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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Same-sex unions boost California's June wedding average

Survey finds that more than two and a half times the usual number of couples were issued a license.
By Francisco Vara-Orta, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

County clerks issued more than 8,500 marriage licenses in the first week same-sex marriage was legal in California, more than two and half times an average June week, a Times survey found.

The tally includes licenses issued to both same-sex and heterosexual couples, although county clerks in many locations indicated that the majority went to gay and lesbian couples.

Spike in marriage licenses statewide
The state, which is not tracking the gender of applicants, has replaced "Bride" and "Groom" on marriage applications with the terms "Party A" and "Party B."

In Los Angeles County, the state's most populous, 1,806 licenses were issued from 5:01 p.m. on June 16, when the ban lifted, through June 23. The number, the highest in the state, was nearly twice an average week. San Diego County reported 864 licenses issued, up from 225; San Francisco County 849, up from 120; Orange County 667, up from 150; and Riverside County 493, up from 45.

Riverside County, where Palm Springs has marketed itself as a destination for gay marriages, saw the largest percentage increase, jumping nearly 1,000%. County officials said 329 of the 493 licenses issued went to same-sex couples.

"You know, honestly, I think we didn't know what to expect," said Riverside County's Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder Larry W. Ward. "We had heard that there were going to be airplanes of people flown in but that never materialized so we were a bit over-prepared."

Still, he said business catapulted in some of his sleepier offices -- jumping one day in Indio to 99 from a norm of 4. Ward said he was relieved the county didn't have to turn anyone away.

"What I saw were people that cared for one another deeply and I think we made a lot of people happy," said Ward, now in his third year as clerk. "And we got the job done, so that makes me happy."

Some counties such as Kern, where the county clerk stopped performing marriage ceremonies when the ban on gay marriage lifted, saw almost no change over the course of the week. In Lake, Del Norte, and Amador counties, fewer marriage licenses were issued than on a typical week in June.

Lake County, which saw the biggest dip for the week, at nearly 60%, issued 10 licenses, down from the June weekly average of 25.

In Colusa County, about 70 miles north of Sacramento, County Clerk Kathleen Moran and her staff prepared for expected same-sex couples, only to be disappointed. They rewrote the brief script for marriage ceremonies, replacing "husband" and "bride" with "spouse" and had a 45-minute meeting during which all staff members expressed comfort with marrying gays and lesbians.

But not a same-sex couple came to be wed, nor was a protester seen, Moran said. They issued five licenses that week, about average, all to heterosexual couples.

Colusa County, like most in the state's agricultural heartland, is conservative, Moran said. In March 2000 nearly 80% of voters there supported Prop. 22, which sought to define marriage as between a man and a woman. Still, Moran said, "this is a place where you better coexist. Eventually you're going to run into just about everyone at the grocery store."

Although numbers in some parts of the state fell back to normal levels in recent days, in some places the demand remained higher than usual.

With Gay Pride weekend underway in San Francisco, the county clerk there had 259 marriage license appointments and 284 reservations for wedding ceremonies for Friday, up from the 202 license appointments and 115 weddings performed on the first full day of legal same-sex marriage.

In Santa Cruz County, clerk Gail Pellerin said her office is continuing to offer three wedding ceremonies a day instead of just three weddings each Thursday. Pellerin said her office issued 127 licenses during the first full week of same-sex marriages, up from their average of 51.

"I could name (a gay couple) in every part of the county, but I don't know if that means anything," Pellerin said late Friday afternoon as she prepared for a same-sex wedding before closing. "I'm sure they are everywhere, maybe even next door. I guess that's the worry for some, relief for others."

Click here to see how the different California counties are handling same sex marriages.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Homosexual Behavior Largely Shaped By Genetics And Random Environmental Factors

ScienceDaily (June 28, 2008) — Homosexual behavior is largely shaped by genetics and random environmental factors, according to findings from the world's largest study of twins.

Writing in the scientific journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, researchers from Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, and Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm report that genetics and environmental factors (which are specific to an individual, and may include biological processes such as different hormone exposure in the womb), are important determinants of homosexual behaviour.

Dr Qazi Rahman, study co-author and a leading scientist on human sexual orientation, explains: "This study puts cold water on any concerns that we are looking for a single 'gay gene' or a single environmental variable which could be used to 'select out' homosexuality - the factors which influence sexual orientation are complex. And we are not simply talking about homosexuality here - heterosexual behaviour is also influenced by a mixture of genetic and environmental factors.

