Broward County Judge Dale Cohen, who in August ruled that the state must recognize same-sex marriages performed out of state and recently re-affirmed that decision, has granted the state's first gay divorce. The decision comes on the heels of the announcement from the U.S. Supreme Court that Justice Clarence Thomas will consider to stay another Florida Judge's ruling striking down the state's same-sex marriage ban. The AP reports:r
Circuit Judge Dale Cohen on Wednesday dissolved the marriage of Heather Brassner and Megan Lade. They were united in a 2002 civil union in Vermont. Cohen had ruled in August that Florida's gay marriage ban is unconstitutional and that out-of-state gay marriages should be recognized.r
Brassner attorney Nancy Brodzki said it was Florida's first gay divorce.r
Brodzki says she expects Attorney General Pam Bondi to appeal the decision, just as she has several other rulings against the gay marriage ban. There was no immediate reaction from Bondi's office.r
Voters approved the ban in 2008.
BY NAVEEN KUMARr
Theatre is risky business. Trusted safety precautions include movie adaptations (What’s your damage, Heather?), stars above the title (NPH, lick my glasses!) and proven classics with stars above the title (Swooning for Denzel? Get in line). Though some hedged their bets, the year’s best plays and musicals took big risks that paid off. Whether breathing new life into beloved stories or creating new ways of telling (with puppets!), the top of the crop never failed to thrill, entertain and enlighten. From highbrow to lowbrow and, well, Hedwig—read on for a list of my top 10 favorites.r
10. Heathers: The Musical: Transforming the treasured and twisted 1988 teen flick into a stage musical was no easy feat, but writers Laurence O’Keefe and Kevin Murphy pulled it off with an intoxicating mix of verve and camp. Profane, over-the-top and, yes, ballsy—Heathers wins the award for this season’s guilty pleasure most likely to get stuck between your teeth. But the musical also toed a fine line with its carefully crafted tone, balancing its bubblegum cynicism with genuine sympathy for every social strata of high school hell.r
9. This Is Our Youth: Director Anna Shapiro’s fine-tuned production of Kenneth Lonergan’s seminal Gen-X comedy about twenty-somethings stalling to come of age in NYC marks the play’s Broadway debut, and a high point in both its nearly 20-year history and the fall season. With dynamite performances from Michael Cera, Kieran Culkin and Tavi Gevinson, Lonergan’s trio of hyper-articulate, aimless thrill-seekers buzzes with the hallmark frenetic energy of youth in any age.r
8. The Bridges of Madison County: With a soaring, resonant score by Jason Robert Brown (sung to perfection by Kelli O’Hara and Stephen Pasquale) and book by Marsha Norman, Bartlett Sher’s Broadway production elevated its Harlequin romance-inspired material into a vividly intimate and deeply felt love story. Also based on James Waller’s best-selling novel, Sher’s production was as nuanced and graceful as Clint Eastwood’s 1995 film is sappy and melodramatic.r
7. Bootycandy: Writer-director Robert O’Hara’s semi-autobiographical and provocative coming-of-age tale about growing up black and gay defied generic formula for a more daring, fractious kind of storytelling. From outrageously funny to touchingly intimate, O’Hara’s collage of colorful snap-shot scenes assembled into a refreshingly inventive and wholly effective big picture of life outside the margins.r
Countdown continues AFTER THE JUMP...rr
6. Casa Valentina: Provocateur Harvey Feirstein’s fascinating new play based on a Catskills retreat for heterosexual (and variously homophobic) transvestites in the early ‘60s threw open the door on a little-known slice of history and grappled with its most troubling implications. Led by Patrick Page and Reed Birney (Tony nominated for his performance), the stellar cast of Joe Mantello’s Broadway production for Manhattan Theatre Club delivered a dynamic and captivating look at the slippery nature of gender and sexual identity.r
5. Hedwig and the Angry Inch: Cult fanatics and green inductees alike feel their hearts thump and jaws hit the floor in Michael Mayer’s high-octane Broadway production of John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask’s 1998 downtown classic, which brought home this year’s Tony for Best Musical Revival. The production’s original stars Lena Hall and Neil Patrick Harris also nabbed their own Tonys, while Michael C. Hall (starring as Hedwig through Jan. 18) is considered a must-see, and anticipation is running high for Mitchell to join the show for an eight-week run beginning Jan. 21.r
4. A Raisin in the Sun: Denzel Washington was the big-name draw of this exquisitely acted production of Lorraine Hansberry’s 1959 drama (this year’s Tony winner for Best Revival), but the supporting cast of women walked away with the show—led by Sophie Okonedo (who won a Tony for her performance), a tremendous LaTanya Richardson Jackson and Anika Noni Rose. Director Kenny Leon’s uncluttered storytelling and attention to the Younger family dynamic brought this tale of black struggle in mid-century Chicago pulsing to new life.r
