LeAnn Rimes Says Proposed Dental Law Is Unfair To Low-Income Families

LeAnn Rimes says people shouldn’t have to choose between risking COVID-19 exposure or not taking care of their teeth … and she’s ripping a proposed dental care law as “unfair.” The singer fired off a letter, obtained by TMZ, informing California…

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TMZ Celebrity News for Music


Kanye West Donates $2 Million To Families Of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery

Kanye West reportedly donated $ 2 million to the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, including funding for legal fees.
News

Kanye West Donates $2 Million To Families Of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery

Kanye West reportedly donated $ 2 million to the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, including funding for legal fees.
News

Sources: NBA eyes plan for players’ families

Conversations between the NBA and NBPA have centered on the timing of family arrivals at Walt Disney World Resort, which are likely to start once an initial wave of teams are eliminated and the number of people within the league’s bubble decreases.
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Jason Wahler Gifting Therapy Sessions to Grieving Families

Jason Wahler is lending a helping hand to grief-stricken families amid the COVID-19 crisis with something that goes a long way these days during quarantine … free therapy. The ‘Hills’ star has teamed up with singer Hilary Roberts and her…

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TMZ Celebrity News for Music


Families Of The Mafia Move: Should Karen And Her Daughter Leave New York?

Karen Gravano and her daughter Karina may not be in Staten Island for long on ‘Families of the Mafia.’
News

YNW Melly Alleged Victims’ Families Don’t Want Him Released From Jail

YNW Melly doesn’t deserve to be released from jail even though he has COVID-19 … at least that’s the way his alleged victims’ families see it. As we’ve reported … the rapper is begging to be released from the Florida jail, where he’s awaiting…

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Cardi B, Fashion Nova Giving Away $1,000 Per Hour to Families in Need

Cardi B and Fashion Nova are stepping up with a stimulus package of their own — giving away $ 1,000 PER HOUR to families struggling through the pandemic. Cardi announced Wednesday she and the fashion line she reps will give away a total of $ 1…

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Episode 816 Scott Adams: Bloomberg’s Odds, Mayor Pete’s Military Service, Types of Nationalists, Nuclear Families


My new book LOSERTHINK, available now on Amazon https://tinyurl.com/rqmjc2a

Content:

  • Mike Bloomberg “stop and frisk” comments in 2015 audio
  • Democrat parties future if they pick Bernie
    • What if they don’t pick Bernie?
  • Pete Buttigieg’s military service
  • Coronavirus and coincidences
    • Trucks with disinfectant spray cannons in China

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Families of Aurora theater shooting victims ask movie studio to take action ahead of ‘Joker’ release

A group of people whose loved ones witnessed or were killed in 2012’s Aurora theater shooting are calling on Warner Bros. to help combat gun violence as the studio prepares to release its rated-R comic book film “Joker.”


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GamersGate: The World's Largest Online Game Store

How Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez’s ”Traditional Latin Families” Influenced Their Idea of Marriage

Jennifer Lopez, Alex RodriguezWhen Jennifer Lopez said her “love don’t cost a thing,” she wasn’t lying.
It’s no secret the 50-year-old multi-hyphenate is having a whirlwind year. From her epic…


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Here’s What Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth’s Families Think of Their Possible Divorce

Liam Hemsworth, Miley Cyrus, 2018 Elton John Oscar PartyMiley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth may be broken up, but as far as their families are concerned, this isn’t over till it’s over.
After all, it’s been ten years of break ups and…


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‘Succession’ shows media dynasties are just families, only much worse

“Succession” somehow makes the high-stakes machinations of self-centered, awful, filthy rich people a whole lot of fun. Like “Billions,” it feels like a series narrowly calibrated to the times, while offering juicy parallels to the life and career of Rupert Murdoch, capturing the Fox mogul — in spirit, not specifics or details — in a way another just-ending drama featuring him couldn’t.


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Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra’s Families Compete in Song and Dance Party

[[tmz:video id=”0_mnrrtzxo”]] Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas have a lock on the award for Most Fun Celeb Wedding Ever — and you’ll agree after seeing this video … it ain’t even close. The Sunday celebration included a Hindu tradition called Sangeet,…

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Logic’s ‘One Day’ Music Video Is A Stark Portrayal Of Families Separated At The Border

Logic’s “One Day” music video featuring Ryan Tedder shows the story of immigrant families separated at the border.
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Episode 112: New Executive Order to Keep Families Together

Topics: 

  • President Trump’s critics were imagining that a third option existed
    • Sign a piece of paper and problem disappears
    • President Trump embraced the imaginary third option
  • Competing to be the most offended critic

 

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What Trump’s Executive Order Means For Families Separated At The U.S. Border

President Trump issued an executive order to end the policy of separating immigrant families at the U.S. border on June 20 after widespread resistance.
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Jessica Alba, Gigi Hadid & More Stars Rock Matching Christmas Pajamas With Their Families

Even the A-list loves keeping it casual on Christmas! From Jessica Alba’s matching onesies with her family to the Hadids’ glam sleepwear, Access rounds up all the celebrities rocking holiday-themed pajamas for their Christmas celebrations.


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Ahead Of Pope’s U.S. Visit, Survey Finds Many Catholics Disagree With Church On LGBT Families

Just weeks ahead of Pope Francis’ visit to the United States for the World Meeting of Families, a major international Catholic festival that kicks off Sept. 21 in Philadelphia, a new survey shows that many Catholics are widely more accepting than church hierarchy of families led by parents who are gay, unmarried, single or divorced.

Nine in 10 Catholic Americans say that a family led by a mother and a father is an “ideal situation,” according to the Pew Research Center’s report, which was released Wednesday. At the same time, nearly half of Catholics say that children being raised by an unmarried couple is “acceptable and as good as any other arrangement,” while more than 4 in 10 Catholics say the same of gay and lesbian couples who raise kids.

Francis, who will address an estimated 1.5 million people during a World Meeting of Families Mass in Philadelphia, is expected to speak frequently about Catholic views of the importance of the family during Masses, speeches and high-level meetings that also will take him to Washington, D.C., and New York.

While the pope has made several friendly gestures toward LGBT people, including his famous “who am I to judge” remarks on gay priests, he has also spoken out against efforts to “redefine the very institution of marriage” and has warned of “ideological colonization that tries to destroy the family.” In October, Francis and high-level bishops will gather at the Vatican for the church’s synod on the family, which will likely address divorce and LGBT Catholics.

Speaking at the annual conference of the Religion Newswriters Association in Philadelphia, where Pew revealed the survey results, Pew Associate Director of Research Greg Smith said Saturday that he was “struck by the high level of dissent” from church teachings by self-identified Catholics, who are “very accepting of nontraditional families.”

“Catholic opinions look an awful lot like U.S. opinions as a whole” on issues such as sexuality and marriage, Smith said.

