January, 2018 News (43 Articles with 33,795 total views)

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Local and Regional News

2017 Lake Erie Gala Recap

The 2017 Lake Erie Gala was held at the Clarion Hotel, 2800 W 8th St, Erie PA. The annual event, sponsored by the Lake Erie Group and Erie Sisters and Brothers (ES&B), began Wed. November 15th with the opening of registration, a pool and pizza party at the hotel, and optional bowling at Eastway Lane
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Deadline for January 2018 print edition (issue # 266) of Erie Gay News is Monday, December 11 - please get in earlier if

Deadline for January 2018 print edition (issue # 266) of Erie Gay News is Monday, December 11 - please get in earlier if
For the next print edition of Erie Gay News (issue # 266, cover dated for January 2018), please send in calendar events, news items, and other info for late December 2017 and beyond by Monday, December 11. We expect that the next print edition will come out on Tuesday, December 19. This issue is earlier than normal due to the holidays, and due to an unforeseen scheduling conflict, it would be extremely helpful and appreciated if entries could be received as soon as possible. Thanks for your cooperation! This issue also marks our 25th anniversary!
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TransFamily of NW PA holds 4th Annual Transgiving Dinner

TransFamily of NW PA held their 4th annual Transgiving potluck dinner on Saturday, November 25 at Crime Victim Center of Erie, 125 W 18th St, Erie PA. As always, there was great food and even more wonderful company,
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TransFamily of NW PA holds Transgender Day of Remembrance Candlelight Vigil

On Sunday, November 19, 2017, TransFamily of NW PA held a Transgebder Day of Remembrance Candlelight Vigil on the steps of the Erie County Courthouse, 140 W 6th St, Erie PA. The event was attended by transgender people, as well as their families, friends and supporters. Local TV covered the event. This was the fifth year that there had been a local observance of Transgender Day of Remembrance.
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Crawford Area LGBT+ Thanksgiving Dinner

On Tuesday, November 14, 2017, members of Crawford Area LGBT+ and friends gathered at Unitarian Universalist Church of Meadville, 346 Chestnut Street, Meadville PA, for a potluck Thanksgiving dinner. There was great food and wonderful company.
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Political, Activism and Legal

Civil and Human Rights Coalition Sounds the Alarm on Trump Administration Attacks on Federal Data and Civil Rights

WASHINGTON - December 13, 2017 – The federal government's collection, reporting, and protection of accurate, comprehensive data is central to implementing, monitoring, and evaluating civil rights laws and policies. But the Trump administration is taking steps that undermine all of these pillars of data collection. In response to this growing threat, today, The Leadership Conference Education Fund issued a paper, Misinformation Nation: The Threat to America's Federal Data and Civil Rights, which highlights the importance of data and the present threats to civil rights-related data collection.
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Lambda Legal to Senate: Indecent, Extremist, Anti-LGBT Nominees Have No Place on the Federal Bench

Washington, DC - December 13, 2017 – Following the confirmation of unqualified Leonard Steven Grasz to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit last night, the United States Senate is preparing to put two more of Donald Trump's extreme, anti-LGBT judicial nominees on the federal bench this week, beginning with of Don Willett to the Fifth Circuit today and James Ho to the same court tomorrow. Yesterday, Lambda Legal brought together 34 other national, state, and local LGBT groups to oppose the nomination of Willett in a letter to the full Senate chamber, citing their "grave doubts concerning his ability to impartially interpret the law and serious concerns about his strict approach to judicial review of economic regulations that would impact LGBT workers and all workers." Lambda Legal has also expressed grave concerns about the ability of James Ho to give a fair hearing to LGBT Americans in light of his history of advocating against their right to equal protection of their relationships and families under the law.
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Lambda Legal Condemns Senate for Confirming Unqualified, Anti-LGBT Judicial Nominee to a Lifetime Appointment on the Fed

Washington, DC - December 12, 2017 – Today, the United States Senate handed Leonard Steven Grasz a lifetime appointment to the federal bench on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, despite being one of only four nominees since 1989 to receive a unanimously unqualified rating by the non-partisan American Bar Association. Lambda Legal led a group of 28 national, state and local LGBT organizations in opposing his nomination, citing his controversial views in support of conversion therapy, his opposition to legal protections for LGBT Americans, and his view that marriage equality is a "threat," among other extremist, anti-LGBT positions he has promoted throughout his career.
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Civil and Human Rights Coalition Blasts Senate Confirmation of Leonard Steven Grasz

