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Marriage Equality with a Side of Fries



Marriage equality, LGBT immigration, the challenges same-sex married binational couples and their families face — and what marriage really means. Columnist David W. Ross explains.

Yes. I was your atypical waiter/writer/actor in L.A. But I was actually happy to be waiting tables. It meant I could focus on my writing during the day and have the time to do my homework for acting class. Yes, you can actually have homework for acting class. Quinceañera, a film I was in, had won Sundance a few months earlier and I was trying to get used to people gushing over the film (as they should, it was amazing!) and then me having to ask them if they wanted fries or salad with their burger. I was proud of the film, so it wasn’t as painful as it sounds, and I had experienced a similar thing in my early twenties in London when I had opted to work in a juice bar and journalists from my boy band days (the ones that had me on the cover were the most embarrassed) would come in and sheepishly order a carrot and ginger or banana strawberry.

This past week I was listening to NPR’s “To The Point” on KCRW radio. Warren Olney, the host, and his guests were talking about the President’s recent speech on immigration reform. They argued about the DREAM Act, the Hispanic vote and the fact that deportations are up 70% under Obama (specifically, convicted criminals). Not once did they mention LGBT immigration issues. Neither did the President, mind you. Which was obviously a bone of contention for many LGBT immigration advocates.

Shin Inouye, a White House spokesperson, said, “The president delivered this speech because he wants a constructive and civil debate on the need to fix the broken immigration system so that it meets America’s economic and security needs for the 21st century,” and finished off with, “It is fundamental for America to win the future. His remarks are not meant to be a laundry list of all the issues that immigration reform should address.”

Ouch. Laundry list. That smarted a little. Is LGBT immigration just a bullet point on a laundry list? Tell that to my friend Craig, who’s about to be deported because America (thank you, DOMA,) doesn’t recognize his U.K. marriage so his husband (whose job relocated them to New York) can’t sponsor him with a visa or green card.

Or my friends who have a family, two teenage boys, and face the threat of a knock on the door from ICE at any moment. The stress of raising two teenage boys on a relationship is one thing, but add deportation at any moment and that’s a fine mix of top stressors.


Now, do I want to say one day that I’m married, even if it’s still not legal? Yes. Because the word has gravitas and meaning in our culture. It means, to me, that I’ve made a commitment to someone. That I have created family with someone. That I have promised myself till death do us part. I’m into the more classic wedding vows… But maybe we shouldn’t call it marriage until it’s the same as the other marriage.


Now, I’m not about to rail on the President about this. I understand marriage equality, politically, is a difficult and delicate subject in this country. What I was a little miffed about and have been for several months now, is the lack of media coverage of the LGBT experience. There has been a flurry of mentions, especially when USCIS decided to halt deportations for about 24 hours in March and a little recently when the deportation of Henry Velandia, a Venezuelan who is married to an American, had his deportation put on hold by a judge in a New Jersey immigration court, the day after U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder set aside a ruling in a similar case.

But I’m constantly surprised when media outlets, (especially, for example, Warren Olney’s show this past week on NPR,) fail to mention the LGBT issue, as it relates to immigration. I realize it’s a small part of a larger issue in this country but it would have been nice to hear Warren mention the fact that there are over 30,000 bi-national couples living in this country, with over 40% of them having families. It would have been nice to hear that mentioned along side the DREAM Act and alligators in moats.

But then I have to remember, we’re just a bullet point at this point.

Maybe when we all realize the full extent of the rights missing from same-sex marriage in this country, and the human cost of laws like DOMA. Maybe then we’ll no longer be just a bullet point on Washington’s agenda.

I had a lot of regular customers at the restaurant I worked at. For most of that time I was working on “I DO,” the script I’m about to go into pre-production for (A “gay green card movie,” that highlights immigration rights for bi-national couples). Many regulars would ask me how it was going. I would recount tales of writhing on the floor, chewing my shoes, crying for hours begging my muse to let me in on her secret for what the film should “really” be about. Many times, these smart, well-educated men would joke and say they’d marry me if I needed a green card. I would just smile and say, “I’m good, thank you, but even if I did need a green card you still couldn’t marry me to keep me in the country.”

They would always look a little perplexed, “What about Massachusetts?” “We could relocate to the East coast but that still wouldn’t do it.” Then I would have to explain that immigration is a federal level right not afforded to same-sex couples. Marriage equality exists only on a state level now, and there are over 1,300 federal level rights missing. Would you like fries or salad with that burger?

