do not define our unalienable rights,” the lawsuit says. “(I)n time, the American ideal of equality and liberty demanded that our government move past cultural and majority oppressions, however long-standing, in order to secure and fulfill the individual rights of all citizens.”

The suit argues that Georgia’s marriage ban unfairly discriminates against same-sex couples and sends a purposeful message that lesbians, gay men, and their children are second-class citizens who are undeserving of the legal sanction, respect, protections, and support that marriage provides.

Shelton Stroman, left, and Christopher Inniss at home with their son Jonathan

Lead plaintiffs in the challenge Christopher Inniss, 39, a veterinarian and pet resort owner, and his partner Shelton Stroman, 41, who have been together for 13 years and who have a 9-year-old son.

“Georgia is our home. Our family is here, our business is here, and our community here is a great support for us,” said Inniss. “We have done everything we can to protect and take responsibility for our family but marriage is the only way to ensure that we are treated as the family that we are. We need the protection that marriage affords.”

Joining Inniss and Stroman as plaintiffs in the lawsuit are:

Plaintiffs Rayshawn and Avery Chandler
Plaintiffs Rayshawn and Avery Chandler

Rayshawn Chandler, 29, and Avery Chandler, 30, Atlanta Police Department police officers who have been together for almost three years;

Plaintiffs Michael Bishop and Shane Thomas
Plaintiffs Michael Bishop and Shane Thomas

Michael Bishop, 50, and Shane Thomas, 44, together for seven years and the parents of two children;

Plaintiff Jennifer Sisson

Jennifer Sisson, 34, whose wife, Pamela Drenner, died on March 1 at age 49. Sisson and Drenner were married in New York in 2013. Despite being legally married, the State of Georgia has refused to list Sisson as Drenner wife on her death certificate.

Georgia’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage was approved by 76 percent of voters in 2004. The ban was challenged in courts by gay rights groups who targeted the wording of the ballot question, but the state Supreme Court ultimately ruled in 2006 that the vote was valid.

The ban also prohibits recognition of lawful same-sex marriages performed out-of-state.

“Georgia joins a growing chorus of Southern voices clamoring for marriage equality,” said Beth Littrell, a senior attorney at Lambda Legal. “The freedom to marry is indeed coming south. Same-sex couples are in loving, committed relationships in every region of our nation and should be treated the same way, whether they live in the Empire State or the Peach State.”

The office of Attorney General Sam Olens will defend State Registrar and Director of Vital Records Deborah Aderhold.

“The Attorney General will fulfill his constitutional obligation to defend Georgia law,” said spokeswoman Lauren Kane.

Fulton County Probate Court Judge Pinkie Toomer and Gwinnett County Probate Court Clerk Brook Davidson did not immediately respond to calls seeking comment Tuesday.

Georgia had been one of only five states where its marriage ban had yet to be challenged; the remaining states are Alaska, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota.

LGBTQ Nation

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School Apologizes For Advising Bullying Victims Not To “Tattle,” Or Be A “Sore Loser”….


A Nebraska school district is apologizing after sending fifth grade students home with a pamphlet titled “Turning bullies into buddies,” advising bullying victims not to “tattle” on their attackers, and not to be a “sore loser.”

Flabbergasted parents called it “the worst advice any person could give to another,” and said they were “horrified” by its contents.

The flyer, distributed by Zeman Elementary School, contained the following “rules:”

Refuse to get mad
Treat the person who is being mean as if they are trying to help you
Do not be afraid
Do not verbally defend yourself
Do not attack
If someone physically hurts you, just show you are hurt; do not get angry
Do not tell on bullies
Don’t be a sore loser
Learn to laugh at yourself and not get “hooked” by put-downs

Lincoln Public Schools Communications Director Mary Kay Roth said the flyer was not approved to be sent home and was inadvertently included in folders that were sent home to parents, reported the Lincoln Journal Star.

“It’s a staff issue, so we’re taking care of the staffing error,” Roth said, who declined to elaborate on the source of the flyer.

Zeman Principal Donna Williams sent an electronic message to families apologizing for the flyer, and a follow-up letter to parents said it “was sent home with good intentions, unfortunately, it contained advice that did not accurately reflect LPS best practices regarding response to bullying incidents.”

Roth said Zeman teachers will talk to all fifth-graders to clarify how the district believes students should handle bullying.