3. Hand to God: Playwright Robert Askin’s searing, incisive and wildly entertaining dark comedy about an awkward boy and his possessed sock puppet hacks away at the bedrock of western religion with shocking humor and stark insight. MCC’s riotous and bracing Off-Broadway production, directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel, transfers to Broadway’s Booth Theatre this March, featuring a must-see, virtuoso performance by Stephen Boyer as both the boy and his puppet.r
2. Disgraced: Smart, sleek and tightly woven, director Kimberly Senior’s Broadway production of Ayad Aktar’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama unfolds slowly and carefully before reaching its explosive, starling climax. The story of a second-generation Pakistani man, his artist wife and their two friends raises challenging and provocative questions about identity, race, sex, art, faith and more—all in 90 enthralling minutes of grounded, scintillating human drama.r
1. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time: Director Marianne Elliot’s production of Simon Stephen’s propulsive play is imaginative and transporting and in a way rarely ever achieved onstage. Based on Mark Haddon’s best-selling 2003 novel of the same name, this story about a boy investigating the murder of his neighbor’s dog and unraveling the secrets of his own past burrows into the mind and sticks hard and fast—with minimal sets, nimble actors and a breakout performance by Alex Sharp.r
Follow Naveen Kumar on Twitter: @Mr_NaveenKumar (photos: joan marcus, chad batka, brigitte lancombe, matthew murphy)
Though significant inroads have been made with lesbian, gay, and bisexual members of the U.S. military, there are still no technical protections on the books for service members who identify as transgender. Advocates like Allyson Robinson, however, are confident that the organizations like the Air Force are primed to set off a new trend in light of comments made by Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James. Earlier this month Secretary James encouraged a review of the Air Force’s current policies that prohibit transgender members from serving:r
“I would be shocked if Secretary Hagel doesn’t take just a moment in the weeks that he has left in office to make good on a promise that he made to the troops. He needs to order the review,” said Robinson. “We have their commitment to do that — we have the commitment of Secretary Hagel himself to review these policies. And, I should add, I am aware, from my conversations with leaders at the Pentagon, that the secretary views this, views those words, as a promise, as a commitment to the service members.”r
Officially the White House has yet to release a position on whether or not trans-identified individuals are welcomed in the armed forces. When asked however, spokespeople for the White House pointed Buzzfeed to the Department of Defense.r
“I can confirm that for you that no review of the department’s policy has been ordered,” asserted Pentagon spokesman Nate Christensen. He later guided the press to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s comments to The Washington Post this past May on Private Chelsea Manning in reference to his current thinking on the trans-service issue.r
“I think that this period of Secretary Hagel — sort of, lame-duck period — represents that best opportunity that we’ve had so far to get [significant change] done,” Robinson explained, pointing to former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s action on same-sex benefits at the end of his military career.r
“He did that, I think primarily, because he felt it was his responsibility to take care of his troops. He also did it out of a sense of collegiality to the person who was going to follow him. He took, what were seen by some as difficult or contentious issues, and took them off the table so that his successor would be able to start with a clean slate.”r
The 15 kilometer run aimed “to bring attention to social issues related to gender diversity, anti-discrimination and changing the family system to better understand and in support of gay marriage and equal rights.”r
The event was organized by the founders of skincare company Abrazo K, who said in a statement:r
“We now can feel how much meaning this event had.r
“In the face of love, everyone is the same. Everyone longs to love and to be loved, so why should that differentiate between genders?r
“I, myself, am a heterosexual, but I really have experienced the feeling of longing to be loved. It is also for this reason that we stand out and embrace love with everyone today.”r
In October, an estimated 70,000 people took part in Taiwan Pride, the biggest pride event in Asia.
