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Posted on Apr 23, 2014

Pastor Monica Cosaro: The Boy Scouts banned my congregation because we support gay people

Dr. Monica Cosaro, pastor of Rainier Beach United Methodist Church in Seattle, Washington, has written an op-ed for entitled "Boy Scouts Banned My Church Because We Support Gays." The congregation had its Boy Scout charter revoked on Good Friday because of the church's support for an openly gay Scoutmaster. In the op-ed Pastor Cosaro talks about the values of the congregation and how they feel the Boy Scouts are punishing them for those values.

We didn’t choose Geoff McGrath as a political statement. We chose Geoff because he was the perfect person for the job, an Eagle Scout himself, and someone who has a Master’s degree in Social Work. He has mentoring and leadership skills that someone taking on this role needs. A perfect fit. Geoff was quite willing, to serve as scoutmaster but was also nervous that his being gay would pose a problem for me and for the congregation. I assured him that putting him in the leadership of this troop would reflect and live out the values of our congregation, and that we would not have a troop at Rainier Beach UMC unless it was fully inclusive, because that is who we are.

Apparently, who we are is a problem for the Boy Scouts of America. Our congregation’s new troop was welcomed warmly by the Chief Seattle Council with full knowledge of the values of Rainier Beach United Methodist Church, as well as who Geoff McGrath is. Our congregation is the religious partner in this chartering relationship, and it troubles me that our belief that God created and loves each and every one of us, just as we are is being ignored and in fact denied by the Boy Scouts of America.

Read the full op-ed at

Rainier Beach United Methodist Church is represented by Friedman | Rubin Law Offices.

Thirty-nine Washington state legislators have signed a letter in support of Rainier Beach United Methodist Church's decision to stand by McGrath, writing that they're "deeply troubled" as "discrimination against gay people is unacceptable."

In May 2013, the BSA approved a landmark resolution that allowed gay youth to participate in Scouting. The Boy Scouts opted to maintain its ban on gay and lesbian parents and adults, however.

An April 2014 Rasmussen poll shows that favorable views of the Boy Scouts continue to decrease, with a 6% decline since May 2013. 

GLAAD first started calls for the Boy Scouts of America to end its ban on gay Scouts and Scout leaders in April 2012 after Jennifer Tyrrell, a mom and den leader from Ohio was removed from her 7-year-old’s Cub Scout pack for being gay. Tyrrell’s petition has attracted more than 350,000 signatures in support of ending the Boy Scouts’ ban on gay Scouts and adult leaders.

More than 1.8 million people have joined petition campaigns since Tyrrell launched her first petition. Since that day, advocacy efforts and successful petition campaigns have recruited two Boy Scout board members -- AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson and Ernst & Young CEO James Turley -- to denounce the national anti-gay policy. GLAAD, together with Eagle Scout and founder of Scouts for Equality Zach Wahls, have also used petitions to pressure corporate donors such as the Intel Foundation and the UPS Foundation to pull funding until the Boy Scouts ends its policy banning gay youth and parents. In 2012, a Bay Area mother named Karen Andresen petitioned her local Boy Scout council to honor her son Ryan with an Eagle Award that was denied to him when the Scout came out as gay. An official Eagle Board Board of Review unanimously approved Ryan's application for Eagle, but a Boy Scout executive ultimately rejected his application.

For a full timeline of events leading up to today's vote, please visit

April 23, 2014
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Posted on Apr 21, 2014

PHOTOS: Gay immigrant widow is asking the US to reopen his marriage-based green card application

Anthony Sullivan, a 72-year-old gay immigrant, will ask the Los Angeles Field Office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) to reopen his marriage-based green card petition which this same office denied four decades ago.

Anthony was with his partner, Richard Adams for 41 years. On April 21, 1975, after learning that the county clerk in Boulder, Colorado was issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, Adams, a naturalized U.S. citizen, married Sullivan who is Australian. The couple returned home to Los Angeles and Richard Adams immediately filed a green card petition with INS on Sullivan’s behalf for the spouse of an American citizen. They became one of the first gay couples in American history to legally marry and the first same-sex couple to sue the U.S. government for recognition of their marriage.

But when they filed for a green card, they got a hostile response. In a letter dated November 24, 1975 and addressed to Sullivan’s spouse, Richard Adams, the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (“INS”) wrote only a single inflammatory sentence to deny the petition:  “You have failed to establish that a bona fide marital relationship can exist between two faggots.”

Anthony Sullivan and Richard Adams fought back in a high-profile lawsuit, demanding that the federal government recognize their marriage for immigration purposes.  Following ten years of litigation, they lost in a final ruling at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Sullivan and Adams lived together as a couple for 41 years, until Richard Adams' death in 2012.

