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Archive for June 2009

Christopher Street Day – Berlin Gay Pride 2009 pictures

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June 30, 2009 at 4:18 pm

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Bruno in Paris

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June 27, 2009 at 4:47 pm

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Roma Pride 2009 photos

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June 15, 2009 at 4:59 pm

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Summer of pride at Kimpton hotels

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In support of the LGBT community, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants will offer a special “PRIDE” rate code for guests to receive a complimentary weekend night when they book two nights at the best available rate. Available for travel through Sept. 27, Kimpton is spicing up the offer with the addition of a $50 dining credit for use at participating restaurants, adjacent to Kimpton hotels. All new Kimpton InTouch loyalty members can also receive a complimentary, signature rainbow rubber duck, the theme for the 2009 Summer of Pride campaign.

Kimpton’s special Summer of Pride rate is available in 20 cities including: Alexandria, Arlington, Boston, Cambridge, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Portland, San Diego, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Seattle, Scottsdale, Vancouver, Vero Beach and Washington DC .

“Kimpton is proud to be supportive of the LGBT community,” said Alan Baer, senior vice president of human resources and co-chair of the Kimpton Gay & Lesbian Employee Network. “As a company we are very involved in the communities we live in and contribute to dozens of LGBT organizations.”

Kimpton’s Summer of Pride offer encourages LGBT community members to spend long weekend getaways celebrating LGBT events across North America. In three nights, guests will be able to relax, rejuvenate, have fun and get their pride on while exploring a new city or returning to their favorite Kimpton destination.

Kimpton was the first hospitality company to score a 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index in 2004, and has maintained that perfect score every year since. In 2008, Kimpton became the only company in which all hotels were members of the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association. All hotels are TAG approved and Kimpton was recently named as one of the 10 best companies by LGBT employees by The Advocate magazine and named to Fortune’s 2009 “100 Best Companies to Work For” list.

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June 14, 2009 at 4:59 pm

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Gay rights groups expressed dismay with the Obama administration over DOMA

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Gay rights groups expressed dismay with the Obama administration Friday over its championing of the Defense of Marriage Act, a law the president pledged to try to repeal while on the campaign trail.

The U.S. Department of Justice Thursday night filed a motion to dismiss a legal challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal law that defines marriage as being between a man and a woman.

U.S. Department of Justice lawyers argued that the act – known informally as DOMA – is constitutional and contended that awarding federal marriage benefits to gays would infringe on the rights of taxpayers in the 30 states that specifically prohibit same-sex marriages.

“The president made very explicit and emphatic campaign promises that he opposes DOMA and would provide leadership calling on Congress to repeal it,” said Jennifer Pizer, marriage project director for Lambda Legal. “This brief is not consistent with that promise.”

Justice spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler said Friday that the department is abiding by its standard practice of defending existing law and that the filing doesn’t mean Obama has changed his mind about wanting to see gay couples win federal recognition.

“As it generally does with existing statute, the Justice Department is defending the law on the books,” Schmaler said. “As you know, the president has said he wants to see a legislative repeal of DOMA, but until Congress passes legislation repealing the law, the administration will continue to defend the statute when it’s challenged.”

Since taking office in January, President Obama has taken bold steps to deliver on principles and promises he articulated during his campaign. In just his first six months in office, President Obama has signed the Lily Ledbetter Act into law, paved the way for life-saving stem cell research, eliminated barriers to women’s health and reproductive care abroad, expanded insurance coverage for millions of children, ended the torture of detainees, and called for the notorious prison at Guantanamo Bay to be closed. However, this community is frustrated by the Administration’s silence, until today, on a critical matter that the President voiced support for during his campaign – repealing DOMA.

Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights lobbying group based in Washington, called on Obama to reassure his supporters by sending Congress a bill to lift the federal marriage law.

“President Obama must see that this extraordinary record of commitment to the public good at last be extended to end discrimination against LGBT people,” said Solmonese. “Mr. President, you have called DOMA ‘abhorrent’ and pledged to be a fierce advocate for our community. As we approach the 40th anniversary of Stonewall, it is time for you to use your leadership to translate these principles into meaningful action.”