At the same time, he said, Catholics are “also quite loyal to the church despite any misgivings” about its positions on hot-button issues. Seven in 10 said they could never leave the church, “no matter what.” Close to 6 in 10 also said abortion is a sin. Greater than half said that devotion to Mary and receiving sacraments, such as communion, are “essential” to being Catholic.

There are “major differences between Catholics who attend Mass regularly and those who do not,” Smith said. Catholics who attend Mass at least once a week are much more likely to agree with church positions on sexuality, marriage and other controversial issues.

Pew’s report on the survey noted that although it was conducted before the Vatican’s June 18 release of the pope’s encyclical on human ecology and climate change — a topic he’s expected to highlight during speeches to Congress and the United Nations — “Pope Francis may have a difficult time persuading Catholics in the U.S. to adopt his philosophy about excess and his focus on the environment.”

Six in 10 Catholics told the organization that helping the poor is essential to being Catholic, yet just half gave the same response regarding combating climate change.

“Catholics are divided on the question of whether it is sinful to spend money on luxuries without also giving to the poor, but large majorities say it is not a sin to live in a house larger than needed or to use energy without concern for the impact on the environment,” the report said.

The survey, which asked questions of 5,122 adult Americans, including 1,016 Catholics, was conducted between May 5 and June 7 with a 3.5 percentage point margin of error among Catholics.

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Here’s How Two Women Changed The Lives Of LGBT Families In Alabama Forever

In towns large and small all across our country, there are parents that RaiseAChild.US considers to be true heros. Such is the case with Cari Searcy and Kim McKeand of Mobile, Alabama, who together fought an intense nine-year battle to improve the landscape for all families in their state. In this Huffington Post Gay Voices RaiseAChild.US “Let Love Define Family™ series installment, contributing writer Beth Hallstrom shares their riveting story of courage and justice.

Imagine sitting at your critically ill son’s bedside with your wife, watching the life ebb from the infant’s tiny body. Your baby is losing weight and desperately needs a feeding tube to sustain him until he receives an open-heart surgery, his only hope for survival, that is still two weeks away.

Your wife, upset and emotional, is unable to learn how to insert the tube. She is bullied by nurses and becomes hysterical so you step in and volunteer to take her place. But, because you are also a woman and living in a state with arcane marriage and adoption laws, you are denied. You are told, “You are not his mother.”  

Cari Searcy and Kim McKeand of Mobile, Alabama, didn’t have to imagine this nightmare, because they had to live it. First they were stunned, then they were furious. And then they waged war against those arcane laws and changed history when they won.

Cari and Kim’s story began like countless other couples’. Natives of small towns in East Texas, they met in college, fell in love and decided to make a life together. A visit to Mobile enamored them with the Azalea City. They moved there in 2000, bought a home and began planning their family. 

Kim chose to be the birth mother with the help of a donor and loved being pregnant, Cari recalled. “I always wanted to be a mother, but I never saw myself pregnant. It worked out perfectly for both of us,” she said.

In December 2005, their son, Khaya, was born and doctors soon discovered a large hole in his heart. The defect was repairable through open-heart surgery, but not until the baby was three months old. 

According to Cari, “When Khaya was two months old, he quit gaining weight. He was hospitalized and the doctors told us his heart was working so hard it was like he was on a treadmill all the time. He was just not receiving enough calories. They told us Kim had to stop breastfeeding and we had to put him on a high calorie formula but he continued to lose weight. The feeding tube was our only choice.”

Before Khaya could come home from the hospital, his mothers — or, from the nursing staff’s viewpoint, his mother — needed to learn to insert, remove and clean the feeding tube.

“Kim was so upset and became even more emotional when they tried to force her to do it. I asked them to teach me instead and there was dead silence in the room. One of the nurses put her hands on her hips and asked me, ‘Are you the legal parent? Do you have legal documentation?’ When I told them no, they told me they couldn’t teach me because I was not his mother. That’s when I started to burn,” Cari said.

Fortunately, Khaya’s cardiologist was making rounds and she demanded to know what was happening around Khaya’s hospital crib. Appalled, she cleared the room, began to cry and proceeded to teach Cari about the feeding tube. 

“She was a godsend,” Cari said.

Cari recalled that it was at that moment that she realized she had no legal standing in Khaya’s or Kim’s lives. Despite the years together, the house and the family, the dog and the cat, she was nothing in the relationship.

“I’m sure straight people aren’t asked for paperwork by hospital staff. No one is asked to produce a marriage license or adoption decree; they take it on faith that the person is the spouse or the parent. “

“It really opened my eyes as to how important that paperwork is and, the next week, we visited our lawyer to begin the process of me adopting Khaya. We figured it would be uncomplicated, an open and shut case. Boy, were we wrong!” Cari said.

The first denial of Cari’s adoption petition was in 2006. Two more followed as Cari and Kim’s legal odyssey took them from Probate Court in Mobile County to a 2014 federal lawsuit seeking to end Alabama’s ban on same sex marriage. The couple’s case also sought to require the state to recognize marriages performed elsewhere, including their own, which was held in California in 2008.

“The only way I could adopt was to make the state marriage law unconstitutional. We felt we had a pretty narrow and easily decided case in federal court because it was not right for me to be unable to adopt my own son,” Cari explained.

While numerous people — gay, straight, singles and couples — cheered Cari and Kim on, they oddly received little support from the LGBT legal community.

“We were told not to push the issue because it might set back the effort to legalize gay marriage nationwide. Meanwhile, our son is growing up and I’m not legally his parent. It hit me that somebody has to do something,” Cari said.

Victory finally arrived in January when a federal judge struck down Alabama’s law but was quickly put on hold when elected officials dragged their feet, waiting to see how the Supreme Court would rule on same-sex marriage. 

“The Probate Court judge, Judge Don Davis, refused to rule on our latest adoption petition until the Supreme Court ruled, even after we won the federal suit that said the law can no longer be used against us. So, in March, we filed suit against Judge Davis. He eventually recused himself and assigned the case to another judge. He never looked us in the eye and made comments that made us feel uncomfortable,” Cari noted. 

After the Supreme Court ruled in June that marriage equality was the law of the land, Cari and Kim’s marriage was recognized. On Friday, July 24, the family stood before Visiting Judge James Reid from adjacent Baldwin County as Cari officially became Khaya’s legal parent.

“It was amazing. It was very surreal when Judge Reid said it was in the best interest of the child to have two legal parents. I broke down and got so emotional. His words confirmed what we’ve known all along: that I’ve been Khaya’s parent his whole life. It was great to be in front of a judge who looked as us like he looks at everyone else,” Cari said.

While the family has been in the spotlight for nine years, Cari said she and Kim shielded Khaya from much of the publicity and attention but, after the adoption hearing, he gave his first media interview.