The team, led by Dr Niklas Långström at Karolinska Institutet, conducted the first truly population-based survey of all adult (20-47 years old) twins in Sweden. Studies of identical twins and non-identical, or fraternal, twins are often used to untangle the genetic and environmental factors responsible for a trait. While identical twins share all of their genes and their entire environment, fraternal twins share only half of their genes and their entire environment. Therefore, greater similarity in a trait between identical twins compared to fraternal twins shows that genetic factors are partly responsible for the trait.

This study looked at 3,826 same-gender twin pairs (7,652 individuals), who were asked about the total numbers of opposite sex and same sex partners they had ever had. The findings showed that 35 per cent of the differences between men in same-sex behaviour (that is, that some men have no same sex partners, and some have one or more) is accounted for by genetics.

Rahman explains: "Overall, genetics accounted for around 35 per cent of the differences between men in homosexual behaviour and other individual-specific environmental factors (that is, not societal attitudes, family or parenting which are shared by twins) accounted for around 64 per cent. In other words, men become gay or straight because of different developmental pathways, not just one pathway."

For women, genetics explained roughly 18 per cent of the variation in same-sex behaviour, non-shared environment roughly 64 per cent and shared factors, or the family environment, explained 16 per cent.

The study shows that genetic influences are important but modest, and that non-shared environmental factors, which may include factors operating during foetal development, dominate. Importantly, heredity had roughly the same influence as shared environmental factors in women, whereas the latter had no impact on sexual behaviour in men.

Dr Rahman adds: "The study is not without its limitations - we used a behavioural measure of sexual orientation which might be ok to use for men (men's psychological orientation, sexual behaviour, and sexual responses are highly related) but less so for women (who show a clearer separation between these elements of sexuality). Despite this, our study provides the most unbiased estimates presented so far of genetic and non-genetic contributions to sexual orientation."

Adapted from materials provided by Queen Mary, University of London

Friday, June 27, 2008

San Francisco 2008 Pride Events Calendar


Pink Triangle Installation & Commemoration Ceremony: Friends of the Pink Triangle is a group of volunteers who, on a tiny budget, construct a gigantic pink triangle on Twin Peaks that can be seen for 20 miles. The Pink Triangle has been installed for each Pride Weekend since 1996, as a visible yet mute reminder of man's inhumanity to man. The goal is to educate others to what can happen when hatred and bigotry become law as in Nazi Germany. The Pink Triangle is one of history's reminders of intolerance and hate. We must never forget past atrocities or they will happen again. History repeats itself. Installation 7:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m., Commemoration Ceremony 10:30 a.m., Twin Peaks, San Francisco. Free. 415-247-1100 x142,,

Dyke March
Events begin at 3:00 p.m at Dolores Park
March begins at 7:00 p.m.

Mamas & Papas Potluck Brunch: For families With Children 0–5 & 5–8 yrs. At our second combined meeting of the year we will be decorating posters for Sunday’s Pride Parade. Bring your favorite brunch dish to share. Help your kids build lasting friendships with other children growing up with LGBTQ families. Mamas & Papas is a project of Our Family Coalition, The Bay Area's LGBTQ Family Organization. Our Family Coalition promotes the rights and well-being of Bay Area lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender families with children and prospective parents through education, advocacy, social networking, and grassroots community organizing. 10:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., Civic Center South Playground at Larkin St. and Grove St., San Francisco. Free. 415-981-1960,

10th Annual Pride Brunch: Gary Virginia and Donna Sachet host the 10th Annual Pride Brunch honoring the Grand Marshals of the Pride Parade and benefiting the Positive Resource Center. Hundreds of the LGBT Community’s movers and shakers will gather for an 11AM champagne reception, gourmet brunch buffet at noon, and program with comments from each Grand Marshal. Music from Dixieland Dykes + 3! 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., Hotel Whitcomb, 1231 Market St., San Francisco. $75-100. 415-695-1942,,

Women of Trikone Presents Dyke Brunch: The Dyke Brunch is an annual event that brings South Asian women, their partners and allies together to celebrate Pride. It is for women only and will be held at a fantastic house in San Francisco near Dolores Park. We will have brunch, enjoy some drinks, mingle and celebrate ourselves! After 3:00 p.m., we will walk over to Dolores Park to join the Annual San Francisco Dyke March festivities, the rally and watch the stage events. We will be marching in the Annual SF Dyke March as the Women of Trikone Contingent under the Trikone Banner. Your participation, big smiles and loud cheers are what we are looking for! Brunch 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., Rally 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m., March 7:00 p.m. Free. For more details visit

