Alabama Court of Appeals Recognizes Adoptions by Same-Sex Parents

(Montgomery, AL, February 27, 2015)—Today, the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals unanimously held that a second parent adoption granted to now separated same-sex parents by a Georgia court in 2007 must be recognized in Alabama—and that V.L., the adoptive mother of their three children, must be recognized as their parent and allowed to seek custody or visitation. The court explained that the "Georgia judgment is entitled to full faith and credit throughout the United States, including Alabama," and ordered the case sent back to Family Court for a hearing on visitation. This decision reverses the same court's earlier ruling last fall, which ruled that the adoption was void and could not be recognized because the Alabama court interpreted Georgia law as not allowing second parent adoptions.
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Kentucky Legal Team Files Brief at U.S. Supreme Court Challenging Marriage Bans for Same-Sex Couples

NEW YORK - February 27, 2015 – The American Civil Liberties Union, Stanford Law School Supreme Court Litigation Clinic and Kentucky-based firms Clay Daniel Walton & Adams and the Fauver Law Office today filed their brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in two Kentucky cases that challenge the state's laws barring same-sex couples from marrying and barring the recognition of same-sex couples' marriages from out of state.
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Opening Brief Filed with SCOTUS in Marriage Equality Case of Michigan Nurses April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse

WASHINGTON, D.C. - February 27, 2015 – Lawyers for Michigan nurses April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, who seek to marry in their home state of Michigan, today filed their opening brief with the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court agreed to hear their case, DeBoer v. Snyder, along with marriage-related cases from Ohio, Tennessee and Kentucky this Term, potentially setting up a resolution to the country's ongoing conversation about marriage equality which has now stretched over two decades.
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Tennessee Couples File Brief Asking Supreme Court to Uphold the Freedom to Marry and End 'Checkerboard Nation' of Marria

(Washington D.C., February 27, 2015)—Three couples challenging Tennessee's marriage ban filed a brief in the Supreme Court  of the United States today, asking the Court to rule that same-sex couples have the freedom to marry and thereby put an end to "a checkerboard nation in which same-sex couples' marriages are dissolved and reestablished as they travel or move from state to state." The couples' brief argues that the Supreme Court "should not permit any state to deprive another generation of lesbian and gay persons of the opportunity to participate fully in marriage."
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HRC on Jeb Bush: An 'LGBT-friendly' Republican Should Support Marriage Equality and Discrimination Protections for all

WASHINGTON - February 27, 2015 – During the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) this week, some media reports have suggested that Jeb Bush is the "gay-friendly republican" of the 2016 cycle – even during the same week he is scheduled to meet with anti-LGBT activist Tony Perkins.
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Same-Sex Married War Veteran Denied Equal Veterans Benefits by the Department of Veterans Affairs

WASHINGTON, DC - Februry 26, 2015  – Today, the American Military Partner Association, the nation's largest organization of LGBT military families, strongly condemned a move by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), requiring a female Iraq war veteran, Melissa Perkins-Fercha, to pay back her federal veterans benefits tied to her legal wife and daughter because the state of Texas does not recognize her same-sex marriage.
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GLSEN Statement on Facebook's Addition of Free-Form Field for Gender Identity

NEW YORK (Feb. 26, 2015) – GLSEN Executive Director, Dr. Eliza Byard, applauded Facebook's decision to allow users to add their own description beyond the pre-set options to accurately describe their gender identity. Users can also control with whom they share their gender identity, an important safety and privacy feature. 
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Cloaked in Religious Rhetoric, More Than Thirty Bills Threaten Jobs & Economic Growth in More Than A Dozen States

WASHINGTON - February 26, 2015 - Today, the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, issued an updated primer for reporters on a wave of more than 30 bills threatening LGBT equality in the guise of “religious freedom” across the country.
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HRC Commends Facebook for New Option Allowing Users to Describe Their Own Gender Identity

WASHINGTON - February 26. 2015- The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, commended Facebook for a new, inclusive feature the social networking giant rolled out today that will allow individuals to use their own words to describe their gender identity.
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Congressman Lowenthal Named Vice-Chair Of House LGBT Equality Caucus

WASHINGTON, D.C. - February 26, 2015 Congressman Alan Lowenthal, in recognition of his commitment and dedication to equality and LGBT issues, has been named as a vice-chair of the U.S. House of Representatives LGBT Equality Caucus.
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Equality, Education, Research, & Respect Guide New AGS Recommendations for Care of Older LGBT Adults