“He thinks it’s all pretty cool,” Cari said. “It’s been no big deal to him because the case has literally been going on his whole life, but I think Friday opened his eyes to what it all means and how many people’s lives will change because of him.”

Next for the family is expansion through adopting one or two more children. Cari said they have begun to investigate adoption agencies and are eager to give Khaya siblings.

“There were tons of times we thought maybe it just wasn’t meant to be but then someone would come up to us and tell us to keep going for it, so we did. This is America and we shouldn’t have to fight for equal rights,” Cari said.

“It’s amazing that our son made history. Our case helped thousands and thousands of families across our state. It restored our pride in Alabama. We love to hear Khaya talking to his friends when he tells them, ‘We helped change the world.’ He is so proud. And so are we.”

RaiseAChild.US is the nationwide leader in the recruitment and support of LGBT and all prospective parents interested in building families through fostering and adoption to meet the needs of the 400,000 children in the foster care system. RaiseAChild.US recruits, educates, and nurtures supportive relationships equally with all prospective foster and adoptive parents while partnering with agencies to improve the process of advancing foster children to safe, loving and permanent homes. For information about how you can become a foster or adoptive parent, please visit www.RaiseAChild.US.

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Bobbi Kristina’s Funeral: Fighting Between Families?

A memorial service for Bobbi Kristina will be held in Atlanta on Saturday, but it appears it won’t be without drama as family members are at odds.


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These Are The Best And Worst Cities For Families, According To WalletHub

A new report from personal finance social network WalletHub ranks the best and worst cities for families in 2015.

The top five family-friendly cities are Overland Park, KS; Plano, TX; Virginia Beach, VA; Lincoln, NE; and Sioux Falls, SD — while the bottom five were Jackson, MS; Birmingham, AL; Detroit, MI; Miami, FL; and Baton Rouge, LA. To see each more city rankings, hover over the map below.

Source: WalletHub

Looking at metrics like health, safety, education, child care, affordability and availability of family activities, researchers compared and ranked the 150 most populated U.S. cities.

WalletHub’s report also highlights some more specific statistics about median family salaries, divorce rates, playgrounds per capita, and more. For example, Madison, WI was shown to have the highest number of playgrounds per capita while Hialeah, FL had the fewest.

family friendly cities

Visit WalletHub for more information about the rankings and methodology behind this report.

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The Duggars: 20 And Counting!: Raising One of America’s Largest Families – How They Do It (Unabridged) – Michelle Duggar, Jim Bob Duggar

Michelle Duggar, Jim Bob Duggar - The Duggars: 20 And Counting!: Raising One of America's Largest Families - How They Do It (Unabridged)  artwork

The Duggars: 20 And Counting!: Raising One of America’s Largest Families – How They Do It (Unabridged)

Michelle Duggar, Jim Bob Duggar

Genre: Arts & Entertainment

Price: $ 14.95

Publish Date: December 1, 2010

© ℗ © 2010 Oasis Audio

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Formerly Single Mom Provides Free Laundry, Dignity For Families In Need

Though most of us detest Saturdays spent washing and folding, one mom knows that for those who go without, laundry can truly be a luxury.

Close to 70 people came to a London, Ontario laundromat last month to do three hours worth of laundry — for free. For the Love of Laundry, a social good startup based in London, has been hosting the events since 2014 to help families in need.

Melissa Power, a formerly single mother who once had difficulty affording basic needs like clean clothes, founded the organization. “I had a hard time making ends meet, so certain “luxuries” often had to wait, and laundry fell into that “luxury” category.” Power told The Huffington Post in an email. “Fast forward many years later, that memory never went away. I wanted to help others in that same situation.”

The project started when Power began making her own natural laundry soap, to help her family save money. Whenever she had a surplus of the soap, she would donate to social service agencies. “But I soon came to realize that if you can’t afford to go to the laundromat, having free laundry soap doesn’t make any sense,” she told HuffPost. So, she started selling her product to local grocery stores, and from those proceeds, began paying local laundromats to allow people in need to use their machines for free.

“One mom told me that with the money she saved, she can finally take her kids out for dinner, something she’s never been able to do before,” Power said.

OUR NEW COMBO! Laundry Soap & Dishwasher Tabs$ 6 each or 2 for $ 10Mix and Match!(25 loads and 18 tabs)

Posted by For the Love of Laundry on Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Not only do clients of Power’s program receive clean clothes and save money, but they build a sense of community. In the hours spent waiting for clothes to wash and dry, people get to know each other and share stories. “We see people helping other people carry their laundry bags in, or helping them get it all out of a taxi,” Power said. “We aren’t the only ones helping.”

Currently, For the Love of Laundry events take place exclusively in London, but Power hopes with additional funding, the program with expand to other cities.

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News in Brief: Report: More U.S. Families Living With Multiple Generations Of Xbox Under One Roof

WASHINGTON—Calling the trend a reflection of the nation’s changing social and economic landscape, a report released Friday by the Pew Research Center confirmed that more U.S. families are living with multiple generations of Xbox under one roof. “According to our survey data, over the past decade we have seen a dramatic rise in the number of American households that contain two or even three generations of consoles,” said the report’s author, Sean Corfield, adding that, in many cases, citizens reported that their Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox One all share the same room. “The vast majority of Americans we surveyed described feeling an obligation to continue caring for their older consoles as they age, even as they continue to welcome new generations into their homes. At the same time, more Americans are also finding themselves trying to free space in their basement after their Xbox 360 …





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Photographer Carolyn L. Sherer Documents ‘Living in Limbo: Lesbian Families in the Deep South’

Carolyn L. Sherer began photographing lesbians and their families in Birmingham, Alabama, in 2011.

Still one year before President Barack Obama even announced his support for same-sex marriage, the risks for these queers in the south — which could (and still can) range from intimidation to physical violence — were high. In fact, many of the subjects chose not to reveal their faces in Sherer’s photos.

Now, “Living in Limbo: Lesbian Families in the Deep South” has become an important historical document that shows the public LGBT families exist and thrive in all parts of America — even its most conservative pockets.

The Huffington Post spoke with Sherer this week about the legacy of the project and what she was trying to accomplish by bringing visibility to these experiences. Check out photos from “Living in Limbo: Lesbian Families in the Deep South” along with Sherer’s interview below.

anonymous
Anonymous

What was your overarching vision for this “Lesbians Living In The Deep South”?
In terms of content, my work is about authenticity and a search for common humanity in marginalized groups. I am interested in exploring issues of identity and always work in series to document individual stories to create a composite portrait of a community.

