Maryland became the eighth state to legalize same-sex marriage on Thursday night as Governor Martin O'Malley signed the bill into law.
Watch the historic moment above.
Governor O'Malley wrote an exclusive blog about why he signed Maryland's marriage equality bill:
During the debate in Maryland's House, I joined same-sex marriage supporters outside of the chambers who were anxiously awaiting the vote. I met two moms and their 4-year-old son Will. After standing for hours, Will was tired and seemed a bit uninterested. I could only imagine how hard it would be to understand the complex discussions as a 4-year-old.
But the next day I saw a photo of Will and his family taken right after the House voted in support of marriage equality. His little face was lit up with joy, and he was cheering as his moms hugged him with the love that only a mother can provide. Will may not have understood the debates, but his smile after the vote proved one very important thing: even a 4-year-old knows the value of human dignity.
Click here to read the full blog post from Governor O'Malley.
Northeastern University may be the latest in a series of colleges to raise concerns over Chick-fil-A's reported support of "anti-gay" groups, but school officials went an extra step by squashing plans for a campus-based franchise of the fast food chain.
The Boston Globe reports that the university's student senate passed a resolution, 31 to 5 with eight abstentions, "stating that the student body does not support bringing CFA [Chick-fil-A] to campus" on Monday night.
"The decision tonight was based on all of the student feedback we've been receiving," the Globe quotes Northeastern Student Government Association as saying on Twitter, adding in a later re-tweet that: "Student concerns reflected CFA's history of donating to anti-gay organizations."
The franchise would have been one of several food vendors, chosen based on student feedback, to open at the university's soon-to-be-renovated Curry Center later this year, according to The Huntington News, a campus-based newspaper.
A Northeastern University spokesperson released a statement to The Boston Herald, stating that officials were pleased with the outcome. "We are proud of the decision that affirms our university's commitment to be an inclusive, diverse community that is respectful of all," spokeswoman Renata Nyul said. "The successful process is also a testament to the great working relationship between the university administration, the Student Government Association and the Graduate Student Government."
A U.S. Marine was photographed while engaged in a passionate lip-lock with his boyfriend during a homecoming -- and the image instantly went viral.
But Marine Sgt. Brandon Morgan, who returned Feb. 22 from Afghanistan to Hawaii, now insists neither he nor his partner of four years, Dalan Wells, anticipated a snapshot of their romantic reunion would go on to become a global phenomenon on Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets. In fact, the 25-year-old Morgan, who grew up in California, tells the Miami Herald that he wasn't even aware that David Lewis, a friend, was snapping the photos.
"With all that was going on, we didn't even know he was there taking pictures," Morgan is quoted as saying. "The world went away for a few minutes."
Nonetheless, the couple seems conscious of the dramatic photo's significance in a post-"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" era. "Love is love," Morgan told Hawaii-based news network KHON. "We haven't fought for more rights or better rights than others. We fought for equal rights. And now we have them." Added Wells, 38: "Maybe it'll give [kids who view the photo] the courage to hang on."
A gay activist's grandparents have participated in a poignant new video in support of Washington state's approval of same-sex marriage earlier this month.
As Jacob Reitan, who helped found the Soulforce Equality Ride in 2006, tells Towleroad, "My grandparents are now in their 90s. They have been blessed with a strong and beautiful marriage for nearly 70 years. Their marriage has been a role model for all of us in our family." Reitan, who appears in the video alongside his gay cousin Caleb, goes on to note, "I want to have a marriage like theirs. I want society to recognize it. I want my family and friends to celebrate with us and support us."
The clip features a series of vintage photographs of Rev. John and Dorothy Reitan, who currently live in a Tacoma retirement community, and their family, along with some spirited anecotes from the couple.
A Tennessee high school principal has resigned amidst a flurry of reports that she had made blatantly homophobic remarks to gay students during a meeting.
The Jackson Sun is reported that Haywood County High School Principal Dorothy Bond tendered her resignation on Thursday, after the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Tennessee sent a letter "on behalf of several students and families at the school" to the school's superintendent asking the district to take action.
