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Entries in Gay Marriage (14)

Thursday
Jul042013

Same-Sex Couple Pay More of Their Wedding Bills Than Straight Couples

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Same-sex couples are more likely to pay for the majority of a wedding themselves, according to a survey by wedding site TheKnot.com and gay news source The Advocate.

According to the survey, released last week, a large majority -- 86 percent -- paid for the wedding themselves, compared with 40 percent of straight couples. The survey also found same-sex couples are more likely to evenly split wedding planning responsibilities -- more than half (55 percent) split the planning evenly, compared to just 19 percent of their straight counterparts.

Diane Anderson-Minshall, editor-at-large with The Advocate, said the Supreme Court's decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act is a "great opportunity" for wedding businesses.

Twelve states and Washington, D.C., permit same-sex couples to marry.

Anderson-Minshall said she was not surprised by the survey finding that same-sex couples pay for their own weddings more frequently, as opposed to the traditional model of couples' asking parents to chip in for the big day.

"When you have same-sex couples, regardless of the configuration, those people have not had the same support from their families and same relationship recognition that straight couples do have," she said.

Anderson-Minshall, 45, of California, married a woman 22 years ago who is now a man. They have had five wedding ceremonies.

Whether same-sex couples call the big day a commitment ceremony or wedding, often, "families are not seeing it that way," she said.

Anja Winikka, site director of TheKnot.com, said for all couples, the older they are, the more likely they will pay for a wedding themselves and spend more money than younger couples.

Winikka said the wedding industry, for the most part, is dominated by local businesses, many of which target the same-sex market.

"Adding more couples into the pool of engaged couples is positive, obviously, and indicates that the weddings industry can only look to gain," she said.

Hotel chains, honeymoon destinations and other vendors have long marketed to same-sex couples.

The Knot launched its first free digital magazine devoted to same-sex weddings June 24 with two cover versions: one with a female couple and another with a male couple. The magazine's sponsor is spirits brand St. Germain.

Traffic to TheKnot.com doubled last week after the Supreme Court's DOMA decision; and a similar increase in traffic to the website took place after New York allowed same-sex civil unions in the state.

Retailer Target is running banner ads on TheKnot.com geared toward gay and lesbian couples.

Mark Novak, vice president of HotelCoupons.com, said the DOMA ruling had a ripple effect across the country, pointing to a doubling in size of San Francisco's Gay Days Celebration annual event.

"This growth is going to continue, especially in regards to honeymoon travel," Novak said. "LGBT-friendly destinations like Las Vegas, Key West and Napa and Sonoma are going to quickly see a huge increase in the number of honeymoon travelers visiting, while travel to destinations like Orlando and New York will certainly increase, but more slowly."

While business interest in same-sex weddings has been heightened by the Supreme Court's decision, The Advocate's Anderson-Minshall says the real boom in same-sex weddings will likely take place in a year, after couples get engaged and plan their weddings.

"What we have now is nothing like what we are going to have in a year," she said.

But Anderson-Minshall cautions that businesses should refrain from stereotyping same-sex couples and their weddings.

"Stop thinking of them as gay weddings and just think of them as weddings where both people are either male or female. A wedding is a wedding," she said.

"What we want is really what everyone else has had."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Apr102013

Florist Sued for Refusing to Provide Flowers for Same-Sex Wedding

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(RICHLAND, Wash.) -- A florist who reportedly refused to provide flowers for a gay wedding because of her religious beliefs is being sued by the Washington State Attorney General.

The lawsuit, which was filed on Tuesday in Benton County, came almost two weeks after Attorney General Bob Ferguson said he sent a letter to Barronelle Stutzman, the owner of Arlene's Flowers and Gifts in Richland, Wash., asking her to reconsider her decision.

Stutzman is accused of violating the state's Consumer Protection Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in a public place.

When ABC News reached Stuztman at her flower shop on Wednesday, she declined to comment on the lawsuit.

On March 1, Robert Ingersoll, a longtime customer, visited the shop and told Stutzman he wanted to order flowers for his upcoming wedding, according to the complaint.

Stutzman told Ingersoll she was unable to provide flowers for his wedding "because of [her] relationship with Jesus Christ," according to the complaint.

At the time of the alleged denial, Stutzman was aware Ingersoll's "upcoming wedding for which he was seeking to purchase flowers would be to another man," the complaint stated.

