Queerty -Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos Pledges $2.5 Million For Same-Sex Marriage

Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos Pledges $2.5 Million For Same-Sex Marriage

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie, are donating $2.5 million to help pass Washington State’s same-sex marriage referendum, after receiving a request from a former Amazon staffer.
The donation, the largest contribution to the cause of marriage equality to date, doubles the coffers of the campaign for Referendum 74Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos Pledges $2.5 Million For Same-Sex Marriage which affirms the measure passed by the state legislature last year. (Opponents are looking to repeal the law at the voting booth.)
Bezos made the generous donation after receiving an email on Sunday from Jennifer Cast, an early Amazon hire who is now raising funds to get the referendum passed. Telling Bezos she wanted the right “to marry the love of her life,” Cast framed the situation bluntly: “We need help from straight people. To be very frank, we need help from wealthy straight people who care about us and who want to help us win.”
Cast told The New York Times she wasn’t sure how her old billionaire boss would respond:
In the e-mail, Ms. Cast described in detail the pain she endured as a young adult and the difficulties she faced publicly acknowledging her sexuality. At the end, she pointedly asked him to donate between $100,000 and $200,000 to the referendum cause.
“Jeff, I suspect you support marriage equality,” she wrote. “I beg you not to sit on the sidelines and hope the vote goes our way. Help us make it so.”
She hit “send” and waited.
Two days later, on Tuesday, she received a reply while in a car with her family. Recalling that moment, she said she had to read it out loud twice to make sure she had read it right.
“Jen,” the e-mail said, “this is right for so many reasons. We’re in for $2.5 million. Jeff & MacKenzie.”
We’re going to take the money it would cost to buy three Chick-fil-A classic sandwiches and order the last Hunger Games book instead. Not that they need the cash or anything.
photo by: jurvetson
Jump to 14 Comments
BY: DAN AVERY
ON: JUL 27, 2012

Paid Distribution
Gay Baby Boomers Waiting for More Apologies
(The Huffington Post)
Amazon.com’s business practices are horrendous, and this changes nothing. Between mistreating workers, avoiding taxes (in the US as well), and undermining local economies, they don’t deserve anyone’s money.
Jul 27, 2012 at 12:39 pm · @Reply · Flag
No. 6 · Michael Bedwell
ELLEN DeGENERES: WHITE COURTESY PHONE!” … “ROSIE O’DONNELL: WHITE COURTESY PHONE!” … “ELTON JOHN: WHITE COURTESY PHONE! [NO, simply singing for OTHER people’s money doesn’t count]!” … “BARBRA STREISAND: YOUR SON ON LINE 1!” … “MADONNA: WHITE COURTESY PHONE!”
Jul 27, 2012 at 1:59 pm · @Reply · Flag

d. We bash and attack someone and each other. Amazon’s work conditions are no worse than any other distribution or manufacturing center. Having worked in them, I’ll tell you having just a fan when it is over 100 degrees outside is not pleasant. If they have A/C, which was posted they do, then that would be wonderful. Even if Amazon did us wrong in the past, they are supporting us now. Mistakes happen, we correct them. They are donating to help us marry those we love. That is worth a small amount of pain that may or may not have been caused in the past. Just like with Target, who made a mistake and then tried to rectify it. We should appreciate that they realize their mistakes and work towards making a better tomorrow for everyone.

 

Daily Kos -A little good news on marriage equality from New Zealand

A little good news on marriage equality from New Zealand
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A short diary on some good equality news that I was very pleased to read today, from where I live down under in New Zealand:

A bill on whether to legalise gay marriage is to go before Parliament.
The bill, submitted by Labour MP Louisa Wall and aimed at legalising same-sex marriage, has been drawn from the Members Bill Ballot.

[The bill] makes it clear that marriage is a union of two people regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

I see it got a mention online in the WaPo too.

A little background: New Zealand introduced civil unions (for same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples who prefer the term over marriage) in 2004, with legislation that gave those in civil unions almost identical rights as marriage – the only difference I’m aware of being adoption rights. This bill is important not only to address that omission, but as a principle. Even if the practical gap in rights between a marriage and a civil union was non-existent, so that it really just comes down to what government-recognized title a couple prefers, there should not be any difference at all between them in eligibility.