In this case, a specific incident inspired me to put a face on my previously invisible lesbian community in Birmingham, Alabama. When my friend was keeping vigil by her partner’s hospital deathbed, the brother of her beloved locked Kay out of their home. The police had to let her into the house to get a change of clothes to wear to the funeral. Worse, at the memorial service their close heterosexual friends said they did not know the couple was gay — or that gay people could be treated that way in Alabama. I realized that the distinctly southern “don’t’ ask, don’t tell” culture had to end.

ilian andrienne
Ileana and Adrienne

Conceptually, I fretted about how to make the work in a way that the participants could feel safe. I departed from my tradition of environmental portraits to make studio shots. Yes, the format provides the viewer the opportunity to focus on intimacy and relationships, but it was also a practical decision in terms of protecting participant privacy. It’s important to understand that this work was created in 2011 in a deeply conservative southern state. I did not know the potential for consequences, and at the time it felt quite risky to many of the women I approached. Each family decided to face the camera or not, and whether to include any children in the family. They were given complete control of their environment, choosing what to wear and how to stand. While being photographed, participants were asked to focus on their feelings about three words delivered in series: Lesbian, Pride and Prejudice.

lesbians
Anonymous

kate claire
Katie and Claire

Who are the individuals featured in these photographs?
40 lesbian families with diverse racial and socioeconomic backgrounds — all with roots in the Birmingham, Alabama area. The act of participation in most cases was a decision to come out of the closet — at least in more public circles.

It was my coming out story too.

kay barbara
Kay and Barbara

kc diedra
KC, Deidra and Christian-Taylor

Did these families have any hesitation or worries about taking part in this series?
Initially, yes, many of my friends refused to participate due to fear of consequences. After the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI) agreed to show the work and I got public endorsements from the Birmingham Museum of Art and Southern Poverty Law Center, things loosened up considerably. The value of the early support of BCRI can’t be underestimated. Remarkably, this work was already on the walls in 2012 when President Obama and the NAACP endorsed gay marriage. It attracted nearly 17,000 visitors in a two-month run and prompted much private and public dialogue about who is entitled to equality.

marge shirley
Marge and Shirley

mary polly
Mary and Polly

Why is visibility such as this important for LGBT people living in the south?
The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is hosting travel of “Living in Limbo: Lesbian Families in the Deep South” as part of its mission to advocate for human and civil rights. In spite of the fact that they live in the heart of the Civil Rights Movement, the LGBTQ community in Alabama lacks a single law protecting them from discrimination. People do still lose jobs and child custody because of their sexual or gender identity. I hope that individuals living in liberal areas of the country can remain aware of the implications of making equality a state’s rights issue.

I want the viewer to feel a quiet intimacy, and wonder about the reality of the lives of the people they see.

mary rebecca
Mary and Rebecca

hassan
Hassan, Cadesia, Lee, Joette and Tony

Want to see more from Carolyn L. Sherer and her series “Living in Limbo: Lesbian Families in the Deep South”? Head here.

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#DropAndGiveMe10 Viral Pushup Charity Challenge Raises Money For Military Families

You don’t need ice or a bucket to take part in the latest charitable challenge gone viral. The only prerequisite is a desire to help families of fallen men and women in uniform.

And some upper-body strength.

The #DropAndGiveMe10 challenge is heating up online, asking participants to both complete 10 pushups on camera and donate a chosen amount for each pushup toward the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation. Those who complete the feat are encouraged to challenge three others to do the same.

What started as a small grassroots effort before Memorial Day took off once TV personality Bear Grylls of “Man vs. Wild” completed the challenge on May 23, Cynthia Kim, the foundation’s co-founder, told The Huffington Post in an email. Grylls passed the challenge on to the “Today” show’s Kathie Lee Gifford, actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson and NFL athlete Drew Brees.

Star power began getting the word out on the campaign as well as the foundation, which funds college scholarships for military children who’ve lost a parent in the line of duty. Gifford and Brees completed the task, along with a growing list of other celebs who’d been nominated, including Andy Cohen and Matt Lauer.

“We’ve been blown away by the reaction,” Kim told HuffPost, noting other media personalities like Jimmy Fallon, Meredith Vieira and Bill O’Reilly have been challenged. The videos have garnered millions of page views. “It is overwhelming to see the support for our mission through the pushup challenge and to know that so many of ‘our kids’ will be supported.”

Scroll to see some of the celebrity #DropAndGiveMe10 videos below.

I’m doing the #DropAndGiveMe10 pushup challenge – I nominate Kathie Lee Gifford Drew Brees & Jesse Tyler Ferguson

Posted by Bear Grylls on Saturday, May 23, 2015

Bear Grylls nominated Drew Brees for the #DropAndGiveMe10 challenge – and he, along with his kids, accepted!

Posted by New Orleans Saints on Friday, May 29, 2015

The Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation, which allocates funding for families of service members across all branches of the military, has provided more than $ 9 million in educational opportunities since its founding in 2002, according to Kim.

Kim started the foundation with her husband, David — a U.S. Army veteran — as a way to honor a young soldier in David’s unit who was killed in Panama in 1989. The soldier had been expecting a baby daughter, Kim told HuffPost. David’s concern for the fallen soldier’s family inspired him to launch the foundation years later.

The nonprofit fills a vital void in assisting such students in need, its website notes. Many aid groups, for example, only target specific military branches or units, and a lack of a centralized directory of organizations makes it difficult for families seeking financial help to find answers.

Funds raised through the challenge will help the foundation further bridge the gap between beneficial resources and the those who need them — a group of kids very worthy of the foundation’s help, according to Kim.

“Service, giving back, and selflessness is in their blood,” Kim explained to HuffPost of the children who benefit from the foundation, mentioning many of them are reluctant to accept financial help because they believe there are others who need it more than they do. “Their spirit of self-reliance and concern for others is so inspiring and it’s [a] testament to the values of their parents and all the men and women who serve in uniform.”

To learn more about the #DropAndGiveMe10 challenge, visit the campaign’s website here.

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Gay Voices – The Huffington Post

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Blogging for LGBTQ Families Day: Stories of Pride and Family

LGBTQ Pride Month is almost upon us. I like to think of this time of year, however, as Parenting Season, the span between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. It can be a challenging time for LGBTQ parents and our kids, since we don’t fit into those two categories in the traditional way — but it can also be a great time to celebrate and raise awareness about our families.

I’m proud to see the growing presence of LGBTQ families in the media, including drama and comedy as well as the news. ABC’s Modern Family, which includes gay dads in its ensemble cast, is one of the most awarded comedy series of all time. Sister network ABC Family’s The Fosters, about two moms and their mix of biological, adopted and foster kids, has won critical acclaim, including Television Academy Honors “for using the power of television to bring awareness to important social issues.” Even better, the show has garnered an avid audience of youth who follow the storylines of the teen characters.

Both The Fosters and Modern Family have aired the weddings of the shows’ same-sex parents. Season-ending weddings are a television trope. Season-ending weddings of same-sex parents means we’ve arrived, at least in some pop-culture sense. I happen to believe that pop culture is a leading indicator for legal and political change, though, so that’s not a frivolous statement.

