This Independence Day weekend, hundreds of thousands of gay and lesbian military veterans can take comfort in knowing they should soon be free access to some marital benefits for the first time.
The Department of Veterans Affairs announced Monday it is working to extend marital benefits to gay veterans who live in the 13 states where same-sex marriage was still banned prior to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges.
It’s one of two major areas, along with Social Security, where the Obama administration was unable to equalize federal benefits nationwide after the high court’s 2013 decision in United States v. Windsor. That’s because of a federal statute saying VA benefits must be administered based on laws in the state where the recipient resides, not where their marriage was celebrated.
As a result, gay military veterans who were legally married in other states, but resided in states that didn’t recognize those unions, have until now been denied marital benefits including disability pay, home loan guarantees, death pensions and burial rights.
From The Washington Post:
“VA may recognize the same-sex marriage of all Veterans, where the Veteran or the Veteran’s spouse resided anywhere in the United States or its territories at the time of the marriage or at the time of application for benefits,” VA spokeswoman Victoria Dillon said in a statement describing the new policy.
The agency “will work quickly to ensure that all offices and employees are provided guidance on implementing this important decision with respect to all programs, statutes, and regulations administered by VA. ”
She said the agency is coming up with guidance on how to implement the changes; pending benefit-claims cases involving same-sex marriage will be placed on temporary hold until the guidance is in place.
In August of last year, Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit against the VA on behalf of the American Military Partner Association seeking equal benefits for gay veterans in non-marriage equality states.
From the AMPA:
The American Military Partner Association’s President, Ashley Broadway-Mack, said: “We are thrilled the VA is acting so quickly to implement the Supreme Court’s ruling and are ready to do right by ALL our nation’s veterans. These are important benefits our nation’s veterans have earned and it was unconscionable that some were denied based solely on where they lived.”
The Social Security Administration is also expected to update its policies in the wake of the ruling, according to Investment News:
In addition to recognizing same-sex marriages nationwide, SSA said it now “can also recognize some non-marital legal same-sex relationships (such as civil unions and domestic partnerships) as marriages for purposes of determining entitlement to Social Security and Medicare benefits.”
Following last week’s ruling, SSA said it is working with the Department of Justice to analyze the decision and to provide instructions to individuals affected by the ruling.
“If you are a spouse, divorced spouse or surviving spouse of a same-sex marriage or non-marital legal same-sex relationship, we encourage you to apply right away for benefits,” the agency said in a statement. “If you disagree with our decision about your entitlement to benefits, eligibility for benefits, or payment amount, you should appeal.”
The post Hundreds Of Thousands Of Gay Military Veterans Will Soon Have Access To Marital Benefits appeared first on Towleroad.
Making high quality, nutrient-dense meal decisions is one of the most important factors to having success with a healthy lifestyle. Ideally, you’re buying nothing but organic, preservative-free, humanely-raised, wild-caught produce and proteins.
But…what if you’re poor, struggling, going through a rough patch?
Most of us get to this point of lovely struggle in adulthood. Sometimes, it’s a reoccurring thing. As a fitness professional also pursuing a music career in the oh-so affordable city of Los Angeles, I know the struggle all too well.
With that said, I’ve never been healthier in my entire life.
When you’re in a financial rut, taking care of yourself is of the utmost importance. Without good physical health, you are merely just throwing another bucket of stress in the pot. You need to sleep as well as you can, eat as well as you can, and exercise your body as well as you can.
Major emphasis on the “as well as you can” part.
I’m not exactly the first person to write about this. For a quick little bit of nutritional education on cheap and healthy food items, check out this link from the Broke Girl’s Guide:
While I agree fully with all of the foods mentioned on The Broke Girl’s Guide list, but if you’re willing to give certain stores and sellers a chance, you can cut the cost on some of those items by over half. Farmer’s Markets may be one option, but you should also consider your local dollar stores. Those stores are often immediately turned down in the minds of most, as many of us assume that dollar stores stock low quality merchandise and foods, but that’s not the case for all. I discovered one just down the street from me that has a wide variety of fresh produce well below large popular grocery store prices. Most of the time, they are the exact same brands as well as more local ones. Don’t be afraid to go into one of these places. You probably have one nearby.
I will elaborate further in later articles on healthy recipes, how to stick to certain popular diets, and fitness advice as well. I’ll be back soon with more. Until then, hang in there!
For more information or to book a class, visit www.phoenixeffectla.com.
The Phoenix Effect, a metabolic bootcamp that gets you in shape fast, is offered exclusively at 7264 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA.