New York, N.Y. (Feb. 26, 2015) - Health professionals who care for older adults can pioneer fairer and more equitable treatment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals subject to unfair discrimination in health care and society, this according to a new position statement from the American Geriatrics Society (AGS). The statement tackles the present realities of prejudice due to age, sexual orientation, gender, and other personal traits, and also charts a path forward by advocating policies for equal treatment, professional training on LGBT needs, deeper awareness of unique circumstances facing LGBT older adults, and an enhanced research agenda supporting the same.
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Pride at Work Challenges Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBT Persons to Tackle Trade

WASHINGTON, DC - February 24, 2015 - Yesterday, the State Department announced the appointment of Randy Berry as the first Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBT Persons. In this role, Berry will be responsible for advancing US efforts to protect and defend the human rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people around the world. Pride at Work Executive Director Jerame Davis reacts:
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CDC Statement on IPERGAY Trial of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV Prevention among Men Who Have Sex with Men

February 24, 2015 - Today at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI), the French national HIV research agency ANRS announced results of the IPERGAY trial, which examined a novel dosing strategy for pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, among men who have sex with men (MSM).  The study evaluated a three-day PrEP regimen of tenofovir plus emtricitabine (brand name Truvada) designed to be taken orally before and after sex. The researchers reported that PrEP reduced HIV risk among the MSM who were prescribed this regimen by an average of 86 percent.
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Dreams of Hope Absolute Motown Event March 28

Pittsburgh's only arts-focused LGBTQA youth organization, Dreams of Hope, will host their annual fundraiser, Absolute Motown, on March 28, 2015, 7:00 p.m. – VIP Pre-Party at 6:00. Join us for an evening of food, libations, music, live performance, and dance – while we honor Betty Hill, Executive Director of Persad Center, with the Dreams of Hope Champion Award. Be serenaded by Etta Cox and Friends, enjoy a performance by the theatriQ Youth Performance Ensemble, and join in both live and silent auctions – with award-winning artist Alexi Morrissey serving as auctioneer. General admission includes heavy hors d'oeuvres, beer, wine, and  desserts. VIP Pre-party features specially crafted VIP hors d'oeuvre, photo opportunities with Etta Cox, and all- evening access to open bar. Tickets and information at www.dreamsofhope.org.
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Georgians Are Uniting Against LGBT Discrimination

ATLANTA - February 24, 2015 - Today,  the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, announced it is joining forces with Georgia Equality, an organization working to advance fairness, safety and opportunity for LGBT communities and allies throughout the state, for a project called "Georgia Unites Against Discrimination." Launched by Georgia Equality in January of this year, Georgia Unites Against Discrimination is a bipartisan grassroots campaign dedicated to protecting LGBT Georgians from discrimination and ensuring that individuals and businesses aren't able to use their religious beliefs to harm others.
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Statement on Randy Berry appt. as Special Envoy for LGBT rights from AJWS

WASHINGTON, DC - February 24, 2015 – American Jewish World Service (AJWS), the leading Jewish international development and human rights organization, applauds U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry for making history by appointing veteran diplomat Randy Berry as the first Special Envoy for the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) persons In this newly created role, Berry will lead efforts by the U.S. government to defend the rights of LGBT people worldwide.
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Department of Labor To Implement FMLA Rule Change Impacting Married Same-Sex Couples

WASHINGTON - February 23, 2015 - Today, the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, praised the Department of Labor (DOL) announcement that a final rule change to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) will be issued on February 25th impacting legally married same-sex couples living in non-marriage equality states. Because of the Supreme Court's decision in the Windsor case and DOL's change from a "state of residence" rule to a "place of celebration" rule concerning marriage recognition, the announcement states: "The Final Rule amends the regulatory definition of spouse under the FMLA so that eligible employees in legal same-sex marriages will be able to take FMLA leave to care for their spouse or family member, regardless of where they live. This will ensure that the FMLA will give spouses in same-sex marriages the same ability as all spouses to fully exercise their FMLA rights."
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HRC Welcomes New Findings Showing Promise of HIV-Prevention Drug

WASHINGTON - February 24, 2015 - The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, today hailed new results from two major studies showing that the use of Truvada for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is proving extraordinarily effective in reducing the risk of contracting HIV.
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As Some Candidates Try to Duck, HRC Unveils Website Highlighting GOP Candidates' Record on LGBT Equality

WASHINGTON - February 25, 2015 – As potential Republican candidates gather this week in Washington, D.C. for the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, released a new microsite 2016: Republican Facts that will serve as an online resource for documenting the record and rhetoric of potential 2016 GOP presidential candidates, and where they stand on key LGBT issues.
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Anti-LGBT Bill Stripping Local Non-Discrimination Ordinances Advances in West Virginia

