March, 2013 News (92 Articles with 206,224 total views)

On the cover of the print edition for March, 2013 Revelers at the Feb 8 "Flaming Hearts Dance" organized by the Mercyhurst QSA. More photos of event on our website. Photo by Mike Mahler.

This is the second run of Erie Gay News, which began publishing again in December of 2002. This is the current publication for the region. The co-editors are Deb Spilko and Michael Mahler , with Mike Lipiec handling graphic/ad layout.

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Calendar & Upcoming Events

Calendar of Local GLBT Events

Up to date listing of events and meetings.

Local Faces and Photos

FACE Drag Show Birthday Bash

On Sunday, February 17, 2013, Erie icon Michelle Michaels and friends put on a spectacular FACE Drag Show Birthday Bash at the Zone Dance Club, 133 W 18th St, Erie PA. FACE Drag Show is usually the 3rd Sunday of the month. Photos are by Michael Mahler, co-editor for Erie Gay News.
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February Bear Bar Night

On Friday, February 15, 2013, The board for Drenched Fur held a fun Bear Bear Night at the Zone Dance Club, 133 W 18th St, Erie PA. Bear Bar Night is usually the 3rd Friday of the month. Photos are by Michael Mahler, co-editor for Erie Gay News.
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Flaming Hearts Dance at Mercyhurst University

Flaming Hearts Dance at Mercyhurst University
On Friday, February 8, 2013 The Mercyhurst QSA (Queer Straight Alliance) held a delightful Flaming Hearts Dance to celebrate Valentine's Day at Mercyhurst University in Erie PA. Photos are by Michael Mahler, co-editor for Erie Gay News.
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Local/Regional News

Mahoning Valley Gay/Straight Coalition meets on March 16

Saturday, March 16th, the Mahoning Valley Gay/Straight Coalition is having their monthly meeting from 1-3pm, at The Lemon Grove Café in downtown Youngstown. The group is celebrating its being officially recognized by the Ohio's Secretary of State as the Valley's newest non-profit organization to serve the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. The group has also received its federal EIN number, making any and all future donations to the organization, tax deductable for the owner.
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Co-sponsors sought for Candidate Forum on April 18

NW PA Pride Alliance is looking for other local LGBT and progressive organizations to co-sponsor the candidate forum being held on Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 7 PM at the Avalon Hotel and Conference Center, 16 W 10th St, Erie PA. There is no charge to attend the event, and there is also no charge to be a co-sponsor. Co-sponsoring organizations are only obligated to bring members and supporters to the event. The deadline to be an official co-sponsor is Friday, March 15. There will be a full page ad in the next print edition of Erie Gay News, cover dated April 2013 which will list all co-sponsoring organizations. Co-sponsoring organizations will also be displayed in the side bar of the online article for the event and other promotional materials.
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12th Annual Social Work Conference: Violence, Victims, & Victors: Empowerment Through Education & Support

Gannon University Social Work Program and Crime Victim Center of Erie County present 12th Annual Social Work Conference: Violence, Victims, & Victors: Empowerment Through Education & Support on Friday, March 22, 2013 in Yehl Ballroom, Waldron Campus Center 7th & Peach . Registration is from8:00 am – 8:45 am and the conference is from9:00 am to 4:00 pm. The event is FREE. Social Work continuing education credits are available. Separation registration for obtaining continuing education credits will be required. The cost for CEUs is $50. For reservations contact: Nancy Giannamore – 871-5378 or [email protected] Dr. Parris J. Baker at 814 – Email: [email protected]
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LGBT Equality Caucus Applauds House Passage of VAWA

LGBT Equality Caucus Applauds House Passage of VAWA
WASHINGTON—The Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus today applauds the House passage of a comprehensive Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) that maintains strong protections for LGBT victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. When House Republicans introduced a substitute amendment to VAWA that removed vital protections for victims who identified as LGBT, as well as Native Americans, immigrants and college students, the Equality Caucus sent a letter to their colleagues urging them to reject the House VAWA substitute because of its discriminatory provisions. Republican leadership in the House ultimately allowed for a vote on the bipartisan Senate bill, which passed the House by 286 to 138. The legislation now goes to the president for his signature.
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Erie Community Safe Zone / PFLAG update

Erie Community Safe Zone / PFLAG update
Persad Center Safe Spaces program for LGBTQ youth 1st and 3rd Mondays of the month and also PFLAG meeting on March 11.
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PFLAG Butler update

PFLAG Butler meeting on Sunday March 3; Butler County Community College production of The Laramie Project March 7-9.
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Miss Pittsburgh Public Access Pageant 2013