It’s the story of a thousand rom-coms: family friends get married; mother starts nagging single daughter to get married; daughter evades; daughter finally introduces fiancee; parents disapprove; shenanigans ensue. Jenny’s Wedding follows this formula but with an exceptionally well-timed tweak: Jenny is a lesbian and will be marrying her partner.
In a plot that is more drama than comedy and is sure to strike close to home for a great many gays and lesbians, Jenny has to deal with not just coming out but coming out by getting married. All the while she’s dealing with friction from her parents, who don’t appear to be anti-gay but are clearly thrown for a complete loop by the double-whammy from their daughter.
Starring Katherine Heigl, Alexis Bledel, and that one young woman who was in several episodes of The Newsroom, Jenny’s Wedding will be released in theaters on July 31st. You can watch the trailer below:
The post Katherine Heigl and Alexis Bledel are Getting Hitched in ‘Jenny’s Wedding': VIDEO appeared first on Towleroad.
First word, first step, first day at school, first kiss — there’s really only one natural life progression to hit next — first Pride!
Do you remember your first Pride? No? Then you probably did something right.
But it’s not always rainbow glitter and unicorn smiles. Pride can be overwhelming, messy and eye-opening.
Below, guys Whisper their first Pride experiences — all the glory and the defeat.
Faith, hope, and love abide. - 1 Corinthians 13:13
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. - Hebrews 11:1-3, 6
“Then David said to the Philistine, ‘You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down. . .that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hand.’”
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. - 2 Timothy 4:7-8
And what is that reason, you ask?
Come on, it’s Instagram. They’re hot. Enough said.
Meet Pittsburgh couple Nick and Justin, whose hearty American names match their good grooming practices and impossible stomachs.
They may not be serving the face of diversity, but we’d be lying to say they aren’t serving something that’s stimulated our appetite.
Johnny Sheffield began playing Boy, adopted son to Johnny Weissmuller's iconic Tarzan, in 1939, when he eight years old, and finished in 1947, when he had grown bigger, taller, and far more muscular than his movie Dad and could hardly be called a "Boy" anymore.
A couple of years later, he started on a series of 12 Bomba the Jungle Boy movies (1949-55), ostensibly based on the series of boys' adventure novels, but really about a teenage Tarzan -- Bomba borrowed Weissmuller's trademark loincloth and "Me Tarzan" patois, and the short-lived comic book spin-off was subtitled "TV's Teenage Jungle Star."
The Bomba movies, which I saw on tv during the rare Saturday afternoons in the 1960s that didn't have a game or a repeat of The Magic Sword, seemed to have the same plot, with minor variations.
Bomba is summoned by a scientist or colonial administrator, who tells him about the bad guys and introduces his attractive teenage niece, visiting from America. Bomba and niece flirt. Bomba is captured by the bad guys, but escapes. The niece is captured, but Bomba rescues her and defeats the bad guys. The niece goes back to America. Bomba goes back to the jungle.
The 30 or so minutes of action was turned into a feature-length movie through some stock footage of African wildlife and 20-30 minutes of close-ups of Johnny Sheffield's body.
When Bomba takes a nap, we don't get an establishing shot and then a switch to the next scene: the camera slowly travels down the length of his body for a good five minutes.
When he is tied up by the bad guys, he struggles with his bonds for the amount of time it takes the cameraman to go down to the commisary for a sandwich.
When he goes back into the jungle, he climbs a tree, and the camera obligingly zooms in on his semi-nude butt.
Not that the audience, comprised primarily of preteen gay boys and straight girls, was complaining. They could think of lots worse ways to spend a dull Saturday afternoon than gazing at Johnny Sheffield.
He influenced a generation of muscular, semi-nude jungle boys, such as Gunga on Andy's Gang and Terry on Maya
available on youtube. He then went to UCLA, got a degree in business, and had a successfully fully-clothed career in real estate. But was always happy to chat with his fans, gay or straight -- Johnny was refreshingly gay-friendly for someone of his generation.
He died in 2010.
See also: Why is Bomba the Jungle Boy always tied up?
For years, antigay activists have been making our lives miserable by doing everything in their power to stop marriage equality and any other remotely related LGBT cause. Well, the joke’s on them after the conservative majority Supreme Court put the kibosh on their persecution dreams (not to mention their salaries)! But what happens now that they’ve lost, big time?
Can we just ignore them and move on with our lives? Forgive and forget? Or do we need to stay on-guard to make sure they don’t continue to threaten us or anyone else in the future? Do we demand an apology for impugning and attacking us over generations of hate? Do we hold them accountable for the very real damage their propaganda has inflicted?