"The fact that Mr. Ingersoll, a gay man, was seeking to purchase flowers for his wedding to another man was a substantial factor in [Stutzman's] refusal to sell him flowers," the complaint said.

Ferguson is seeking a permanent injunction that would require the store to comply with Washington's consumer protection laws and pay at least $2,000 in fines.

It was the second case in recent months in which a same-sex couple said they were denied service while planning their wedding.

A lesbian couple went to Sweet Cakes, a Gresham, Ore., bakery on Jan. 17 to order their wedding cake, but said they were told the bakery didn't serve same-sex marriages.

Aaron Klein, who owns Sweet Cakes with his wife, Melissa, told ABC News affiliate KATU-TV he was living in accordance with his religious beliefs when he refused to make the couple a wedding cake.

"I honestly did not mean to hurt anybody, didn't mean to make anybody upset, [it's] just something I believe in very strongly," he said.

A complaint was filed with the Oregon Department of Justice; however a spokesman told ABC News that the couple said last month they planned to move the complaint to the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries.

Ace of Cakes star Duff Goldman heard about the plight of the brides-to-be and said he would bake them a wedding cake free of charge.

"I want to give them a big hug and say congratulations," he told ABC News in February. "It involves cake, it involves love, marriage, all things I'm a big fan of."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Mar272013

Gays Denied Marriage: The Economic Cost

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- What is the cost to gay people of not being allowed to marry? A University of Massachusetts economist believes the lifetime cost averages $500,000 per couple.

Professor Lee Badgett, director of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s Center for Public Policy and Administration, estimates that the cost of denying the legal status of marriage to a gay couple can be up to a half a million dollars for the two combined, over the course of their lives.

Her article, The Economic Value of Marriage For Same-Sex Couples, published in the Duke Law Review in 2010, estimates the cost in a variety of categories, including health insurance benefits, federal taxes (including income and estate taxes), Social Security benefits, retirement benefits, and economies of scale.

There is also, she notes, a cost in citizenship, since, if the couple’s union were afforded legal status, a partner who was not a U.S. citizen would automatically become eligible for conditional permanent resident status.

She argues, too, that the superior economic value of marriage is implied by data showing that same-sex couples value it “much more highly than any existing alternative status,” including civil unions, civil partnerships, domestic partnerships or registered partnerships.

Marriage, she concludes, has a dollar value superior to all competing “marriage-like alternatives.”

An economic analogy, she writes, would be “the situation in which consumers see added economic value from purchasing a brand-name product over a less prestigious brand or generic version.”

In a case before the Supreme Court right now, Edie Windsor sued the government over her having to pay $363,000 in estate taxes when her partner of 50 years passed away. Had the couple been a man and a woman, there would have been no estate tax. The two had married in Toronto, Canada, 10 years earlier.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Sep192012

Chick-Fil-A Re-Evaluates Funding for Anti-Gay Marriage Groups

Alex Wong/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A Chicago lawmaker says that Chick-fil-A is re-evaluating the multimillion-dollar donations the company gives to anti-gay marriage activists and other groups with “political agendas,” a month after company CEO Dan Cathy’s pro-traditional marriage comments created a firestorm in the fast-food world between LGBT supporters and gay-marriage opponents.

After weeks of negotiations with city Alderman Joe Moreno, the fast-food restaurant agreed to take “a much closer look” at which groups receive donations from the WinShape Foundation, a non-profit created by the Cathy family and funded almost entirely by Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A, the company told Moreno.

“The WinShape Foundations is now taking a much closer look at the organizations it considers helping, and in that process will remain true to its stated philosophy of not supporting organizations with political agendas,” Chick-fil-A’s senior director of real estate said in a letter to Moreno.

Between 2008 and 2010, the WinShape Foundation gave $3.2 million to groups that advocate against same-sex marriage, according to the group’s tax reports. That included $2,000 to the Family Research Council, which was designated as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2010, and $2,500 to the Alliance Defense Fund, which supported California’s Proposition 8 to outlaw gay marriage.

The Family Research Council and the Alliance Defense Fund did not return requests for comment.

News of these donations, which was sparked by Cathy’s saying he supports “the biblical definition of the family unit,” sparked national outcry from gay-marriage activists and an overwhelmingly supportive response from traditional-marriage conservatives, who turned out in droves to dine at Chick-fil-A restaurants Aug. 1.