It’s been amazing to work on the film and meet so many people who have been fighting for decades on the issue of LGBT immigration. I set up a campaign on Kickstarter to raise money for the film and because of that I’ve heard hundreds of stories of families being ripped apart, by time (months apart waiting for paperwork), space (Americans having to move to a country that has equal rights for same-sex marriage, leaving their birth families here in the U.S.) or Immigration & Customs Enforcement (the constant threat of a knock on the door, or mail with terrible news). Many have emailed me saying, “thank you” for writing a movie that we all hope will raise awareness for the issue. But my issue is that not enough of the LGBT community really knows just how many rights are lacking from lack of legal, state and federally-recognized civil marriage equality.

You hear the word “marriage” and you assume that it covers everything. It doesn’t. Maybe we should call it same-sex unions, or homoriage… (OK, that was terrible). But calling it “marriage” at this stage is confusing to everyone. Not to mention gasoline for the flame that is religion.

Now, do I want to say one day that I’m married, even if it’s still not legal? Yes. Because the word has gravitas and meaning in our culture. It means, to me, that I’ve made a commitment to someone. That I have created family with someone. That I have promised myself till death do us part (I’m into the more classic wedding vows.) But maybe we shouldn’t call it marriage until it’s the same as the other marriage. You know, the straight peoples’ thing. When it has all the rights, rules and privileges that a marriage should provide. Until then the fight isn’t just for the word, it’s not just for white poofy dresses or walking down the aisle in a “hetrocentric” ceremony (my friends always argue about why we should be fighting for a heterosexual institution.) It’s for protection. For family. For basic human rights.

“Two Words Can Change Everything,” is my film’s tag line, but I often wonder if I should change it to “Two Words Should Change Everything.” Being the romantic that I am, I think I prefer the first. But I’m always hopeful for the second.


David W. Ross is best known for the 2006 Sundance smash Quinceañera and mid-nineties chart topping boy band Bad Boys Inc. After traveling the world, David has made L.A. his home where he has penned his first feature, “I DO,” a character-driven “gay green card” movie highlighting marriage inequality.

Read David W. Ross’s most-recent previous piece at The New Civil Rights Movement, “If You Don’t Help, This Film About Same-Sex Binational Couples Won’t Get Made.”

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‘Another Happy Jobs Day’: Economists Thrilled With ‘Amazing’ Report as Jobs Growth Beats Expectations, Wages Increase



The Biden economy added a whopping 263,000 jobs last month, crushing expectations of 200,000, and wages are growing as well, leading one economist to declare “another happy jobs day.”

The U.S.Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) adds that unemployment remains at a near-historic low of 3.7% in November, “and has been in a narrow range of 3.5 percent to 3.7 percent since March.”

University of Michigan School of Economics Professor Justin Wolfers exclaimed, “It’s yet ANOTHER happy jobs day. Payrolls rose +263k, well above expectations.”

“This expansion just keeps on rolling on,” added Wolfers, a senior fellow at The Brookings Institution.

RELATED: ‘This Is a Very Strong Economy’: Experts Cheer October Jobs Report – Blast Those Claiming ‘Recession’

Wolfers also takes on those who have been falsely pushing “recession” talking points.

“BTW, remember all that recession talk? It was nonsense. Bollocks. Cow dung,” he tweets. “There never was a recession. And the economy sure doesn’t look like it’s in one now. Job growth at this rate is the economy singing: ‘This is a robust expansion.'”

And he also slams the doom and gloom forecasters.

Economist David Rothschild sums up where the Biden economy is compared to the rest of the world.

IN OTHER NEWS: ‘This Is Nazism’: Americans Outraged After Kanye West Praises Hitler – ‘This Is Not a Clown Show. It’s Dangerous’

“Economy is far from perfect,” he writes, “but conditional on the worldwide pandemic and supply chain issues generated from pandemic: US economy has done *amazing* over last 2 years.”

In news alerts The New York Times reported hiring “continued to exceed expectations,” The Wall Street Journal called it “a sign of continued strength in the labor market,” and even Fox News reported it as “stronger-than-expected.” CNN referred to the jobs report as “robust” and “defying expectations.”

“America’s jobs engine kept churning in November, the Labor Department reported Friday, a show of continued demand for workers despite the Federal Reserve’s push to curb inflation by tamping down hiring, The Times reported. “The labor market has been surprisingly resilient in the face of successive interest rate increases by the Fed over the past year. Even sectors normally sensitive to borrowing costs, like construction and manufacturing, have been slow to back off the brisk pace of growth they posted coming out of the pandemic.”

The BLS also broke down unemployment numbers by demographics.

“Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (3.4 percent), adult women (3.3 percent), teenagers (11.3 percent), Whites (3.2 percent), Blacks (5.7 percent), Asians (2.7 percent), and Hispanics (3.9 percent) showed little or no change over the month.”