Although our pop culture inclusion is new, it was built on a long history of LGBTQ parents and our children. It’s a history that is still being set down, in films like Debra Chasnoff’s Choosing Children, about the first generation of lesbians to become parents after coming out, and books like Daniel Winunwe Rivers’ Radical Relations, which charts the history of gay and lesbian parents since World War II. I’m reminded of the old saying (sometimes attributed to Winston Churchill) that “history is written by the victors.” We haven’t won quite yet, but things are looking hopeful. Our history will root us as we grow into the future.

Despite our progress, neither pop culture nor marriage alone will give us full equality, even if the U.S. Supreme Court rules favorably in the coming weeks. Not all states — even ones that allow same-sex couples to marry — protect people from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Not all states allow all LGBTQ people to be legal parents to our children, or do so only after a long, costly process. Not all schools include books, other curricular materials, or administrative forms that are inclusive of LGBTQ people and our families. Not every parent knows how to talk about LGBTQ people with their kids.

While legal progress and media representation can help, much change comes simply from telling our stories. Stories both strengthen our community and help others to better understand us. That’s why I’m very excited about Blogging for LGBTQ Families Day on June 1, the annual event that I’ve been hosting at my blog for the past ten years. Participants have included LGBTQ parents, prospective parents, the childfree, our children, and allies, sharing their stories to remind us of how we’re all alike — and how we’re all different.

To join us, simply post at your own blog in celebration and support of LGBTQ families (however you define them) and submit the link at Mombian, where I’ll compile and showcase the master list for all to see. If you don’t have a blog of your own, you can write at a group blog, upload a video to YouTube or another video-sharing site, or simply leave a comment on the master post at Mombian that day. You can also participate by tweeting with the hashtag #LGBTQfamilies. Posts may be personal anecdotes, political commentaries, book reviews, photographs, or anything else related to the theme.

Some of us blog about LGBTQ families regularly; others rarely. But I encourage you to do so on June 1 to help build community and bridges. Even if you don’t contribute, I hope you’ll help spread the word about the event and come by to read some of the many wonderful posts — a great way to start a month of Pride and a proud feeling to last all year long.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Gay Voices – The Huffington Post

Chemistry.com gay - First Date 300x250

Blogging for LGBTQ Families Day: Stories of Pride and Family

LGBTQ Pride Month is almost upon us. I like to think of this time of year, however, as Parenting Season, the span between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. It can be a challenging time for LGBTQ parents and our kids, since we don’t fit into those two categories in the traditional way — but it can also be a great time to celebrate and raise awareness about our families.

I’m proud to see the growing presence of LGBTQ families in the media, including drama and comedy as well as the news. ABC’s Modern Family, which includes gay dads in its ensemble cast, is one of the most awarded comedy series of all time. Sister network ABC Family’s The Fosters, about two moms and their mix of biological, adopted and foster kids, has won critical acclaim, including Television Academy Honors “for using the power of television to bring awareness to important social issues.” Even better, the show has garnered an avid audience of youth who follow the storylines of the teen characters.

Both The Fosters and Modern Family have aired the weddings of the shows’ same-sex parents. Season-ending weddings are a television trope. Season-ending weddings of same-sex parents means we’ve arrived, at least in some pop-culture sense. I happen to believe that pop culture is a leading indicator for legal and political change, though, so that’s not a frivolous statement.

Although our pop culture inclusion is new, it was built on a long history of LGBTQ parents and our children. It’s a history that is still being set down, in films like Debra Chasnoff’s Choosing Children, about the first generation of lesbians to become parents after coming out, and books like Daniel Winunwe Rivers’ Radical Relations, which charts the history of gay and lesbian parents since World War II. I’m reminded of the old saying (sometimes attributed to Winston Churchill) that “history is written by the victors.” We haven’t won quite yet, but things are looking hopeful. Our history will root us as we grow into the future.

Despite our progress, neither pop culture nor marriage alone will give us full equality, even if the U.S. Supreme Court rules favorably in the coming weeks. Not all states — even ones that allow same-sex couples to marry — protect people from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Not all states allow all LGBTQ people to be legal parents to our children, or do so only after a long, costly process. Not all schools include books, other curricular materials, or administrative forms that are inclusive of LGBTQ people and our families. Not every parent knows how to talk about LGBTQ people with their kids.

While legal progress and media representation can help, much change comes simply from telling our stories. Stories both strengthen our community and help others to better understand us. That’s why I’m very excited about Blogging for LGBTQ Families Day on June 1, the annual event that I’ve been hosting at my blog for the past ten years. Participants have included LGBTQ parents, prospective parents, the childfree, our children, and allies, sharing their stories to remind us of how we’re all alike — and how we’re all different.

To join us, simply post at your own blog in celebration and support of LGBTQ families (however you define them) and submit the link at Mombian, where I’ll compile and showcase the master list for all to see. If you don’t have a blog of your own, you can write at a group blog, upload a video to YouTube or another video-sharing site, or simply leave a comment on the master post at Mombian that day. You can also participate by tweeting with the hashtag #LGBTQfamilies. Posts may be personal anecdotes, political commentaries, book reviews, photographs, or anything else related to the theme.

Some of us blog about LGBTQ families regularly; others rarely. But I encourage you to do so on June 1 to help build community and bridges. Even if you don’t contribute, I hope you’ll help spread the word about the event and come by to read some of the many wonderful posts — a great way to start a month of Pride and a proud feeling to last all year long.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Gay Voices – The Huffington Post

Chemistry.com gay - First Date 300x250

Kids’ Summer Guide: 26 New Things Families Can Watch and Read Together


Kids need more than just the fresh outdoors, right? Here are some highlights of what’s new this summer to entertain your tots, ages 13 and younger.

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Hollywood Reporter

NY Mayor Vows To Give 7,000 Homeless Families Permanent Shelter

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s new budget allocates $ 100 million toward fighting homelessness in America’s most populous city, The New York Times reported.

Officials announced the commitment — which includes rental assistance that’ll move more than 7,000 homeless New York families into stable housing, according to WNYC News — on Wednesday.

Funding will also go toward anti-eviction legal services, expansion of shelter beds for homeless youth and boosting resources for mental health services.

The commitment is part of a fiscal year 2016 budget totaling $ 78.3 billion.

Curbing the crisis has become a priority for de Blasio, as the Big Apple grapples with record-high levels of homelessness. According to city records, there were 59,068 people living in shelters in December, the New York Daily News reported.

De Blasio has made efforts to provide affordable housing to more New Yorkers, including a move to create 200,000 such units throughout the five boroughs in the next decade.

“Affordable housing is part of the bedrock of what makes New York City work,” the mayor points out in his plan of action. “It’s what underpins the economically diverse neighborhoods New Yorkers want to live in. It’s critical to providing financial stability for working families, helping them get ahead and build a better life.”

