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April 13, 2014

Chris Windows’ anti-gay comments drew 1,500 signatures to stop him becoming Lord Mayor of Bristol

Bristol councillor Chris Windows has withdrawn his bid to become Lord Mayor of the UK city, after a petition to stop his campaign because of his anti-gay comments gathered over 1,500 signatures.

In November 2010, Conservative councillor Windows was highly critical of gay actor Sir Ian McKellen when he visited two Bristol schools to talk about what it means to be gay, on behalf of LGBT rights charity Stonewall.

April 8, 2014

Bristol Pride has started a petition to block the English city’s choice of Lord Mayor after he made remarks understood to be anti-gay

Is the British city of Bristol, a place where LGBTI pride is well established, really about to elect a homophobic Lord Mayor? Or is the current fuss over the possible election of Councilor Chris Windows to this office in June no more than a politically motivated vendetta?

Passions are rising – and with a petition currently up on the council website asking councilors not to vote for him, it’s an issue that won’t be going away any time soon.

March 21, 2014

Stu Rasmussen, the openly transgender mayor of Silverton, Oregon, plans to auction off his women’s shoe collection for charity to raise money for his city

America’s first openly transgender mayor hopes to raise money for his city by selling of his collection of women’s shoes.

Stu Rasmussen became the first openly transgender person to be elected mayor in the US in November of 2008 but chose not to change his legal name or ask people to refer to him with female pronouns – though he reportedly sometimes goes by the name Carla Fong.

Rasmussen hopes that people who would like to own a bit of American LGBTI political history will be interested in the shoes and he’s auctioning them on Ebay.

March 4, 2014

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio marched in the St Pat’s For All parade in Queens on Sunday but will not be marching in the city’s main St Patrick’s Day Parade over its exclusion of visibly LGBTI participants]

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio marched in the LGBTI inclusive St Pat’s For All Parade in Queens on Sunday in the event’s 15th year since being started as an alternative to New York’s main St Patrick’s Day Parade in 2000 over its exclusion of visibly gay marchers.

De Blasio was continuing a tradition as mayor in marching in the St Pat’s For All Parade that he began as a public advocate.

March 2, 2014

A provisional deal has been made to allow a gay group to participate in Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade for the first time in over 20 years, but only if members make no reference to their sexual orientation
 

A tentative deal has been struck to allow a gay rights group to march in Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade this year, after a two decade ban.

Gay rights groups haven’t been able to march in the annual parade since 1993, and in 1995 the US Supreme Court ruled unanimously that organizers could exclude anyone they wanted.

Although details of the deal are not yet clarified, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh said he was ‘optimistic that a solution can be reached that will work for all parties involved’.

February 26, 2014

New York City Council will have no official involvement in this year’s St Patrick’s Parade as organizers continue to refuse to allow gay Irish Americans to march openly

New York City Council will have no official presence at this year’s St Patrick’s Day Parade to protest the event’s continued refusal to allow LGBTI Irish American groups to take part in the event.

Individual Council members will still be allowed to march in the parade – as will city employees - but the event has been denied the use of a City Council banner, sergeant at arms, or any other official presence.

February 13, 2014

Vitaly Milonov, who says gay people rape kids and are violent towards straights, has said a gay contest must take place behind closed doors

A Russian lawmaker who sponsored the federal gay propaganda law wants Moscow’s ‘Gay Olympics’ banned.

Vitaly Milonov has urged Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin to ban the LGBT Sports Games that is being planned to be held shortly after the Sochi Winter Games.

The lawmaker has become a central figure in the battle on gay rights in Russia after he authored the original ‘gay propaganda’ bill in St Petersburg before it became federal law.

February 7, 2014

Canadian cities including Ottawa and Vancouver have also raised pride flags support gay rights during the Olympics in Russia

Toronto Mayor Bob Ford, usually in the headlines for his drug and alcohol use, is now making a fuss over a rainbow pride flag that is flying over city hall.

He wants it taken down.

'It’s not about someone’s sexual preference,' he told reporters Friday (7 January) outside his office. 'No, I do not agree with putting up the rainbow flag. We should put our Canadian flag up.'

February 5, 2014

Lambeth Mayor Mark Bennett, an adovocate for gay rights, was a friend of Prime Minister Tony Blair

A gay mayor in London has died suddenly, at the age of 44, from a suspected heart attack.

Tributes have poured in to Lambeth Mayor Mark Bennett, who was first elected in 2005, died on Monday (3 February).

Tony Blair, former Labour Prime Minister, described him as an ‘intelligent, immensely hard-working and above all, a warm and generous spirit who was a pleasure to be around’.

Bennett, assistant to Alistair Campbell for the first four years of Blair’s government from 1997 to 2001, also paid tribute.

February 5, 2014

Svetlana Zhurova: 'It is more important who wins than whether he or her is homosexual or not'

Svetlana Zhurova, the 2006 Olympic speed skating champion from Russia, wants the games in Sochi to be about athletic competition - not protests.

Zhurova is honorary 'mayor' of Sochi's mountain Olympic village and spoke to the possibilities of protests over Russia's anti-gay propaganda law during the international athletic competition which begins on Friday (7 February).

February 4, 2014

'I simply disagree with the organizer of that parade in their exclusion of some individuals in the city'

New York City's new mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday (4 February) that he plans to skip the city's annual St. Patrick's Day Parade next month - an event that pointedly excludes the participation of gays.

February 4, 2014

Andrey Ozerny, a 24-year-writer from Sochi, Russia, has written an open letter to the official urging him to open his mind

Dear Anatoly Nikolayevich Pakhomov, the Mayor of Sochi,

I omitted the 'honorable' on purpose – as I have ever felt any respect for you.

Recently in one of your crazy interviews with BBC, you said that there are no gays in the city of Sochi.

At least, you personally didn’t know of any and thought that 'it' was not accepted in the Caucasus.

Of course, you often amuse us with statements that are familiar to us because we know you.

January 29, 2014

A billboard campaign by a church group and a local politician in Chiapas state is calling for Bible based law in Mexico – attacking abortion, gay marriage and the legalization of marijuana

A Mexican Christian church and local mayor have paid for a billboard campaign calling for biblical based laws as the country slowly moves state by state to legalize same-sex marriage and reappraise the approach it has taken in its drug war that has killed thousands.

‘No to the legalization of initiatives that are contrary to the commandments of God – abortion, gay marriage, legalization of marijuana etc,’ the billboard reads.

‘The wages of sin are death,’ quoting Romans 6:23.

January 27, 2014

London’s High Court is examining a newly-released email pointing to mayor Boris Johnson as the driving force behind a ban on anti-gay bus adverts. The Christian group behind the ads alleges Johnson used the ban to secure gay votes for re-election

High Court judges are examining whether London mayor Boris Johnson banned an anti-gay bus adverts to secure the gay vote for his re-election.

A previously unreleased email suggests it was Johnson, not Transport for London’s (TfL) managing director of marketing and communications Vernon Everitt, who authorized a ban on anti-gay bus adverts from 2012.

January 27, 2014

Sochi Mayor Anatoly Pakhomov says there are no gay people living in his city of 350,000 people – but says they would be welcome so long as they respect Russia’s ban on so-called homosexual propaganda to minors

Sochi Mayor Anatoly Pakhomov has claimed there are no gay people living in his city in the lead up to the start of the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Pakhomov made the claim despite the fact that there are two gay bars in his city of 350,000 people – but said that gay people would be welcome so long as they ‘respect Russian law’ and ‘don't impose their habits on others’ in an interview with the BBC.

January 22, 2014

Annise Parker flew to California last week to wed partner of 23 years

Houston's lesbian Mayor Annise Parker is being attacked by GOP critics for getting married in California last week to her partner of more than two decades.

Some are saying the nuptials are a political statement rather than a romantic one.

State Sen. Dan Patrick, a conservative talk radio host involved in a primary campaign for lieutenant governor called the marriage 'obviously part of a larger strategy of hers to turn Texas into California.'

