The Most Popular Gay Stories of the Week
WNBA Player Sharnee Zoll-Norman Comes Out
The Women’s National Basketball Association may be the league in the U.S. with the biggest number of out athletes.
The latest player to come out as lesbian is Chicago Sky guard Sharnee Zoll-Norman, who made the announcement during an interview with Windy City Times.
Zoll-Norman said she never officially came out — even though she is is married and has mentioned her wife in previous interviews — because she never thought there was any connection between her sexuality and her basketball career.
“I never felt whether I’m gay, straight, bi, [or] whatever that my sexuality had anything to do with me as a basketball player, and I don’t think it necessarily has anything to do with me as a person,” she said.
The five-foot-seven inch athlete is playing alongside another out baller — this year’s WNBA second draft pick, Elena Delle Donne.
Last April, Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner came out in an interview with Maggie Sports Illustrated.
Local Couple Could Be First to Get Green Card
A married binational couple from Fort Lauderdale could be the first in the country in which the foreign-born partner would be granted legal residence in the U.S, following the Supreme Court decision on the Defense of Marriage Act.
According to the DOMA Project, a group of activists fighting to bring equality for gay binationals, Julian Marsh and Traian Povov received the notice of approval of their green card petition from U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services just two days after the SCOTUS ruling. The couple announce the news on June 29.
Popov, who has been in the U.S. since 1998 and was born in Bulgaria. Marsh, a DJ and music producer, is a U.S citizen. The two met in Florida and got married in October 2012 in Brooklyn, New York, as Florida does not allow gay marriages.
“We expect additional approvals of green card petitions in the coming days,” Lavi Soloway, attorney and co-founder of the DOMA Project said in a statement.
Did Costa Rica Approve Same-Sex Unions?
This is what happens when legislators do not fully read bills: it seems like Costa Rica’s Congress “accidentally” approved same-sex unions.
As Costa Rican newspaper La Nacion reports, representatives approved a bill aimed at reinforcing “the quality of life in the country’s youth,” without realizing that it also contained clauses changing Costa Rica’s family code to include gay unions.
Congressman José María Villalta said that the bill, approved by 45 of 57 legislators on July 2, establishes the right to the recognition of same-sex unions “without discrimination contrary to human dignity.”
“This opens the door for recognizing the rights of same-sex unions,” Villalta told La Nacion.
Manrique Oviedo, a conservative politician who mistakenly voted in favor of the bill, is now urging Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla to veto the bill in order to ensure that same-sex unions are not legalized.
Villalta also said it’s not uncommon for “politicians [to] approve projects without reading them through.”
Macklemore’s ‘Same Love’ Sees Spike Following SCOTUS Decisions
Rapper Macklemore’s pro-gay anthem “Same Love,” released last year, has seen a newfound rise in popularity following the LGBT rights wins in the Supreme Court.
According to the New York Times, on June 26, the same day the U.S. Supreme Court repealed a section of the Defense of Marriage Act and ruled out California’s proposition 8, Macklemore’s hit song rose to No. 28 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, up from No. 65 three weeks ago.
The song also saw a rise in other platforms. For example, it moved up to number 5 on the Rap Songs charts for online streaming, and it saw a 23 percent rise in sales the week of the Court decisions from the previous week, reaching a total of 788,000 copies sold.
“It’s been phenomenal,” Tom Poleman, the president for national programming at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, which operates 850 stations, told NYTimes. “Everything we are seeing shows it’s going to be another monster hit for them.”
The song is arguably the most straightforward, pro-gay lyrics out there, with some of its lines saying: “The right wing conservatives think it’s a decision/And you can be cured with some treatment and religion/ Man-made rewiring of a predisposition,” or “No freedom till we’re equal, damn right I support it.”
“I just wanted to hold myself accountable and hold hip-hop accountable and bring up an issue that was being pushed under the rug,” Macklemore told the NYTimes regarding the song.
Conservative Congressman Introduces Anti-Gay Marriage Constitutional Amendment
Conservatives may have lost a fight, but they don’t think the battle over marriage is done.
On July 1, Kansas Republican Tim Huelskamp introduced a bill to amend the U.S. Constitution and ban gay marriage, the Huffington Post reports.
“This would trump the Supreme Court,” the Tea Party congressman told HuffPost, referring to the U.S. Supreme Court to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, a federal law that defined marriage as the union between a man and a woman.
Similar amendments have been introduced in the past, but none has succeeded. In 2006, the last time the House voted on the measure, it failed to pass; the final vote count was 236-187. It needed 290 votes to pass. Among those who were in favor of such amendment were House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and VP Republican nominee Rep. Paul Ryan.
“What did not happen is what the court and then the folks pushing for [DOMA repeal] hoped would happen: that it would end the debate,” Huelskamp said. “The debate is not over.”
The bill already has 28 Republican cosponsors.
May Who Attacked Gay Couple Over Their Pink Poodle Indicted
An Oregon man could face up to 10 years in prison after being charged with a hate crime for beating up a gay couple because they had a pink poodle, the victims said.
Back in March, David Beltier and his partner Jeremy Mark were walking their pink-dyed poodle when 22-year-old George Mason Jr. allegedly got out of his SUV and started insulting the couple. As reported by KPTV, Mason hurled homophobic slurs and made fun of their pink dog. Then he grabbed a metal wrench and hit Beltier in the back of the head, the couple said.
“He was saying your poodle is a weird color and that’s just un-American and F-you, you f— and shouting,” Mark told KPTV. “It just really hurts to know people are out there still like that. Who cares if my dog is pink. It’s not their dog. So leave me alone,” added Beltier.
Beltier told The Oregonian he believes the color of his dog set off the alleged assailant.
“Honestly, I feel like the pink poodle provoked him,” he said. “We weren’t holding hands or anything. Just walking the dog like normal.”
For his part, Mason was slapped on June 27 with one charge of a federal “hate crime.” He also faces charges for second-degree intimidation, second-degree assault, unlawful use of a weapon and reckless driving, according to KCTV.
He faces up to 10 years in prison.
Russian Gay Activist Arrested by Own Parents
In almost Orwellian fashion, the parents of a 24-year-old Russian activist helped police detain his son, who was protesting for his right to celebrate gay pride in the city of Kazan.
As Gay Star News reports, activist Dmitry Isakov was arrested twice in the city of Kazan in the Republic of Tatarstan, on June 29 and June 30.
Isakov had asked authorities if he could hold a gay pride march in the city. When they denied, he went on the street with a poster to protest the decision.
It turns out it was his own father who helped police bring the man down to the ground, while his mother snatched the protest sign away from her son’s hands. Isakov was later released and went on to protest the same way the next day, but this time police allegedly beat him, gay rights activist Nikolai Alekseev told GSN.
“[Isakov] was beaten, insulted and threatened by police and his current location is not known! We need maximum attention to his case! He might be in real danger,” Alekseev said.
Isakov posted on Facebook that he was okay, but had been badly beaten by police after his second protest.