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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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‘All-Out War’: Trump’s Attorney Tells Kimberly Guilfoyle Ex-President Will Be ‘Loud and Proud’ When Showing Up for Indictment



Donald Trump’s attorney for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s hush money case against the ex-president was interviewed by Kimberly Guilfoyle for her new show on Monday. Guilfoyle is engaged to Donald Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump, Jr.

Attorney Joe Tacopina told Guilfoyle, the ex-Fox News host, that the ex-president will happily show up in Manhattan if and when DA Alvin Bragg indicts him.

Guilfoyle asked Tacopina if Trump is indicted would he want them to “do it virtually,” presumably so Trump could participate from Mar-a-Lago.

Frowning, Tacopina said the district attorney and prosecutors “do what they want.. At this point, this is an all-out war.”

“Donald Trump is the toughest human being I’ve ever met,” Tacopina continued.

“Donald Trump is not going to ask for anything from them. If they want him at 100 Centre Street,” the address of the New York County Criminal Court and NYPD Manhattan Central Booking, Tacopina told Guilfoyle, “he’ll be there loud and proud, and there’s nobody that’s gonna make him cower.”

READ MORE: Republicans Are ‘Obstructing Justice’ and ‘Becoming Accessories’ to Trump’s ‘Crimes’: Former Prosecutor

Guilfoyle does not appear to disclose her relationship to either Trump in her video, which is produced to appear as an actual news show, during which she shares legal theory with viewers.

Tacopina tells Guilfoyle Trump is the victim, and the only crime was extortion. The grand jury likely will have a difference of opinion.

He also falsely calls The Wall Street Journal, a sister entity to Fox News and The New York Post – all owned by Rupert Murdoch – a “far-left” publication.

Watch a short clip below or at this link.

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Republicans Are ‘Obstructing Justice’ and ‘Becoming Accessories’ to Trump’s ‘Crimes’: Former Prosecutor



In the wake of Donald Trump‘s numerous recent social media rants attacking various prosecutors investigating his possibly unlawful acts, and his claim over the weekend that he will be indicted on Tuesday, many House and Senate Republicans have been rushing to his defense, wrongly claiming he is the victim of a political prosecution.

At least two former federal prosecutors are blasting them, with one saying it is “illegal” to interfere with an ongoing criminal investigation, and another warning Republicans are engaging in obstruction of justice and are becoming “accessories after the fact.”

On Saturday, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy slammed Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who is expected this week to indict the former president.

“Here we go again — an outrageous abuse of power by a radical DA who lets violent criminals walk as he pursues political vengeance against President Trump,” McCarthy wrongly told Americans. “I’m directing relevant committees to immediately investigate if federal funds are being used to subvert our democracy by interfering in elections with politically motivated prosecutions.”

READ MORE: Trump Files Sweeping Legal Motion to Try to Block Georgia Grand Jury Findings and District Attorney Fani Willis

McCarthy’s tweet was highly criticized, including by retired Democratic U.S. Congressman John Yarmouth of Kentucky.

“I may end being not fully accurate, but Kevin McCarthy may be implicitly endorsing falsifying business records, tax fraud, campaign finance crime, and more, including obstruction of justice, when undermining the justice system is exactly what his tweet does,” tweeted Yarmouth.

McCarthy didn’t stop there.

“Alvin Bragg is abusing his office to target President Trump while he’s reduced a majority of felonies, including violent crimes, to misdemeanors. He has different rules for political opponents,” McCarthy alleged on Sunday. “Republicans stopped the radical DC crime law, and we will investigate any use of federal funds that are used to facilitate the perversion of justice by Soros-backed DA’s across the country.”

Some Republicans injected what many see as the GOP’s increasing embrace of antisemitism into their attacks against Bragg.

U.S. Senator J.D. Vance (R-OH) on Sunday tweeted: “Alvin Bragg is bought by George Soros. He allows violent criminals to walk the streets of New York City, but will prosecute the likely Republican nominee (and former president) on a baseless misdemeanor charge. These people are trying to turn America into a third-world country.”

Elise Stefanik (R-NY), the Chair of the House Republican Conference and an ultra-MAGA extremist, also used the Soros reference, which experts have said can be antisemitic: “The Soros-backed woke prosecutor Alvin Bragg must testify under oath before Congress.”

Attorney and writer David Lurie, pointing to both McCarthy’s and Vance’s tweets, wrote: “GOP politicians like McCarthy, Trump and JD Vance now routinely include antisemitic conspiracism in their political rhetoric.” He linked to this article he wrote at Public Notice.

“JD Vance is advancing a claim that a Jew ‘bought’ a respected prosecutor, who just happens to be Black,” Lurie added. “Double bigotry in just one tweet.”

U.S. Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) also engaged in the antisemitic “Soros-backed” reference.