WASHINGTON - December 12, 2017 – Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement after the Senate today voted, on a party-line basis, to confirm Leonard Steven Grasz to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit: "Yet again, the Senate Republicans have rubber stamped an extreme and highly troubling Trump judicial nominee, one who is clearly not qualified to serve as a federal judge.
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Victory Fund Endorses Three Historic LGBTQ Candidates for 2018

Washington, DC - December 12, 2017 –  Today Victory Fund, the only national organization dedicated to electing LGBTQ leaders to public office, endorsed three candidates who can make history with election wins in 2018. Assemblyman Nelson Araujo, running for Nevada Secretary of State, would become the first openly LGBTQ person to win statewide office in Nevada and one of just four openly LGBTQ statewide elected officials in the United States. New Hampshire Executive Councilor Chris Pappas, running for U.S. Congress, would become the first openly LGBTQ person elected to Congress from the state, and Judge John Arrowood would become the first openly LGBTQ person to win a statewide race in North Carolina if elected to the Court of Appeals.
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ACLU Statement on Trump Administration Attempt to Delay Enlistment of Transgender Service Members

WASHINGTON - December 12, 2017 - The Trump administration filed a motion today to stay part of the district court's injunction in the American Civil Liberties Union's case, Stone v. Trump, which prohibited the government from implementing President Trump's unconstitutional ban on transgender people serving in the military.
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Equality California Mourns the Passing of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee

San Francisco - December 12, 2017 – Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur today issued the following statement on the passing of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee: "The City of San Francisco and State of California have lost a key ally in the fight for LGBTQ civil rights and social justice. Throughout his career as a civil rights attorney, civil servant and eventually as the city's first Asian American mayor, Mayor Ed Lee was a tireless champion for equality for all the diverse communities that make up San Francisco. He was a founding member of the 'Mayors Against LGBT Discrimination' coalition, a coalition of city leaders that applies political and economic pressure to stop discriminatory laws from spreading in the United States. He fought to backfill tens of millions of dollars in federal cuts to essential HIV services, which saved thousands of lives. As the first mayor to attend the San Francisco Trans March, he reaffirmed his commitment to the transgender community by creating the nation's first position dedicated to transgender issues with the newly created post of senior advisor for transgender initiatives. He also barred public funding for city employees' travel to North Carolina in protest of the state's law prohibiting localities from passing legislation to protect LGBT rights. Equality California mourns the passing of Mayor Lee and will keep his wife, Anita, and his daughters, Brianna and Tania, in our thoughts and prayers."
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The Leadership Conference Opposes the Confirmation of Matthew Kacsmaryk to the U.S. District Court

December 12, 2017 - Today, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights sent a letter to the Senate urging opposition to the confirmation of Matthew Kacsmaryk to be a U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Texas.
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Since Trump won't let LGBTQ and Black reporters come to his holiday party, the Task Force will throw a party of its own

(Washington, DC, December 11, 2017) In response to the White House snubbing LGBTQ and Black reporters, the National LGBTQ Task Force is hosting its own holiday party for the press, titled Not The White House Holiday Party.
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Victory! Court Orders U.S. Military to Immediately Halt Ban of Transgender Troops

(SEATTLE, December 11, 2017) – Today, a federal court in Seattle ordered an immediate halt to the Trump Administration's discriminatory plan to ban transgender people from serving openly in the U.S. Armed Services. The ruling came in the lawsuit brought by Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN challenging the ban and prevents the ban from being implemented while the case proceeds.
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Palm Center Statement on Court Ruling Denying Trump Administration's Request to Delay Transgender Enlistment

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - December 11, 2017 – Aaron Belkin, director of the Palm Center, released the following statement in reaction to today's court ruling denying the Trump Administration's request to delay transgender enlistment in the military: "Today's announcement that the US military will accept transgender applicants as of January 1, 2018 reflects a simple reality:  military and civil servants in the Pentagon have been preparing for accession for transgender Americans for more than two years. That is longer than the preparation the military had for repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and accession of openly gay Americans. While the White House has claimed that an order to follow the military's own plan for accession would impose 'extraordinary burdens,' numerous professionals involved in that process (including a former Acting Under Secretary of Defense and three former Service Secretaries) and more than half a dozen current and former military professors have spoken out to say that the military is ready. The Pentagon's extensive study and preparation already occurred. That preparation and study includes a comprehensive study of transgender service by DOD, the adoption by DOD of fully inclusive policy, and the promulgation of numerous specific standards for transgender applicants. This step reflects that judgment, and the Pentagon is following good order and its own internal processes -- as well as respecting the judgment of the courts."
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New NCLR and GLAD Doe v. Trump Court Filing Reveals Trump Administration is Distorting Evidence to Prevent Trans Enlistm