Moreno, who represents the ritzy Northwest Side of Chicago, vowed to block construction of a new Chick-fil-A restaurant in his ward after Cathy’s remarks. But in a statement today, Moreno commended the company for making “real progress” toward addressing “the very legitimate concerns of the LGBT community regarding Chick-fil-A.”

Along with re-evaluating funding to anti-gay marriage activist groups, Moreno said Chick-fil-A has agreed to amend its corporate policy to include sexual orientation in its anti-discrimination policy.

Because of such changes to company policy, Moreno said he will recommend to the Chicago City Council that Chick-fil-A construction plans be approved for its new location in Chicago.

Chick-fil-A did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment or confirmation of Moreno’s statement.

The WinShape foundation directed all comments through the Chick-fil-A headquarters, which also serves as the foundation’s main offices, which did not respond to requests for comment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Aug072012

Gay Marriage Activists Try Again to Counter Chick-fil-A Day

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- After traditional marriage advocates came out en masse for Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day last week, gay marriage activists are planning to swarm Starbucks on Tuesday to show their support for companies that offer same-sex partner benefits.

Tuesday's National Marriage Equality Day is a "direct response" to conservative commentator Mike Huckabee's Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, which the chicken company said led to "record-setting" sales last week.

"It felt like the right wing groups were showcasing Aug. 1 as 'This is how America feels,'" said Kirsten Ott Palladino, the editor of an online same-sex wedding magazine, Equally Wed, who, along with her wife, started the equality day effort.  "We are wanting to say, 'This isn't all of America and we can come out and support our businesses too."

The controversy began after Chick-fil-A's president, Dan Cathy, was widely quoted as opposing same-sex marriage.

"I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, 'We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,'" he said.

Palladino told ABC News the day was originally planned as Starbucks Appreciation Day, to show support for a company that, unlike Chick-fil-A, supports same-sex marriage and offers benefits to same-sex couples.  But Starbucks managers asked Palladino to expand the effort to include other companies that are supporters of LGBT rights, a change Palladino said she happily made.

"In the end I think that I'm happier with it becoming this because it's not just supporting businesses that support marriage equality, but also non-profits that are working tirelessly and sometimes thanklessly to support marriage equality in this country," she said.  "At the end of the day it's not just about seeing how many lines we're wrapping around Starbucks."

Starbucks did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.  To see a full list of businesses the equality day is celebrating click here.

More than 28,500 people have said on Facebook they will join in Tuesday's appreciation day, about twice as many attendees as there were for the Chick-fil-A kiss-in that other LGBT advocates held last Friday.  About 12,000 people signed up on Facebook for the kiss-in, which urged same-sex couples to take a photo of themselves kissing outside a Chick-fil-A.

It's still a fraction of the 650,000 people who said on Facebook that they would attend Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day last Wednesday.

Palladino said Huckabee's "household name status" is what made his pro-traditional marriage event so popular.  Big name conservatives like Sarah Palin and Rick Santorum also posted their support for the Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day on Twitter and Facebook.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Aug062012

Amway Boycotted for Anti-Gay Marriage Donation

Rex Larsen-Pool/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- After hundreds of thousands of people ate "mor chikin" last week to support the Chick-fil-A CEO's traditional-marriage stance, another prominent company has found itself in the crosshairs of a boycott sparked by its executive's marriage beliefs.

The Douglas and Maria DeVos Foundation, financially supported by Amway president Doug DeVos, donated $500,000 to the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), an anti-gay marriage group that was one of the leading advocates against same-sex marriage initiatives in eight states.

Because of that 2009 donation, gay rights activists are calling for a boycott of Ada, Mich.-based Amway, a health and beauty products company, and its affiliates including the Orlando Magic basketball team, which DeVos' father and Amway co-founder Richard DeVos owns.

"NOM constantly defends anti-LGBT companies like its ally Chick-fil-A and its owner for hateful and bigoted comments and actions," gay rights activist and long-shot presidential candidate Fred Karger wrote in a statement announcing the boycott Friday.

Karger, the president of the LGBT advocacy group Rights Equal Rights, said the goal of groups like the National Organization for Marriage "appears to be harming Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Americans."

But Amway said the donation stemmed from DeVos' personal beliefs and the "Amway opportunity is open to everyone."

"As private citizens, the DeVos family supports causes and organizations that advocate for policies aligned to their personal beliefs," Amway said in a statement.