READ MORE: ‘RICO’: Trump Could Be Facing Racketeering and Conspiracy Charges Used to Prosecute Organized Crime

Speaker McCarthy “is right,” Scott tweeted, “and I fully support his call for an investigation. No federal dollars should be used to prop up this radical, Soros-backed activist attorney or his gross political attacks.”

U.S. Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) on Sunday said District Attorney Bragg “should focus on the violent criminals terrorizing New York instead of pursuing politically motivated charges against” Donald Trump.

On Monday, a former federal prosecutor for 30 years, Glenn Kirschner, issued a warning for Republicans.

“In a very real sense, congressional Republicans who use their power & their office to thwart criminal prosecutions of Donald Trump are becoming accessories after the fact to Trump’s crimes. They are obstructing justice. And we can expect [it] to continue if it goes unaddressed.”

Kirschner was responding to this tweet from noted Harvard professor of law (retired) Laurence Tribe: “House Republicans are gathered at a luxury resort near Disney World where House Judiciary Chair JIM JORDAN (R-Ohio) & senior GOP leaders are preparing to demand testimony from members of Manhattan DA’s Office amid reports of an imminent Trump indictment.”

READ MORE: ‘This Man Is a Criminal’: George Conway Busts GOP’s ‘Completely Ridiculous’ Trump Defense

Monday afternoon Jordan and his colleagues did just that, sending a letter to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, demanding he hand over communications and testify before Congress to explain his prosecution of Trump.

“Was the Manhattan DA’s office in communication with DOJ about their investigation of President Trump?” Jordan tweeted. “Was the Manhattan DA’s office using federal funds to investigate President Trump? Alvin Bragg owes our committee answers.”

In response, U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), an attorney and former military prosecutor with the U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate General’s Corps, called Jordan’s actions “illegal.”

“Dear @Jim_Jordan,” Lieu tweeted. “Local prosecutors, including DA Bragg, owe you nothing. In fact, it is illegal for you and @JudiciaryGOP to interfere in an ongoing criminal investigation, or a criminal trial (if there is one).”


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Jim Jordan Waging ‘Purely Political Attack’: Demands Bragg Testify Before Congress Over Expected Trump Indictment



In an unprecedented move House Republican Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan is demanding Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg testify before Congress over his expected indictment of Donald Trump. Bragg, officially the New York County District Attorney, is an elected official whose office was created under the New York State Constitution and does not answer to Congress.

Professor of law and former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance quickly blasted Jordan’s move, saying: “what jurisdiction does Congress have over a DA elected by Manhattanites? Sure, Jordan will talk about fed’l funding, but this is a purely political attack on local gov’t.”

Earlier Monday, reacting to Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s remarks, Vance said: “It’s not up to House Republicans to review Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg’s conduct. It’s up to Manhattan voters. If Trump is indicted, a jury will decide whether there’s sufficient evidence to convict. The GOP continues to undercut our democratic institutions to serve Trump.”

Jordan’s letter, he writes to Bragg: “In light of the serious consequences of your actions, we expect that you will testify about what plainly appears to be a politically motivated prosecutorial decision,” according to a Fox Corp. article. The website also says it was signed by two other Republicans: House Oversight Committee Chair Jim Comer and House Committee on Administration Chair Brian Steil. None have any oversight authority on the Office of the Manhattan District Attorney.

READ MORE: Trump Files Sweeping Legal Motion to Try to Block Georgia Grand Jury Findings and District Attorney Fani Willis

“Jordan warned Bragg that if news reports of a possible Trump indictment are accurate, Bragg’s actions ‘will erode confidence in the evenhanded application of justice and unalterably interfere in the court of the 2024 presidential election,'” Fox adds.

“The legal theory underlying your reported prosecution appears to be tenuous and untested,” Jordan wrote. He also attacked former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, who has testified extensively in the case before the grand jury.

Just before leaving office Trump awarded Jordan the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

According to former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson who testified publicly and privately before the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, Jordan discussed pardons with the White House for Republican Members of Congress, although she says he did not ask for one himself. Jordan also defied a subpoena from the January 6 Select Committee.

In a Monday morning interview with Fox Corp.’s Harris Faulkner, Jordan falsely describes Trump’s hush money payment to adult film actress and director Stormy Daniels as “some alleged bookkeeping error.” The expected charges have neither been voted on by the grand jury nor announced.

“Charges in NY are expected to involve false business records created to conceal Trump’s payment of hush money to Stormy Daniels but there are possible charges involving manipulating property values for tax, loan & insurance advantages,” Vance also  said Monday.

READ MORE: ‘RICO’: Trump Could Be Facing Racketeering and Conspiracy Charges Used to Prosecute Organized Crime

Watch video of Jordan discussing the letter and see the letter itself below or at this link:



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