Cat Hill Tea Dance benefiting Glide Foundation HIV/AIDS & Health Services: Party Hearty at Glide’s Pink Saturday poolside Cat Hill Tea Dance. Join DJ David Harness of the Endup’s Super Soul Sundayz and the fabulous Donna Sachet. Sip and nibble by the pool! Prance and dance to the hottest mix in anybody’s house! And do it ‘cause it’s right! All proceeds benefit Glide’s HIV/AIDS and Health Services. Glide founders Cecil Williams and Janice Mirikitani have stood with the LGBTQ Community and its struggle for equal rights since the 60s. New pastor Dr. Karen Oliveto gained worldwide attention for performing the first legal gay marriage inside a United Methodist church in 2004. 3:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., Cathedral Hill Hotel, 1101 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco. $25 in advance, $30 at the door. 415-674-6117,,

Mo Butta Dance Party: Butterfly Productions presents Mo Butta, one of the Bay Area’s largest women’s parties for SF Pride! Join us with over 2000 of the hottest women for the Pride party of the year. This year we have a special performance by Yo-Yo, along with other special guests. DJs Calalo, Olga T, Rapture and Motive will be throwin’ down the Bay’s best hip hop, R&B, Bay Area hits and more! Wild 94.9’s own Christy Luv on the mic along with Ms. Butterfly keeping it all moving. The beautiful and sexy Butta Dancers Savannah, Rachael, Cherry & Salesha and more. Ladies don’t miss out on the best vibe for Pride! VIP Reception 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., Party 9:00 p.m. – 4:00 a.m., Mighty, 119 Utah St., San Francisco. $20. 415-596-2328,,

Good Vibrations Pink Pleasure Party: Pink Pride! Express yourself and join the fun at Good Vibrations. Warm up for a night on the town at our post-march party complete with a DJ, drinks, snacks, and sexy go-go dancers. Shop ‘til you drop and enjoy 20% off during the party! This is an 18+ event. 8:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m., Good Vibrations, 603 Valencia St. at 17th, San Francisco. Free. 415-974-8985 x201,

Sundance Saloon Country-Western Pride Dance: Join the friendliest crowd in San Francisco for Sundance Saloon's Country-Western Pride Dance in the gorgeous ballroom of the Hotel Whitcomb. Celebrate Pride by two-stepping, waltzing, swinging and line dancing to all your favorite music all evening. The Country-Western Pride Dance is a benefit for the Positive Resource Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting people with HIV/AIDS through counseling, education and advocacy. Sundance Saloon is a project of the Sundance Association for Country Western Dancing, a community-based all-volunteer nonprofit corporation dedicated to the promotion of country-western dancing through education, performance, and the presentation of public country-western dance events. 8:00 p.m. – Midnight, Hotel Whitcomb, 1231 Market St., San Francisco. $10. 415-820-1403,,

Mango Dyke March After-Party & NectArena Women's Stage Kick-Off Party: The Bay Area's Original T-Dance for all women! Resident selectas Edaj & La Niche with guest. Marcella & Olga-T in rotation. Special performance by Krudas Cubensi. Free food provided by Jackie and Mango merchandise giveaways. Presented by Kiss My Black Ass Productions. Mango - Once you know! 9:00 p.m. - 2:00 a.m., El Rio, 3158 Mission St., San Francisco. $10.

N’Touch Club: Saturday night party for A&PI LGBTs. 9:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m., N’Touch, 1548 Polk St., San Francisco. $4.

Pan Dulce: Kick Pride weekend off right with the Castro’s biggest Latino party. 2 for 1 drinks till 11, sexy Go-Gos, and lots of free prize giveaways. The Sweetest things are always Latin @ Pan Dulce! 9:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m., The Café, 2369 Market St., San Francisco. $5. 415-675-9763,,

Shangri-la at the Endup: New dance venue for Asian & Pacific Islander LGBTs at the legendary Endup Club! 9:00 p.m. – 6:00 a.m., The Endup, 401 16th St., San Francisco. Free before 11:00 p.m., $15 after.