To his credit, de Blasio inherited a dire situation, advocates have pointed out: Homelessness grew by 71 percent under his predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, according to the Coalition for the Homeless. But the problem has worsened on de Blasio’s watch, too.

New figures released on Thursday by the city’s Department of Homeless Services, however, provide an optimistic take on the situation.

The city’s latest annual count of unsheltered individuals — those outside the shelter system who stay in public spaces — found an overall 5 percent reduction in such residents, including a 92 percent drop in the borough of Queens alone.

To help fight homelessness, support PATH (People Assisting The Homeless) by using the Crowdrise widget below.

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Dr. Phil – The Huffington Post

The Way Parents Fight Affects Kids’ Self-Esteem (In All Kinds Of Families)

Children soak up everything they see, feel, and hear. Parents may believe they are giving their children all the love they need, but they send a conflicting message when they fail to reconcile their own relationships with their former partners. There are plenty of things parents can do to protect their children from the damaging impact of long-term conflict during and after divorce.

When parents argue excessively and for too long, it can leave children feeling insecure and fearful. Even if it’s not the parents’ intention to cause harm, ongoing conflict can threaten a child’s sense of safety. Truth be told, parents forget that children are vulnerable to feeling in the middle between their parents’ arguments. High parental conflict can send them into high alert. As a result, children may have difficulty sleeping, concentrating on school or social activities; or be plagued with fear and anxiety about their future.

5 Tips for resolving disagreements with your ex-spouse constructively:

1. Use self-control and only let out some of your anger. If you’re frustrated or angry at your ex you don’t have to say everything you’re thinking. Your children won’t benefit from you showing your anger openly to their other parent so be careful what you say in front of them. Kids don’t want to hear negative things about either one of their parents.
2. Avoid name-calling and blameful comments such as: “You never pick up Kylie on time.” Instead say what you want and state it in a positive way such as: “I would appreciate it if you’d be on time picking up Kylie since she worries you’re not coming and gets upset when you’re late.”
3. Resolve conflicts in a positive way. Learn the art of compromise and apologize when you do something wrong. Being cordial and businesslike is a good place to start. Take a short break if you feel flooded.
4. Keep your children out of the middle and don’t make them a go-between to avoid loyalty conflicts. Communicate clearly and directly to your former spouse – not through your child.
5. Develop a parenting plan that’s geared to the level of conflict between you and your ex-spouse. For instance, the higher the conflict, the less flexible the plan. Discuss hot-button issues such as holidays, finances, and problems that may arise with your children’s school work or with friends. Seek professional help if needed, such as mediation or counseling, if you believe you won’t be successful doing this on your own.

Many studies show that being raised in a high-conflict divorced family can cause children to have low self-esteem and feelings of unworthiness. It can leave him or her with the ultimate feeling of rejection. Many kids internalize the breakup of their family and feel it is their fault. Logically, many kids understand that the dissolution of their parents’ marriage didn’t have to do with them. Often, parents take great pains to make sure their children understand they aren’t to blame for the breakup. But kids often experience a disconnect between logic and emotions, leaving them with low self-esteem.

Growing up, a child may see his or her parents fight constantly, but sleep in the same bed every night. They might have complained about one another, but acted upset when the other went away. Sometimes parents don’t fight openly in front of children, but tension and anger seethe beneath the surface. These contradictions play a powerful game with a child’s head. When a child is left with unexplained contradictions, he or she will try to explain them to themselves, often coming up with incomplete or incorrect conclusions. Thus when kids can’t understand the turmoil around them, they tend to internalize this pain and blame themselves. This is true for children who are exposed to high conflict in both divorced and intact homes.

Let’s face it, marital conflict can have negative consequences for children whether their parents are married or divorced. In a longitudinal study spanning over many years, renowned divorce researcher Paul Amato found that conflict in intact families was associated with emotional problems in children. Amato points out that many of the problems children of divorce face begin during the pre-divorce period since it is a time of increased conflict for most parents. Thus, an increase in emotional problems experienced by children after divorce may well be due not only to dealing with their parents’ divorce but marital conflict that led up to it.

Learning new skills to protect children from the harmful effects of parental conflict during and after divorce is worth the effort. According to divorce expert and therapist Gary Direnfeld, “Not all separations are alike and not all parental separations spell disaster for their children. The social science research advises that the most salient factor determining risk for poor developmental outcomes for children of divorce is the level of conflict between their parents.”

Unfortunately, the outcomes for children growing up in high conflict divorced families aren’t always favorable. For instance, fifteen year old Olivia’s insecurities are far more than that of an average high school student. They reveal the deep anxiety and low self-worth of a teenager impacted by a being raised in a divorced home where she was in the middle between hostile parents who never learned to resolve conflicts in a constructive way. Olivia’s parents divorced when she was ten years old. She remembers growing up that she always felt like she was walking on eggshells. Her parents argued a lot throughout her early years. “It’s so sad when I look back,” she says. “I missed out on a lot. I’ve learned not to speak up.”

But this insecurity has also robbed her of her ability to be vulnerable with others, assert herself in relationships, and love herself. With hesitation in her voice, she explains, “I’m learning to be more comfortable with myself and not take my parents’ problems to heart, but it feels hard. I don’t know how to interpret some of their arguments – especially now that they live apart.” Olivia reveals that although she is working on herself and her ability to make friends and take risks, she finds it difficult to be close to others and to spread her wings socially. The shame from her childhood has been a barrier for Olivia in building healthy relationships.

The experience of feeling safe and loved is what all children want and deserve – despite the configuration of their family. In some cases, a child’s self-esteem can improve after his or her parents’ divorce if there’s a reduction in conflict and they feel loved and protected. Parents need to avoid exposing their child to high-conflict that involves the child, is physically violent, threatening or abusive; and conflict in which the child feels caught in the middle.

As children try to make sense of the world around them, it’s important that they are able to predict the behaviors and responses of important people in their lives. If kids experience a great deal of upheaval and unpredictability, they’ll be wary of the world around them. They won’t know what to expect, and they’ll be unsure of their own actions. Further, parents must continually validate their children’s abilities in order for them to feel self-confident and sure or themselves and their place in the world. If this reinforcement is absent or inconsistent from parents, children won’t develop healthy self-esteem.

While it’s impossible to avoid conflict completely, parents who learn to control their emotions bestow their children with the gifts of security and self-esteem they’ll need to thrive and become resilient adults.

Follow Terry Gaspard MSW, LICSW on Facebook, Twitter and movingpastdivorce.com

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Divorce – The Huffington Post

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6 Fashionable Families That Prove Style Might Be a Part of Your DNA

Have you ever wondered how style develops? In the battle of nature versus nurture, the jury's still out, but these six fashionable families make us wonder if there's something in the water. Something very chic,…




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Drastically Different Families Switch Moms | The Oprah Winfrey Show | Oprah Winfrey Network

Original airdate: April 22, 2010

The Everhart family, from Portland, Oregon, are models of sustainable living. The Weir family, from New Market, Maryland, exist at the other end of the spectrum. What happens when the mother in each family switch places? Watch to find out.