"The Haywood County Board of Education acknowledges its student body's right to free speech," the Haywood County School Board's law firm wrote in a statement confirming Bond's resignation. "Further, the Haywood County Board of Education strives to provide an atmosphere of tolerance and diversity while maintaining high academic standards."
Bond had come under fire from area parents and national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) advocates after ABC 24 reported the principal had made insensitive remarks about both homosexuality and teen pregnancy during a Feb. 9 assembly. "At first she was talking about [public displays of affection] and she turned around and she directly pointed to the gay people and said if you're gay, you're going to hell and if you're pregnant, your life is over," student Amber Whittiemore is quoted as saying.
A recent California poll has infused a huge dose of hope into the state's battle for marriage equality.
On Wednesday, a Field Poll revealed that 59 percent of California registered voters support same-sex marriage -- the highest level of support ever recorded during 35 years of surveying issue in the state.
Only 34 percent of those polled disapproved, and seven percent expressed no opinion. The result shows a surprising jump from the 2010 report, in which only 51 percent of those polled supported same-sex marriage.
"The division of sentiment is nearly a complete reversal of the findings from the first time the Field Poll began measuring Californians' attitudes toward same-sex marriage in 1977," wrote Field Poll in the findings. "At that time, 59 percent disapproved and 28 percent were in favor."
While the news is incredibly encouraging for same-sex marriage advocates, Rebekah Orr of Equality California, the state's largest LGBT advocacy organization, urged supporters not to pop the champagne just yet.
"While it is always good news when things appear to be moving in our direction, it's incredibly important to take these results with a grain of salt," said Orr to The Huffington Post.
Orr pointed out that, while the growing support is palpable, the Field Poll included registered voters, not likely voters.
"We conducted a poll of likely voters in September, and found the results to be around 51 in favor and 44 opposed," said Orr. The Equality California poll (conducted by Amy Simon) focused on groups that were actually likely to make it to the ballot box.
It's no big surprise that Rosie O'Donnell doesn't support Rick Santorum as a viable candidate for the presidency, considering his stances on homosexuality, gay rights and same-sex parents. But she's found problems with much more than just that in his campaign, as she mentioned in a song she wrote to skewer him on "The Rosie Show"
"His quotes are getting dumber by the day, he thinks he's already Prez," O'Donnell sang.
"He's anti-gay. He's anti-black. That little Rick's so anti, anti, he's an anti-vigilante. "How can he say he's the cream of the crop, for America what a shame."
No use considering a thing that he says, he'll lead the USA astray.
Santorum how he reams and rants, he's a true Republican't."
The Indian government Tuesday clarified to the Supreme Court that it accepts a recent ruling legalizing gay sex in the country.
A lawyer told the Supreme Court that the government would not challenge a 2009 order by the Delhi High Court striking down a colonial-era law that made gay sex a crime.
The order was appealed by conservative groups and the Supreme Court is now hearing opinions from those groups as well as gay rights activists.
The latest statement comes days after another government lawyer told the court that gay sex was "highly immoral" and should be banned. The government quickly denied that lawyer's statement, prompting confusion about its stance on the law. -- via AP
On Tuesday, a Supreme Court justice asked the government's lawyers to file an affidavit to reconcile the two divergent positions heard in court. Neither lawyer explained Thursday's confusion.
The 2009 high court order had said that treating consensual gay sex between adults as a crime was a violation of fundamental rights protected by India's constitution.
Sex between people of the same gender had been illegal in India since the 1860s, when a British colonial law classified it as "against the order of nature."
Last week's controversial winter finale episode of "Glee" may have shocked fans, but one lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth advocacy group has seen a number of benefits as a result.
As Entertainment Weekly is reporting, The Trevor Project saw their web traffic spike and their phone calls triple after the episode, which depicted former bully Dave Karofsky (played by Max Adler) attempting suicide -- to the tune of Young the Giant's "Cough Syrup" -- after being outed as gay to his classmates.