LGBTQ Nation

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Colorado Faith Leaders Form Coalition To Back Same-Sex Marriage….

Over 215 faith leaders have so far backed same-sex marriage in the state

Faith leaders in Colorado have formed a coalition to lobby in favour of same-sex marriage.

The group, Faithful Voices for Strong Families so far has the backing of over 215 religious leaders, from a range of different faiths.

A statement from the group said: “As people of faith, we believe in practicing the Golden Rule, treating others as we would want to be treated.

“All loving and committed couples deserve to be treated with respect, and the freedom to marry gives them that respect.”

Rabbi Benjamin Arnold, of the Congregation Beth Evergreen, said: “I see no legal, rational, social, spiritual, or Biblical basis for denying same-sex couples the rights and responsibilities of marriage.

“As a member of a minority faith, I regard state and federal bans on such marriages as an infringement upon my community’s constitutional right to freedom of religious expression.”

Reverend Bonnie Spencer, of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, said: “As a Christian and a clergyperson in the Episcopal Church, I support marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples in Colorado.

“I believe these committed couples should be able to participate fully in their faith communities and in our society by having the freedom to marry.”

The initiative has won backing across a whole range of faith groups, including from Quakers, Methodists, Episcopalians, Unitarians, Hindus, Muslims and Jewish Reform churches.

Same-sex civil unions have been legal in Colorado since 2013, but same-sex marriages are currently banned by the state’s constitution.

Pink News

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John Ridley For Americans For Marriage Equality….

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The Decline And Fall Of The “H” Word….

These days, this sign, wielded in New York in 197, might very well be lettered differently. Fred W. McDarrah -Getty Images

To most ears, it probably sounds inoffensive. A little outdated and clinical, perhaps, but innocuous enough: homosexual.

But that five-syllable word has never been more loaded, more deliberately used and, to the ears of many gays and lesbians, more pejorative.

“ ‘Homosexual’ has the ring of ‘colored’ now, in the way your grandmother might have used that term, except that it hasn’t been recuperated in the same way,” said George Chauncey, a Yale professor of history and an author who studies gay and lesbian culture.

Consider the following phrases: homosexual community, homosexual activist, homosexual marriage. Substitute the word “gay” in any of those cases, and the terms suddenly become far less loaded, so that the ring of disapproval and judgment evaporates.

Some gay rights advocates have declared the term off limits. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, or Glaad, has put “homosexual” on its list of offensive terms and in 2006 persuaded The Associated Press, whose stylebook is the widely used by many news organizations, to restrict use of the word.

George P. Lakoff, a professor of cognitive science and linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley, has looked at the way the term is used by those who try to portray gays and lesbians as deviant. What is most telling about substituting it for gay or lesbian are the images that homosexual tends to activate in the brain, he said.

“Gay doesn’t use the word sex,” he said. “Lesbian doesn’t use the word sex. Homosexual does.”

“It also contains ‘homo,’ which is an old derogatory,” he added. “They want to have that idea there. They want to say this is not normal sex, this is not normal family, it’s going against God.”

Historians believe the first use of “homosexual” was by Karl-Maria Kertbeny, a Hungarian journalist who wrote passionately in opposition to Germany’s anti-sodomy laws in the 19th century.

But by the 20th century, the word had taken on a definition associated with the American Psychiatric Association’s classification of same-sex attractions as a mental disorder. That did not change until the association reversed itself in 1973.

William Leap, a professor of anthropology at American University who studies the field of “lavender linguistics,” which examines how gay people use certain words and phrases, said the offensiveness of the word stems from its medical history. “It already has all that clinical baggage heaped on it: that’s the legacy of the term now,” he said, adding that because of its use in a scientific way, many people do not realize how it can fall on gay and lesbian ears.

“It’s not like ‘faggot,’ which is a negative term that could get somebody’s mother to slap their hand,” he said. “Homosexual is a term that everybody knows.”

Yet it endures.

“Now they’re encouraging this young man who’s announced he’s homosexual to go play, when Obama said he wouldn’t even let his own son play,” Rush Limbaugh said recently as he talked about Michael Sam, the college football player who recently came out. When Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona faced pressure to veto a bill that would have allowed businesses to refuse service to gay and lesbian customers, Mr. Limbaugh cited the work of the “homosexual lobby.”