Comments from politicians who will debate the bill are positive, as I’ve snipped from a few different online news articles today:

“The time has come, the community is in the right pace for it.”
“I think it’s got a good chance of going through.”
“I am very pleased to say I will be campaigning hard out to support [the bill.]”
[Access to civil unions but not marriage is not enough because] “For many people, they believe this is about marriage and they want to be recognised in exactly the same way. It’s about marriage equality at the end of the day – those people having the same rights.”
Partners … should be entitled to enter into marriage and/or adopt children, with the same legal protections, rights and responsibilities for all, regardless of sex, race or class.
“Public opinion polls show that more than twice as many New Zealanders support marriage equality as oppose it.”
Like much potential legislation on social issues, this bill was picked through the ballot process. It was one of five drawn today from a pool of 62, although there was actually about a one in 6 chance because there were two very similar bills on this issue in the ballot: one MP each from the Labour Party and the Greens, the two main left of center parties in NZ, had submitted them.
The time frame from ballot selection, successive readings, redraftings, to becoming law can vary – and the ballot selection is no guarantee this will pass every hurdle. But I am confident the time is right, this will pass, to be established alongside New Zealand’s already good set of human rights legislation.

New Zealand is a small country, but progress doesn’t happen in a vacuum – perhaps this will help in a small way to see similar advances in rights to be realised elsewhere.

The Guardian -Marriage equality weighed as part of official Democratic platform

Marriage equality weighed as part of official Democratic platform
Many Democratic leaders want to include support as a plank in the party platform, but its inclusion still faces some hurdles

Karen McVeigh in New York

guardian.co.uk, Thursday 26 July 2012 17.17 BST

Same-sex marriage support may become part of the Democratic platform. Pictured, a supporter at San Francisco’s pride parade. Photograph: Susana Bates/Reuters
A growing number of Democratic leaders are urging the party’s national committee to approve a platform that would officially embrace marriage equality at the party convention in September.

Already, polls show that a majority of Democrats support same sex marriage, but the party has so far avoided explicit calls for its legalization.

The Freedom To Marry campaign said it is hopeful that the recent groundswell of support, in the wake of President Barack Obama’s public endorsement of marriage equality in May, will translate into a plank in the 2012 party platform.

Debbie Wasserman Shultz, the Democratic National Committee chair, gave the campaign a boost when she said last week she expected marriage equality to be part of the official platform. Her endorsement follows that of Antonio Villaraigosa, Los Angeles Mayor and convention chairman, and those of a number of co-chairs of the president’s re-election campaign.

Evan Wolfson, the director of Freedom to Marry, which has been working for months on a petition addressed to party leaders asking them to include such a plank, said: “Very important public figures have spoken up including people speaking of changing their minds on the issue, including the President.

“The impact of the plank is that it puts the Democratic party squarely on record. Not just the President, not just in one year. It creates greater opportunity for more party leaders and party officers to take a stance in the election still to come and policies still to come.”

So far, 42,715 supporters have signed Freedom to Marry’s petition, including 22 senators and 11 state Democratic party chairs. More than 20 state Democratic party organizations have incorporated pro-marriage positions into their platforms. They include states that traditionally swing “red” or “purple,” like Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Texas.

The final decision of whether marriage equality is on the platform is up to a committee, but support by Wasserman Schulz is seen as a key part of the process.

Wasserman Schultz, who represents Florida’s 20th district, told Philadelphia Gay News: “I expect marriage equality to be a plank in the national party platform. President Obama has declared his support for it … Now, our platform committee process is a people-powered process. We have a platform committee, and the platform is developed by our Democratic activists and the platform committee members, so they’ll go through a process. I hope that marriage equality, and expect that marriage equality, will be part of our platform.”

The inclusion of a marriage equality plank is not a done deal, however. In a recent piece in the Washington Blade, which asked 15 members of the drafting committee whether they would support such an endorsement, found mixed responses.

The next step for Freedom to Marry is to testify at a DNC drafting committee hearing next week.

“There is work to be done,’ said Wolfson.”They have invited the public to testify. They have invited Freedom to Marry to testify, as part of the televised process.”