Pittsburgh’s local entertainer and producer, Brian T, has been sharing his own colorful brand of entertainment with the community since 1997. He brought locally produced entertainment featuring LGBT talent to the airwaves of Pittsburgh’s community television in a way which had never been seen before on Pittsburgh cable access TV and has kept LGBT themed programming alive on the station ever since. In addition to his underground production work, Brian T has also made appearances and worked on network television shows such as Family Matters, Party of Five, Making the Band, and The X Factor. He is a graduate of Penn State University and Pittsburgh Filmmakers who studied theater and film production. Brian is now joining forces with John DeBartola of The Keystone Alliance/Gaylife Newsletter to produce the all new first ever Miss Pittsburgh Public Access TV Pageant in support of The Trevor Project, a national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, and questioning youths. One lucky aspiring drag queen contestant will be crowned Miss Pittsburgh Public Access TV 2013 but in order to win and become a local public access TV star, she will have to prove herself in front of a panel of judges. This will not be any ordinary pageant as the aspiring drag queen performers competing will need to work for the cameras while being judged in a number of categories. The drama, fun, and excitement of Miss Pittsburgh Public Access 2013 will take place this Spring and then will appear online and be broadcast on PC-TV Channel 21 later in the year. Interested contestants must be email [email protected] or john DeBartola @ [email protected] by April 8 for all the details.
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LGBT AA meets Sundays

LGBT AA meets Sundays

Presque Isle Gallery Coffeehouse closed

Presque Isle Gallery Coffeehouse closed
As of January 22, Presque Isle Gallery Coffeehouse, located at 35 Peninsula Drv, Erie PA, is permanently closed. According to their web site:
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Get Wet at Drenched Fur 9

This year Drenched Fur marks nine years of bringing together the broader bear community from Erie and beyond. The bears, cubs, and admirers of Drenched Fur 9 invite you to join them in April for fun and good times.
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Family-to-Family Education Program Spring 2013

Family-to-Family Education Program Spring 2013
Family-to-Family is a 12 week education course for family members whose loved ones are facing the challenges of mental illness. This course increases empowerment, reduces burden in the home, and increases family stability. Family-to-Family also provides education about mental illness, understanding the mental health system, and self-care for the family member. This starts Monday, March 4, 2013 from 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm at Gannon University, 120 West 9th Street. Registration is required. Please call the NAMI of Erie County office at 814-456-1773 to register today. FREE TO THE PUBLIC! (Limited seats available)
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Mahoning Valley Gay/Straight Coalition News

The Mahoning Valley Gay/Straight Coalition is having its next meeting this Saturday, February 16th, from 1-3pm, at The Lemon Grove Café in downtown Youngstown. Items on the agenda include: March newsletter overview, Organizing our trip to Columbus for the ‘Dump DOMA Day,’ and Creating a committee for our first fundraiser in May.
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Free Tobacco Cessation Class Offered in Erie

Free Tobacco Cessation Class Offered in Erie
ERIE, PA— The Northwest PA Tobacco Program is pleased to offer a FREE stop smoking class beginning Tuesday, March 5, 2013 and ending Tuesday, April 9, 2013. 
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TransFamily of Erie Walking Team in March for Babies

TransFamily of Erie Walking Team in March for Babies
The TransFamily of Erie Transgender support group is sponsoring a walking team for the 2013 March for Babies taking place on April 28th at 1pm at Presque Isle, beginning at Rainbow Gardens.
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John Waters Brings This Filthy World Tour To Edinboro Film Series on April 4

John Waters Brings This Filthy World Tour To Edinboro Film Series on April 4
EDINBORO, PA – The Edinboro Film Series, in cooperation with Identity and Edinboro University Student Government Association is pleased to announce their Spotlight Filmmaker for spring: acclaimed writer and director John Waters. Mr. Waters will be performing an all-new version of his solo stand-up performance, This Filthy World, on Thursday April 4th, 2013.
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Become A Pride Sponsor

Become A Pride Sponsor
Help publicize your business or group by sponsoring Pride events.
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Spirituality and Religion

National Religious Leadership Roundtable responds to pope's impending resignation

WASHINGTON, Feb. 11 -- The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's National Religious Leadership Roundtable responded to the news that Pope Benedict XVI will resign at the end of February.
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Political, Activism and Legal

French Creek Council: Reject the Boy Scouts of America's anti-gay policy

A local man has the following petition on Change.org, asking the French Creek Boy Scouts Council to reject the Boy Scouts of America's anti-gay policy. Please consider signing the petition.
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Analysis from Freedom to Marry and Third Way Shows Pro-Marriage Legislators Win Elections