Club Papi Brown Party: Join over 1500 caliente Latinos for the 7th Annual Brown Party featuring the sexy Papi Dancers, 3 rooms of music, and special major performing artist. This is the biggest Latino party of the weekend GUARANTEED! 9:30 p.m. – 4:00 a.m., Space 550, 550 Barneveld Ave., San Francisco. $20 in advance. 415-675-9763,,

Unleashed: Live performances from PeachCandy (Rasheeda Queen of Crunk and Kandi from XScape) and Eye Candy Dancers Whiplash, Total Eclipse, Mocha and Milan. DJs Pam Da Funktress, DJ Blu, DJ Swith, Celebrity DJ TBA. 9:30 p.m. - 4:30 a.m., Midtown, 420 14th St., Oakland. This is a 21+ event. $25, After Hours and VIP packages starting at $60. 510-464-4560,

Trikone Presents Spring in South Asia Pride Dance Party: Drink and dance to ethnic music from South Asia at a club in SF. Full bar, party attractions. Time and location TBA. Nominal cover charge. For more details visit


SF Pride Parade
The parade begins at approximately 10:30am at Market & Davis and ends at Market & 8th.
Pride Communion Service: Join us for an interdenominational Holy Communion/Eucharist along the parade route prior to the parade with various ministers and laity participating. 9:30 a.m., Market St., San Francisco. Free. 415-305-2124,,

SF Citadel Pride Party: Join us after the parade at San Francisco’s premier dungeon space! Cool off with air conditioning, water, and savory snacks - then heat up with Japanese rope bondage and suspension by Madame Butterfly, single tail whip demo by Daddy Darin, and other red-hot performances! This pansexual party is not a play event, but rather a rare opportunity to tour the Citadel, socialize with fellow pervs, and see some hot shows - you won't want to miss it! This is an 18+ event. 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., SF Citadel, 1277 Mission St., San Francisco. $5. 415-626-1746,,

Sundance Saloon After-Pride Country-Western Dance: The party continues with the friendliest crowd in San Francisco for Sundance Saloon's After-Pride Country-Western Dance at the Hotel Whitcomb. Located just steps away from the outdoor afternoon country dance at the Civic Center, the two-stepping and line dancing continues into the night, with beginning lessons from 6:00 to 7:30pm. Sundance Saloon is a project of the Sundance Association for Country Western Dancing, a community-based all-volunteer nonprofit corporation dedicated to the promotion of country-western dancing through education, performance, and the presentation of public country-western dance events. 6:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m., Hotel Whitcomb, 1231 Market St., San Francisco. $5. 415-820-1403,,

InvAsian: T-Dance for Asian & Pacific Islander LGBTs. 6:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m., N’Touch, 1548 Polk St., San Francisco. Free.

Groove Theory After-Pride Party for Women: Groove Theory is a celebration of music! Come close out your Pride with butterflies after the Pride Celebration. Your DJs will be sure to make you sweat. This is a great new vibe with lots of beautiful women. Don’t miss out ladies! 7:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m., Milk Bar, 1840 Haight St., San Francisco. $10. 415-596-2328,,


DYKES ON BIKES®: 30 Years at the Forefront: DYKES ON BIKES® powerfully embodies how lesbians have stood at the forefront of queer pride for 30 years. This exhibit, hosted by the GLBT Historical Society, uses a significant anniversary to look back and commemorate this anchor SF institution that has become internationally renowned. The exhibit also looks forward and celebrates the landmark legal victory DYKES ON BIKES® recently won, securing full ownership over its name. This exhibit invites the general public to revel in the mythic power of DYKES ON BIKES®. Exhibit attendees can even get a feel for riding in the famed contingent by hopping on a motorcycle surrounded by the sights and sounds of past parades. Along with the fun, the exhibit also offers visitors the opportunity to learn more about the organization’s ride down a 30-year road: its history, mission, structure, annual event production, and international reach. Opening May 15, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., Years of a Ride Panel Discussion June 12 and June 30, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., We Own It Panel Discussion and Closing Reception July 12, 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Exhibition open Tuesday through Saturday 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., GLBT Historical Society, 657 Mission St. #300, San Francisco. 415-777-5455,,

Frameline32: San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival: Frameline’s renowned Film Festival offers 11 days of the newest and best in LGBT film from around the world for audiences of 60,000 from the Bay Area and beyond. The Film Festival will feature more than 250 feature and short films—from narratives and documentaries to experimental and animated—representing the most artistically-innovative, thematically-rich and socially-relevant LGBT images and ideas from more than two-dozen countries. In addition to being THE place to see the latest and best in international queer cinema, Frameline’s annual event attracts LGBT film professionals from across the globe and serves as the unofficial kick-off for San Francisco’s annual Pride Celebration activities. Screenings June 19 through June 29 in San Francisco and Berkeley. $10 general admission, $9 Frameline members. For more details visit