CHARLESTON - February 25, 2015 - Today, Fairness West Virginia, the statewide civil rights advocacy organization dedicated to fair treatment and civil rights for LGBT West Virginians, and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, strongly condemned a vote by the West Virginia House Government Organization Committee to advance H.B. 2881, the so-called West Virginia Intrastate Commerce Improvement Act. This anti-equality bill would strip away the rights of local municipalities to pass non-discrimination ordinances protecting LGBT West Virginians.
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President Obama Agrees With Defense Secretary Ashton Carter's Comments on Transgender Service

WASHINGTON, DC - February 23, 2015 – Today during the daily briefing, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest responded to a reporter's question on the President's reaction to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter's remarks on transgender service yesterday at a town hall in Kandahar, Afghanistan. According to Earnest, "The President agrees with the sentiment that all Americans who are qualified to serve should be able to serve."
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HRC Applauds Appointment of Randy Berry as State Department's First Ever LGBT Human Rights Envoy

WASHINGTON - February 23, 2015 - Today the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, applauded the appointment of Randy W. Berry, a veteran senior U.S. Foreign Service Officer, as the State Department's first ever LGBT Human Rights Envoy. HRC praised President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry for creating this new senior-level position to oversee the United States government's efforts to support the human rights of LGBT people around the world.
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9 in 10 new U.S. HIV infections come from people not receiving HIV care

February 23, 2015- More than 90 percent of new HIV infections in the United States could be averted by diagnosing people living with HIV and ensuring they receive prompt, ongoing care and treatment. This finding was published today in JAMA Internal Medicine by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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HUD Issues Guidance on Home Lending and Transgender Access To Homeless Shelters

WASHINGTON February 23, 2015 – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued guidance to better serve LGBT Americans seeking to obtain a home loan and transgender individuals seeking access to homeless shelters. These two sets of guidance will help clarify the Equal Access to Housing in HUD Programs Regardless of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity Rule (Equal Access Rule), which was published in 2012. The Equal Access Rule ensures that housing across HUD programs is open to all eligible individuals regardless of actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status.
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Oklahoma's Sally Kern Wants Special State Protection For Dangerous Anti-LGBT Psychological Abuse

OKLAHOMA CITY February 23. 2015 – Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), and Freedom Oklahoma condemned an extreme anti-LGBT Oklahoma bill that attacks Oklahoma children and seeks to legitimize so-called "conversion therapy," the dangerous and discredited practices linked to lifelong damage including depression, substance abuse, and even suicide. The bill is backed by anti-LGBT State Rep. Sally Kern and will be the subject of a public hearing on Tuesday in the House Committee on Children, Youth, and Family Services, which is also chaired by Rep. Kern.
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Michael Dithers

Michael Dithers
Wedding officiant directory published, LGBT Roundtable, Drenched Fur events and new kitties!
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Bear Bar Night

On Friday, February 6, 2015, Drenched Fur organized a Bear Bar Night at the Zone Dance Club, 133 W 18th St, Erie PA. It was a wonderful and friendly night for bears and their admirers. Photos are by Michael Mahler.
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Wedding Officiant Directory

Wedding Officiant Directory
Marriage equality became the law in Pennsylvania in May 2014.
 But same-sex couples who wish to wed may still may face prejudice. The number of churches that will allow their clergy to conduct same-sex weddings is still small. And a judge may refuse to perform a ceremony.
 This listing was inspired in large part by an incident last fall, when an Erie district justice turned away a same-sex couple on their wedding day. We wanted to provide a resource where couples did not have to risk feeling the sting of prejudice on their special day.
 All of the officiants in this listing have contacted us and specifically stated that they want to be included.
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Taking Care of Others (And Yourself)

My elderly parents live in El Centro. So far, they've been okay, but lately my dad's health is shaky and my mom's mental state isn't the greatest. I am the only child who lives nearby.
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The Table and Theology on Tap updates


The Table continues to meet for contemplative, participatory experiences on Sunday's at 5:30 pm at 3176 W. 41st Street Erie PA. For the season of Lent, a daily reflection linked to an image and the daily scripture will be available on the website and on our Facebook page. Feel free to add your thoughts or stories in the comments. 
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Community Awareness Night Mar 24 raises awareness of free services


On Tuesday, March 24th, Crime Victim Center of Erie County will host a Community Awareness Night presentation at the Blasco Memorial Library Admiral Room, 160 East Front Street, Erie PA from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Learn about the free services offered by Crime Victim Center, Bradley H. Foulk Children's Advocacy Center, and Northwestern Legal Services. Additionally, those in attendance will be educated on the latest best practices and prevention skills related to child safety, internet and cybercrimes, and victim's legal rights.
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Mass Appeal presented in Jamestown March 6, 7 and 13, 14