Washington, DC – Freedom to Marry and Third Way released a memo today showing that state legislators who vote in favor of marriage for same-sex couples overwhelmingly win voter support when running for reelection.
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Challenge To Michigan's Constitutional Ban on Same-Sex Marriage and Adoption Code To Be Heard Before Federal Judge

Challenge To Michigan's Constitutional Ban on Same-Sex Marriage and Adoption Code To Be Heard Before Federal Judge
March 4, 2013 - Southeastern Michigan residents April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse are challenging Michigan's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, as well as its adoption code that prohibits them from adopting their children together.
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NOM-Rhode Island's Marriage 'Big Lie'

From Political Research Associates: As lawmakers in Rhode Island move toward passing marriage equality, National Organization for Marriage-Rhode Island (NOM-RI) responded with a series of very familiar newspaper ads and personal mailings warning voters of the "consequences" of marriage equality.
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National Advocates Join Forces to Urge Equal Access to Social Security Benefits

National Advocates Join Forces to Urge Equal Access to Social Security Benefits
Social Security is the keystone of most Americans’ retirement planning and provides valuable income protection to families in case of a worker’s disability or death. Yet, same-sex couples and many of their children are denied access to Social Security benefits, even though they have contributed to the program throughout their working lives. The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare Foundation and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation have issued a new report “Living Outside the Safety Net.” This report examines the impact this inequality has on millions of lesbian and gay families and offers legislative solutions.
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PFLAG National Files Brief With Supreme Court in Support of Marriage Equality

Today, PFLAG National filed an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs in the landmark Perry v. Hollingsworth case. The case challenges the constitutionality of "Proposition 8" legislation in California, which eliminated the right for same-sex couples to marry. The brief from PFLAG National shares the stories of PFLAG families and the very real impact that their lack of equal protection under the law has not just on the couples, but on their whole families.
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National Women's Law Center Files Brief With Supreme Court In Support Of Marriage Equality

National Women's Law Center Files Brief With Supreme Court In Support Of Marriage Equality
(Washington, D.C.) The National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), joined by women’s legal organizations and legal scholars across the country, submitted an amicus brief in two marriage equality cases before the Supreme Court: Hollingsworth v. Perry and United States v. Windsor. At the heart of both is full equality under the law for individuals, regardless of sexual orientation, and protection against discrimination based on gender stereotypes.
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Say no, maybe? Carly Rae Jepsen asked to denounce Boy Scouts' anti-gay policy ahead of concert

Gay Eagle Scout Derek Nance just started a breaking campaign on Change.org, asking pop stars Carly Rae Jepsen and Train---who’ve been announced as headliners for the Boy Scouts of America’s 2013 Jamboree--- to denounce the organization’s anti-gay policies. In less than 24 hours, over 542 people have signed onto Derek’s campaign.
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Religious Leaders, Members of Congress, High-Ranking Service Members Support Challenge to DOMA

WASHINGTON – More than 45 briefs from religious leaders, members of Congress, retired military generals, children’s advocacy groups, civil rights groups and others will be filed today in support of Edith “Edie” Windsor’s challenge before the U.S. Supreme Court to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
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Senator Cowan Joins Colleagues in Filing Amicus Brief Supporting Marriage Equality

Senator Cowan Joins Colleagues in Filing Amicus Brief Supporting Marriage Equality
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator William “Mo” Cowan today pledged his commitment to marriage equality by signing onto an amicus brief calling for the Supreme Court to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The brief, which was filed by Senate and House Democrats and signed by a total of 212 members of Congress, explains that “DOMA imposes a sweeping and unjustifiable federal disability on married same-sex couples.”
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American Federation of Government Employees: Largest Federal Employee Union Joins Legal Brief Against Defense Of Marriage Act

American Federation of Government Employees: Largest Federal Employee Union Joins Legal Brief Against Defense Of Marriage Act
WASHINGTON, March 1, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a friend of the court legal brief filed today, the American Federation of Government Employees joined with the AFL-CIO and other labor organizations in urging the U.S. Supreme Court to declare the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.
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Fairness Coalition Opposes Anti-Fairness House Bill 279

Fairness Coalition Opposes Anti-Fairness House Bill 279
(Frankfort, KY) A law that could subvert anti-discrimination Fairness protections passed the Kentucky House 82-7 today. Rep. Bob Damron's (D-Nicholasville) House Bill 279 appears, on the surface, to be a simple iteration of an individual's religious freedom, which the Fairness Coalition would support. However, the bill is written so broadly that it could allow for challenges to existing anti-discrimination Fairness laws in Kentucky protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals from employment, housing, and public accommodations discrimination.
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Defense of Marriage Act Provision Poses Serious Legal Obstacles to Same-Sex Clients, ABA Brief Says