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Winfrey provides leadership in programming and attracts superstar talent to join her in primetime, building a global community of like-minded viewers and leading that community to connect on social media and beyond. OWN is a singular destination on cable. Depth with edge. Heart. Star power. Connection. And endless possibilities.

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Finding Family: Stories Of Families Reunited After Times Of War

The relationship forged between parent and child or brother and sister can be impenetrable. It has the ability to stitch up a broken heart and remain a strong line over decades and hundreds of miles. War, on the other hand, divides and separates communities both philosophically and physically and tests these familial bonds. But the ties of a family transcend war and through trying times remain intact no matter the challenges it has endured.

We’ve partnered with Warner Bros. Pictures’ “The Water Diviner” — a story about a father’s search for his sons after the historic World War I Battle of Gallipoli — to bring you stories of families reunited years after war pulled them apart.

Father and son survive civil war
Torn apart by genocide in Rwanda, Jean Bosco Ngwabije and his father, Karoli Kanyengano, were rejoined by the organization Concern Worldwide. The group has taken in numerous unaccompanied children in the region, including Ngwabije. Witnessing the horrible violence that spread throughout the area during the 1990s, both father and son feared and eventually accepted that their family likely had not survived. Ngwabije had even been told that someone had seen his father killed. However, in the wake of the genocide, Kanyengano began tirelessly wandering the city of Kigali, looking for his family. Concern Worldwide was able to track down Kanyengano and bring together father and son three years after the war pulled them from their family. Now, the two live next door to one another, perhaps signifying a promise to never again be apart.
jean bosco and fatehr

Surviving the Holocaust and finding family
Born with the last name Shlomowicz in Warsaw, Poland, brother and sister Beniamin Shilon and Rozia November survived one of the most horrific events in world history. Shilon was a young man attending school in what was then Pinsk when — anticipating the potential danger all Jews faced — posed as a Russian and joined the Soviet army. Back in Poland, November was sent to Auschwitz when she was 13 years old. Shilon was convinced his sister had died with the millions of other Jews tortured and killed in the Holocaust. Yet she survived and eventually immigrated to Israel. Coincidentally, so did Shilon less than a decade later. On a 2003 family trip to Israel’s Holocaust memorial authority, November discovered in its records that her brother was in fact alive and living less than two hours away. On the first night of Hanukkah, November’s great grandson called Shilon. After he confirmed Shilon was his great uncle, he handed the phone to November. The two siblings affectionately known to many as “Bennie and Rozia” talked for the first time in more than 60 years.

A “Lost Boy” finds his family
Peter Kuch was one of the many Sudanese children whom the media labeled as “the lost boys of Sudan.” During the late 1980s, civil war erupted in Sudan and Kuch — along with thousands of other children — wandered the desert to flee the violence. Kuch was only 8 years old when he was separated from his family and left unsure whether any of them were alive. Kuch was one of very few lost boys to not only survive the strife but also sent to resettle in in the United States to have a better life. Years later he became a sergeant in the U.S. Army, as a way to give back to the country he felt gave him a second chance. In 2003, he found out his parents were miraculously still alive and living in Uganda. Earlier this year, Kuch was given a brief leave from the Army and made the trip to Uganda to see his mother and father for the first time after 27 years apart. His mother was so moved that she fainted in his arms. Kuch now calls the U.S. home but promises to take care of his parents for the rest of their lives.

Left behind in Laos
While armed conflict was raging on in neighboring Vietnam, Laotians were fighting a similar civil war at home. Like Vietnam, Laos experienced a mass exodus of citizens fleeing from the communist regime closely related to the North Vietnamese. Xiong Nhia Yang was 6 years old when he and most of his family left. However, his teenage sister, Sua, had been wounded by gunfire, forcing their father to make the painful decision to leave her behind. After 50 years, a relative successfully located Sua in southern Laos. Sua then traveled to Minnesota, where she embraced her younger brother for the first time since 1964.
laos civil war

British siblings separated
Rose Burleigh and John Stubbs were split apart after their mother passed away in 1941. Because their father was a prisoner of war in World War II, an aunt adopted Burleigh, and Stubbs was sent to live with their grandparents. When their father was freed and returned home, he successfully retrieved Stubbs, but Burleigh’s adoptive family insisted on keeping her. Stubbs was raised by their father, and Burleigh led a life without her biological father and brother. After Burleigh’s family started digging into her genealogy and they uncovered the existence of Stubbs, the search began to find him. After 75 years apart, brother and sister were reunited at a BBC office. Both emotional over finding one another, Stubbs responded to his sister’s tears, saying, “Be calm. You’re with your brother, now. I’ll look after you.”

Finding family is the theme of the film, “The Water Diviner.” Academy Award winner Russell Crowe (“Gladiator”) makes his directorial debut in this epic and inspiring tale of one man’s life-changing journey of discovery as he travels from his home in Australia to Turkey to find his three sons after they went missing in action during the infamous Battle of Gallipoli in World War I, a battle that claimed the lives of many Australians and Kiwis fighting for Great Britain. “The Water Diviner” is in theaters April 24.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Entertainment – The Huffington Post
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For Blended Families, Consider Prenups And Trusts – Total Return – WSJ

The growing number of so-called blended families has led to financial agreements to help assure how parents’ assets will eventually be apportioned among children who may be a mix of his, hers and theirs.

Divorce – The Huffington Post

Need to File for a Divorce!

Dolce & Gabbana Face Outrage After Controversial Comments About Gay Families

In an interview with the Italian magazine Panorama, designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana of Dolce & Gabbana had some contentious things to say about same-sex families.

According to translations, the pair — who dated for 23 years and broke up in 2005 — stated that children born through IVF are “children of chemistry, synthetic children. Uteruses for rent, semen chosen from a catalog.”

“I am gay, I cannot have a child. I guess you cannot have everything in life,” Dolce added. “Life has a natural course, some things cannot be changed. One is the family.”

Their comments sparked quite a bit of controversy. Sir Elton John, who has two children via a surrogate and married longtime partner David Furnish in December, responded to the designers’ comments on Instagram.

Elton John isn’t the only celebrity who has expressed outrage over Dolce and Gabbana’s comments. Well-known celebrity chef Art Smith is planning a protest party that’s he’s calling “Take The Hate Off The Runway.”

“As a gay married couple with four gorgeous children, my husband Jesus Salgueiro and I join families across the world — gay and straight — in protest against these hateful, ugly, loveless comments by Dolce and Gabbana,” he told The Huffington Post. “Behind the beauty was always ugly. As Dr. Maya Angelou said, ‘When people show you who they are, believe them.'”