And last year, when Jason Collins became one of the first professional male athletes to reveal he was gay, Chris Broussard, an ESPN commentator who has called homosexuality “that lifestyle” and condemned it as a sin, announced that he had “no problem with homosexuals.” Later, an article in The Christian Post described his comments, noting that Mr. Broussard went on to discuss his conversations on the subject with a gay colleague, LZ Granderson, whom the writer noted is “a homosexual ESPN commentator.”

During oral arguments last year in the Supreme Court case Hollingsworth v. Perry, when Justice Antonin Scalia asked the lawyer Ted Olson, “When did it become unconstitutional to prohibit homosexuals from marrying?” it seemed to some that he was unable (or unwilling) to use the word gay.

The word’s power depends, of course, on who is using it. In the late 1970s, Anita Bryant’s “Save Our Children” campaign was centered on the notion of “homosexual recruitment,” the belief that gays and lesbians tried to woo unsuspecting children into their ranks. Gerry E. Studds, the first openly gay member of Congress, once recalled how someone confronted him about whether he was still a “practicing homosexual.” He shot back: “No. As a matter of fact, I think I’m very good at it.”

When Professor Leap’s students use the term, which they still do occasionally, he corrects them. “I say, ‘Excuse me. Let me give you a piece of vocabulary instruction. In this class the word is gay or lesbian, and this is why.’ “

Gays and lesbians adopted various terminology of their own, often code words in conversation with one another. Because gay was already a known adjective meaning joyful, it could be used as a way to communicate same-sex desires to others who were in the know.

“A lesbian could say she met a gay gal the night before and her lesbian friend would know exactly what she meant,” Professor Chauncey said, “while her straight boss would have no idea what she was talking about.”

The early gay-rights movement was called the homophile movement because its founders explicitly rejected the word homosexual; they did not want to be identified as exclusively sexual beings.

Franklin E. Kameny, a gay rights pioneer, coined the phrase “Gay is Good” in 1968 as a way to help strip away some of the negative association. By then, gay had become the preferred term among gays and lesbians. But it would take decades for the rest of the country to catch on.

The New York Times resisted the word gay until 1987, preferring homosexual (now, it prefers the word gay in most contexts). The Washington Times set off in quotes the term gay marriage until 2008. The newspaper also updated its standards that year to say the term was preferred over “homosexual marriage.”

In the early 2000s, when same-sex marriage was a brand-new concept, gays were routinely described in mainstream media as homosexuals. Today, use of the word is less and less frequent. A Google Books scan shows a sharp decline in its use in recent years after peaking around 1995.

Scholars expect the use of the term to eventually fall away entirely.

“These shifts always reflect a change in sensibility,” said Geoffrey Nunberg, a linguist who teaches at Berkeley. “That’s what happened when ‘Negro’ yields to ‘black’ and ‘African-American.’ It’s just an old-fashioned word that denotes a generally neutral but old-fashioned sensibility.”

Jeremy W. Peters – The New York Times

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Lambda Legal sues Doctor, Clinic For Denying Care To Transgender Woman….


Lambda Legal on Tuesday filed a lawsuit claiming that an Illinois health care services group denied medical care to a transgender woman after she requested hormone replacement therapy.

The lawsuit alleges a violation of the Affordable Care Act’s non-discrimination provisions that requires that clinics receiving federal funds treat transgender patients in the same manner as they would any patient under their care.

According to the suit, Naya Taylor requested to start hormone replacement therapy (HRT) as part of her medically necessary, transition-related healthcare to treat her gender dysphoria, but was refused by Dr. Aja Lystila, her primary care physician.

Taylor asserts that Lystila first claimed she was not experienced in providing hormones to transgender people even though hormone therapy is regularly provided to non-transgender patients in a variety of settings every day. Later the clinic told Taylor that it “does not have to treat people like you.”

“When they said, ‘we don’t have to treat people like you,’ I felt like the smallest, most insignificant person in the world,” said Taylor. “The doctor and office provide hormone replacement therapy for others at the same clinic, they just refused to do that for me.”

The Affordable Care Act is the first federal civil rights law to prohibit health care providers that receive federal funds from discriminating against any individual on the basis of sex for purpose of providing health services.

That prohibition extends to discrimination based on gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity, regardless of the actual or perceived gender identity of the individuals involved, according to Lambda Legal.

The suit names Lystila and the Carle health care group as defendants.

LGBTQ Nation

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