Defense of Marriage Act Provision Poses Serious Legal Obstacles to Same-Sex Clients, ABA Brief Says
CHICAGO, March 1, 2013 – In an amicus brief filed today, the American Bar Association is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to consider the “serious obstacles” that Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act imposes on lawyers’ clients who are same-sex couples legally married under state law.
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After 3,000 sign online petition, music act Train denounces Boy Scouts' anti-gay policy

NEW YORK – After more than 3,000 people signed gay Eagle Scout Derek Nance’s Change.org petition urging musical acts Train and Carly Rae Jepsen to denounce the Boy Scouts of America’s national ban on gay Scouts and gay Scout leaders, Train issued a statement Friday urging the Boy Scouts of America to end their national ban on gay membership.
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More Than 200 Members of Congress File Amicus Brief Against DOMA

Washington, DC – Today 172 U.S. Representatives and 40 U.S. Senators signed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court case United States v. Windsor against the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which denies legally married same-sex couples over 1,100+ federal protections.
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Chambersburg GSA Voted Down by School Board; State LGBT Youth Organization Condemns Decision

CHAMBERSBURG, PA – Defying federal law, the Chambersburg Area School District (CASD) voted down the formation of a Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) at Chambersburg Area High School on Wednesday, February 27, 2013. The Federal Equal Access Act of 1984 provides that schools districts must allow for the formation of a GSA just as any other non-curricular student club, or suspend all non-curricular activities entirely. Students at the high school have been meeting as an informal group for two years and were now vying to become an official student organization.
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Freedom to Marry Applauds Obama Brief Filed Against Prop 8, In Support of Marriage

Washington, DC - Today President Barack Obama and the Department of Justice filed a brief in the case Hollingsworth vs. Perry, opposing Proposition 8, which stripped same-sex couples of the freedom to marry in California in 2008.
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Statement of Equality Pennsylvania in Support of Chambersburg High School GSA

Harrisburg:  For more than a decade, school districts across the country have instituted Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) student organizations in their high schools to ensure a safe space for students who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender. The Chambersburg School Board has chosen to deny student’s that right.  Equality Pennsylvania asks the Board to reconsider that unfortunate earlier vote.
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National Gay and Lesbian Task Force hails passage of LGBT-inclusive Violence Against Women Act

WASHINGTON, Feb. 28 -- The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force applauds the U.S. House's passage today of an inclusive Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization bill. The measure, passed earlier this month by the Senate in a bipartisan 78-22 vote, includes explicit protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) survivors of domestic violence, enhanced protections for Native American and immigrant survivors, and campus safety provisions. 
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National Geographic Channel ignores Boy Scouts' anti-gay ban, sets to premiere new scouts series on Monday, March 4

NEW YORK, NY, February 28, 2013 - GLAAD, the nation's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy and anti-defamation organization, today renewed its call for National Geographic Channel to denounce the Boy Scouts of America's (BSA) ban on gay scouts and leaders and call for a national policy of non-discrimination. On Monday, March 4, National Geographic Channel will debut a new reality series in partnership with the BSA, "Are You Tougher than a Boy Scout?"
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Freedom to Marry Praises Mayors' Support In Supreme Court Brief Filed Against DOMA

Washington, DC – Freedom to Marry praised the U.S. Conference of Mayors today for joining nearly 300 businesses, as well as individual mayors and trade associations, on an amicus brief filed in the Supreme Court case Windsor v. United States. The brief argues for an end to the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, which undermines businesses' efforts to treat their employees equally.
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Nearly 300 Business Leaders and City Governments File Brief in Support of Striking Down DOMA

Approximately 286 businesses, and professional and municipal employers filed a friend-of-the-court brief this morning in support of Edie Windsor’s challenge to the discriminatory "Defense of Marriage Act" (DOMA) before the Supreme Court.
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ACLU Appears in MO Supreme Court to Challenge Discriminatory State Trooper Benefits Policy

JEFFERSON CITY – The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Eastern Missouri appeared before the Supreme Court of Missouri today to argue on behalf of Kelly Glossip, whose partner, Dennis Engelhard, was a state trooper killed in the line of duty. Missouri offers survivor benefits to spouses of troopers killed in the line of duty, but not to committed same-sex partners.
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ACLU Demands PA School District Stop Use of Discriminatory Internet Filters