Dolce & Gabbana’s rep did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.

H/T The Telegraph
Style – The Huffington Post
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‘Traditional’ Families Are No Longer The Norm, According To Pew Report

When picturing the typical American family, you can forget about a “Leave It To Beaver”-type image. Currently, 54 percent of kids in this country don’t live in a home with two heterosexual parents in their first marriage, according to a recent Pew Research Center report.

“It’s important to keep in mind that what many define as ‘traditional’ is based on a 1950s-style family,” Gretchen Livingston, Senior Researcher at Pew and author of the study, told HuffPost in an email. “But in many ways, the 1950s and early 1960s were an anomaly, especially in terms of the fact that people were marrying quite young and also having relatively large families.”

Nowadays, only 46 percent of kids live in that aforementioned “traditional” family. Instead, 15 percent of today’s kids are living with two parents in a remarriage, 34 percent live with an unmarried parent, 4 percent live with cohabiting parents and 5 percent don’t live with either parent.

For perspective, 73 percent of American kids lived in a “traditional” family home in 1960, while only 9 percent lived with an unmarried parent.

Livingston said that the decline in marriage over the last 50 years can explain the increasing number of kids living with single or cohabiting parents. It’s also now more socially acceptable for people to cohabit, marry later and have kids outside of marriage — 41 percent of births today are happening without a walk down the aisle, according to Pew.

Then, of course, there’s the rise of divorce. The divorce rate may have peaked in 1981, but it’s still contributing to the shift away from the 1960s “traditional” family structure.

Moral of the story? When it comes to family, abnormal is the new normal.
Divorce – The Huffington Post

Need to File for a Divorce!

Supreme New Year’s Resolution: Stop the Harm to Families of Denying the Freedom to Marry

2014-12-26-courtstepscrowd.jpg

Photo by Jeffrey S. Trachtman

The Supreme Court will decide shortly whether to review and decide a marriage equality case before its current term ends in June. Many are praying for this, eager to wrap up an issue long past the tipping point that folks are sick of discussing.

But there is a more important reason the Court should act now: to halt the severe harm that continuing denial of the freedom to marry inflicts every day on countless same-sex couples, their children, and their extended families and friends. It matters whether this harm ends in June 2015 or lingers into the future.

The long-building national consensus for marriage equality reached critical mass after the Supreme Court’s 2013 Windsor decision held it unconstitutional for the federal government to refuse to recognize the lawful marriages of same-sex couples. A flood of state and federal court decisions over the last eighteen months has applied Windsor to invalidate the marriage bans of the majority of states.

The first batch of these cases reached the Supreme Court in September, in the form of requests for review by states whose laws had been struck down. But because all the decisions went in one direction, there was no legal conflict for the Court to resolve — the usual basis for granting “cert.”

The Court’s denial of review delayed the nationwide elimination of discrimination and its harms — but it also made all those favorable decisions final, allowing marriages to go forward in five more states (up from 19) and setting off a ripple effect that has now brought the freedom to marry to thirty-five states (with Florida coming on line in a few days as number 36), plus four with pro-equality rulings on appeal. In comparison, only thirty-four states permitted interracial couples to marry when Loving v. Virginia was decided in 1967.

More recently, a handful of courts have gone the other way — most significantly, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which in one fell swoop in November reversed pro-equality rulings in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee. Marriage rights advocates are now asking the Supreme Court to review this decision and one issued by a federal district judge in Louisiana upholding that state’s marriage ban. Their chances are good, because the Sixth Circuit created a classic “circuit split,” though it is still possible the Court will opt to let litigation play out first in the remaining states.

Denial of review now would have no silver lining. It would simply entrench discrimination in five states, perpetuating needless injury to thousands of families. That’s why several organizations advocating for the rights of same-sex couples and their families (including Freedom to Marry, Family Equality Council, and PFLAG) filed a brief (prepared by my law firm) urging the Supreme Court to grant review and halt the ongoing harms of marriage discrimination.

In the 15 states without the freedom to marry, families suffer concrete harm every day, deprived of literally hundreds of government benefits and protections as well as private benefits awarded based on marital status.

2014-12-26-conditrains.png

Steven Rains and Don Condit courtesy of Freedom to Marry

For example, Steven Rains and Don Condit of Fort Worth, Texas, together for 31 years, married in California in 2008 but were treated as unmarried back home in Texas. When Don died unexpectedly, Steven was omitted from his death certificate, excluded from making decisions about his cremation, and is now deprived of surviving spouse benefits based on Dan’s military service and private pensions.

Another couple, April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse of Hazel Park, Michigan, have been together more than eight years and are raising three adopted special needs children. Because Michigan bars same-sex couples from marrying and all unmarried couples from adopting together, Jayne adopted two of the children herself and April adopted the third — but neither is recognized as a parent of the other’s children. This deprives all three children of the protections and stability of having two legal parents.

Exclusion from marriage also inflicts severe dignitary injury — the impact of being treated as second-class citizens with second class relationships. These injuries can be quite tangible, particularly the psychological harm to children of being told by society that their families are less real and worthy of respect than those of different-sex parents. In Windsor, the Supreme Court recognized that failing to respect existing marriages “demeans” couples and “humiliates” their kids. Total exclusion from marriage is at least as demeaning and humiliating.

Even couples deemed married in their home states are harmed by continuing marriage discrimination in other states. Every time they travel to a non-recognition state they risk being treated as unmarried in the event of a medical or other emergency. They need to obtain second parent adoptions or create living wills and powers of attorney to try to replicate the rights they would have automatically if their marriages were respected. Couples who fail to anticipate these problems may face grievous results, such as exclusion from the hospital bedside of a dying spouse.

These harms happen every day and may be catastrophic — robbing a surviving spouse of a lifetime of earned retirement benefits or leaving a child parentless when the biological or adoptive parent dies and the state does not recognize the surviving partner as a parent.

There is simply no good reason to inflict these risks and harms on American families for another day, much less another year. The country is ready for full recognition of the freedom to marry. Let’s hope the Supreme Court is as well.
Gay Voices – The Huffington Post

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Most Wanted: The 8 Chicest Families to Inspire Yours This Holiday

Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen

Gathered around the Christmas tree and feeling a little humdrum this year? Is Dad’s burnt sienna turtleneck just not giving you festive vibes? Mom’s mom jeans making you yawn? Are your pajamas just “meh”? Turns out there are plenty of stylish siblings and families out there to inspire your look for the holidays and beyond, from Jerry Hall and Georgia May Jagger, to Willow and Jaden Smith. Here, see eight families with style that will inspire you for the holidays—and generations to come.

The post Most Wanted: The 8 Chicest Families to Inspire Yours This Holiday appeared first on Vogue.

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