June 28, 2008
Main Stage Saturday Line-Up
12:00 PM Nikki Starr MC & Song
12:10 PM Andre dos Santos Morgan
12:45 PM The San Francisco Opera
1:45 PM The Glide Ensemble
2:15 PM The Lollipop Guild - An Ensemble of the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus
2:50 PM Terese Genecco & Her Little Big Band
3:25 PM Cheer SF
3:40 PM Meshell Ndegeocello
4:45 PM
Fogo Na Roupa
4:55 PM
Marriage Equality

June 29, 2008
Main Stage Sunday Line-Up
12:00 PM BAAITS: Bay Area American Indian Two-Spirits
12:10 PM Welcome - Mikayla Connell
12:15 PM DJ Junior B
12:40 PM Carole Pope
1:00 PM Liam Shy & Unwoman - A Tribute to Harvey Milk
1:10 PM San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus presents The Three Tenors
1:15 PM Grand Marshals & Pride Board
1:20 PM Margaret Cho
1:25 PM Cyndi Lauper
1:35 PM Elected Officials
1:40 PM Milk Movie
1:50 PM Marriage Equality
2:05 PM Cheer SF MC: Tim Gaskin & John Weber
2:15 PM Josh Klipp
2:30 PM Kate Kendell & Geoff Kors
2:35 PM Chantal Chamandy
2:55 PM The Ethel Merman Experience
3:15 PM Troy and the Crew MC: Cameron Eng & Margo Gomez
3:05 PM Melange Lavonne
3:25 PM Lord Martine presents Fashion
3:50 PM Christian George MC: Heklina & Cockatelia
4:05 PM Crystal Waters
4:25 PM Rubber Side Down
4:55 PM Inaya Day
5:15 PM Kat DeLuna 
5:50 PM Kent James
6:10 PM Lady Gaga

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

LGBT Art Festival - Call for Submissions

Calling all lesbian is an opportunity to show off your GLBT-themed films, artwork and performance pieces.

GFest - Gaywise LGBT Arts Festival aims to provide a unique platform for Queer Arts principally created by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) artists from a variety of diverse backgrounds. The festival will present the work in a creatively safe, stimulating and artistically challenging manner. It also offers the unique opportunity to showcase the artwork in London, a culturally rich and vibrant city with a world renowned artistic heritage.-

The LGBT Art Festival will be held in London on Nov 2008 and they are now accepting submissions online on the GFest website.

For more details and submission forms:
Please click here to submit Short Films
Please click here to submit Visual Art works
Please click here to submit your Performance pieces

Monday, June 23, 2008

Activists sue to keep marriage ban off Calif. ballot

Gay rights advocates asked California's highest court Friday to keep off the November ballot a citizens' initiative that would again ban same-sex marriage.

Lawyers for Equality California filed a petition arguing that the proposed amendment to the California Constitution should be invalidated because its impact was not made clear to the millions of voters who signed petitions to qualify the measure before the state Supreme Court legalized same-sex unions.

"This court has recognized that gay and lesbian couples have a fundamental right to marry and, as of June 16, such couples have been getting married across the state," the petition states.

"Rather than effecting 'no change' in existing California law, the proposed initiative would dramatically change existing law by taking that fundamental right away and inscribing discrimination based on a suspect classification into our state Constitution."

The petition also claims the so-called California Marriage Protection Act should be disqualified because it would revise, rather than amend, the state Constitution by altering its fundamental guarantee of equality for all -- in essence writing a law the state high court has already found unconstitutional into the constitution.

"If enacted, it would alter the underlying principles on which the California Constitution is based and make far-reaching changes in the nature of our basic government plan, by severely compromising the core constitutional principle of equal citizenship (and) ... by destroying the courts' quintessential power and role of protecting minorities," it states.

Unlike a constitutional amendment that can be approved by voters, a constitutional revision requires convening a Constitutional convention or the appointment of a commission to recommend changes to the Legislature and voters, according to the petition submitted by same-sex marriage supporters.

"For good reason, there's a strict process for making revisions to our Constitution, and it's more involved than simply collecting petition signatures," said attorney Stephen Bomse in a statement posted on the Web site of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, another petitioner in the case.

