Proposition Love and Moovz Celebrate Pride

Happy Pride Month, everyone!

June is a time to encourage equality and celebrate love in all its forms. This year we teamed up with the LGBT global social network Moovz to show how easy it is to erase hate and spread love. Three members of the LGBT community shared their stories with us and tested the kindness of strangers in this daring experiment.

Watch how powerful love can be below.

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Huffington Post – Illinois Gay Marriage Bill OKed In Committee, Advances To Full House Vote

Illinois Gay Marriage Bill OKed In Committee, Advances To Full House Vote
Posted: 02/26/2013 11:28 pm EST | Updated: 02/27/2013 12:01 am EST

The Illinois House Executive Committee on Tuesday evening OKed and advanced a bill that would bring legal same-sex marriage to the land of Lincoln.

In a vote of 6-5, the bill was approved and will next head to a full House vote, the final remaining obstacle to passage as Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn has already vowed to sign the measure into law.

Committee members voted along party lines — with Democrats in favor and Republicans opposed — with one exception: Democratic state Rep. Eddie Lee Jackson, Sr., who voted against the bill, the Windy City Times notes. Fellow Democratic Rep. Luis Arroyo said during the hearing that, though he OKed the bill Tuesday to help get it out of committee, he plans to oppose it in the full House on account of his constituents’ religious objections.

The vote came much later than anticipated Tuesday evening after state lawmakers took over six hours to consider amendments related to Illinois’ mandate to draw up a new concealed carry law in an unrelated session.

The bill — titled the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, Senate Bill 10 — was previously approved by the state Senate in a historic Valentine’s Day vote. One Republican senator joined 33 Democrats in approving the bill.

A firm date has not yet been set for a full House vote on the proposal, but proponents of the legislation previously indicated that a vote could take place on March 6 or 7.

Bill supporter Rick Garcia, senior policy advisor for LGBT advocacy group The Civil RIghts Agenda, said in a statement that the measure’s Tuesday advance shows that “momentum behind marriage equality just keeps building.”

“We have seen an amazing surge of support from all over Illinois. With this historic vote we are one step away from marriage equality. We are still working to get the 60 votes in the house, and we will call the bill the moment we have them,” Garcia said.

If the bill achieves the 60 votes needed for passage in the House, which is generally considered to be more conservative than the Senate, it would next head to Gov. Quinn’s desk for his signature.

Gov. Quinn also admitted to the Quad City Times on Monday that “there’s still persuasion to do in the House” when it comes to lining up “yes” votes. He said he will be contacting lawmakers individually pushing for their support. While Democrats have an overwhelming majority in the state House, the Daily Herald notes that not all Democrats are not expected to be on board with the proposal — including many downstate lawmakers.

The matter has even found its way into a flap over Pat Brady’s tenure as the state GOP’s chairman. Brady has postponed a high-profile fundraiser with national Republican chairman Reince Priebus amid reports that the state’s Republican Central Committee will be calling a meeting to oust Brady from his post due to his decision to break with the party’s platform and express his personal support for marriage equality.

Illinois has had civil unions available for same-sex couples since June 2011. If the bill is signed into law, the measure would make Illinois the tenth U.S. state to offer legal same-sex marriage.

Huffington Post – Puerto Ricans Protest Against Gay Rights And In Favor Of ‘Traditional’ Family Values

Puerto Ricans Protest Against Gay Rights And In Favor Of ‘Traditional’ Family Values
The Huffington Post | By Zuania Ramos
Posted: 02/19/2013 4:53 pm EST | Updated: 02/19/2013 6:00 pm EST

 

GET LATINO VOICES ALERTS:

“Puerto Rico Stands Up” Pro-Family March

Reaffirm the values of the “traditional” family and fight against gay rights, that was the mission of a group of more than 200,000 faithful Christians who met in “Puerto Rico Stands Up”, one of the largest pro-family demonstrations ever held in the U.S. commonwealth.

According to Puerto Rican daily El Vocero, from the early hours of Monday morning, members of different Christian denominations from all parts of the island began to gather in front of the Capitol building in the city capital of San Juan, paralyzing traffic in and out of the area.

With gospel music and banners alluding to the defense of exclusive marriage between men and women, participants also protested statements made by government officials seeking to grant rights to gay couples through new legislations.

Cesar Vazquez Muñiz, spokesman of Puerto Rico for the Family, the organization behind the activity, explained their purpose was to protect marriage and family values that would later affect future generations.

“We are concerned that laws will be created to discriminate against the church… We are concerned that public education will be used to change our children, presenting them with behaviors their parents don’t think are correct,” said Vazquez in an interview with El Vocero. “This demonstration tells the government that there are things that they cannot touch and those are marriage and family.”