He said that marriage equality’s inclusion in the platform was by no means a certainty, but that he hoped that campaigning, along with s shift in public opinion towards equal rights in marriage, will inform the decision.

“Over the last year and a half we have seen a majority of Americans nation-wide support same sex marriage,” he said. “In the 1990’s, 27% of Americans supported same sex marriage. It is now 54%. In 16 years support has doubled.

“We have seen Republicans as well as Democrats change their views. These are shifts in public opinion and political opinion. Now we want to take that momentum and carry it into legal and political change.”

No one from the DNC was available for comment, but Tad Devine, a Democratic consultant who was a senior advisor to John Kerry’s Presidential campaign in 2004 and to Al Gore’s in 2000, said there was a “very good chance” support for marriage equality would appear on the party platform.

Citing shifting public opinion, Devine said it could be seen as Democrats sending a “strong signal” to constituents who support equality.

He said: “Attitudes have really shifted on the issue of marriage equality. It’s a position that enjoys much more public support than in the past. It was a polarizing social issue in the past, but it doesn’t have the kind of intensity that moves voters one way or another.”

Devine believes that the activist make-up of the platform committee provides another reason the plank is likely to be adopted, as they are more likely to be progressive or liberal-leaning. Asked about the potential pitfalls of such a move, Devine said that Democrats who disagree with it are not beholden to every plank in the party platform.

“There are Democrats who get elected in very conservative places in this country. They can say, ‘Listen, I disagree with the party. I believe in civil unions.’

“There are systems of checks and balances. Just because the party says something doesn’t mean it is made into law.”

Huffington Post -Jane DeLeon & Irma Rodriguez, Lesbian Couple, Files Federal Lawsuit To Stop Same-Sex Couple Deportation

Jane DeLeon & Irma Rodriguez, Lesbian Couple, Files Federal Lawsuit To Stop Same-Sex Couple Deportation
By AMY TAXIN 07/12/12 07:20 PM ET

FOLLOW: Immigration, Deportation, Irma Rodriguez, Jane Deleon, Jane Deleon Irma Rodriguez, Lesbian Couple Deportation, Lesbian Couple Lawsuit, Same Sex Marriage Deportation, Gay Voices News

Couple Jane DeLeon and Irma Rodriguez have filed a federal lawsuit to stop the deportation of same-sex couples.
SANTA ANA, Calif. — A lesbian couple filed a federal lawsuit in California on Thursday seeking to solve their immigration woes and put a stop to the deportation of same-sex spouses.

The suit – which seeks class-action status – was filed on behalf of Philippines citizen Jane DeLeon, who was sponsored for a green card by her employer but can’t get a waiver she needs to obtain residency here because the U.S. government doesn’t recognize her three-year marriage to her American spouse.

The case is one of a number of challenges brought by same-sex couples – some of them facing immigration troubles – over the federal Defense of Marriage Act, a 1996 law that prohibits the U.S. government from recognizing same-sex marriages.

“It’s clearly the kind of case where typically the waiver would have been granted, but it was simply denied based on DOMA,” said Peter Schey, president of the Los Angeles-based Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, which filed the suit on behalf of the couple and DeLeon’s 26-year-old son.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services declined to comment on individual cases. The agency said it will continue to enforce the Act “unless and until Congress repeals it or there a final judicial determination that it is unconstitutional.”

In addition to solving DeLeon’s immigration problems, the couple is seeking an injunction to halt the deportation of immigrants in same-sex marriages who would qualify for legal status, were it not for the Act.

According to a copy of the lawsuit, DeLeon, an accounting clerk from Irvine, is eligible for a green card but needs a waiver because she entered the country more than two decades ago as if she were married when she was actually in a common law relationship with Joseph Armas.

A waiver application must show that a foreign citizen’s absence from the country could cause extreme hardship to an American citizen spouse or parent.

But federal immigration authorities last year denied her application for a waiver on the basis of her 2008 marriage in California to 49-year-old American Irma Rodriguez, even though Rodriguez suffers from a medical condition that could make moving to the Philippines devastating to her health.

The government told DeLeon that Rodriguez did not qualify as a relative because of the Act, according to the lawsuit.

In April, immigration advocates sued in New York on behalf of several married gay couples, alleging the law violated their constitutional rights by preventing them from sponsoring their spouses for green cards.