The company added that the DeVos family believes "one of the highest callings of any individual is to express their own personal beliefs as a participant in the democratic process."

Amway president Doug DeVos has apparently made no public statements about the issue one way or another.

A spokesman for the Orlando Magic said the team has seen no affect on ticket sales or support from the boycott.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Aug032012

Chick-fil-A Opponents Stage Same-Sex Kiss-In

Alex Wong/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- On Wednesday, hundreds of thousands of traditional marriage activists ate "mor chickin" to support Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.  On Thursday, it is same-sex marriage allies' turn.

Gay marriage supporters are putting a romantic spin on traditional sit-ins, organizing "kiss-ins" outside of Chick-fil-A restaurants from Dallas to New York City to celebrate National Same-Sex Kiss Day.

"Basically what you're going to get is a bunch of pretty normal, average, everyday people that just happen to be gay or lesbian give each other a kiss or a hug, hold each other's hand, and really show them that we stand up for what we believe," said Marci Alt, who is organizing a protest outside the Chick-fil-A in Decatur, Ga., about 20 miles from the company's Atlanta headquarters.

While the spark for this week's protests both for and against Chick-fil-A stemmed from comments the company's CEO, Dan Cathy, made supporting traditional marriage, the issues driving people to the streets go deeper than one executive's words.

"For me why it's so important is, I don't believe anybody should have the ability to say, I'm not a good Christian, or I'm Jewish, that I'm not a good Jew because I'm gay," said Alt, who has been with her wife for 12 years and has two daughters. The couple have invited Cathy over to dinner, where they "can share a respectful dialogue about our faith, work and families here in Georgia," said Alt, who says she'll even make chicken.

Many of the Chick-fil-A supporters who turned out for Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day told ABC News that they chose to eat chicken sandwiches on Wednesday to support Cathy's First Amendment rights to express his opinion on marriage. 

Activists who are planning to turn out for Friday's kiss-off say it is not about speech, it's about action.  Chick-fil-A and the non-profit foundation WinShape that it supports have donated millions to anti-gay groups such as the Marriage & Family Foundation, the Family Research Council and the National Institute of Marriage, all of which support a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

"Yes, you're allowed to have your opinion, but when you start signing checks over to people who are against my community and trying to rip my family apart, I'm going to stand up," Alt said.

Alt said she expects "hundreds, hopefully thousands" of people to show up for the Atlanta kiss-in.  Other formal protests are planned in Dallas and New York City and hundreds of other informal kiss-ins are expected around the country.

"It is just a nice nonviolent demonstration of LGBT love," said Rome Frost, who is organizing a kiss-in outside of New York City's only Chick-fil-A location, at New York University. "It's to show how much support that we do have and how we can solve these kinds of problems in a very nonviolent and romantic way."

Frost said he expects between 150 and 200 people -- both gay and straight -- to show up for the New York City kiss-in, which starts at 8 P.M. ET.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Aug022012

Same-Sex Couple Invites Chick-fil-A CEO to Dinner

A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images(ATLANTA) -- After hundreds of thousands of people ate dinner at his restaurants on Wednesday for Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, one Georgia family, a same-sex couple and their two daughters, has invited Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy to have dinner at their house.

But the dinner invitation from Marci Alt and wife Marlysa, who live near Chick-fil-A’s Atlanta headquarters, is no paltry piece of paper, it is backed by an online petition sponsored by Change.org, an online organizing platform for activists, and GLAAD, a gay rights advocacy group.

“I hope Mr. Cathy will join my family for dinner, where we can share a respectful dialogue about our faith, work and families here in Georgia,” Alt said in a statement. “It’s important that Mr. Cathy meet the people his company is donating millions to stand against.”

“I’ll even make chicken,” Alt added.

The invite comes on the heels of national outrage from the LGBT community after Cathy said that he was “guilty as charged” for supporting the, “biblical definition of the family unit.”

In support of Kathy's comment -- and of his First Amendment right to express it -- customers nationwide flocked to the chain's restaurants.

Alt, along with gay rights advocates across the country, plan to protest those comments and the company’s anti-gay marriage stance with National Same-Sex Kiss Day on Friday. Nearly 12,000 people have said on Facebook that they will head to Chick-fil-A restaurants around the country and pucker up with their same-sex partners.