"What was great about the show is that they worked in conjunction with us so we knew in advance that there was going to in all likelihood be an increase in volume," Trevor Project co-founder Peggy Rajski tells EW. "What happened was the volume went up about 300 percent, but we were ready."
Adding extra punch, of course, was "Harry Potter" star Daniel Radcliffe's public service announcement, which also aired during the "Glee" time slot. "On average, our site probably attracts about an average of 1,500 visits a day," Rajski said. "Tuesday we got 10,000. There's the power of network TV."
Actor and director Rob Reiner, one of the founders of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, which formed to challenge Proposition 8 in the courts, is confident that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision ruling Prop 8 unconstitutional will stand.
"We will prevail," he said in an interview on my SiriusXM radio program two days before the star-studded premiere of "8," a dramatization of the Prop 8 trial, written in by Dustin Lance Black and which Reiner performs in and helped to bring to the stage. "Whether or not we prevail in California or for the whole country remains to be seen. But we will prevail."
Click here to read the full story and to listen to the interview with Reiner.
A political strategist from California who has played a leading role in trying to overturn the state's same-sex marriage ban was named Friday as the new president of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest and most influential gay rights group.
The Washington-based campaign's directors voted to hire Chad Griffin, 38, to replace outgoing president Joe Solmonese, who announced last year that he would step down after seven socially transformative and sometimes internally stormy years at the organization's helm.
Griffin, an Arkansas native, went to work in President Bill Clinton's communications office at age 19 and spent nearly two years in the White House before moving to Los Angeles to run a charitable foundation for director and actor Rob Reiner.
Click here to read the full story.
Legislation calling for a bullying prevention policy in Illinois was approved this week by the Illinois Human Rights Commission.
The proposal (House Bill 5290), sponsored by Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago), would require that schools implement aggressive guidelines aimed at preventing both bullying and cyberbullying beginning next fall.
As the Associated Press reports, the bill would also require school districts to regularly update their policies and collect data on bullying incidents.
Click here to read the full story.
An Oxford university graduate has handed back his degree in protest against the university's decision to host a conference of Christians who support efforts to "cure" homosexuality.
Christian Concern is holding a five-day event at Exeter College this month, which has angered students and gay rights campaigners.
Stonewall, a gay rights group, has condemned the decision made by the college, saying "gay students and many Christians will be deeply offended" by the group's appearance.
But Oxford has refused to cancel the conference saying it was not "commercially viable" to do so at this stage.
The rector of Exeter College, Frances Cairncross, said she was "especially dismayed that we should come under attack".
And now Michael Amherst, who studied English at Exeter College, has told the prestigious university he has been left with "little choice" but to return his degree.
In a letter to Cairncross, he writes:
"Exeter College is no longer a place with which I wish to be associated. I feel your replies to me, other students and members of the press have been sorely lacking. At no stage have you or the college apologised for not having adequate checks in place, for allowing this to happen or for the offence caused to current and past members alike."
He added he welcomed the college's decision to review future bookings but said he feared to many "this will merely appear a ruse to wait for the passing of the media storm".
The 29-year-old told the rector she had displayed a "lack of understanding of the issue at heart as well as a total lack of contrition".
"The very fact it happened is most offensive."
Amherst, who is a full-time writer and also works with Just Detention International to research the problem of sexual assault in prisons, added he remained "extremely grateful" to his former tutors for his education at Oxford but said he hoped they would understand.
Dustin Lance Black's Prop. 8 play has been slowly picking up stars as it makes its way across the U.S., and the latest announcement is one of its biggest -- Brad Pitt will be joining the cast of the West Coast premiere of "8," starring alongside George Clooney and Martin Sheen for its one-night-only reading at Los Angeles' Wilshire Ebell Theatre on Saturday. For this star-studded evening only, the play will also be livestreamed on YouTube.
"8" -- which is presented by the American Foundation for Equal Rights and Broadway Impact -- follows the trial of Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the case AFER filed with the federal district court to overturn the bill eliminating the right for gay and lesbian couples to marry in California. Last month, a federal appeals court ruled California's ban unconstitutional.