Mass Appeal presented in Jamestown March 6, 7 and 13, 14

Winged Ox Players presents Mass Appeal. It is a play about a young priest who wants to shake up and challenge an older priest with his ideas on women in the priesthood, homesexuals in the church and the reason for wanting to be a priest. In the sanctuary of Saint Luke's Episcopal Church in Jamestown NY (a better setting there could not be).Show times will be Mar. 6, 7 and Mar. 13, 14 at 7:00PM. There will be a special dinner and ticket package (only 50 seats available for this package; dinner will be served at the new Valhalla's restaurant) There will also be a ticket package to the show without dinner for $10. Discussion will be held after the show in the undercroft of the church with coffee and a dessert. Steven Michael Cobb is directing the play and Lars Benson and Deacon Pierce will be playing the younger and older priests respectively. We hope you can join us! Info: Venue: (716) 483-6405 Steven Michael Cobb: (716)499-5142
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Trans Lifeline offers free support


Trans Lifeline is a non-profit dedicated to the well being of transgender people. We run a hotline staffed by transgender people for transgender people. Trans Lifeline volunteers are ready to respond to whatever support needs members of our community might have. This is a free helpline run by volunteers and supported by the community.US: (877) 565-8860 www.translifeline.org/
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March Against Crime 5k Run/Walk on March 8


There will be a March against Crime 5k Run/Walk on March 8, 2015 at 9am at the Rotary Pavilion, Presque Isle State Park—Erie, PA. The event is a benefit for Crime Victim Center of Erie. The fee is $25 and includes a long sleeve T-shirt. Erie Runners Club members may deduct $2.
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Defense Secretary Ashton Carter Addresses Transgender Service

WASHINGTON - February 22, 2015 - Today, the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, responded to the news that Department of Defense Secretary Ashton Carter addressed the issue of military service by transgender people - who are currently prohibited from serving openly - in a town hall in Kandahar, Afghanistan. When asked about transgender service members serving in "austere environments" like Afghanistan, Secretary Carter ended his response by saying, "And I don't think anything but their suitability for service should preclude them."
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Bisexual Resource Center Designates March as Bisexual Health Awareness Month

Boston, MA – Recognizing that the bisexual community remains marginalized and underserved, the Bisexual Resource Center (BRC) proudly proclaims March once more as Bisexual Health Awareness Month (BHAM).
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Palm Center Response to Defense Secretary Carter's Remarks on Transgender Service Today in Kandahar

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - February 22, 2015 – In response to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter's comments today in Kandahar, Afghanistan on whether transgender personnel can serve effectively in austere environments, Palm Center director Aaron Belkin issued the following statement:  
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Animus on Display - Why Arkansas SB 202 Deserves a Veto

Little Rock, Ark. - February 21, 2015 – In response to the passage of SB 202 by the Arkansas legislature, the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Arkansas, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, Lambda Legal, and National Center for Lesbian Rights issued the following statement to Governor Asa Hutchinson:
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NCLR Welcomes HUD Policy for Transgender Residents in Federally Funded Shelters

(Washington, DC, February 20, 2015)—Today, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued guidance clarifying that single-sex shelters receiving federal funds must respect the gender identity of all residents and provide access to sex-segregated shelters based on gender identity.
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SPLC Lawsuit Demands Necessary Health Care for Transgender Inmate in Georgia State Prison

Macon, Ga. - Feburary 20, 2015 – The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has filed a federal lawsuit against the Georgia Department of Corrections on behalf of a transgender woman who has been denied medically necessary treatment and sexually assaulted by other inmates while held at a men's prison.
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Loss of a pioneer

From Philadelphia Gay News: My friend Jerry Hoose died last week.  You most likely don't know the name, but he affected your life; he certainly affected mine.
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The New Black at Edinboro Mar 3


Join Greater Erie Alliance for Equality (GEAE) in watching The New Black, an award-winning documentary followed by a panel discussion with Rev. Dr. Parris Baker, Rev. Dr. Richard McCarty, and Rev. Sonny Concepcion. The documentaary will be shown Tuesday, March 3rd. at the Pogue Student Center at Edinboro University from 6:30-8pm, followed by a panel discussion from 8:15-9pm. The New Black tells the story of how the African-American community is grappling with the gay rights issue in light of the recent marriage equality movement and the fight over civil rights.
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Wellness Meets Oscar On The Red Carpet

Wellness Meets Oscar On The Red Carpet
It's time for the 2015 Academy Awards and I've honored all the best picture nominations. Enjoy this metaphorical montage of these masterful movies meant to motivate you to healthiness and happiness.
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New Video Featuring Edie Windsor and Roberta Kaplan Highlights the Importance of The People's Brief, as it Crosses 100K