Well, the answer is complicated. What’s probably called for is a mix: a little forgiveness, a little forgetting, and a little revenge. Defeat is only the beginning of their humiliation.
Each of these people has a different but horrendous past with marriage equality, and we’ll probably want to deal with each one accordingly.
Here are the ten biggest losers of the marriage equality debate…
1. Maggie Gallagher
Remember a time when Maggie was the source of much of the anti-gay rhetoric out there? These days she’s calmed down and assumed a more inconspicuous profile. You might even have forgotten she even exists. Oh, sure, she’ll pop up every now and then online in a blog post or a news article. But in general, she’s decided to leave the gays alone, so we might as well leave her alone too. There are bigger fish to fry.
(Also, guilty confession: we kind of like Maggie. She’s a genuinely funny writer. If she ever decides to make more noise again, this time with any luck without the malice, we look forward to reading and debating her work.)
Every great success carries with it a touch of sorrow, and that’s turning out to be the case with marriage equality. In the wake of the Supreme Court ruling granting us the right to marry, a number of long-time activists are fretting that we are at risk of losing the things that make us unique.
“What do gay men have in common when they don’t have oppression?” Andrew Sullivan wondered to The New York Times. “I don’t know the answer to that yet.”
“People are missing a sense of community, a sense of sharing,” Eric Marcus, the author of “Making Gay History,” told the paper. “There is something wonderful about being part of an oppressed community.”
It’s not by accident that a lot of the wistfulness is emanating from people of a certain age, who experienced the AIDS crisis, ACT UP, Queer Nation, and the Defense of Marriage Act. The causes of the 1980s and 1990s energized an entire generation of lesbians and gay men.
With the marriage ruling, it seems like the final chapter is being written. Yes, there are still battles to be fought, as Michelangelo Signorile has pointed out. We are still lacking federal anti-discrimination protections, meaning that we can get married but also fired legally. In fact, we can get fired because we got married, a trend we will likely see soon. The religious right will amp up it’s argument that our very presence erodes their faith-based right to discriminate in all things. The antigay GOP is not likely to pass civil rights legislation anytime soon. And the rest of the world, with the exception of Europe, is still decades if not centuries behind where we are. With the international reach of social media, it’s easy to see American activists working to help outcasts everywhere.
But Justice Anthony Kennedy’s opinion makes it clear once and for all that we are equal members of society. There’s no turning back from that.
The question that’s bothering some veterans is, after building a movement and culture on being different, what will it mean to be just like everyone else? Outside of the bedroom, will being gay become more like an ethnic identity?
It already has for some people. “I’m kind of sexually gay but ethnically straight,” star statistician Nate Silver has said.
We’re a long way from pride parades becoming the equivalent of a St. Patrick’s Day parade (with better abs), where people are only remotely connected to their background. Being gay will always mean being different–just not as different. For all the people who have suffered and been damaged for that reason, starting with the kids who have been bullied to the point of suicide, the end of oppression can’t start soon enough.
What we’re also witnessing is that the culture is much more diverse than we’ve been ready to admit. It’s easy to put aside your differences when you’re united around a single cause, like fighting the AIDS crisis. But now that we don’t have that focus, we’re discovering that there are a lot of people in our community who are quite content to live quiet lives that look like everyone else’s–raising kids, caring for elderly parents, living in the (gasp) ‘burbs, working in office cubicles. And that’s not a bad thing.
In fact, that’s the point of equality. But it comes with its own set of responsibilities.
There is a danger that people who are really different will be marginalized, and that would be a betrayal of the cause. It would be a Pyrrhic victory if we forget about sexual liberation, about queer identities, and about the struggle for transgender equality. Shame on us if we botch the opportunity to help non-gay people see the beauty of living true to yourself, social pressures be damned.
Having the freedom to live as we want has been the fight for decades. That fight gave meaning to a lot of people’s lives. Seeing that chapter come to a close is a bittersweet moment. But as anyone who has lived through that time should be able to tell you, these are the good old days.
French Open champ Stan Wawrinka tells ESPN magazine that he doesn't work out, and that his body is all for tennis. He then proceeds to unveil his body for the mag's Body Issue.
I'm jumping over the net on this one!
One more after the jump ...
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham has a lotta love for ... Joe Biden ...
model: Dominique Lark | ph. Marcus McCormick
Eloho Orogun © Irem Harnak #theones2watch