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has accepted a request from Florida's Attorney General Pam Bondi to hear arguments on a federal judge's ruling that overturned the state's ban on same-sex marriage. The ruling in question comes from Judge Robert Hinkle. Hinkle found that Florida's voter-approved marriage ban violated the U.S. Constitution and, after some legal rigmarole, declared that same-sex couples must be allowed to marry in the Sunshine State starting January 6. Bondi for her part has appealed that ruling to the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals and wants Justice Thomas to stay Judge Hinkle's ruling so that it will not go into effect until the 11th Circuit has a chance to consider the question. Bondi is hanging her hopes on the incongruency that now exists in the wake of the 6th Circuit upholding a state's ban on same-sex marriage, becoming the only circuit court to uphold such a ban. The Sun-Sentinel reports:r
[Pam Bondi] pointed out there is a conflict among federal appellate rulings -- the sixth district upheld a state marriage ban while all other federal appeals courts that have heard such cases have overturned these bans.r
Bondi also claimed the likelihood was the Supreme Court would have to hear this case, and that it would, upon review, "likely reaffirm the States' nearly exclusive authority to define marriage and hold that the Fourteenth Amendment allows states to define marriage as Florida has." [...]r
Attorneys seeking same-sex marriage have until 5 p.m Thursday to present their case for why the hold should be lifted.r
Thomas is the justice who accepts requests from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Florida, Georgia and Alabama. On December 3, that appellate court refused to delay Hinkle's ruling.r
After receiving arguments from all parties involved in the suit, Thomas can either act alone to continue the hold, allow it to be lifted on January 5, or else bring the matter to his colleagues on the Court.r
This is not the first time the Supreme Court has been asked to continue such a stay, but it has previously turned down such requests.r
However Thomas "has indicated in previous, similar cases that he would have granted a stay," said Elizabeth Schwartz, an attorney involved in same-sex marriage lawsuits in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties that are going through state appellate court.r
Thomas has no deadline by which to decide what to do in this case, but in previous instances, the court and individual justices have ruled quickly.r
"I don't think anyone was surprised that [Thomas] asked for more information, and I think it's also likely he'll want to continue this with the full court," Schwartz said. "I do think they'll rule on it possibly on Friday."
Ever wonder what straight guys think about when they instinctually check out gorgeous men? Because they’re definitely thinking something whether they’re comfortable enough to admit it or not.
Buzzfeed recently quizzed a bunch of self-described hettys who are secure in their manhood to get their unfiltered takes on some well-known public figures.
In light of all the bakeries that refuse to serve gay customers, citing religious beliefs as their justification for discriminating against them, Theodore Shoebat of Shoebat.com (a site that accepts donations to rescue persecuted Christians) decided to turn the tables, so he called bakery after bakery asking if they’d make him a cake for his pro-traditional marriage celebration with the phrase “gay marriage is wrong” written on it.
And he captured it on video.
The first call is by far the best because the woman who answers the phone turns out to be a right-on lesbian who goes off the minute he starts spouting his hate smack. (And P.S., after five-and-a-half minutes, she actually does agree to make him an antigay cookie — this particular bakery doesn’t make cakes — at which point the video cuts to another call.)
Every other person he calls does turn him down, to which he replies “I thought you guys were for equality” — even though at no point does any person he speaks to actually say they’re for equality.
What this guy clearly doesn’t get is that there’s a big difference between refusing to serve a customer and refusing to serve a customer in a certain way. For the sake of fairness, he should have also asked each bakery if they’d make a cake that said “religious fanatics are douche bags.” Because chances are, all of them would have said no to that as well. Asking someone to make a cake with a “pro” message is entirely different from asking someone to make one with an “anti” one.
In actuality, he’s not asking for equality; he’s asking for inequality.
Even more annoying is his constant misuse of the reflexive pronoun “myself”: “What about people like myself?” he asks ad nauseum, when he should be asking, “What about people like me?”
But here’s the real question: If you have this much time on your hands, dude, why aren’t you using it for something good? Wouldn’t that be the true Christian thing to do?
Watch the videos below.
Cher's not touring anymore, but she's putting out music—she tweeted this image, asking her fans to spread the word.
Via Stepp3nwolf: Chris Evans has a pectacular relationship with co-star Aaron Taylor-Johnson.
Overnight, 13 full demos from Madonna's 13th studio album leaked. It's months away from its planned release, so anyone asserting that this was an intentional act by Team Madonna to drum up publicity is delusional—you don't promote the sale of a product by giving it away for free way ahead of its on-sale date.
For what it's worth, people who've listened have been very positive about what they're hearing.
TCM's salute to the film community's losses in 2014 is here, and is guaranteed to make you weepy and probably surprise you with a few you didn't realize had departed...