WASHINGTON - February 19, 2015 – Today, the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest civil rights organization, released a new video featuring leading civil rights lawyer Roberta Kaplan and her trailblazing client Edie Windsor, urging every marriage equality supporter to read and sign "The People's Brief." Together, Windsor and Kaplan successfully challenged the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act at the Supreme Court in 2013, and now they have joined with HRC to give every American the ability to help make history for marriage equality.
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As First Couple Marries in Texas, Now is the Time for the 5th Circuit to Act

WASHINGTON - February 19, 2015 —The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, today congratulated Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant, the first same-sex couple to successfully obtain a marriage license in Texas. The Travis County nuptials took place after a state judge David Wahlberg issued an order requiring the local clerk to issue a license in light of Goodfriend's recent illness:
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HRC Partners with State Department to Support LGBT Communities Abroad

WASHINGTON - February 19, 2015 –– Today the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, announced its newly formed partnership with the U.S. Department of State's Global Equality Fund. Established in 2011 by then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, the fund brings together governments, corporations, foundations, and civil society organizations to work towards a world where LGBT people can live free of violence and discrimination.
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First Same-Sex Couple Marries in Texas

Austin - February 19, 2015 – Today Suzanne Bryant and Sarah Goodfriend became the first same-sex couple to legally marry in Texas. They received their marriage license from Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir in Austin, accompanied by their two daughters. The news follows an order on Tuesday from State Judge Guy Herman in which he struck down Texas' ban on marriage between same-sex couples.
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For First Time in Polling History, Supermajority of Americans Support Gay Couples' Freedom to Marry as Constitutional Ri

New York - February 19, 2015 – The highest percentage ever of Americans – a 63% supermajority - now back the freedom to marry as a constitutional right for gay couples, according to the latest CNN/ORC poll. This is up 14 percentage points from 2010, with significant increases by both Republicans and Democrats.
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New EEOC Memo Says Title VII Protects Workers from Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation

WASHINGTON - February 18, 2015 - Today, the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, responded to a new field memo issued February 3, 2015, by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) saying that workers are protected under Title VII from employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, as well as gender identity.
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HRC Praises Selection of Eric Fanning as Chief of Staff for the Secretary of Defense

WASHINGTON - February 18, 2015 - Today, the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, praised the selection of Eric Fanning - who is openly gay - as the Chief of Staff for the new Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter. HRC President Chad Griffin issued the following statement:
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Openly Gay Man Appointed as Chief of Staff for the Secretary of Defense

WASHINGTON, DC - February 18, 2015- The American Military Partner Association (AMPA), the nation’s largest organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) military families, released the following statement today in response to Eric Fanning's appointment as the Chief of Staff for the Secretary of Defense.
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Transgender Americans Face Staggering Rates of Poverty, Violence

Washington, D.C., February 18, 2015 — In a year when transgender Americans are experiencing unprecedented visibility in the State of the Union address, the media, and popular culture, while simultaneously suffering extreme violence, two new reports released today detail the widespread discrimination and inequities the transgender population faces, particularly transgender women and transgender people of color. From high rates of poverty, harassment, violence, poor health, limited job opportunities, and isolation from their larger communities, transgender people are among the most vulnerable communities in the country.
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In Memory of Lesley Gore

From AfterEllen: A fixture of the music industry since she debuted in the 1960s, Lesley Gore has been considered one of the most beloved songwriters of her generation, and an out and proud feminist lesbian. We will miss her greatly, as she brought great joy, music and kindness to the world. Read more here.
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HRC Arkansas to Governor Hutchinson: Veto SB202 Now

Little Rock - February 17, 2015 -- Today, HRC Arkansas calls on Governor Asa Hutchinson to exercise his executive powers and veto Senate Bill 202 (SB202), which would prohibit municipalities from enacting nondiscrimination ordinances that protect LGBT people. Anti-LGBT Arkansas State Senator Bart Hester is sponsor of SB202, the "Intrastate Commerce Improvement Act". If SB202 takes effect, Arkansas cities will lose their ability to recruit top talent, compete for quality jobs and welcome many Fortune 500 companies—who support LGBT equality-- to their region.
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Army Considers Change in Policy on Transgender Soldiers

WASHINGTON, DC - February 16, 2015 - The American Military Partner Association (AMPA), the nation's largest organization of LGBT military families, released the following statement today in response to the news that the Army is considering a policy change regarding dismissal of transgender service members, who are still prohibited from serving openly.
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The Amazon Trail: Staying Home