SHILLINGTON, Pa.  – The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Pennsylvania have sent a letter requesting that school officials at Governor Mifflin School District in Berks County stop using Internet filters that violate students’ First Amendment free speech rights. The district uses a "sexuality" filter that blocks sites that express support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, and an "intolerance" filter that blocks political advocacy sites that are labeled as intolerant.
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Colorado Family Files Complaint to Protect Transgender Child From School Discrimination

Colorado Springs, CO – Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF) today announced that it has filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division on behalf of a 6-year-old girl who has been barred from using the girls’ bathrooms at her elementary school. For the past year, Coy Mathis, a first-grader at Eagleside Elementary School in Fountain, CO, has used the girls’ bathrooms. In mid-December 2012, the Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8 informed her parents that Coy would be prevented from using the girls’ bathrooms after winter break. The District ordered Coy to use the boys’ bathroom, a staff bathroom, or the nurse’s bathroom.
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Merits Brief Filed in Edie Windsor's Supreme Court Challenge to DOMA

This morning, attorneys for Edie Windsor filed their brief on the merits of the case. Windsor is challenging the so-called "Defense of Marriage Act" after she was forced to pay over $360,000 in estate taxes after the death of her spouse, Thea Spyer. Thea and Edie were engaged for over 40 years before marrying in 2007. Spyer died in 2009.
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Republican Leaders Sign Supreme Court Brief In Support of the Freedom to Marry

Washington, DC -- Current and former Republican officials announced their participation in an amicus brief in the Hollingsworth v. Perry case today, speaking out in support of the freedom to marry. The case, now before the U.S. Supreme Court, challenges California's Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment pushed through by anti-gay activists in 2008 to strip same-sex couples of the freedom to marry in California.
Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry, released this statement:
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Berea Mayor Signs Executive Order Extending DP Benefits to City Workers

Berea Mayor Signs Executive Order Extending DP Benefits to City Workers
(Berea, KY) The Berea Citizen and Richmond Register newspapers report Berea Mayor Steve Connelly's Feb. 14 executive order not only amended the city workforce's non-discrimination policy to include lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) workers, but also extended domestic partner benefits to its employees. Mayor Connelly's move makes Berea the third Kentucky city to extend DP benefits alongside Covington and Louisville.
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Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry Applauds Jon Huntsman's Support of Marriage for Same-Sex Couples

New York – Today leaders of Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry, which highlights and builds support for the freedom to marry among young Republicans, libertarians, and right-of-center advocates across the country, applauded former governor of Utah, U.S. ambassador, and business executive Jon Huntsman for announcing that he supports marriage for same-sex couples.
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Southern Poverty Law Center Asks Federal Court to Recognize Legally Married Same-Sex Couple's Right to Veterans Benefits

LOS ANGELES – The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and co-counsel WilmerHale asked a federal court today to block a section of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act that prohibits the federal government from recognizing legal same-sex marriages for the purposes of providing veterans’ benefits.  The filing is on behalf of Tracey Cooper-Harris, a disabled Army veteran with multiple sclerosis, and her wife Maggie Cooper-Harris, who were married in California in November 2008.
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Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry Applaud MN State Senator Branden Petersen's Leadership

St. Paul – State Senator Branden Petersen (R – Andover) is preparing to co-sponsor bipartisan legislation in Minnesota that would ensure that same-sex couples have the freedom to marry, reports the Star Tribune today. Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry released the following statement in response to this news:
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Sec. Napolitano: End Sexual Abuse of LGBT People

Washington, D.C.-The National Center for Transgender Equality urges Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to strengthen the standards to end sexual abuse and violence in immigration detention facilities.
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DESE Releases Guidance for Transgender Students

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) on Feb. 15 issued comprehensive guidelines that aim to ensure Massachusetts public schools comply with the new transgender non-discrimination law that prohibits discrimination against transgender students in all school programs and activities. The DESE guidelines were praised by an array of advocates, educators, families and youth.
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President Obama Awards Jeanne Manford Presidential Citizens Medal

This morning at the White House, President Obama awarded the 2012 Presidential Citizens Medal to PFLAG founder Jeanne Manford. Mrs. Manford’s daughter, Suzanne Swan, accepted the award on behalf of her mother, who passed away last month, at the age of 92.
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Pensacola Community Coming Together to Repair Home of Gay Hate Crime Victim

PENSACOLA – This Saturday, groups from all across the Greater Pensacola area are coming together to help repair a local teenager’s home that was vandalized in an anti-gay hate crime. The repair effort has brought together members of local youth groups, Christian organizations like the Pensacola World Changers and civil rights groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida.
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Illinois Senate Approves Marriage for Same-Sex Couples