(WASHINGTON, D.C., December 8, 2017)—Today, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) filed their opposition to yesterday's Trump administration request for a partial stay in Doe v. Trump, the first legal challenge filed against Trump's transgender military ban. If granted, the stay would permit the Trump administration to once again delay accepting transgender recruits, which it has been ordered to do starting on January 1, 2018. Today's NCLR and GLAD filing debunks Trump administration claims that the military is not ready to accept transgender recruits on January 1, citing a Palm Center policy report calling out the Trump administration for filing a court document that "rewrites the history of transgender military policy and distorts the evidence."
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Military Professors Refute Trump Administration Assertion that Armed Forces Are Not Ready for Transgender Recruits

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – December 8, 2017 - A distinguished panel of current and former military professors has challenged claims by the Trump Administration that the Pentagon is not ready to admit transgender applicants. The administration made the argument in a declaration filed in federal court seeking to delay the court's order that the Pentagon allow transgender candidates to apply for enlistment by January 1, 2018.
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Equality California Congratulates First LGBTQ and First Female Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins

Sacramento - December 7, 2017 – Today, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León announced that Senator Toni Atkins is the consensus pick of the Senate Democratic Caucus to succeed him as leader. The formal vote will be held in early January and the transition will be take place later in the year. Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur issued the following statement in response: "Senator Toni Atkins is one of the LGBTQ community's most respected and effective leaders and her upcoming election as the Senate President Pro Tem breaks multiple glass ceilings. Not only will she be the first woman to serve as leader of the California Senate, but Senator Atkins will also be the first LGBTQ person to serve in that role. This follows on her historic career in the Assembly where she became the first lesbian Speaker. Electing role models like Senator Atkins is important to the LGBTQ community because it sends a clear message to our community across the country, particularly LGBTQ youth, that LGBTQ people can achieve anything. By having a seat at the table, LGBTQ elected officials can speak with their colleagues with authenticity and first-hand experience on issues that affect our community.
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Out for America Report and Map Provides Most Comprehensive Look at LGBTQ Elected Officials in the U.S.

Washington, DC - December 7, 2017 – Today Victory Institute released its Out for America report and interactive Out for America map to provide the most comprehensive look ever at LGBTQ elected officials in the United States. The report provides demographic information for the nearly 450 known LGBTQ elected officials in the U.S. and documents the severe underrepresentation of LGBTQ people in key positions of power.
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Lambda Legal to Senate Judiciary Committee: Stop Advancing Trump's Dangerous Judicial Nominees on the Backs of LGBT Amer

Washington, DC - December 7, 2017 – Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee continued their relentless push to stack the federal courts with Donald Trump's anti-LGBT nominees by advancing several nominations to the Senate floor along a party line vote, including the nominations of Leonard Steven Grasz to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, Don Willett to the Fifth Circuit, and Mark Norris to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, all of whom Lambda Legal has opposed. The Judiciary Committee also advanced the nomination of James Ho to the Fifth Circuit. Lambda Legal sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary yesterday about its concerns over his nomination as well, citing his record which "suggests that he would be a consistent vote against the civil and human rights of LGBT Americans should he be confirmed." The full letter can be found here.   
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Former Army Secretary Questions Trump Administration Claim that Military Is Not Ready to Accept Transgender Applicants

SAN FRANCISCO, CA = December 7, 2017 – Eric Fanning, former Secretary of the U.S. Army, questioned the Trump administration's claim yesterday that the military is not ready to accept transgender applicants. According to Fanning, "the Department of Defense was on track to lift the accession ban for transgender service effective July 1, 2017. This was one year after Secretary Carter ordered the Services to ensure that all Americans who could meet the standards should be afforded the opportunity to serve. I can see no reason why the Department should not be fully prepared to execute Secretary Carter's policy change, particularly after being afforded an extra six months due to the Department's delay earlier this year." Fanning served as U.S. Army Secretary under President Obama.
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Former Senior Pentagon Official Disputes Trump Administration Claim that Military Is Not Ready for Transgender Applica

