scotus

Finding Prince Charming Cast Is Livid; AIDS Death Threats For Spain’s Gay Football Referee; Peter Thiel, Donald Trump, and Supreme Court Nomination

Finding Prince Charming Cast Is Livid

I posted about Finding Prince Charming series star Robert Sepulveda Jr. being a former male escort here. Well here’s a story about how the rest of the cast feels about his past. And as is typical of these PC judgmental times in which we are living, none of them were willing to speak openly about it.

 Another contestant echoed this sentiment, as well as the insistence that their name not be used: “There are videos of Robert out there that are quite disgusting,” said Mr. Mysterioso. “Now I’m associated with him. Try explaining that your mother.”

“Quite disgusting.”

Seriously.

I guess I don’t understand why they’re so “livid.” It’s a reality show, not a live broadcast from the Vatican. 

You can check this out here.

AIDS Death Threats For Spain’s Openly Gay Football Referee

The only openly gay football referee in Spain, Jesús Tomillero, received tons of death threats in May so he took a short hiatus, understandably. Now that he’s returned to work, it’s grown even worse.


Shortly after the match, the death threats on social media began pouring in.

“You son of a bitch,” read one. “You messed with the wrong club. We’ll kill you with Aids, you faggot.”

Here’s the rest. Tomillero is scared, but he’s quoted saying that he will continue doing what he loves to do in spite of these homophobic attacks. There’s a photo of him with the link. He’s very nice looking guy, and it just guts me when I see things like this happening to other gay men.

Peter Thiel, Donald Trump, and Supreme Court Nomination

I saw this trending earlier this week but I didn’t see any details about it. According to this article, there’s “absolutely no truth” to the rumors that Donald Trump will offer Peter Thiel a seat on the Supreme Court.

However, this is what has been trending.

A source close to the Trump campaign says the Republican nominee for President “deeply loves Peter Thiel” and thinks that he would make an excellent Supreme Court justice. So much so that he may have already offered him a spot, should he be elected to the oval office.

There’s more here.

I guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens.

 Unabated
 
 Amazon



Gay Marriage: Most Of Us Are Still Outlaws

Gay Marriage: Most Of Us Are Still Outlaws

I’ve been going back and forth with a friend on Cape Cod this evening trying to explain the recent SCOTUS ruling on same sex marriage. This friend lives in New York part time, and was married in New York to his husband, but his *main* legal place of residence is in Pennsylvania where same sex marriage is NOT recognized. So basically he’s in the same position Tony and I are in as residents of Pennsylvania where same sex marriage is NOT recognized on a state level…unless he establishes full time New York residency.

My friend was thrilled, like we all were thrilled, to hear the ruling about same sex marriage. And then he e-mailed me and said Tony and I should get married in New York so we can get the federal recognition at the very least, even if we cannot get the state recognition in PA. All that sounds wonderful, but there’s an important point my friend missed. If you are a same sex couple and you live in a state, and you have residency in a state, where same sex marriage is NOT recognized, you are not eligible for federal recognition. The court made a point of explaining this.

This article is the best I could find so far, and this section sums it all up very neatly:

2. Where you live matters more than it ever did.

Those lucky enough to live in states that recognize their marriages are upgraded to full state and federal benefits based on the DOMA ruling. Those who don’t live in such states remain in much the same situation as before.

Geography could play a big role in how the federal government implements the Supreme Court’s ruling. Social Security, for example, recognizes marriages based on the policies of the state where a beneficiary lives, says Peter W. Martin, a Cornell University law professor who specializes in the entitlement program. That means that two men married in Massachusetts but living in Florida, which bans gay marriage, likely wouldn’t get spousal benefits.

The Supreme Court’s DOMA decision could create stark contrasts. In Pennsylvania, for example, a same-sex couple gets no recognition at all. If they get married out of state, they can’t even file for divorce in Pennsylvania, which is a major inconvenience, says Julia Swain, a partner at law firm Fox Rothschild LLP in Philadelphia.

You can read more here. It also states that the Obama administration could work aggressively to give out as many federal benefits as possible, which I’m hoping is the case.

But I honestly don’t know how to get that point across any clearer, as things stand right now as I write this post. Yes, the ruling was historic and it brought us all one step closer to full equality. Yes, I’m thrilled it happened and I’m thrilled for same sex couples who live in states where they are fortunate enough to be recognized. However, Tony and I, and millions of other gay couples in this country, are basically still screwed and we are still outlaws.