The Obama administration will have more opportunities in coming weeks to weigh in on the subject.

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June 13, 2009 at 3:12 pm

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Supreme Court decided not to hear an appeal from a gay captain

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The US Supreme Court rejected Monday a challenge to the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy barring gays from openly serving in the military, refusing to hear an appeal brought by an ex-army captain.

The Army discharged James E. Pietrangelo simply for being gay. Capt Pietrangelo’s appeal was opposed by the US government, which argued in papers submitted to the court that the ban was “rationally related to the government’s legitimate interest in military discipline and cohesion”.

The Supreme Court offered no explanation for its decision.

The “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy was hatched in 1993 as a compromise after President Bill Clinton failed in an attempt to overturn an existing ban on gay service members. The awkward compromise limited the military’s ability to ask service members about their sexual orientation (don’t ask) and allowed homosexuals to serve provided they kept quiet about their sexual orientation (don’t tell) and refrained from homosexual acts.

The ostensible rationale was that the known presence of gay men and lesbians would undermine morale and unit cohesion, but as it turned out, the policy caused its own kind of damage to military readiness. Thousands of service members have been discharged from duty at a time when the military is stretched by wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The loss of highly skilled interpreters and intelligence analysts has been especially damaging.

President Obama said during the campaign that he would work to overturn the ban, but he has made no move beyond asking the Pentagon to assess the implications. Military leaders seem cool to lifting the ban, but we hope they do a fair and honest job. Members of the military and of the general public are much more receptive to the notion of accepting gays than they were in 1993.

Advocates for gay soldiers believe that the administration, on its own, has the authority to prevent the discharge of gay people, perhaps by issuing “stop-loss” orders such as those used to keep troops serving past their original commitments in Iraq – many unwillingly. How much better to use the power to prevent the loss of gay service members eager to keep serving.

President Obama should see if there is indeed any action he could take on his own while awaiting the military’s assessment. In the end, it will be up to Congress to root out “don’t ask, don’t tell” by overturning the law that brought it about.

Gay rights activists vowed to continue to campaign for an end to the ban, despite the court’s ruling.

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June 10, 2009 at 6:07 pm

At least 50,000 turn up at gay festival Europride in Zurich

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At least 50 000 people turned out for the European gay and lesbian parade Europride’s annual festival in the Swiss city of Zurich on Saturday, June 07. Political speakers included politician and publicist Daniel Cohn Bendit, the mayor of Zurich city, Corinne Mauch, and the Moldovan human rights activist Mihaela Copot.

“Up to now, there are about 50,000 people participating in the parade, but there will be some more people coming for the festivities later today,” organiser Michael Rueegg said. Rueegg was optimistic that a heavy downpour in the late afternoon would not dampen the festive spirit.

This year’s Europride coincides with the 40th anniversary of the first gay rights movements in the United States.

Zurich, Switzerland’s biggest city, is festooned with the movement’s traditional rainbow colours for the occasion, under the impetus of its recently elected Socialist Party mayor, Corine Mauch, who is openly lesbian.

The festival, in the home of the country’s conservative business and economic establishment, is not without its critics.

Organisers of the Mr Switzerland pageant have expressly warned their current male icon, Andre Reithbuch, to stay away from the parade, the Swiss tabloid Blick reported.

And the Christian Social Union (BCS), a lobby group, has called for the defence of the “Christian family model” and is launching a poster and leaflet campaign during Europride.

Rueegg said that he had seen some people handing out their leaflets, but added that the parade had taken place in a festive mood so far.

“I saw a few straight couples and I went to ask them why they were here, and they found my questions very absurd. They said: ‘why shouldn’t we be here, it’s where the party is,'” said Rueegg.

The festival, which was held for the first time in London in 1993, takes place in a different European city every year, attracting participants from all over the continent. Next year EuroPride will take place in Warsaw.

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June 7, 2009 at 4:48 pm