We are not traveling this year. Definitely, positively, no ifs ands or buts. No one can make me.
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Freedom to Marry Video Showcases First Marriages in Alabama

February 13, 2015 - For Valentine's Day, Freedom to Marry has released a video celebrating the joy and happiness of the first weddings for same-sex couples in Alabama this week. On Sunday night, Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore ordered local officials to defy a federal court ruling ensuring marriage for same-sex couples. But an order issued yesterday by Judge Callie Granade has led to an increasing number of counties that have opened their doors to same-sex couples. As of this afternoon, 50 out of 67 counties are currently issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples or will do so by next week. You can view the video here: http://youtu.be/r2cP2GiHKdk
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Fairness and Equality Advance With Jury Verdict in Houston Equal Rights Ordinance Trial

WASHINGTON - February 13, 2015- Today, the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, responded to the jury's verdict in a case involving the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) - an important measure passed by the City Council in May of 2014 extending workplace, housing, public contracting, and public accommodation protections to LGBT people in America's 4th largest city. Opponents of equality sued following the City's determination that over half of the signatures on a petition attempting to repeal HERO at the ballot were invalid. Today, the jury found evidence of fraud in several of the petitions, supporting the City's dismissal of the signatures in question.  It is yet to be determined whether this fraud is sufficient to disqualify the measure from reaching the required signature threshold to place HERO on the ballot.
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UPDATE: Seismic Shift Underway as Increasing Number of Alabama Counties Extend Marriage Rights to Couples

WASHINGTON - February 13, 2015 — As of 4:00 p.m. ET on Friday, the Human Rights Campaign has confirmed that a seismic shift in favor of equality is occurring throughout Alabama as 50 counties -- up from 23 yesterday afternoon – are, or will soon, begin to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Here is the current state of play across Alabama:
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Kate Brown To Be The Nation's First Sitting Openly LGBT Governor

WASHINGTON - February 13, 2014 - Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, responded to the news that Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber will resign effective Wednesday, February 18, and be replaced  by Secretary of State Kate Brown, who is openly bisexual. HRC President Chad Griffin issued the following statement:
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Leading Behavioral Healthcare Provider Teams with Nation's Biggest LGBTQ Rights Group to Support LGBTQ Youth

WASHINGTON - February 13, 2015 - Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation announced that it will expand its partnership with Devereux, one of the oldest and largest providers of behavioral healthcare in the nation, to better reach and care for vulnerable lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth.
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New Poll Shows Record Support for Marriage Equality

WASHINGTON - February 13, 2015 – Today,the Human Rights Campaign, (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, released the results from a new national poll commissioned to gauge voter attitudes ahead of a Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality. The survey showed support for marriage equality continues to expand and that there is virtually no public support for the opponents of marriage equality who have encouraged the public to resist a Supreme Court ruling -- even among voters who oppose marriage equality.
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DelBene Introduces Bill to Add LGBT Representation to Veterans Advisory Committee

DelBene Introduces Bill to Add LGBT Representation to Veterans Advisory Committee
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01) introduced legislation today to reauthorize and expand the Department of Veterans Affairs' Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans to include lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) veterans in its membership and scope.
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Federal Judge Instructs Alabama's Mobile County Probate Judge to Issue Marriage Licenses to Same-Sex Couples

(Mobile, AL, February 12, 2015)—Moments ago, United States District Judge Callie V. S. Granade instructed Mobile County Probate Judge Don Davis to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
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Judge Granade Sends Clear Message: Probate Judges Should Start Issuing Marriage Licenses Immediately

MONTGOMERY - February 12, 2015 —In a federal court hearing in Mobile today, U.S. District Judge Callie V.S. Granade issued an order in favor of several same-sex couples—represented by the National Center for Lesbian Rights, ACLU of Alabama, and private counsel—who tried unsuccessfully to get married in the city earlier this week. Probate Judge Don Davis, who has refused to issue licenses to any couples since Monday, was cited by Granade for failing to follow the law.
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Calling the Question: Is the Mormon Church Behind a Racist, Anti-Semitic and Anti-LGBT Bill?