And if you live in a state where gay marriage is not recognized yet (like PA) and you think that by getting married in a state where it is recognized you’re going to be recognized on a federal level because of this ruling, you’d better check out all the legal details. If it were, Tony and I would have been in New York today.

So those of you who think the fight for equality is over should take a closer look at this ruling, and even though it is a time to celebrate and things are moving forward, it’s not time to take down the equality banners just yet. There is still a long way to go for many of us.

SCOTUS Update on Gay Marriage

The most recent article I read says that SCOTUS will rule on gay marriage on Tuesday now. Most say the same-sex marriage cases won’t happen until last.

The justices did not rule Monday in the legal challenges to Proposition 8, California’s ban on gay marriage, or the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act, which forbids federal benefits to same-sex couples.

The court is expected to issue rulings again Tuesday starting at 7 a.m. Pacific time.

You can read more here, and get more updates tomorrow here.

I find it interesting just waiting for the rulings. It feels as if there’s that proverbial quiet before the storm. Those who really care about this issue, and those who are affected by it the most, seem cautious to even speak about it.


Freedom To Marry Supreme Court Photos and More

I thought I’d share this from Freedom to Marry.

From my inbox:

Ryan –

Last week, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the freedom to marry and the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. They aren’t expected to announce their decisions until June. Just as lawyers made the case for marriage in the courtroom, we can make the case for marriage in the court of public opinion.

That’s why we’re launching our new Right Side of History Tumblr. It’s filled with striking, emotional, awe-inspiring graphics and images that you can share with your friends and family across social media.Honestly – you have to check out our new Tumblr:

SCOTUS Gay Marriage Day 2; Free Excerpt; Online Newspapers Charge for Content

In the 1990’s the US Government defined marriage as between one man and one woman and called it Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA. This came as a result of many things I won’t get into now. But today, many years later, SCOTUS is hearing arguments against DOMA, and they will rule in June.

One of the reasons this is so important to gay couples is this:

The DOMA challenge was brought by Edie Windsor, an 83-year-old woman from New York who married Thea Clara Spyer in 2007. After Spyer’s death in 2009, Windsor was denied an exemption of federal estate taxes.

What this means is simple on the surface, and yet it’s fundamental to gay couples who have been together for a length of time, have owned property together, and have lived their lives as responsibly as any other straight married couple.

Because gay couples are not allowed to marry legally on a federal level, when one partner passes away the surviving partner is left with huge inheritance taxes. It hurts the most with real estate, which is usually the biggest investment most people have these days. When straight couples lose their husbands or wives, they are not responsible for these exorbitant inheritance taxes.

I have seen this many times. Gay couples work their entire lives and then one passes and the other is wiped out financially.

You can read more here.

Online Newspapers Charge for Content

This past weekend The San Francisco Chronicle announced that it would begin charging readers for online content. Evidently, they do this sort of thing by putting up what’s called a “Paywall.”

In short, you now have to subscribe to read the good stuff:

“Subscribers to the new website will find the newspaper’s unrivaled content with brilliant photos, an uncluttered format and the familiar design of the Chronicle,” wrote Chronicle President Marc Adkins in an article explaining the change. “Premium stories and columns will update and change with the news throughout the day. Subscribers also will have full access to the Chronicle’s most enduring legacy–its columnists.”

I’ve also heard the SFC is not the only online newspaper who will be doing this. Others have done it before, and a lot of small local papers will follow, too.

I’m curious to see how this works out. Frankly, I wouldn’t pay for a subscription to any online newspaper at this point. And being that they seem to need to charge subscriptions now, it begs the question about whether or not online advertising actually works. In other words, large social media corporations like facebook don’t charge users anything, and they are supposedly based on advertising. So if the advertising isn’t working online for newspapers, is it working online for social media like facebook? Just a thought.

I think that if this happens with all online newspapers, we’ll see a shift in things as we’ve always known them…or at least since the beginning of the Internet. When people have to start paying for what they’ve always had for free, they’re going to become highly selective in what they read, and where they read it.