Image: Matt Smith Photographer / Shutterstock

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‘The Law Is Clear’: Appeals Court Rules Trump Handpicked Judge Should Never Have Appointed Special Master



A three-judge panel on the conservative 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled against Donald Trump, and effectively against his hand-picked federal district court judge Aileen Cannon in the ex-president’s “special master” case.

The judges, all three conservatives, two of whom appointed to the bench by Trump himself, ruled that Judge Cannon should never have agreed to Trump’s request to appoint a “special master” to review all the items the Dept. of Justice removed from his Mar-a-Lago residence by executing a legal search warrant.

Cannon had ordered the special master to specifically review approximately 100 classified documents, and blocked the DOJ from accessing them while they were under review. That block halted its investigation into Trump’s likely illegal retention of the documents and other items – over 10,000 – he removed from the White House and was string at Mar-a-Lago.

RELATED: In Trump’s ‘Special Master’ Appeal 2 of 3 Judges Are Ones He Appointed – and Both Previously Ruled Against Him

CNN calls Thursday’s ruling “a major defeat for former President Donald Trump.” The appeals court’s ruling halts  “a third-party review of documents seized from his Mar-a-Lago estate,” and “removes a major obstacle to the Justice Department’s investigation into the mishandling of government records from Trump’s time in the White House.”

“The law is clear,” the judges wrote in their ruling Thursday, posted by NBC News’ Daniel Barnes. “We cannot write a rule that allows any subject of a search warrant to block government investigations after the execution of the warrant. Nor can we write a rule that allows only former presidents to do so. Either approach would be a radical reordering of our caselaw limiting the federal courts’ involvement in criminal investigations.”

“And both would violate bedrock separation-of-powers limitations,” they continued. “Accordingly, we agree with the government that the district court improperly exercised equitable jurisdiction, and that dismissal of the entire proceeding is required.”

READ MORE: ‘Roughing Him Up’: Judges Scorch Trump’s Attorney in Tense Hearing Over His ‘Secret’ Argument

They also wrote: “In considering these arguments, we are faced with a choice: apply our usual test; drastically expand the availability of equitable jurisdiction for every subject of a search warrant; or carve out an unprecedented exception in our law for former presidents. We choose the first option. So the case must be dismissed.”

“The district court,” meaning Judge Cannon, “improperly exercised equitable jurisdiction in this case. For that reason, we VACATE the September 5 order on appeal and REMAND with instructions for the district court to DISMISS the underlying civil action.”


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Right Wing Social Media Platform Parler Announces Kanye West Will No Longer Buy It in ‘Interest of Both Parties’



After Kanye West‘s antisemitic and racist remarks last month, which led to him being deplatformed by Twitter and Instagram, the extremist artist and rapper announced he was purchasing the right wing “free speech” social media platform Parler, which performs little content moderation.

On Thursday, hours after West went on far right extremist and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ show and praised Adolf Hitler, Parler issued a statement saying by mutual agreement West would not be purchasing the platform.

But the Parler statement, which came from its parent company, also claimed the decision had been made weeks ago.

“In response to numerous media inquiries, Parlement Technologies would like to confirm that the company has mutually agreed with Ye to terminate the intent of sale of Parler,” Parler said on Twitter. “This decision was made in the interest of both parties in mid-November.”

READ MORE: ‘This Is Nazism’: Americans Outraged After Kanye West Praises Hitler – ‘This Is Not a Clown Show. It’s Dangerous’

On Thursday, stunning many, West told Alex Jones, “I see good things about Hitler,” as Consequence reported. “Every human being has something of value that they brought to the table, especially Hitler.” 

When West had agreed to purchase Parler, he stated, “In a world where conservative opinions are considered to be controversial we have to make sure we have the right to freely express ourselves.”

CNBC reported last month that “Parler, which initially launched in 2018, was swept up in controversy last year over the role it played in the Jan. 6, 2021, riots at the Capitol building. That led a slew of tech companies, including Google and Amazon, to blacklist the service, rendering its app and website inaccessible.”

READ MORE: Matt Gaetz ‘Wingman’ Joel Greenberg Sentenced to 11 Years in Prison – Attorney ‘Disappointed’ Others Not Prosecute

Parler’s CEO is George Farmer, who is married to far right commentator Candace Owens. Owens several years ago had her own Hitler-praising scandal.

Owens, promoting nationalism, told young supporters in London, “Whenever we say nationalism, the first thing people think about, at least in America, is Hitler.”

“But if Hitler just wanted to make Germany great and have things run well, OK, fine. The problem is that he wanted, he had dreams outside of Germany. He wanted to globalise. He wanted everybody to be German, everybody to be speaking German. Everybody to look a different way. To me, that’s not nationalism.”

Hitler was responsible for the slaughter of up to 17 million people.


Image via Tinseltown / Shutterstock



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