January 19, 2014

Law authorities arrest Mitchell Munro Taylor on suspicion of cyberstalking and harassment against Seattle Mayor Ed Murray

A suspect is being held for leaving threatening posts on the Facebook page of Ed Murray, Seattle's first openly gay mayor.

Mitchell Munro Taylor was arrested this past Thursday (16 January), two days after Murray's staff discovered approximately 20 anti-gay notes.

'Mayor, meet Harvey Milk,' one of the Facebook posts said, according to the Associated Press.

January 18, 2014

Annise Parker says calls it 'a very happy day' for she and Kathy Hubbard who married on their 23rd anniversary as a couple

She's mayor of one of the biggest cities in Texas but Annise Parker had to leave the state this week to get married.

Parker and longtime partner Kathy Hubbard were married on Thursday (16 January) in the gay-friendly city of Palm Springs in California.

Same-sex marriage is banned in Texas but became legal in California last June following a US Supreme Court ruling.

The ceremony took place at sunset at a private home and was held on the Parker and Hubbard's 23rd anniversary as a couple.

January 1, 2014

Start saving and plan your year’s travel around these rising stars. We've chosen one party a month from Iceland to São Paolo, Puerto Vallarta to Tignes

2014 is full of LGBTI events, cruises and festivals for every palate and budget.

From Brazil's popular São Paulo pride where the country seems to descend on the city, to sharing a plot of Nevada dessert with the Glamcocks at Burning Man, Gay Star Travel looks at events for gays, lesbians and fans.

Consider these festivals and parties as you plan your travel adventures for 2014.

December 29, 2013

Spokesperson for Mayor Parker calls marriage a 'private matter,' adding there is nothing new to report

It's rumored that Annise Parker, Houston's lesbian mayor, will marry Kathy Hubbard, her long time partner of 23 years.

An unnamed source told website CultureMap the couple will travel to Palm Beach, California in January for a ceremony.

'I heard it from her [Parker's] own lips,' the source said, as reported by the Houston Chronicle.

December 27, 2013

Lambda Legal files federal lawsuit seeking to preserve benefits for partners of city employees

Lambda Legal filed a federal lawsuit today (26 December) against the city of Houston to try and preserve health insurance and other benefits for the same-sex partners of city employees.

The lawsuit names the city and its mayor, Annise Parker, who happens to be a lesbian.

The lawsuit was filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas on behalf three City of Houston employees. They were legally married to same-sex spouses in other states since same-sex marriage is not legal in Texas.

December 10, 2013

Rainbow Reykjavik turns up the heat in January with a Blue Lagoon pool party, a Golden Circle tour and a Masquerade Ball in celebration of the global LGBTI community

There’s a reason Lady Gaga, Yoko Ono and the producers of hit TV series Game of Thrones come to Iceland.

With its rugged terrain shaped by geothermal activity, progressive LGBTI laws like marriage and adoption thanks to the people’s emphasis on family, an internationally renowned pop/folk music scene claiming the likes of Bjork and Sigur Ros… Iceland is a world all it’s own.

December 4, 2013

13 mayors, both Republicans and Democrats, from cities across Indiana have gone public with their opposition to the HJR-6 effort to ban same-sex marriage in the state’s constitution

13 mayors, including a large group of Republicans, have gone public with their opposition to efforts to ban same-sex marriage in Indiana.

The mayors include 6 Republicans and 7 Democrats and represent the cities of Lafayette, Evansville, Angola, Kokomo, West Lafayette, Anderson, Bloomington, Hammond, Valparaiso, South Bend, Fort Wayne, Carmel and Indianapolis.

11 of the mayors have joined forces with Freedom Indiana to form a group called Mayors for Freedom, while another two made their support known to the media on Tuesday.

November 27, 2013

As Hannukah begins, here is a countdown of celebrities, politicians, activists and comedians who have the best of both worlds

Hannukah, the eight day Jewish festival, began this week.

Every year Jewish communities around the world commemorate the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem in the 2nd century BCE.

At the time, Syrian King Antioch outlawed Judaism and converted the temple into a place of worship to Greek gods.

His actions sparked a revolt, and the temple was eventually taken back.

Hannukah was instituted to celebrate the success of the revolt.