Free Excerpt from Bad Boy Billionaire Series: The Texas Oil Tycoon

This is an excerpt from the next book in the BBB series, and the title is still tentative. But I like posting these things for readers, and I also like seeing how it looks in blog form. I often find out whether or not something works by doing this. And it’s also one of the few free things I think we’re going to be seeing on the Internet in years to come. It’s also set in Texas, and it’s a western themed erotic romance this time.

I normally don’t like to mention these things, and I never actually mention them in my books…I try to show them without being too obvious. But this time, since I’ve been reading a lot about how minorities are not often in romances, I thought I would mention that the main character’s adopted daughter, Kendra, is of African American descent. Once again, this is never mentioned in the book because I don’t like to make a huge focus on these things. I believe in complete integration, not segregation.

After Bailey showered and washed the smell of Nino off his body, he changed into jeans, cowboy boots, and a blue and gray checked shirt he’d had since high school. On his way down the back staircase that would lead him to the kitchen, he grabbed his old rust suede cowboy hat and put it on in the hall. Since he’d stripped out of the clothes he’d been wearing on the plane, he’d been trying not to notice all the familiar things around the house that reminded him of Christopher. And that wasn’t simple, because everything in that house had something to do with him. Christopher had always been so focused on the little details, like the simple white French quilt on their bed and the Regency chairs on either side of the fireplace in the bedroom that he’d had upholstered in the exact same white quilted fabric. Or the way he’d been so particular about all the draperies in the house being lined in white so it wouldn’t look offensive from the outside looking in. Even the second floor hall in that wing of the house had Christopher’s imprint. He’d chosen four different shades of pale taupe for the walls, rugs, paintings, and drapes that reminded Bailey so much of him he felt a pain in his stomach and walked even faster, trying hard to remember the house before he’d known Christopher.

            He found Kendra in the kitchen with one of her friends. He had to think fast to remember the kid’s first name was Brian. Kendra and Brian had gone to a private school in Dallas before she’d entered The George School. Brian was a year older than Kendra and he went to Lawrenceville, which wasn’t far from The George School. Brian also lived about three miles away the ranch in one of those massive new mansions that looked as if it had sprung up from the prairie the same way a wart grows on the end of a nose. Brian’s dad had come into a great deal of money with computer stocks in the 1990’s, and he’d been smart enough to get out before the market crashed. Although Kendra and Brian had been best friends since grade school and saw each other often on the east coast, Bailey hadn’t actually seen the kid in over a year and a half. And when Bailey reached out to shake his hand, he couldn’t get over how much he’d grown up since he’d last seen him.

            “You look so different,” Bailey said, noticing Brian had grown at least four more inches and his body had filled out. His unruly dark brown hair was now cut short, with a cute little wave turned up above his forehead. The low-rise jeans that hugged his slim hips looked a size too small and the tight black T-shirt he wore left an inch of his flat abdomen showing. He’d transformed from boy to man since the last time Bailey had seen him. And from the way it looked, things were only going to get better in the future.

            Brian shook Baily’s hand a moment longer than he should have and smiled. “You still look just as hot as you did when I was a little kid, Bailey.” He rubbed Bailey’s sleeve and said, “I love guys in checks and plaid.”

            Kendra’s head went up. She elbowed Brain in the ribs and said, “Hey, that’s my dad you’re flirting with, dude.”

            Bailey smiled and looked down at the floor. They’d always known Brian was gay; he’d never kept it hidden like most kids do.

            Brian shrugged and said, “What did I do?” He reached out and rubbed Bailey’s sleeve again. “He doesn’t mind if I call him Bailey now. I just turned eighteen and I’m going college in the fall.” He’d been accepted in Princeton, which was where Kendra wanted to go after she graduated. He looked deeper into Bailey’s eyes and said, “And he is hot.”

            Bailey’s face felt warm. He didn’t know how to react. The last thing he’d expected that day was to have one of Kendra’s young friends hit on him. And in such an obvious way, too. The only thing left was for Brian to start catcalling.

            Kendra rolled her eyes and grabbed Brian by the arm. As she led him toward the back door, he sent Bailey another smile and said, “Have a good ride, Bailey. I hope I see more of you this summer. Maybe we can go riding when you have the time.”