"That process is in place to safeguard our basic form of government, especially the most basic principle of equal protection of the laws."

The petition names Secretary of State Debra Bowen and the measure's sponsors, a coalition of religious and social conservative groups called, as defendants.

Since Bowen's office already has certified the amendment for the fall election, a spokeswoman says she can remove it only through a court order.

"She has a ministerial duty to certify any initiative when they qualify through the petition process, and she can't remove an initiative without a judge's order," said Kate Folmar, a spokeswoman for the secretary of state.

The last time the state Supreme Court was asked to decide if a proposition should remain on the ballot was 2005, when it did so twice. In both decisions, the propositions were allowed to stay on the special election ballot.

In both 2005 cases, the state Supreme Court overturned lower courts who had taken the propositions off the ballot. The propositions were a redistricting initiative backed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and another that would have re-regulated the state's electricity market.

The Arizona-based Alliance Defense Fund, which represents the measure's sponsors, called the petition a desperate move it would fight.

"This is just another attempt to force a radical political agenda upon the people of California," said Defense Fund senior counsel Glen Lavy. "The opponents of marriage are willing to use any means necessary to impose their will."

(Lisa Leff and Paul Elias, AP)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Heinz New Gay Ad Campaign

Have you heard about the new Heinz TV ad campaign that features two men sharing a kiss? It recently started running on British television and is promoting a new Deli-style Mayo that uses the slogan "adding a little New York City" to your sandwich. 

Take a look...

I was thrown off a little when the kids referred to the "Deli man" as mum, but I still liked the commercial and thought it was kinda bad it's not playing in the US.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Lesbians, Why Rush to Get Married???

Anyone who has ever read my blog knows that I am a big supporter of same-sex marriage. Not just because I am a lesbian, but because I believe everyone should have equal rights and freedoms.

That being said, I wanted to put out a bit of a precautionary note for all of those lesbian couples who are thinking about getting married. And keep in mind I say this with love...but ladies please... don’t just go jumping on the marriage bandwagon because it is finally legal in California. Marriage is a huge commitment that comes with serious responsibilities. No longer can lesbians meet, fall madly in love, get married and then expect to be able to just walk away without any repercussions if they decided the relationship isn’t working anymore. Lesbian couples that wed in California and then later decide to break up, will have to get a legal divorce. And since I am sure most of you know someone who has been through a divorce, whether it be your parents, a friend, or even yourself, you know they almost never end pretty. Now take that “not so pretty ending” and add a little unchartered territory (same-sex divorce laws), and wham, you could have a major legal nightmare on your hands.

Now I am not trying to scare everyone away from getting married… I mean if you and your partner have decided to make that commitment, then you should go for it. I am just saying, for all those lesbian couples who haven’t been together very long, what’s the rush? If you just slow down, take the time to get to know each other a little better, chances are, you will save yourself a lot of heartache, as well as legal hassles, in the long run. And when the anti-gay marriage proposition in November doesn’t pass (positive thinking), than same-sex marriage will be legal in California whenever you and your partner are finally ready to make that commitment.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

How Differences Can Help Your Relationship

by Susie and Otto Collins

Have you ever wondered why you are in a relationship with someone who
is so different from you?

Most people when they get into relationships have an unspoken and
even unconscious agenda that they want to make the other person just
like them. The thought is--"Everything would be okay if you're just
like me, if you like what I like and if you do things the way I like
them to be done."

It may seem obvious--but we have to say it anyway--no two people
alike. No matter how similar you think you are when you get into a
relationship and how well matched, you are two radically different people.

What we have seen over and over--and we're sure you have too--
opposites do attract.

Many people come into relationship with someone who may appear to be
the same but sooner or later they discover just how different they
are and they end up being irritated about it.

The truth is that we all come into relationships to grow and if we
are with someone who is very different from us, we have the choice as
to how we react to those differences. We can either come from a
place of fear, righteousness and judgment or from a place of love and

What we have discovered is when differences come up, instead of
making that person wrong, you have to embrace the differences between
the two of you and use them to create a better relationship.

Sound impossible? It isn't and here's why.

The two of us have very similar interests and values when it comes to
learning about love, relationships and spirituality. At the very
core of us, there is a strong "glue" that holds us together. We are
also very different people with very different ways of looking at
life. This fact often makes being married business partners a

Through the years, we have learned and are still learning how to use
these differences as growth opportunities.