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - December 6, 2017 -- Brad Carson, a former senior Pentagon official, refuted the Trump administration's claim today that allowing transgender applicants to enlist in the military would compromise readiness. According to Carson, "the Pentagon had already done most of the preparation and training in anticipation of the lifting of the accession ban before the presidential transition, so to claim that the military is not ready to lift the ban now seems a stretch."
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Equality Pennsylvania, SEIU call on PA House Speaker Mike Turzai to strip Metcalfe of chairmanship after homophobic outb

HARRISBURG - December 5, 2017 -- On Tuesday, House State Government Committee Chairman Daryl Metcalfe went on a homophobic rant against minority Chairman Matt Bradford, who briefly touched Metcalfe's arm during a committee meeting.  Among other things, Metcalfe said, "Representative Bradford, I'm a heterosexual. I have a wife, I love my wife. I don't like men, as you might. But stop touching me all the time." Later, he said, "It's like, keep your hands to yourself. Like, if you want to touch somebody, you have people on your side of the aisle that might like it. I don't."
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Supreme Court Hears Arguments In Case That Will Decide the Future of Anti-Discrimination Law

WASHINGTON - December 5, 2017 - The American Civil Liberties Union appeared before the Supreme Court today in oral arguments for Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, a case that will have widespread impact on the future of anti-discrimination protection in the United States.
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Equality California Releases Statement on the Masterpiece Cakeshop Supreme Court Case

Los Angeles - December 5, 2017 – In light of today's oral arguments on the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission Supreme Court case, Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur issued the following statement: "This case has never been simply about cake – it is about discrimination in this country. If we allow businesses to pick and choose who they serve based on who an individual loves or how they identify, then we as a country relegate LGBTQ people to second class citizenship. The use of so-called religious exemptions is part of the strategy anti-LGBTQ forces use to gut hard-fought LGBTQ civil rights protections where they exist. The Supreme Court's decision will have far reaching consequences for more than the LGBTQ community, and we urge the court to continue to stand for freedom and justice for all."
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National LGBTQ Task Force: Masterpiece Cakeshop Case Could Roll LGBTQ Rights Back A Half-Century

(Washington, DC, December 5, 2017) -- The National LGBTQ Task Force was out at full strength on the steps of the Supreme Court to rally for the court to uphold the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people in the lead up to the court hearing oral arguments in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The case is about showing that religion should never be an acceptable reason to refuse services to anyone.
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Statement from GLAD and NCLR on Supreme Court Denial of Review in Turner v. Pidgeon

December 4, 2017 - "This case is not over. It will now return to the Texas trial court for a final decision. It was an uphill battle to persuade the Supreme Court to grant review at this juncture because of the Court's firm rule about taking cases only after a final judgment even where, as we noted in our friend of the court brief, a lower court ruling is subverting an important federal policy. We hope and expect the Texas trial court, on remand, will uphold spousal benefits for employees married to a person of the same sex, as Obergefell and common sense require."  
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40 LGBTIQ Activists, 29 Countries, 5 Days of Activism

(New York - December 4, 2017) OutRight Action International kicks off the Global Week of Advocacy, where dozens of LGBTIQ activists from 29 countries from every region of the world has come to participate in the organization's 6th annual United Nations (UN) Week of Advocacy. From December 4 to 8, human rights defenders meet with government representatives and UN officials.
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GLAD Applauds Portland's New Policy on Affirmation and Full Inclusion of Transgender and Gender Expansive Students

(PORTLAND, ME, November 28, 2017) - GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) applauds the comprehensive policy on fair treatment of transgender and gender expansive students adopted by the Portland School Committee tonight by unanimous vote.
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Health

World AIDS Day Program at Blasco Public Library by Erie County HIV Task Force

On Friday, December 1, 2017, Erie County HIV Task Force had a presentation for World AIDS Day at the Blasco Public Library, 160 E Front St, Erie PA. The event included a display of AIDS quilt panels and HIV display cases created by a LECOM intern. Speakers included Erie County Department of Health CHES/Disease Investigation Specialist Laura Beckes, Erie County Department of Health Director Melissa C Lyon, Sonny Concepcion of NW PA Rural AIDS Alliance, and Miriam Pastor, a woman living with HIV. There was local media coverage by both TV news crews. There was also a group portrait taken of Erie County HIV Task Force members and supporters. The event was well-attended and well received.
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Letters, Columnists and Opinion

