Gay USA: July 19-25, 2011

As same-sex marriages get underway in New York this weekend, we'll speak with Ruthie Berman and Connie Kurtz, two lesbian pioneers, who are marrying after a 36-year engagement. Now residents of Florida, they have returned to their home state to marry legally at the LGBT synagogue on July 26. They are also the subject of a 2002 documentary, "Ruthie and Connie: Every Room in the House." They were one of the plaintiff couples in the lawsuit from 1988-93 that won the domestic partners of NYC employees health benefits. You can read more about them and buy the DVD of their film at www.RuthieAndConnieTheMovie.com. Same-sex couples will be allowed to get married in New York State starting on Sunday. In New York City, so many couples want to marry that first day that a lottery system has been set up in each borough and it is open to gay and straight couples. To read about how to marry in New York City thereafter, go to: http://www.cityclerk.nyc.gov/html/marriage/lottery.shtml. For Frequently Asked Questions about getting married in New York State, go to www.NYCLU.or/marriageFAQ or to Lambda Legal at http://data.lambdalegal.org/publications/downloads/fs_marriage-equality-same-sex-couples-ny.pdf. The US Senate held the first hearing ever in Congress on the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act that bans federal recognition of same-sex marriages. You can read more about that at www.freedomtomarry.org. Active duty military personnel in San Diego make history by marching as an organized group in the Pride march. The Justice Department tries to reinstate the stay against enforcing DADT, while the Obama administration says it will certify the lifting of the ban imminently. California Gov. Jerry Brown signs the bill mandating that schools integrate LGBT issues into curricula. Opponents have filed to put an initiative on the ballot to block it. The US Senate confirms the first out gay man with a life appointment to the federal bench. An Indiana man is rejected as a blood donor because he "appeared gay." The Emmy nominations have been announced and are once again replete with out gay nominees and nominations for actors playing gay roles.  

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