Here are some tips that we've discovered as we've worked with these
differences daily to create powerfully together instead of being at
odds and critical of one another:

1. Open to possibilities
When you are closed to the ways of other people and only focus on how
you've always done things, there's no growth. Begin by opening to
hearing that someone else may have a different way of doing something
and a different opinion. Being open means breathing, sitting, facing
one another in an open way and making eye contact. Be open to
changing a viewpoint, a way of doing something or even a value if it no longer serves you. It doesn't mean giving up being who you are but it means expanding who you are. Shift into an attitude of wonder.

2. Let go of needing to be right
All of us like to be right but when there are differences, we suggest
you put that "rightness" aside. When we have hung onto being right, it's been helpful for us to go back to the thought--"Will this attitude move me closer to what I want or further away." Since what we want is a closer connection, we usually can let go of being right pretty quickly.

3. Listen without judging
This is a hard one but really necessary. Take turns talking and
don't interrupt each other. Listen to each other and make an attempt
to use "yes and" instead of "but" whenever possible. When you both
feel heard, you will come up with a better solution to your
differences than you could have if you had stayed in your "rightness."

4. Ask "What Can I learn from you?"
This is truly the secret that we've found to dealing with our
differences. Ask yourself "What can I learn from you that will help
me to grow?" and then listen to what comes up inside you.

Shifting your attitude from blame to an openness to learning has
transformed our relationship and we know it can yours too.

This week, whenever you are "hit" with someone's differences, change
the way you normally look at those situations. Shift from annoyance,
anger or judgment to openness, wonder and love. We think you'll see
a positive change in your relationships and life.

Susie and Otto Collins are married, life partners who are Relationship and Life Success Coaches, and authors of several books on relationships,

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Lesbian kiss at Seattle ballpark stirs up gay-friendly town

The Associated Press
Thu, Jun 5, 2008

Most of the time, a kiss is just a kiss in the stands at Seattle Mariners games. The crowd hardly even pays attention when fans smooch.

But then last week, a lesbian complained that an usher at Safeco Field asked her to stop kissing her date because it was making another fan uncomfortable.

The incident has exploded on local TV, on talk radio and in the blogosphere and has touched off a debate over public displays of affection in generally gay-friendly Seattle.

"Certain individuals have not yet caught up. Those people see a gay or lesbian couple and they stare or say something," said Josh Friedes of Equal Rights Washington. "This is one of the challenges of being gay. Everyday things can become sources of trauma."

As the Mariners played the Boston Red Sox on May 26, Sirbrina Guerrero and her date were approached in the third inning by an usher who told them their kissing was inappropriate, Guerrero said.

The usher, Guerrero said, told them he had received a complaint from a woman nearby who said that there were kids in the crowd of nearly 36,000 and that parents would have to explain why two women were kissing.

"I was really just shocked," Guerrero said. "Seattle is so gay-friendly. There was a couple like seven rows ahead making out. We were just showing affection."

On Monday, Mariners spokeswoman Rebecca Hale said that the club is investigating but that the usher was responding to a complaint of two women "making out" and "groping" in the stands.
"We have a strict non-discrimination policy at the Seattle Mariners and at Safeco Field, and when we do enforce the code of conduct it is based on behavior, not on the identity of those involved," Hale said.

The code of conduct _ announced before each game _ specifically mentions public displays of affection that are "not appropriate in a public, family setting." Hale said those standards are based on what a "reasonable person" would find inappropriate.

Guerrero denied she and her date were groping each other, saying that along with eating garlic fries, they were giving each other brief kisses.

On Tuesday, Guerrero said a Mariners director of guest services had apologized to her. The team spokeswoman could not immediately confirm that.

After the story broke, the Mariners were blasted by the sex-advice columnist Dan Savage, who wrote about the incident on the blog of the Stranger, an alternative weekly paper.
"I constantly see people making out," Savage said. "My son has noticed and asked, `Do they show the ballgame on women's foreheads?'"

Savage called for a "kiss-in" to protest against the Mariners.

Web sites have been swamped with blog postings for and against Guerrero and her date. And the story has people talking in Seattle.

"I would be uncomfortable" seeing public displays of affection between lesbians or gay men, said Jim Ridneour, a 54-year-old taxi driver. "I don't think it's right seeing women kissing in public. If I had my family there, I'd have to explain what's going on."

"It all depends on the degree," Mark Ackerman said as he waited for a hot dog outside Safeco Field before Wednesday's game. "Even for heterosexual couples."