Although its presence wasn’t as strong, a counter protest was also held by religious leaders and followers near the area in support of gay rights. The group repudiated the expressions made by the religious movement and demanded measures to promote equality.

“One of the struggles I’ve had with the church is its sexist and homophobic message, and obviously when I see that they are using the resources they have to promote discrimination I cannot stay quiet because that is not the message of God,” said Pastor Yenen Silén to Univision.

Other leaders, like Puerto Rican human rights activist Pedro Julio Serrano, also made use of social media platforms to label the event as “full of hate and intolerance.”

“Today was a day filled with hatred and intolerance against the LGBT community. Thousands went to the Capitol, deceived by their leaders, supposedly to ‘defend the family’, but that was the least of what they did,” he said on Monday on his Facebook account. “You don’t defend a family by denying rights to its most vulnerable members, attacking the dignity of any human being with hate, discrimination, intolerance and exclusion.”

Meanwhile, at a press conference, the new governor of the island Alejandro García Padilla said he will keep defending the rights of all communities, without exception or discrimination by sexual orientation, yet he reaffirmed his position not supporting gay marriage.

“I have met with both sides of the leadership. As governor I react to reason, not pressure. My government is a government of inclusion, we all live in this country, we are all responsible for a better country,” said Governor Alejandro García Padilla to Univision.

“I favor the law 54 which protects domestic partnership… As for marriage, I do not agree that it should be anything except between man and woman. But the rights that are guaranteed to people are those we have to look for and secure for all human beings,” he added.

The protest comes at a time when Puerto Rico’s legislature is reviewing a new amendment to Law 54, which would protect all couples, regardless of marital status or sexual orientation, of domestic violence. In addition, members of the House of Representatives are also working on a bill that would prohibit discrimination due to sexual orientation in the work place.

Although the numbers of attendees haven’t been officially released by the authorities, Christian leaders claim between 200,000 to 268,000 people attended the event. The largest demonstration of this type reported so far was in France, which gathered 340,000 at the beginning of the year.

Huffington Post Gay Voices – Obama Boy Scouts Statement: President Opposes Group’s Gay Ban

Obama Boy Scouts Statement: President Opposes Group’s Gay Ban
The Huffington Post | By Paige Lavender
Posted: 08/08/2012 4:55 pm Updated: 08/08/2012 5:07 pm

President Barack Obama shakes hands with supporters as he arrives at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora, Colo, Wednesday, Aug, 8, 2012. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

President Barack Obama expressed his opposition to the Boy Scouts of America’s reaffirmation of its policy of excluding gays on Wednesday.

The president called the rule, which was renewed in July after a two-year review, “discrimination” in a statement to the Washington Blade.

“The President believes the Boy Scouts is a valuable organization that has helped educate and build character in American boys for more than a century,” White House spokesperson Shin Inouye said. “He also opposes discrimination in all forms, and as such opposes this policy that discriminates on basis of sexual orientation.”

The ban has been faced with opposition by some former scouts, several of whom returned their badges in protest of the rule. Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney also expressed opposition to the ban, saying “all people should be able to participate in the Boy Scouts regardless of their sexual orientation.”

Despite the opposition, the Boy Scouts’ chief executive, Bob Mazzuca, said most Scout families support the policy, which applies to both adult leaders and Scouts.

The AP reported earlier:

The Scouts cited support from parents as a key reason for keeping the policy and expressed hope that the prolonged debate over it might now subside. Bitter reactions from gay-rights activists suggested that result was unlikely.
The Scouts’ national spokesman, Deron Smith, told The Associated Press that an 11-member special committee, formed discreetly by top Scout leaders in 2010, came to the conclusion that the exclusion policy “is absolutely the best policy” for the 102-year-old organization.

Smith said the committee, comprised of professional scout executives and adult volunteers, was unanimous in its conclusion – preserving a long-standing policy that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2000 and has remained controversial ever since.

This isn’t the first time Obama has expressed his support for the LGBT community. In May 2012, he became the first sitting president to announce his support for same-sex marriage, and in June he held a Gay Pride Month reception at the White House.

UPDATE: The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) decried the Boy Scouts’ “outdated policy” in a press release:

“Our nation’s leaders from across religions and political persuasions have joined hundreds of thousands of Americans in speaking out against the blatant discrimination that the Boy Scouts of America teaches young adults today,” said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. “It’s clear that this outdated policy will be changing in the future. How long will the Boy Scouts continue to bully young gay Americans into hiding who they are and hurt children of gay parents by denying their parents an opportunity to participate in their children’s lives?”