Sixteen months after the death of his spouse in December 2012, Sullivan now returns to fight for recognition of their marriage and for a green card, this time as the widower of an American citizen. By filing a Motion to Reopen and Reconsider with USCIS, Sullivan will ask that Adams’ 1975 green card petition be retroactively approved and automatically converted to a widower’s petition, which would give Sullivan the right to apply for a green card. This would be consistent with what is a routine

After the U.S. Supreme Court struck down section 3 of the so-called "Defense of Marriage Act," the then-Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, announced that USCIS would recognize same-sex marriages for immigration purposes.

“The widows and widowers of gay and lesbian Americans who seek to resolve their immigration status must have access to the provisions of law already available to other surviving spouses of U.S. citizens who are permitted to self-petition for a green card,” said Lavi S. Soloway, a partner in the immigration law firm, Masliah & Soloway. “Although we are sad Richard Adams did not live to see this day, we are optimistic the government will grant this Motion to Reopen and take the necessary steps to fulfill his desire that Mr. Sullivan be granted lawful permanent resident status by issuing a green card on the basis of their marriage. This unprecedented request is a matter of basic decency and tests our American ideals of equality and justice. We are asking the federal government, at long last, to treat this marriage with the dignity and respect it deserves, and, in so doing, to repudiate the unacceptable and hateful language that was used by INS in 1975.”

Anthony and Richard's marriage certificate:

Rejection letter from INS:

Photos from the petition to re-open the case from The DOMA Project:

Anthony Sullivan before the filing.

Anthony Sullivan and attorney Lavi Soloway before the filing.

Anthony and Lavi filing the motion.

Anthony with filed motion.

Anthony and Lavi after the filing. 

April 22, 2014
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Posted on Apr 16, 2014

VIDEO: Maria Menounos presents Int’l Advocate for Change Award to Manny de Guerre at #GLAADAwards

Actress and entertainment correspondent, Maria Menounos presented GLAAD's inaugural International Advocate for Change Award to Manny de Guerre, director of the Side by Side LGBT Film Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia at the 25th Annual GLAAD Media Awards held in Los Angeles on April 12.

Menounos introduced Manny by describing the challenges that Side by Side has faced, including fines, police interference, and bomb threats. Memounos was part of a campaign to bring visibility to LGBT Russians earlier this year.

In accepting her award, Manny de Guerre spoke about the challenges faced by LGBT Russians. "We can hope that those in power relent, but recent indicators point to even more repressive measures. It pains me that young LGBT people in Russia are growing up without hope of a better life and that's why Side by Side refuses to give up.  We will not be silenced," de Guerre said. "With the support of our audiences, partners in Russia, volunteers, international friends and supporters we will continue our work, bringing social change Side by Side!"

GLAAD will continue working with the Side by Side LGBT Film Festival, offering support and resources to make the event as safe, meaningful, and positive as possible.

Other special guests at the 25th Annual GLAAD Media awards included:  Rita Moreno who presented the Vanguard Award to Jennifer Lopez.Ellen Page who presented the Stephen F. Kolzak Award to Laverne CoxNorman Learreceived the Pioneer Award. Manny de Guerre, LGBT advocate from Russia, received the International Advocate for Change Award. Other guests included:  Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years a Slave); Johnny Galecki (The Big Bang Theory); Naomi Campbell (The Face); TatianaMaslanyJordan Gavaris (Orphan Black); Tom Cullen (Downton Abbey); Eric DaneRebecca GayheartNatasha Henstridge (The Secret Circle); James Frain (Intruders); Alex Newell(Glee); Kat Graham (The Vampire Diaries); Ross Mathews (Hello Ross); Maria Menounos(Chasing Maria Menounos); Sherri SaumTeri PoloPeter PaigeBradley Bredeweg (The Fosters); Lucas Neff (Raising Hope); Meghan McCain (Take Part Live); singer Debby Boone;Caitlin Stasey (Please Like Me); Luke Newberry (In the Flesh); author and transgender advocate Chaz BonoShane Bitney CroneLinda Bloodworth-Thomason (Bridegroom);Katherine Fairfax WrightMalika Zouhali-WorrallJohn "Longjones" Abdallah Wambere(Call Me Kuchu); Charlie Condou (Coronation Street); Sophie Ward (Jane Eyre); Pratibha Parmar (Nina's Heavenly Delights); Jill SolowayAmy Landecker, Ian Harvie (Transparent);Kate MansiGuy Wilson (Days of Our Lives); trans advocates Calpernia AddamsAndrea JamesHusbands creators Brad BellJane Espenson; comedian Suzanne Westenhoefer; trans model Carmen Carrera; trans singer Our Lady J; GLAAD National Spokespersons, Wilson Cruz and Omar Sharif, Jr., and GLAAD CEO & President Sarah Kate Ellis.  DJ Tracy Youngwas the guest DJ at the after-party.

Photos and videos are available here.

Additional awards will be presented in New York City on May 3 at the Waldorf Astoria, tickets are available now.

The 25th Annual GLAAD Media Awards are presented nationally by Ketel One Vodka, Wells Fargo, and Hilton Worldwide. The Los Angeles event is presented locally by Delta Air Lines and Bud Light.

April 16, 2014
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