Since the incident, Guerrero's job and her past have come under scrutiny. She works at a bar known for scantily clad women and was a contestant on the MTV reality show "A Shot at Love With Tila Tequila," in which women and men compete for the affection of a bisexual Internet celebrity.

"People are saying it's 15 more minutes for my career," Guerrero said of the ballpark furor, "but this is not making me look very good."

In 2007, an Oregon transit agency chief apologized after a lesbian teenager was kicked off a bus when a passenger complained about her kissing another girl.

Also in 2007, a gay rights group protested a Kansas City, Mo., restaurant they said ejected four women because two of them kissed, and a Texas state trooper was placed on probation in 2004 for telling two gay men who were kissing at the state Capitol that homosexual conduct was illegal in Texas.

"There's a double standard. That's the bottom line," said Pat Griffin, director of the It Takes a Team! Education Campaign, an initiative from the Women's Sports Foundation to eliminate homophobia in sports.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Let the Weddings Begin!

Good news on the marriage front, the California Supreme Court has denied the attempt by anti-gay marriage groups to delay same-sex marriages until the November election. So, as of June 17th, Gay & Lesbian couples throughout California will be able to receive marriage licenses.

Although this is a huge step forward, we cannot forget that the fight is not over. If the Gay Marriage initiative passes in November, it will override the Supreme Courts decision to allow gay marriage and will again create a law that only allows marriage between a man and a woman in the state of California.

It is imperative that we get the word out to voters that a "no" vote on this November anti-marriage initiative will preserve equal rights for all men and women in California, as guaranteed under the Constitution.

For more information, to volunteer, or to donate, check out Equality California's website.

Monday, June 2, 2008

California June Primary - What's at Stake for the GLBT Community

California's June 3rd Primary has more at stake than many people realize. This election will determine if we will continue to have a Legislature that passes laws supporting equal rights for the GLBT community.

In this election season California will be losing 20 pro gay marriage votes in the Legislature due to term limits. Some of those retiring lawmakers are our best GLBT supporters. That is why it is essential that the GLBT community get out and vote for the 53 pro-equality candidates who are running for the California Legislature.

Here is a list of pro-equality candidates that are supported by Equality California’s Political Action Committee. Each of these candidates were chosen because they support the GLBT community 100% of the time.

Click here to find your District

*denotes an incumbent
+denotes an LGBT candidate

Assembly Districts
AD 1 Wesley Chesbro
AD 6 Jared Huffman*
AD 7 Noreen Evans*
AD 8 Christopher Cabaldon+
AD 9 Dave Jones*
AD 11 Tom Torlakson
AD 12 Fiona Ma*
AD 13 Tom Ammiano+
AD 14 Kriss Worthington+
AD 15 Joan Buchanan
AD 16 Sandre Swanson*
AD 18 Mary Hayashi*
AD 20 Alberto Torrico*
AD 21 Ira Ruskin*
AD 22 Paul Fong
AD 23 Joe Coto*
AD 24 Jim Beall*
AD 27 Emily Reilly
AD 28 Anna Caballero*
AD 35 Pedro Nava*
AD 39 Felipe Fuentes*
AD 40 Laurette Healey+
AD 41 Julia Brownley*
AD 42 Mike Feuer*
AD 43 Paul Krekorian*
AD 44 Anthony Portantino*
AD 45 Kevin de León*
AD 46 John Perez+
AD 47 Karen Bass*
AD 49 Mike Eng*
AD 50 Hector de la Torre*
AD 51 Curren Price*
AD 53 Ted Lieu*
AD 54 Bonnie Lowenthal
AD 56 Tony Mendoza*
AD 57 Ed Hernandez*
AD 58 Charles Calderon*
AD 69 Jose Solorio*
AD 76 Lori Saldana*
AD 78 Marty Block
AD 79 Mary Salas*
AD 80 Greg Pettis+

Senate Districts
SD 5 Lois Wolk
SD 7 Mark DeSaulnier
SD 11 Joe Simitian*
SD 12 Simón Salinas
SD 13 Elaine Alquist*
SD 19 Hannah Beth Jackson
SD 21 Carol Liu
SD 23 Lloyd Levine
SD 25 Mervyn Dymally
SD 27 Alan Lowenthal*
SD 39 Christine Kehoe*+

Alameda County Superior Court Judge
Victoria Kolakowski+

So my fellow lesbians, get out there and vote, let your voices be heard!


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