SPRINGFIELD -- The Illinois State Senate approved a bill legalizing marriage for same-sex couples today. The Senate approved the bill by a margin of 34-21. The bill must now be passed by the State House.
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Mayors for the Freedom to Marry Hits Record 300, Aims to Grow

Washington, DC -- Today Mayors for the Freedom to Marry, a broad-based, nonpartisan group of mayors convened just over a year ago by Freedom to Marry to make the case for ending marriage discrimination, hit 300 mayors from 32 states and the District of Columbia, nearly quadrupling in size since its launch.
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L.A. City Council Urged to Cut Sister City Ties to St. Petersburg, Russia

(Los Angeles) — The ACLU of Southern California and the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center are urging Los Angeles city leaders to sever sister city ties with St. Petersburg, Russia, following the passage there of increasingly repressive laws directed at the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. The organizations made the request yesterday to Los Angeles city councilmembers in a letter which also asked them to re-evaluate relationships with other cities on the list, such as Lusaka, Zambia. In response, Councilmember Bill Rosendahl later introduced a resolution to suspend the relationship.
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Equality Pennsylvania lauds growth of LGBT Equality Caucus and releases new poll

Harrisburg – Today, the Pennsylvania legislature's LGBT Equality Caucus announced its membership for the new session.  The Caucus stands at 58 members, a doubling in membership from last year.  In 2011, Equality Pennsylvania was a driving force in founding and launching the LGBT Equality Caucus.  To coincide with the first meeting of the Caucus, Equality Pennsylvania also released a new poll showing significant statewide support for LGBT civil rights.
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National Gay and Lesbian Task Force applauds Senate passage of LGBT-inclusive Violence Against Women Act reauthorization bill

WASHINGTON, Feb. 12 -- The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force applauds the U.S. Senate s passage today of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization bill, which includes explicit protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) survivors of domestic violence and enhanced protections for Native American and immigrant survivors. It also includes a new provision that would support prosecution of sexual assault cases by reducing evidentiary (rape kits) backlogs.
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Same-Sex Couples to Request Marriage Licenses Across Country on Valentine's Day

New York/San Francisco ― On Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2013, loving, committed same-sex couples, accompanied by their friends and supporters, will ask for marriage licenses as part of Freedom to Marry Week. This is the 15th year in a row that couples have appeared at clerks’ offices across the country to request marriage licenses and to render visible the harm that excluding them from marriage causes them and their families.
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NCTE Statement on Senate Passage of VAWA

Washington, D.C. - Today, by a vote of 78 to 22, the United States Senate passed the Violence Against Women Act, an inclusive landmark bill that would reauthorize funding of programs for survivors of violence and provide needed improvements to the law, including LGBT-inclusive protections.
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Light the Way to Justice Vigil

Light the Way to Justice Vigil
Marriage Equality for PA is sponsoring the Light the Way to Justice Vigil at the Federal Courthouse in Erie PA on March 26 from 7 until 8:30 PM. This is not a march, a fight or a demonstration - this is a peaceful display of solidarity and a stand for LOVE, not hate. Make signs to hold, bring candles and help show our desire to be equal under the law. This is a grassroots movement. For more information, click the link on: http://www.me4pa.org. Please join us.
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GetEqual: State of the Union Left Too Many Questions Unanswered

Washington, DC -- GetEQUAL -- a national civil rights organization fighting for full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans -- responded to President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech with the following statement:
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National Gay and Lesbian Task Force responds to State of the Union address

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force responded to President Obama s State of the Union speech tonight by reiterating its call for an executive order prohibiting companies that contract with the federal government from discriminating in employment based on sexual orientation and gender identity; passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), federal legislation that would prohibit workplace discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people; and an end to the discriminatory  Defense of Marriage Act  (DOMA).v id="nuan_ria_plugin">
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Equality Pennsylvania to release new poll on LGBT Civil Rights on Wednesday

Harrisburg – Equality Pennsylvania will release a new poll of Pennsylvania voters about equal civil rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens on Wednesday.  Poll results will be released at a press conference where the General Assembly’s LGBT Equality Caucus will announce its new membership.  Caucus membership has more than doubled since last session.
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Pentagon Extends New Protections to Military Spouses Harmed by DOMA

New York – Today Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced that same-sex spouses of active members of the military will begin receiving protections that were previously denied to them, including the issuance of military identification cards, access to family support initiatives, and joint duty assignments. The Secretary noted that the Pentagon was doing what it could, within the constraints imposed by the discriminatory so-called Defense of Marriage Act.
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LGBT in the Workplace: New Study Reveals How Employers Can Leverage LGBT Employees' Potential

