With the start of the new year, same-sex couples will have access to legally sanctioned marriage in Maryland. This comes after the state already recognized same-sex marriages performed elsewhere, and after years of same-sex couples marrying in the Free State -- albeit without the state's legal imprimatur. It also comes long after Maryland added ''sexual orientation'' to statewide antidiscrimination protections.
Expanding civil marriage to include same-sex couples, specifically, is apparently beyond what Matt Grubbs can accommodate in good conscience.
''We used to do weddings until recently,'' Grubbs wrote to a New Jersey couple inquiring about Grubbs's Discovery Annapolis Tours' trolley services for their upcoming Annapolis wedding, as reported by the Eye On Annapolis blog Nov. 30. ''But we're a Christian-owned business, and we are not able to lend support to gay marriages. And as a public accommodation, we cannot discriminate between gay or straight couples, so we had to stop doing all wedding transportation.
''If you live in Maryland, you might contact your senator and three delegates in the General Assembly and request they amend the new marriage law to allow an exemption for religious conviction for the lay person in the pew. The law exempts my minister from doing same-sex weddings, and the Knights of Columbus don't have to rent out their hall for a gay wedding reception, but somehow my religious convictions don't count for anything.''
Requests for comment from Grubbs left with Discovery Annapolis Tours were not immediately returned.
Carrie Evans, executive director of Equality Maryland, the state's primary LGBT-rights organization, says she believes this to be an insolated incident – particularly in that her organization has been fielding a stream of calls since the passage of Question 6 from businesses hoping to cash in on marriage equality. Question 6 was the referendum Maryland voters passed Nov. 6 to ensure the marriage law could take effect.
''We haven't heard of any other companies doing this. If fact, it's been the opposite,'' says Evans, granting that Grubbs is well within his rights to stop offering his company's services to wedding parties. ''They're totally within their business prerogative – if they withdraw from all weddings.''
The Williams Institute, a think tank at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law, estimates that the first three years of marriage equality should generate $62.6 million in Maryland....more
The top 20 largest newspapers in the country had different ideas on the importance of the Supreme Court's decision to weigh in on marriage equality. As seen in these images from the Newseum's daily gallery of front pages, newspapers based in California, where the Proposition 8 case comes from, were more likely to give it heft. The San Francisco Chronicle stripped the story across the top of its page along with a photo. But some New York papers, where plaintiff Edith Windsor is from, didn't include the story. They weren't alone.
Of all of the publications, editors at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune gave the story the largest presentation. The issue has been in the minds of readers there who became the first in the nation to reject a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in their state. And the governor has said he would sign a bill approving marriage equality if lawmakers decided to send it to him.
See 1A of all top 20 largest newspapers, according to September's circulation numbers, on the following pages. USA Today is missing because its weekend edition is not included by the Newseum gallery.
In a TV interview, Dmitry Medvedev said ânot all relations between people can be regulated by law."
By Shaun Knittel
Best Gay News Magazine Staff Writer
Marvel Comics has announced a renewed focus on its Avengers comics. The company is set to release a spin-off about a team of teenage superheroes called, Young Avengers.
Queerty reports, âJoining Kid Loki, Miss America and Marvel Boy are Wiccan and Hulkling, one of mainstream comicsâ most prominent (and cutest) gay couples.
Wiccan and Hulking were actually a part of an earlier Young Avengers title created by gay screenwriter Allan Heinberg) that was sadly canceled some time back.â
Writer Kieron Gillen says, they will be the âcore romantic couple of Young Avengers.â
âWiccan will make a big mistake,â warns Gillen, âthat threatens his relationship with the shape shifting Hulkling.â
âDo they have Grindr in the Marvel Universe?â asks Queerty.
âFundamentally, 'Young Avengers' used to be about being sixteen," said Gillen, who also gave a brief summary of how the character grew up in the original series. "I wanted to do something different. Instead of being a book about being 16, it's a book about being 18. It's about approaching the world on your own terms." Gillen stated he plans to explore the superhero convention from top to bottom. "Most of the books that have 'Avengers' in the title is about the ideal. It's about super heroism and living as one of Earth's Mightiest Mortals. â¦ It's a book about optimism and how optimism tends to get crushed."
Gillen characterized the book as "very natural," saying, "There's nothing that is less cool than desperately grasping to be cool."