Washington - February 12, 2015 - Today, the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, strongly condemned an extreme anti-equality bill introduced in the Utah House of Representatives and questioned whether the Mormon church is behind the bill. Geared toward undermining equality in a shroud of religious language, HB 322 - the so-called "Religious Liberty Recognition and Protection Act" - was introduced by Rep. LaVar Christensen and is so broad and sweeping that it threatens not just the LGBT community, but women, members of minority faiths and other minority classes.
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Won't You Be My Neighbor? Meet Gambian President Jammeh, the Human Rights Violator Just Next Door

WASHINGTON - Fenuary 12, 2015 – This week the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), America's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, ran a full-page advertisement in the local Potomac, MD newspaper The Gazette highlighting the horrific anti-LGBT human rights abuses of Gambian President Yahya Jammeh. Jammeh owns a home in the suburban community that is reported to be worth $3.5 million
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Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee to Star in Film Featuring Activist Credited with Uganda's Draconian Anti-LGBT Law

WASHINGTON - February 12, 2015 – Today, the Human Rights Campaign, (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, called on Senator Rand Paul and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee to renounce their participation in an upcoming film featuring notorious anti-LGBT extremist Scott Lively.
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More Alabama Counties Following the Law, But 44 Still Refusing to Issue Marriage Licenses

WASHINGTON - February 11, 2015 —The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is demanding that all Alabama probate judges follow the law and issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples after learning Wednesday that 44 counties are still refusing to grant licenses to same-sex couples.
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NCLR and ACLU of Alabama Applaud President Obama's Support For Marriage Equality in Alabama

(Washington, DC., February 10, 2015)—Today, in an interview with BuzzFeed, President Obama stated that he would welcome a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that same-sex couples have the freedom to marry in every state, stating: "It's time to recognize that under the equal protection clause of the United States Constitution, same-sex couples should have the same rights as anybody else."
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LGBT Youth Deserve Fairness and Equality at School

WASHINGTON February 10, 2015 - Today, the Student Non-Discrimination Act - a bill that would prohibit public schools from discriminating against any student on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity - was reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Reps. Jared Polis (D-CO), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), and Bobby Scott (D-VA) and in the U.S. Senate by Sen. Al Franken (D-MN). With LGBT youth twice as likely to experience verbal harassment, exclusion, and physical attack at school as their non-LGBT peers, the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, praised the bill as a critical step towards ending harassment and discrimination of LGBT youth.
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Senator Cruz and Rep. Weber Re-Introduce Shameful Legislation To Strip Federal Recognition of Married Same-Sex Couples

WASHINGTON - February 10, 2015 - Today, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and U.S. Representative Randy Weber, Sr. (R-TX) reintroduced the so-called State Marriage Defense Act which would require the federal government to recognize only marriages that are valid under the laws of the state in which a couple are domiciled.  The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, strongly condemned the legislation as a reckless and irresponsible attack on same-sex couples and their families.
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Kansas Governor Brownback Shamefully Removes Non-Discrimination Protections for LGBT State Employees

Washington February 10, 2015 - Today, the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, responded to the news that Kansas Governor Sam Brownback rescinded an executive order signed by former Governor Kathleen Sebelius in 2007 that extended non-discrimination protections to state employees on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. HRC National Field Director Marty Rouse issued the following statemen
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GLSEN Statement on the Reintroduction of the Student Non-Discrimination Act by Sen. Franken and Rep. Polis

NEW YORK (Feb. 10, 2015) – GLSEN Executive Director, Dr. Eliza Byard, applauded the reintroduction of the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA) in Congress today. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., and Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., filed the bill that would protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students from discrimination in the nation's K-12 public schools by establishing new federal non-discrimination protections modeled after Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. The bill is co-sponsored in the House by Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., and Bobby Scott, D-Va.
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HRC Condemns Urban Outfitters' Latest Offense: Peddling Tapestry with Nazi-Era Anti-Gay Imagery

WASHINGTON -February 10, 2015 - Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) joined the Anti-Defamation League in calling out retailer Urban Outfitters for selling a striped tapestry featuring a single pink triangle, an unmistakable echo of uniforms Nazis issued to suspected gay male concentration camp prisoners.
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New Jersey Judge Rules Conversion Therapy Group Can't Claim Homosexuality is a Disorder

JERSEY CITY, N.J. - February 10, 2015 – A New Jersey Superior Court judge has ruled that misrepresenting that homosexuality is a disorder in marketing conversion therapy services violates the state's consumer protection laws – a devastating ruling for the conversion therapy industry, which claims to "convert" people from gay to straight, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) announced today.
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As More Alabama Probate Judges Start Issuing Marriage Licenses, HRC Urges Others to Follow the Law

WASHINGTON - February 10, 2015 —As probate judges in ten counties began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Tuesday after failing to do so on Monday, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) calls on all remaining judges to follow the rule of law and ignore Justice Roy Moore's attempts at judicial fiat.
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Human Rights Campaign Calls on Americans to Sign the People's Brief

