Rainbow Family & Friends is a non-profit LGBT social and charitable organization located in The Villages, Florida.  Our goal is to provide activities, support, and charity to the community and all those interested in support, respect and a commitment to human rights equality for all.  Please join us at our next meeting or one of our family events.

IN THE LGBT

"I've seen something like gay marriage go from a wedge issue used to drive us apart to a story of freedom across our country, a civil right now legal in states that 7 in 10 Americans call home."

- President Barack Obama, reflecting on the spread of marriage equality in his State of the Union address, as quoted by The Advocate.

In a State of the Union first, Obama acknowledges LGBT community 

President Barack Obama made history Tuesday in his State of the Union address, becoming the first president to refer directly to the lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities during his speech. "As Americans, we respect human dignity, even when we're threatened," Obama said. "That's why we defend free speech, and advocate for political prisoners, and condemn the persecution of women, or religious minorities, or people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender." Advocate.com (1/20), BuzzFeed (1/20), The Huffington Post (1/21), Metro Weekly (Washington, D.C.) (1/20), GayPolitics.com (1/21)

Holder: Justice Department will support marriage equality at Supreme Court 

Attorney General Eric Holder announced late last week that the Department of Justice will file a brief supporting marriage equality before the Supreme Court. Holder's announcement came on the same day that the high court announced it would take up marriage equality cases out of Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee. Washington Blade (Washington, D.C.) (1/16), Towleroad (1/16)

Lawmaker wants Okla. to stop issuing marriage licenses 

Republican Oklahoma state Rep. Todd Russ filed a bill Wednesday that would end the issuance of marriage licenses statewide in an effort to counteract marriage equality. "There's a lot of constituents and people across the state who are not through pushing back on the federal government for the slam-down they've given us with Supreme Court rulings," Russ said. More than 3,200 same-sex couples have married in Oklahoma since marriage equality arrived in the state in October. The Oklahoman (Oklahoma City) (1/21), Tulsa World (Okla.) (1/19)

Judge halts N.D. marriage equality lawsuit 

A federal judge on Tuesday placed a stay on two cases challenging North Dakota's marriage equality ban. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear similar cases that could settle the issue of whether state marriage bans are constitutional. The Forum (Fargo, N.D.-Moorhead, Minn.) (free registration) (1/20), KFGO-AM (Fargo, N.D.)/The Associated Press (1/20), Gay Star News (1/21), Washington Blade (Washington, D.C.) (1/20)

Anti-LGBT group calls for Kagan, Ginsburg to withdraw from marriage case 

The American Family Association last week called on Supreme Court Justices Elena Kagan and Ruth Bader Ginsburg to recuse themselves from upcoming marriage equality cases on the grounds of having officiated same-sex weddings. "Congress has an obligation to Americans to see that members of the Supreme Court are held to the highest standards of integrity," AFA President Tim Wildmon said in a statement. Advocate.com/New Civil Rights Movement, The (1/19), ChicagoPride.com (1/20)

Supreme Court meets today to consider marriage cases 
The Supreme Court is set to meet today to consider whether to hear any of four marriage equality cases out of Kentucky, Michigan, Tennessee or Ohio. All four states' bans were upheld by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in November, setting up a conflict with earlier federal judicial rulings overturning them. The justices would have to agree to hear the cases this week in order for any of them to be resolved during the court's current term, which ends in June. BuzzFeed (1/15)

Mich. must recognize same-sex marriages performed in state, judge rules 
A federal judge ruled Thursday that Michigan must recognize as valid the marriages of about 300 same-sex couples who married after the state's marriage ban was struck down. "In these circumstances, what the state has joined together, it may not put asunder," U.S. District Court Judge Mark Goldsmith wrote. Goldsmith's ruling does not address the constitutionality of Michigan's marriage equality ban, which was upheld by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in November and is before the Supreme Court. Detroit Free Press (1/15), ABC News/The Associated Press(1/15), Metro Weekly (Washington, D.C.) (1/15)

DOMA repeal bill introduced again in Congress 
A group of Democratic lawmakers kicked off the 114th Congress on Tuesday by reintroducing a bill to repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Led by Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York and Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the Respect for Marriage Act would grant all legally married same-sex couples access to federal marriage benefits and protections, even if they now live in states without marriage equality. At least 77 representatives and 41 senators have co-sponsored the legislation. The Huffington Post (1/6), Metro Weekly (Washington, D.C.) (1/7), Washington Blade (Washington, D.C.) (1/8)

Big day for marriage equality at Supreme Court and 5th Circuit 
The Supreme Court this morning convened a closed-door session to discuss whether to take up marriage equality cases out of Louisiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee. The high court's private conference comes on the same day that a three-judge panel of the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments challenging marriage equality bans in Mississippi and Texas, as well as Louisiana. Should the Supreme Court decide to take up Louisiana's case, it would supersede the 5th Circuit's authority. Either court could announce its decision at any time. MSNBC (1/9), Reuters (1/8), The Times-Picayune (New Orleans) (1/7), KTBS-TV (Shreveport, La.) (1/7)

Fla. mayor invites same-sex couples to obtain marriage licenses 
Andrew Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee, Fla., encouraged same-sex couples on Tuesday to marry in the state's capital city if their county will not officiate their wedding. Several of the state's counties have ceased officiating marriages to avoid having to do so for same-sex couples. The Miami Herald (tiered subscription model)/Naked Politics blog (1/6), WFSU-FM (Tallahassee, Fla.) (1/6)
 
Andrew Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee, Fla., encouraged same-sex couples on Tuesday to marry in the state's capital city if their county will not officiate their wedding. Several of the state's counties have ceased officiating marriages to avoid having to do so for same-sex couples. The Miami Herald (tiered subscription model)/Naked Politics blog (1/6), WFSU-FM (Tallahassee, Fla.) (1/6)

 
More than 70% of American citizens live in a state that allows same-sex marriage, according to research from the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law. The milestone was reached Tuesday when Florida became the 36th state to begin granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Before the Supreme Court's decision in U.S. v. Windsor, only 13 states and Washington, D.C., permitted the practice. The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (1/6)

Ind. lawmaker pushes "religious exemptions" bill 
Indiana state Sen. Scott Schneider, a Republican, introduced a bill this week that would allow businesses in the state to refuse wedding services to same-sex couples if doing so would violate the owner's religious beliefs. Schneider cited a recent court ruling that struck down the state's marriage ban as justification for the bill. WKRC-TV (Cincinnati)(1/5)

Ireland to vote on marriage equality in May 

Ireland will vote on a marriage equality referendum in May, according to an announcement from the deputy prime minister's office. "The fact that this referendum is now to take place is a mark of the progress that has taken place in this country in recent years and decades," Irish Labour Party leader Joan Burton said of the announcement, which did not mark a specific day for the vote. Polls indicate that the majority of Irish citizens plan to vote in favor of marriage equality. Gay Star News (12/16), The Guardian (London) (12/16), The New York Times (tiered subscription model)/The Associated Press (12/16)


Current Map, Court Cases, Legislation & Polling: Marriage Equality USA tracks all the current court cases, polls, and bills and initiatives on marriage equality across the USA. Link

Post DOMA Resources: Now that Section 3 of DOMA has been struck down by the US Supreme Court, MEUSA has pulled together a section of resources for same sex couples in a post-DOMA world. Link

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March 17th, 2015 - ST. PATRICK'S DAY PARTY at Manatee Recreation Center.  Sponsored by Lynne McCarthy. 


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