LGBT in the Workplace: New Study Reveals How Employers Can Leverage LGBT Employees' Potential
NEW YORK, NY – February 11, 2013 - A new study released by The Center for Talent Innovation (CTI), a New York-based think tank, reveals important new data on how employers can benefit from creating a workplace hospitable to their lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) employees.  The Power of Out 2.0 is based on a survey of 983 U.S. employees who identify themselves as LGBT. Surveys were also conducted in India, Japan and the UK.
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PFLAG Founder Jeanne Manford to be awarded Presidential Citizen's Medal

We at PFLAG National are thrilled and humbled to share the news that our founder, Jeanne Manford, will be posthumously awarded the 2012 Presidential Citizens Medal by President Obama at a White House ceremony on Friday, February 15. Mrs. Manford passed away on January 8 of this year, at the age of 92.
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Health

How To Fix a Saggy Sex Life

I am in a 20-year relationship that, in general, is really good.  The problem is that the sex has virtually disappeared, even though we both love each other a lot.  We even went to a couple's therapist but it didn't do any good.  The therapist didn't want to talk about sex (he seemed uncomfortable) and so we didn't.  On a recent” Oprah” show, they say that the better the intimacy, the better the sex.  But that's not true for us.  We are a loving couple with a saggy sex life. 
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Persad Erie starts therapy discussion group for gay men

There is a new Gay Men’s Discussion group meeting every other week on Tuesdays from 3:30 to 5 PM at Persad Erie, 1011 W 38h St, Erie PA. (This is inside Community United Church.) The group focuses on developing skills for healthy living focusing on:
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Persad Center Friends for Life Program

In 2009, studies found that suicide was the third leading cause of death for individuals age 10-24. Numerous studies report that LGBT youth are three times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers. Persad Center, is taking a stand to prevent youth suicide. This year Persad Center will train 15 or more youth on suicide prevention. Youth will get an opportunity to impact their community with a youth lead community service projects that will be centered on suicide prevention.
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Entertainment and Travel

Madonna to present Anderson Cooper with Vito Russo Award at 24th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York City

NEW YORK, NY, March 2, 2013- GLAAD, the nation's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy organization, today announced that Madonna will present journalist, author and talk show host Anderson Cooper with the Vito Russo Award at the 24th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at the New York ceremony on Saturday, March 16, 2013 at the New York Marriot Marquis, presented locally by Delta Air Lines. The GLAAD Media Awards are presented nationally by Ketel One and Wells Fargo.
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Daringly Provocative What!? Logo Documentaries Series Returns for a Second Season

NEW YORK, NY, February 21, 2013 – Logo will have viewers exclaiming “WHAT!?” again this spring with the return of “WHAT!? Logo Documentaries.” The series will continue to provide a riveting peek behind the curtain into unusual worlds, people and experiences outside the everyday. Always out of the ordinary and never boring, the “WHAT!?” documentary second season kicks off with the world premiere of WHAT!? The Story of The Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling on Tuesday, March 19 at 9 PM ET/PT.

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Anderson Cooper to be honored at 24th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York presented by Ketel One and Wells Fargo

New York, Thursday, February 21, 2013 - GLAAD, the nation's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy and anti-defamation organization, today announced it will honor journalist, author, and talk show host Anderson Cooper at the 24th Annual GLAAD Media Awards, presented nationally by Ketel One and Wells Fargo.
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GayTravel.com crowns the next Gay Travel Guru!

Traveling the world is the dream of a lifetime. This dream is made even better when traveling is your job- and when, as a member of the LGBT community, you get to represent a segment of the population while exploring, demanding, and experience gay friendliness in the destinations you visit. GayTravel.com’s (www.gaytravel.com) Gay Travel Guru campaign made this dream a reality for one lucky winner, as well as for the incredible finalists along the way. For Guru winner Bryan Kosarek, this dream will continue to be reality as he leaves last month’s Guru finale at Aspen Gay Ski Week to begin his gay-traveling journey around the country.
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Renaissance City Choirs Cabaret: So You Think You're a Diva?

Pittsburgh, PA - February 20, 2013 -A selection of talented performers from the Renaissance City Choirs, Pittsburgh's only gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and allies choral group, will showcase the music of Elton John, Patti Labelle, Queen, Michael Jackson, and other legendary divas and divos at their upcoming Cabaret, So You Think You're a Diva? The shows will be held at East Liberty Presbyterian Church at 116 South Highland Avenue on March 1st and 2nd at 7:30pm. 
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Letters, Columnists and Opinion

Midgey Earl: My Best Friend Does My Makeup

Recently, Midgey Earl had his best friend Brian FIjal do his make up. Here's how it went!
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Michael Dithers

Michael Dithers
Various groups starting; looking forward to Drenched Fur 9; upcoming candidate forum.
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The Amazon Trail: Poor Me

My sweetheart and I are on extreme ends of the country right now, for very practical and very temporary reasons. I’m trying to keep the house clean, the animals content without their adored other person, and feed myself.
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Contests

Win Doctor Who FAQ by Dave Thompson from Applause Books!

Win Doctor Who FAQ by Dave Thompson from Applause Books!
Win Doctor Who FAQ by Dave Thompson from Applause Books! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between March 22 and April 12.
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Enter to win Utopia from Kerli!

Enter to win Utopia from Kerli!
Enter to win Utopia from Kerli! UTOPIA, the brand-new EP from dance-pop sensation, KERLI.. Featuring the #1 Billboard Hot Dance Club Play Chart-topper "The Lucky Ones" plus new tracks "Love Me Or Leave Me," "Sugar" and more! To enter the contest, fill out the form here from March 19 through April 9.
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Win Strange Frame DVD from Wolfe Video

Win Strange Frame DVD from Wolfe Video
Win Strange Frame DVD from Wolfe Video! To enter the contest, fill out the form here from March 19 through April 9.
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Win a signed copy of The Sin Warriors by Julian Farris, plus a one-year subscription to Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide!

Win a signed copy of The Sin Warriors by Julian Farris, plus a one-year subscription to Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide!
Win a signed copy of Sin Warriors by Julian Farris plus a one-year subscription to Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between March 19 and April 9.
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Win People of the Bear Mother by T.D. Austin!

Win People of the Bear Mother by T.D. Austin!
Win People of the Bear Mother by T.D. Austin! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between March 15 and April 5.
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Enter to win OUTlaw from Drake Jensen!

Enter to win OUTlaw from Drake Jensen!
Enter to win OUTlaw from Drake Jensen! OUTlaw, the brand-new album from out country artist DRAKE JENSEN featuring the hit lead single "When It Hurts Like That." To enter the contest, fill out the form here from March 12 through April 2.
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Win Vampire Boys 2: The New Brood DVD from Ariztical Entertainment

Win Vampire Boys 2: The New Brood DVD from Ariztical Entertainment
Win Vampire Boys 2: The New Brood DVD from Ariztical Entertainment! To enter the contest, fill out the form here from March 12 through April 2.
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Enter to win an ON THE ROAD prize pack!

Enter to win an ON THE ROAD prize pack!
Enter to win an ON THE ROAD prize pack!  IFC Films and Sundance Selects Presents ON THE ROAD, a film by Walter Salles based on Jack Kerouac's classic novel starring Sam Riley, Garrett Hedlund and Kristen Stewart. Opening in select theaters beginning March 22. Check your local listings.  To enter the contest, fill out the form here between March 8 and March 29.
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Win Treasures of Bruce Lee by Paul Bowman from Applause Books!

Win Treasures of Bruce Lee by Paul Bowman from Applause Books!
Win Treasures of Bruce Lee by Paul Bowman from Applause Books! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between March 5 and March 26. This contest is open to US residents only!
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Win Best Gay Erotica 2013 from Cleis Press!

Win Best Gay Erotica 2013 from Cleis Press!
Enter to win Best Gay Erotica 2013 from Cleis PressBest Gay Erotica 2013. Erie Gay News is giving away copies to 3 lucky winners! To enter the contest, fill out the form here from March 1 through March 22.
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Win Best Lesbian Erotica 2013 from Cleis Press!

Win Best Lesbian Erotica 2013 from Cleis Press!
Enter to win Best Lesbian Erotica 2013 from Cleis PressBest Lesbian Erotica 2013. Erie Gay News is giving away copies to 3 lucky winners! To enter the contest, fill out the form here from February 26 through March 19.
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Miscellaneous

Point Foundation Honors The Estee Lauder Companies Inc. with Point Inspiration Award for Continued Support of LGBTQ Community

Point Foundation Honors The Estee Lauder Companies Inc. with Point Inspiration Award for Continued Support of LGBTQ Community
NEW YORK, Feb. 27, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Point Foundation (Point), the nation's largest scholarship-granting organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) students of merit will honor The Estee Lauder Companies Inc. at its Point Honors New York gala, April 15 www.pointfoundation.org/NYHonors. The Estee Lauder Companies will be accorded the Point Inspiration Award for championing respect and inclusion of the LGBTQ community, and operating with the vision that investing in today's potential will produce a brighter tomorrow.
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