WASHINGTON - February 10, 2015 – Today, the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization launched an unprecedented "People's Brief" to the U.S. Supreme Court. Roberta Kaplan, the leading civil rights litigator who won a landmark Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Windsor striking down Section 3 of the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act in 2013, is the author and lead counsel on the brief. The "People's Brief" campaign allows any American who has read the brief and agrees with its contents to sign on and to show their support for marriage equality directly to the Supreme Court.
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New Study: Coming Out as LGBT in School Contributes To Well-Being

New Study: Coming Out as LGBT in School Contributes To Well-Being
FEBRUARY 9, 2015 – A timely new study has found that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth who come out at school report more positive adjustment as young adults and have significantly lower levels of depression with higher levels of self-esteem and life satisfaction, compared with LGBT youth who did not disclose or who concealed their sexual orientation or gender identity from others at school. Results did not differ based on gender or ethnicity. This is the first known study to document the benefits of being out during adolescence, despite the victimization that youth may experience because they openly identify as LGBT. The study is published in the current issue of the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry.
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Alabama Same-Sex Couples Ask Federal Court To Require Probate Judge To Issue Marriage Licenses

(Mobile, AL, February 9, 2015)—Today, four same-sex couples in Mobile, AL asked United States District Judge Callie V. S. Granade to instruct Mobile County Probate Judge Don Davis to issue them marriage licenses after Davis stopped issuing marriage licenses entirely today rather than issue licenses to same-sex couples as Judge Granade previously ordered
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Drenched Fur 11 Video News Update #4

It's here! The fourth news video update has posted to the Drenched Fur YouTube channel. This time we talk about the hotel selling out as well as massage services, the game show selection and a new sponsor for an event during the run weekend. The Drenched Fur 11 Events Schedule has been updated on the run website as continue to update items here in the month of February! Take a look at the video update below and we look forward to seeing you in April!
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Is Anyone in Charge in Alabama?

WASHINGTON- February 9, 2015 —After staying silent all morning—and tolerating Chief Justice Roy Moore's lawless rampage against marriage equality over the past few days—Alabama Governor Robert Bentley has issued a statement . What does it say? Nothing. Nothing coherent, anyway.
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Same-Sex Couples Can Now Marry in Alabama

(Mobile, AL, February 9, 2015)—Today, Alabama becomes the nation’s 38th state to honor the freedom to marry after a federal district court struck down the state’s marriage equality ban and ordered marriage equality to begin this morning.
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SCOTUS Sez: That's All, Folks

WASHINGTON - February 9, 2015 —Today the U.S. Supreme Court denied a request by Alabama state officials to stay a recent ruling striking down the state's ban on marriage equality.
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DISCRIMINATION BY ANOTHER NAME: Advocates Sound Alarm on Wave of New State Bills

WASHINGTON- February 6, 2015 —Today the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) issued a report and resource guide for journalists compiling more than two dozen new, sweeping and seemingly-coordinated pieces of legislation in more than a dozen states across the country—all geared toward undermining LGBT equality in a shroud of religious language.
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Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown to win 2015 Lee Lynch Classic Award

DALLAS, TX, Feb. 3, 2015 – Golden Crown Literary Society (GCLS) is pleased to announce that Rubyfruit Jungle by bestselling author Rita Mae Brown (Bantam Press) has been selected as the 2015 winner of the coveted Lee Lynch Classic Book Award.  The award will be presented at the Annual GCLS Literary Awards Ceremony, July 25, 2015 in New Orleans, during the GCLS Annual Literary Conference.
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Buffalo United Artists proudly presents Mothers and Sons

From Buffalo United Artists: Twenty years after her son's death, a mother turns up at the door of his former lover, who is now married to another man and has a young son. This man and his family challenge the woman to confront the truths of their shared past, and a future she never imagined. Values clash as they struggle to reconcile their vastly different worlds. Mothers and Sons was written by Terrence McNally. The play is directed by Jessica K. Rasp, and stars Anne Hartley Pfohl, Brian Riggs, Michael Seitz introducing Stefanos Psorakis. It runs February 20th – March 14th on Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. at Alleyway Theatre, One Curtain Up Alley, Buffalo NY. Tickets are $25.00 general admission, $23.00 for seniors, $20.00 for members, $15.00 for students. The box office phone is (716) 886-9239.
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The Amazon Trail: Santa Dyke 1998

How should a dyke or a gay man celebrate the winter holidays? 'm pretty spiritual, but I'm nowhere near religious. What if I don't observe any of the holy days this time of year, but celebrate the spirit of all of them? I've had Christmas trees with Solstice lights and a menorah burning on the mantle. I've wrapped speculums in aluminum foil and hung them from a collective Solstice tree. I spent one Christmas Day crying into my Crystal Geyser over a break up, fearing the season had been ruined forever.
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