            Bailey waved and smiled, without encouraging the horny eighteen year old with a reply. He heard Kendra scolding Brian through the kitchen window and he waited until they pulled out of the back driveway to go outside. There was no way on earth Bailey would ever pursue anything with one of Kendra’s friends, even if he was over eighteen years old and looked like a dark-haired version of Brad Pitt in his youth. Though Kendra probably hadn’t noticed anything more than just flirting…straight people never notice…Bailey had picked up on something more than significant in those few brief moments. Not only did his instincts as a gay man kick in when Brian had flirted with him, Bailey could also tell Brian was the aggressive type who preferred to top instead of bottom. It was the way Brian had looked at him, and the way he’d grabbed his hand with such force. And Bailey was certain Brian knew that he was all bottom, too. That sort of thing didn’t always happen, but when it did the impact would hit Bailey so hard his heart would begin to race.

            When he knew they were gone, he glanced down at the old dog and asked, “Do you want to go out before I leave. I have no idea when Harvey will be back.”

            The dog had been resting on a gray doggie cushion next to the eight burner stainless steel stove Christopher had taken months to choose during the kitchen renovation. The dog took one look at Bailey, snarled, showed what teeth he had left, and turned his head in the opposite direction, dismissing Bailey without a backward glance.

            “Well fuck you, too,” Bailey said. Then he turned his back on the dog and went outside.

            On his way to the barn, Bailey stopped and glanced at the property. He noticed a few shrubs needed pruning, and a section of fence needed white-washing. If Christopher had been around, none of these things would have been neglected. Where he’d found the time to do all he’d done, between his job at the counseling center and all the volunteer work, Bailey would never know. Bailey made a mental note to have a talk with Harvey about keeping everything as perfect as possible. If he’d been completely honest with himself, Bailey would have realized he didn’t really care all that much about fences of shrubs. He cared more about running the company and the next board meeting. But he felt guilty when he saw things looking unkempt because he knew how much it would have bothered Christopher. Bailey knew he’d never be normal again, but the least he could do was try to keep things normal on the ranch…the way Christopher would have liked it.

            When he reached the barn, he found a tall young man carrying two bags of grain. Bailey was about five eleven, and this guy had to be over six feet three inches tall. He wore mud-stained jeans, brown cowboy boots with worn heels and scuffed toes, and no shirt at all. It was only about eighty degrees and not hot enough yet to be uncomfortable. But the guy must have been moving and lifting bags of grain for a while because his bare torso glistened with perspiration and Bailey could see beads of sweat trickling down the sides of his face from under his cowboy hat.


Zeke Emanuel’s Book; SCOTUS on Gay Marriage; Amanda Knox and Double Jeopardy

In Time Magazine there’s a question and answer at the back of each issue, and this past week it was with Zeke Emanuel who speaks about his book, Brothers Emanuel, growing up in Chicago, and his life with his brothers, Ari and Rahm.

For those who don’t know, Zeke Emanuel is a brilliant medical doctor who teaches at University of Pennsylvania. It’s one of the best in the country. I take a very good friend there every three months who sees Dr. Jay Kostman, another brilliant doctor. And we fought hard to get Dr. Kostman to cover this friend.

Emanuel is also involved in national healthcare, from wiki:

Currently, Emanuel is acting as Special Advisor for Health Policy to Peter Orszag, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.[13] The Office of Management and Budget’s role is to assist the White House in the preparation and administration of the federal budget.[14] Emanuel entered the administration with different views from the president on how to reform health care, but is said by colleagues to be working for the White House goals.

Zeke Emanuel’s brothers, Rahm and Ari, have also done brilliant things with their lives. Rahm served as Chief of Staff for President Obama, is now Mayor of Chicago, and is known for his quick temper and good looks. Ari is one of the biggest talent agents in Hollywood…and maybe the world.

The book is titled Brothers Emanuel and I got it here on Amazon. Although I haven’t begun it yet, from what I gather it’s a story about how these three powerful brothers managed to build their lives up from humble beginnings. And, from Time Magazine, I especially love this quote:

The one thing I can guarantee, none of us will have taken a cruise, none of us will be sitting on a beach with a pina colada.

This is Zeke speaking about where all three brothers will be be five years from now. Personally, I love that quote because I couldn’t agree more. I think I’ll pass on that cruise and beach, too.

I’ll post a full review when I’m finished reading it.