The Amazon Trail:  Regrets, I Have a Few

Luncheonette. Darn it all, I just found the word I was looking for back in 2007 when I set a scene in a coffee shop in New York. It wasn't a coffee shop, it was a luncheonette. In that era, you could use the term coffee shop, but a reader might picture a Greenwich Village or a North Beach San Francisco dive that served espresso to long-haired women and men in berets. In my novel Beggar of Love, I wanted to evoke elbows on the counter, ham sandwiches and steaming cups of joe.
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An open letter to the citizens of Alabama

From Mark Segal of Philadelphia Gay News: I am an openly gay man, so you might say you hate the sinner part of me but love me as a person. You also might tell me my civil rights are special rights that infringe on your beliefs. But most importantly, you'd say the LGBT community is immoral.
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Contests

Enter to win Jesus Meets the Gay Man DVD from Breaking Glass Pictures!

Enter to win Jesus Meets the Gay Man DVD from Breaking Glass Pictures!
Enter to win Jesus Meets the Gay Man DVD from Breaking Glass Pictures! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Friday, January 12 and Friday, February 2.
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Enter to win Man Eater e-book from Riverdale Ave Books!

Enter to win Man Eater e-book from Riverdale Ave Books!
Enter to win Man Eater e-book from Riverdale Ave Books! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Tuesday, January 9 and Tuesday, January 30.
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Enter to win a digital download of NEW remixes from Daya!

Enter to win a digital download of NEW remixes from Daya!
Enter to win a digital download of NEW remixes from Daya! "NEW" the hit single from multi-platinum, Grammy winning artist DAYA, Win a special digital download card with "NEW" remixes by Ryan Riback, Mokita & GOLDHOUSE and more! "NEW" is available now: http://smarturl.it/NewDaya. To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Friday, January 5 and Friday, January 26.
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Enter to win Best Gay Erotica of the Year Volume 3 autographed paperback by Rob Rosen!

Enter to win Best Gay Erotica of the Year Volume 3 autographed paperback by Rob Rosen!
Enter to win Best Gay Erotica of the Year Volume 3 autographed paperback by Rob Rosen! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Tuesday, January 2 and Tuesday, January 23.
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Enter to win Rent FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About Broadway’s Blaze of Glory by Tom Rowan!

Enter to win Rent FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About Broadway’s Blaze of Glory by Tom Rowan!
Enter to win Rent FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About Broadway’s Blaze of Glory by Tom Rowan from Backbeat Books! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Friday, December 29 and Friday, January 19.
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Enter to win You Must Remember This e-book from Riverdale Ave Books!

Enter to win You Must Remember This e-book from Riverdale Ave Books!
Enter to win You Must Remember This e-book from Riverdale Ave Books! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Tuesday, December 26 and Tuesday, January 16.
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Enter to win Red Pill Blues from Maroon 5!

Enter to win Red Pill Blues from Maroon 5!
Enter to win Red Pill Blues from Maroon 5! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Tuesday, December 19 and Tuesday, January 9.
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Enter to win The Greatest Showman Prize Pack!

Enter to win The Greatest Showman Prize Pack!
Enter to win The Greatest Showman Prize Pack! Step inside the magical world of P.T. Barnum and experience the birth of show business. 20th Century Fox presents the greatest holiday movie of the season, The Greatest Showman! Inspired by the imagination of P.T. Barnum, The Greatest Showman is an original musical that celebrates the birth of show business & tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation. Starring Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, Rebecca Ferguson, and Zendaya, and featuring original songs by the Academy Award® Winning lyricists of La La Land, Benj Pasek & Justin Paul. The Greatest Showman hits theaters everywhere December 20! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Friday, December 15 and Friday, January 5. 
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Enter to win You Make It Feel Like Christmas from Gwen Stefani!

Enter to win You Make It Feel Like Christmas from Gwen Stefani!
Enter to win You Make It Feel Like Christmas from Gwen Stefani! You Make It Feel Like Christmas, the new holiday album from Grammy winning superstar Gwen Stefani. Featuring a collection of holiday classics & originals. Out Now! Order/stream at gwenstefani.com! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Friday, December 15 and Friday, January 5.
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Miscellaneous

Mortgages with Little or No Down Payments

One of the most daunting things about buying a house is coming up with the down payment. It used to be that you were expected to have twenty percent of the asking price ready to go when you bought a house. Today, that's not always the case. In fact, there are a number of mortgages that actually require a very low or even no down payment at all. Individuals and couples looking to buy a home, find these mortgages especially attractive since they may have had little time to save up such a large amount of money.
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