GLAAD President Herndon Graddick said the protest stems not from Cathy’s comments, but from the millions of dollars his company has poured into “anti-gay hate groups.”

In 2010, WinShape, the non-profit foundation created by Cathy and largely supported by Chick-fil-A, gave more than $1 million to the Marriage & Family Foundation and $37,000 to the National Institute of Marriage, both of which promote defining marriage as between one man and one woman.

“Without question, Dan Cathy has every right to voice his opinions and beliefs,” Graddick said in a statement. “But he should meet and get to know the people that he’s speaking out against -- the people who are harmed by his company’s multi-million dollar donations to anti-gay hate groups working to hurt everyday LGBT Americans and break apart loving families.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Aug022012

Chick-fil-A Posts 'Record' Sales on Appreciation Day

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Chick-fil-A posted "record-setting" sales on Wednesday as thousands of people swarmed the chicken chain for Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day after the chain's chief made anti-gay comments.

"While we don't release exact sales numbers, we can confirm reports that it was a record-setting day," Steve Robinson, Chick-fil-A's executive vice president of marketing, said in a statement.

At least one location had to close early after nearly selling out of chicken. At others, lines snaked around buildings and patrons waited upwards of two hours to snag their chicken sandwiches and show their support for Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy's comments supporting traditional marriage.

"We are very grateful and humbled by the incredible turnout of loyal Chick-fil-A customers on August 1 at Chick-fil-A restaurants around the country," Robinson said. "We congratulate local Chick-fil-A Owner/Operators and their team members for striving to serve each and every customer with genuine hospitality."

At the Chick-fil-A in Augusta, Georgia, about 150 miles from the franchise's Atlanta headquarters, the lunch line wait was hours long. And after a day of lines that snaked around the building, the restaurant had to turn away part of the dinner crowd, closing two hours early due to low supplies.

Mike Huckabee, who created the Appreciation Day movement on Facebook, said yesterday that he was "giddy" about the outcome.

"People are voting with their feet today," Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor, said. "I guess you could also say they are voting with their faces, they are stuffing them with chicken sandwiches, those lovely chicken sandwiches from Chick-fil-A."

The company’s CEO has not spoken publically or agreed to any more interviews following the backlash over comments he made to the Baptist Press supporting "the biblical definition of the family unit."

"We are very much supportive of the family," Cathy said. "We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives."

After an outpouring of support for Cathy and his company during Wednesday's Appreciation Day, gay activists are taking to the streets, or rather the Chick-fil-A parking lots, around the country for National Same Sex Kiss Day at Chick-fil-A on Friday to protest the chicken chain's opposition to the LGBTQ community.

Same-sex couples are being urged to take photos and videos of themselves kissing outside of Chick-fil-A restaurants nationwide.

About 11,000 have said on Facebook that they will attend the event. The Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day event had about 55 times that many Facebook attendees.

Although the restaurant chain has become a rallying cry for people on both sides of the marriage debate, Chick-fil-A has aimed to stay out of the politics and controversy stemming from its CEO's comments.

"The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect –regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender," Robinson said in a statement. "We understand from news reports that Friday may present yet another opportunity for us to serve with genuine hospitality, superior service and great food."

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Aug012012

Traditional Marriage Supporters Urged to Patronize Chick-fil-A

Alex Wong/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- People who support traditional marriage are being urged to patronize their Chick-fil-A restaurants on Wednesday by simply ordering chicken. 

This "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day" is the brainchild of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who backs the opinion of owner Dan Cathy that same-sex marriage invites "God's judgment on the nation."

Business should be brisk at many of the 1,600 eateries, which is what Huckabee and former GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum are hoping for in order to offset the outrage expressed by same-sex marriage supporters and the mayors of Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and San Francisco, who basically don't want Chick-fil-A restaurants operating in their neck of the woods.

Huckabee has been upset by what he sees as a violation of Cathy's First Amendment rights, saying, "I have been incensed at the vitriolic assaults on the Chick Fil-A.  It's a great American story that is being smeared by vicious hate speech and intolerant bigotry from the left."

In truth, the charitable arm of Chick-fil-A has donated millions to causes opposed to homosexual rights.

Meanwhile, a counter-demonstration of sorts is in the works for Friday as the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation is sponsoring a National Same-Sex Kiss Day.  The group wants gays and lesbians to show up at Chick-fil-A restaurants and smooch.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio