Antigay Bakery Happy To Provide Ex-Gay Cakes To Ministry….

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An Oregon bakery that refuses to bake wedding cakes for same-sex couples is now proudly touting cakes made for an ex-gay organization.

Sweet Cakes by Melissa, which rose to national attention and drew the ire of civil rights organizations in 2013 for refusing to make a cake for a lesbian couple’s wedding, posted a photo to its Facebook page of baked goods commissioned for Restored Hope, a religious organization that advocates for gay conversion therapy.

“Cakes for Restored Hope Network. What a wonderful ministry!” the caption to a photo of five cakes adorned with the group’s logo read, in addition to offering a link to the antigay group.

Restored Hope, which is helmed by “ex-lesbian” Anne Paulk, rose to prominence after the demise of Exodus International, formerly one of the most prominent ex-gay groups in the nation advocating for the belief that gay people can be turned straight through prayer, counseling, and “treatment.”

Last week, Paulk, whose former ex-gay husband recently came out as gay again, claimed that the HIV and AIDS epidemic was directly linked to “any government (state or federal) that encourages men to have sex with other men and does not allow those with unwanted same-sex attraction to receive talk therapy,” adding that this government would be “a willing partner to their death.”

The religious beliefs espoused by Sweet Cakes, which owner Aaron Klein cited as the primary reason for not baking a cake for a same-sex couple, have been challenged in the past. Last year, two undercover reporters from Portland alternative weekly paper Willamette Week discovered the bakery operators were happy to bake goods for celebrations of other things conservatives traditionally scorn, including parties for divorce, a pagan solstice, and stem-cell research.

Daniel Reynolds – The Avocate

If you would like to contact Sweet Cakes by Melissa owner Aaron Klein and tell him what you think about their discriminatory actions call them @ 503- 674-5400 or email them @ melissa@sweetcakesweb.com and don’t forget about Yelp and facebook.

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Takano Introduces Bill To Close Social Security, Medicare LGBT Loopholes….

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U.S. Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) introduced the Social Security and Medicare Parity Act in the U.S. House, a bill to close loopholes in the Social Security Act and guarantee that all married couples, including same-sex couples, receive the Social Security and Medicare spouse and survivor benefits that they have earned.

Following last year’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down a provision in the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that defined marriage as between one man and one woman, the Department of Justice conducted a review to determine implementation of spouse and survivor benefits.

The review concluded that, despite Section 3 of DOMA being ruled unconstitutional, several provisions of the Social Security Act prohibit the federal government from paying same-sex married couples their earned Social Security and Medicare benefits if the state does not recognize same-sex marriage.

The Social Security Act also requires couples to be married for nine months before they can qualify for Social Security benefits, or twelve months for a retired spouse to receive benefits.

Takano’s bill would close these loopholes by:

Repealing discriminatory provisions and allow the Social Security Administration to award benefits to any marriage that is valid.
Allowing same-sex married couples whose marriage was prohibited by state law to use a combination of marriage time and time in domestic partnership to qualify for benefits.
Requiring the Social Security Administration to conduct a comprehensive outreach campaign to encourage same-sex couples to apply for the benefits they may be owed.

“One year has passed since the Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act,” said Takano, one of only eight openly LGBT members of the U.S. Congress. “However, the Department of Justice’s interpretation of existing law means that some same-sex couples who live in discriminatory states could be denied Social Security or Medicare benefits.”

“The Social Security and Medicare Parity Act of 2014 closes that loophole and guarantees that all married couples, regardless of their sexual orientation, receive the Social Security and Medicare spouse and survivor benefits they have earned,” he said.

LGBTQ Nation

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Credence. The First Sci-Fi To Challenge LGBT Portrayal In Film….

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Ruling Sparks Debate On Retroactive Gay Rights….

Margaret Mueller, Charlotte Stacey
Margaret Mueller, right, and Charlotte Stacey

A new Connecticut Supreme Court ruling is adding to the debate on whether gay marriage rights should be applied retroactively and qualify same-sex couples for rights and benefits for which they weren’t entitled before state laws allowed them to marry.

Although no states that allow gay marriage have made their laws retroactive, many same-sex partners believe they should have received Social Security survivor payments, tax breaks, inheritances and other benefits that were afforded only to heterosexual married couples before gay marriage laws were passed.

The Connecticut high court ruled unanimously Wednesday that a woman whose wife died amid a medical malpractice case may sue a doctor over the loss of her wife’s companionship and income, even though that right to sue was limited to heterosexual married couples at the time. Legal experts called the decision the first of its kind in the country.

John Thomas, a professor at the Quinnipiac University School of Law, believes the ruling opened a door to all kinds of new legal claims by same-sex couples seeking benefits and rights they weren’t entitled to before gay marriage laws were passed. If the U.S. Supreme Court ever declares gay marriage constitutional, he said, the legal floodgates would open.

“I think what the court recognized is that constitutional rights don’t spring into existence in one moment of time,” Thomas said. “I would expect to see a number of similar lawsuits in other states.”

Thomas and gay rights lawyers say the issue of retroactive gay marriage rights hasn’t made it to the nation’s courts yet for the most part, but they expect to see it spring up in the not-so-distant future in states across the country. While the Connecticut court did not make its 2008 approval of gay marriage retroactive, it expanded common law to give gays and lesbians the right to sue over the death of a partner.

“Because there was a time when many same-sex couples couldn’t marry, they were subjected to a whole range of unfair treatment under the law and this decision is really a great step forward,” said Ben Klein, a lawyer for Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders in Boston. “We have these remnants from the past that the court, at least in this one instance, has rectified.”

Groups that oppose gay marriage, including the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C., are against making gay marriage rights retroactive.

“This decision could open the floodgates to claims for retroactive benefits in an almost unlimited number of areas,” said Peter Sprigg, senior fellow for policy studies at the Family Research Council. “Connecticut has no obligation to pay reparations to homosexuals for having maintained the natural definition of marriage until 2008.”

Same-sex marriage is now legal in 19 states and the District of Columbia, while gay marriage bans that have been overturned in some other states continue to make their way through the courts.

The Connecticut case involved Margaret Mueller and Charlotte Stacey, insurance industry workers who lived in Stamford and Norwalk. They had a civil union in Connecticut in 2005 and got married in Massachusetts in 2008 after 23 years together under that state’s gay marriage law, shortly before Connecticut approved gay marriage.

Mueller was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2001. In 2005, however, Mueller and Stacey learned the diagnosis was wrong and she actually had appendix cancer. Mueller died in 2009 at age 62. Stacey said her death could have been prevented if the original diagnosis had been correct.

Mueller sued for malpractice. After her death, a jury issued a $2.4 million verdict in her favor against one of her doctors, while another doctor settled for an undisclosed amount. The trial court and the state Appellate Court, however, ruled against Stacey in her effort to sue a doctor for loss of spousal “consortium,” saying Stacey and Mueller weren’t married as required under the law at the time of the malpractice.

Massachusetts is the only other state where such a case was debated, legal experts say. That state’s highest court ruled in 2008 against a lesbian widow seeking to sue for loss of consortium, saying Massachusetts’ gay marriage law wasn’t retroactive and that a ruling in her favor “could open numbers of cases in all areas of law to the same argument.”

Dave Collins – Associated Press

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Airbnb Staffer Loves Host’s Racy Pic, Still Asks Him To Take It Down….

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Now this is customer service with a smile.

An Airbnb staffer tasked with weeding out inappropriate listings on the room-rental site showed she appreciates a sculpted torso as much as the next guy.

The customer service rep, “Kristi L.” penned a playful letter to Daniel Nardicio, a New York City party planner, asking him to remove a photo of two buff guys in an outdoor shower to draw attention to his one-bedroom Fire Island cabana.

Kristi, a specialist with Airbnb’s Trust and Safety Team who also moonlights as a “writer of m/m erotica,” said that while she found the photo “mesmerizing” and “captivating,” she asked that it be changed to conform to the company’s terms of service.

“Again, not saying that I personally didn’t think it was captivating, but if you didn’t mind putting up a photo less visually — compelling — while still keeping the verbiage, some of us will sigh with disappointment, but it will also fit more soundly in our Terms of Service.”

In the same e-mail, Kristi jokingly asked Nardicio for help finding a model for her next book cover.

“If you didn’t mind dropping me a line when you insert a different photo, I’d be grateful. Also, if you happen to know any friends with ringleted red hair, please let me know; my most recent writing submission could use a book cover,” she wrote in the letter, which was sent to Nardicio from an Airbnb e-mail address.

Nardicio told The Post that he didn’t take offense to the letter cracking down on his $225-a-night listing. Although he hasn’t removed the photo of the men covering their privates with clothing, he cropped it so that they can only be seen from the waist up.

“The best feature of the cabana really is the outdoor shower,” Nardicio said.

Airbnb is trying to keep a lid on sex scandals after complaints that hookers use it, and other horror stories. One comedian said he came home to a wild sex party at the Chelsea apartment he had rented out on Airbnb.

“If a member of our community raises questions about a listing photo, we investigate and may ask hosts to alter or remove photos associated with their listing,” an Airbnb spokesman said.

Kaja Whitehouse – The New York Post
Greg Endries – Photo

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Breaking Bad Actress Comes Out As Gay….

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Breaking Bad actress Emily Rios has come out as gay.

Rios, who played Jesse’s recovering addict girlfriend Andrea on the show, currently stars as gay character Adriana Mendez on FX drama series The Bridge.

According to AfterEllen, she told reporters: “I’m gay, personally, so being Mexican and a lesbian – this is why I love the character because I deal with the same type of things with my own family.

“Mexican-Americans especially — because this generation, we come into America and your family wants to be proud.

“You want to come to this country and say ‘This is what I have to show for it. I brought my family and we’re living our better life.’

“For my family, my mum didn’t want me to live a difficult life. She brought me here for a better one so she’s like ‘Your coming out… I don’t want this to be this. I want you to be comfortable’.”

“Adrianna’s story on The Bridge is a little different because her mom is ashamed and embarrassed, but I dealt with that as well.

“It just took a year for ‘Hey it’s not a phase, this is really happening.’ And then they get comfortable with it. So it was a little bit more extreme, but the Mexicans are very family-oriented. It’s all about the love so they’re very supportive.

“Mostly what I find in the community I grew up in, which is highly populated with Hispanics, my family and a lot of my friends who are gay and lesbian, they have a backlash but it’s an initial backlash. An initial ‘Oh no, this is not happening.’

“But for any parent, I’m sure, it’s a big slap in the face, especially for our heritage. But more than ever I want to say 90 percent of them have big support systems.”

Pink News

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South Bend Woman Claims Discrimination At Michigan Water Park….

WildWater Adventure in Muskegon

Was a bathing suit controversy at a Michigan water park discrimination or a failure to follow the rules? A South Bend woman says managers at WildWater Adventure in Muskegon told her she couldn’t go in the water because of what she was wearing.

It happened at the water park connected with Michigan’s Adventure July 9. Instead of a women’s bathing suit she wore men’s swimming trunks.

“I hate to say it, but I think it’s because I’m a lesbian,” said Jill Sweeney, who feels she was singled out.

Last Wednesday she and her wife spent the first three hours of their bachelorette party at WildWater Adventure with family and friends.

“I’d already been in the lazy river and the wave pool and then my sister in law went up to go down the slide. And that’s when I was stopped,” Sweeney said. “A supervisor had come up and she said, ‘Ma’am, you have to wear a women’s bathing suit. You’re not allowed to wear men’s.’”

Sweeney was shocked.

“It’s not right. It’s not fair,” she told WSBT.

She said she checked the park’s rules online ahead of time, which “requires all participants to be in swim suits.” It also says street clothes such as athletic clothing and jean shorts are not allowed.

“There’s nothing on their site that says gender specific so what’s wrong with what I was doing compared to anyone else?” she asked. “There’s a lot of females out there that don’t like to expose their body and will wear what I had on.”

Sweeney said she was wearing men’s swimming trunks, a tank top and sports bra.

When contacted by telephone, the park’s general manager told WSBT Sweeney was in violation of park rules.

“A sports bra would not be a swim suit. We require our patrons to wear swim suits and street clothes of any kind would not be allowed,” said WildWater Adventure general manager Camille Mark.

Mark went on to say, “There are all kinds of non-gender specific swimwear available. …According to state guidelines, we do require soap showers and swimwear like all public pools in Michigan.”

But Sweeney said the park has no rules about gender specific clothing.

“It’s embarrassing and it hurts. It really does,” she said.

Sweeney also said she’s contacted several attorneys who handle discrimination cases, but said it’s not about the money. She wants an apology for how she was treated.

When asked about Sweeney saying she felt singled out because she’s gay, Mark said, “I couldn’t possibly comment on that. How would anyone be aware of [Sweeney’s] sexuality?”

Sweeney also showed WSBT pictures of other people at the park who were in the water, not wearing bathing suits.

Mark said lifeguards might be less likely to notice people who are not wearing proper swim attire in places like the wave pool because there are lots of people in it at the same time. But the slide situation – where Sweeney was stopped – is a one-on-one interaction with lifeguards.

Kelli Stopczynski – WSBT

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