SCOTUS on Gay Marriage

Today SCOTUS will make history. They will hear arguments about Prop 8, which deals with same sex marriage, and will ultimately hand down a decision about Prop 8 and DOMA.

From the Washington Post:

Over the next two days, the justices will consider two of the weightiest civil rights cases in years, both about the continuing struggle of gay men and lesbians to obtain equal recognition under the law. On Tuesday, the court will consider the constitutionality of Proposition 8, a California initiative that banned same-sex marriage in the state. On Wednesday, the justices will turn to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a law enacted in 1996 that bars the federal government from offering benefits to same-sex couples, even if they were legally married in their home state.

You can view photos from the court this morning, here on the SCOTUS blog.

And this article is interesting in case SCOTUS doesn’t support us. Will this put an end to same sex marriage?

“Even if you lose the case, and I think that’s very unlikely, you would say that the case has been a success because it’s changed public opinion so dramatically,” said Richard Socarides, a former adviser to President Bill Clinton. “It’s really unbelievable what a successful communications and litigation strategy has combined to do in such a short time.”

Amanda Knox and Double Jeopardy

I don’t know much about these things, but I do find them interesting from writer’s POV. I’ve never written any novels with strong characters who are lawyers, but I’ve always wanted to. Amanda Knox was the American student in Italy who was prosecuted and acquitted regarding the murder of her British roommate.

As far as I know, if you are tried in the US and you are acquitted, you can’t be re-tried because of “Double Jeopardy.” Evidently, that’s not the case in Italy.

The Court of Cassation ruled Tuesday that an appeals court in Florence must re-hear the case against Knox and her Italian-ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito for the slaying of British exchange student Meredith

You can read more here. And I’ll post more when I see it. I’m curious to know whether or not Knox will be forced to appear in Italy. I’m also curious about whether or not her status as a US citizen will help her avoid going back. I would imagine this falls into international law, and it has to be handled with great care. Frankly, though I don’t have an opinion about Knox’s guilt or innocence, I don’t like the idea of being retried for the same crime more than once.

If you’re curious, here’s a link to wiki on Double Jeopardy.

Double jeopardy is a procedural defence that forbids a defendant from being tried again on the same (or similar) charges following a legitimate acquittal or conviction. In common law countries, a defendant may enter a peremptory plea of autrefois acquit or autrefois convict (autrefois means “previously” in French), meaning the defendant has been acquitted or convicted of the same offence.It even discusses European Convention on Human Rights.

No one shall be liable to be tried or punished again in criminal proceedings under the jurisdiction of the same State for an offence for which he or she has already been finally acquitted or convicted in accordance with the law and penal procedure of that State.
 
But there’s a catch:
 

In many European countries the prosecution may appeal an acquittal to a higher court (similar to the provisions of Canadian law) – this is not counted as double jeopardy but as a continuation of the same trial. This is allowed by the European Convention on Human Rights – note the word finally in the above quotation.

It’s going to be an interesting case to follow.

SCOTUS Overturned Ban on Interracial Marriage, Too

On Tuesday, March 26th, SCOTUS will listen to arguments that could overturn California’s Proposition 8.

One thing among many things significant about this is that in 1967 SCOTUS overturned a ban on interracial marriage. Yes, for those who don’t know, back then this was happening with mixed race couples. At that point in time…pre-Stonewall…you didn’t even admit you were gay for fear of all kinds of negative repercussions.

It’s interesting to see how history does, indeed, repeat itself. We now have a mixed race President. Maybe forty-five years from now we’ll see an LGBT President.

The above advertisement came from my inbox earlier today, and was in The Washington Post today as well. It’s supposed to get over 220,000 views. The e-mail below was signed by Fred Karger, who made history last year by running on the Republican ticket as the first openly gay Presidential candidate in the history of the United States. And most recently he’s been running Rightsequalrights.com spearheading a movement to legalize same sex marriage.

Also from my inbox:

Rights Equal Rights (formerly Californian’s Against Hate) has paid for this ad in the Washington Post to run for five days beginning today. Rights Equal Rights was founded nearly five years ago to help make same-sex marriage the law of the land.

We are now on the cusp of full equality for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. The United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments to overturn California’s Proposition 8 on Tuesday, March 26th.

Help us continue to run this powerful ad all over.

Please send in $25.00, $50.00 or even $100.00 to make this crucial argument, that full marriage equality means just that.