Voice for Equality: Amity Pierce Buxton

Amity Pierce Buxton, Ph.D. is the founder of Straight Spouse Network and author of The Other Side of the Closet: The Coming-Out Crisis for Straight Spouses and Families.

She served as Executive Director of SSN from 1991 until 2007. SSN is a nonprofit organization that offers support and information to empower straight spouses of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trans partners and mixed-orientation couples to lessen their hurt, to cope with coming-out issues constructively, and to rebuild their lives. Its mission is reaching out, healing, and building bridges of understanding between spouses, within families, and with the larger community.

Amity is also a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Bisexuality and the Journal of GLBT Family Studies. Amity served on the board of Family Equality Council (FEC), and currently collaborates with them as well as with Parents Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), the Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Human Rights Campaign (HRC), The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) (GLAAD), and Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere (COLAGE ).

She continues to publish articles on various aspects of the mixed-orientation relationship phenomenon for journals and edited books. See her blog post for Freedom to Marry here.

Freedom to Marry salutes Amity Pierce Buxton as a Voice for Equality! Learn about other Voices for Equality here.

If Ms. Buxton's support inspires you - get involved.

**Make your NOMINATION for a Voice for Equality today!

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Voice for Equality: Dede Scozzafava

Dede Scozzafava is an American Republican politician in New York. She has represented District 122 in the New York State Assembly, which includes most of St. Lawrence and Lewis Counties in the North Country and a small portion of Oswego County since 1999.

A pro-choice supporter, she has also consistently made the case when it comes to marriage equality that supporting loving couples should not be a partisan issue. She voted in support of the freedom to marry when it first came up in the New York State Assembly in 2007, and has stood her ground ever since.

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Jane Lynch Plans to Marry Girlfriend Dr Lara Embry

January 22, 2010
Voice for Equality, Jane Lynch, recently told the Guardian
, a UK publication, that she is in a committed relationship and she told a Golden Globe red carpet interviewer that she was at the awards with her girlfriend. Then the New York Times Carpetbagger blog reported: “Jane Lynch, who saw her Fox show Glee win a Golden Globe and who told us she was marrying her partner, Lara, in May, summed up the night’s victories for Fox: 'It’s good to be on the winning team.'” [Link]

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Voice for Equality: Idina Menzel

Idina Menzel is an American actress, singer and songwriter. She is widely known for originating the Broadway roles of Maureen in Rent and Elphaba in Wicked. Menzel played the role of Florence in the 21st Anniversary concert of Chess at the Royal Albert Hall, London from May 12–13, 2008 alongside Kerry Ellis, Adam Pascal and Josh Groban. Menzel's film roles include appearances in Just a Kiss, Kissing Jessica Stein, Tollbooth, Water, Ask the Dust, Enchanted, and Rent, in which she and five other original cast members reprised their stage roles. Television appearances have included Rescue Me, Kevin Hill and Private Practice. It was announced in December 2009 that Ms. Menzel would be joining the cast of the television show, Glee (including VFE Lea Michele), for the second half of its first season, playing the director of the rival glee club, Vocal Adrenaline. Learn more here.

A longtime gay rights advocate, Menzel was an Honorary Chair of the Imperial Court of New York's Annual Charity Coronation Ball, Night of A Thousand Gowns on March 21, 2009. The International Imperial Court System (IICS) is one of the oldest and largest predominantly gay organizations in the world. The court raises money for charity through large annual fancy-dress costume balls in cities throughout North America and numerous smaller fundraisers each year. [Link]

Ms. Menzel's third, mostly self-penned album, I Stand, features a song called Gorgeous about a gay couple experiencing marriage difficulties. Menzel wrote the song based on her own relationship with her husband, African-American actor Taye Diggs. She and her husband have had to face threats and verbal abuse directed at them for being an interracial couple. The song is about trying to maintain a relationship while dealing with obstacles and resentment from the world outside. "I see it even more with my gay friends. I wanted to write a song about pursuing something you really believe in despite what others think." Before a performance at the WaMu Theatre in New York she said, "This song is about loving someone no matter what anybody else thinks - no matter what the world thinks, the government, your mother, your father, your church, your temple." [Link]

Freedom to Marry salutes Idina Menzel as a Voice for Equality! Learn about other Voices for Equality here.

If Ms. Menzel's support inspires you - get involved.

**Make your NOMINATION for a Voice for Equality today!

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Voice for Equality: Melissa Harris-Lacewell

Melissa Harris-Lacewell is an American writer, political scientist and an Associate Professor of Politics and African American studies at Princeton University. She grew up in the Virginia cities of Charlottesville and Chester with a black father, the dean of Afro-American affairs at the University of Virginia; and a white mother, who taught at a community college and worked for nonprofits that helped poor communities. “I’ve never thought of myself as biracial,” Harris-Lacewell says. “I’m black.” She is the author of Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought on the methods African Americans use to develop political ideas through ordinary conversations in places like barbershops, churches, and popular culture. Harris-Lacewell's writings have been published in The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, Crain's Chicago Business and Newsday. She regularly provides commentary for NBC News and MSNBC, and has contributed to other television and print sources. Learn more here.

In a piece she wrote for The Nation in October 2009, Ms. Harris-Lacewell stated:
Today, many same-sex couples in the United States live in a fraught, contingent space of loving attachment, unprotected by state recognition. My fierce commitment to marriage equality derives, in part, from my personal biography as an interracial child, descended from American slaves, and raised in Virginia, beginning less than a decade after the Loving decision. Even though I am heterosexual, marriage equality is personal. I learn from the history of racial and interracial marriage exclusion that the denial of marriage rights to same-sex couples is wrong. [Link]
Freedom to Marry salutes Melissa Harris-Lacewell as a Voice for Equality! Learn about other Voices for Equality here.

If Ms. Harris-Lacewell's support inspires you, get involved!

**Make your NOMINATION for a Voice for Equality today!

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As Goes Martha…Martha Stewart Wedding Features Same-Sex Couple for First Time

Good As You
December 21, 2009

Blogger Jeremy Hooper announces the profile of his wedding in the Winter 2010 edition of Martha Stewart Weddings, the first wedding of a same-sex couple to be featured in the magazine. (Link)

Congratulations Jeremy and Andrew!

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Voice for Equality: Annise Parker

Annise Parker is the first openly gay mayor of Houston, Texas, the fourth most populous city in the U.S.

"...Texas lost marriage a few years ago. I really take the long view. We lose battles, but we're winning the hearts and minds of this war. And we just have to keep chipping away, coming out, being visible, integrating our concerns into the issues of our society at all levels, and we're going to get there."

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Voice for Equality: Ruth Hassell-Thompson

New York State Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson of Mount Vernon represents the 36th district of New York, which covers Morrisania, West Farms, Williamsbridge, Co-op City, Wakefield, Baychester and Mount Vernon.

On December 2, 2009, Senator Hassell-Thompson was one of twenty-four senators who voted in favor of the Marriage Equality Bill on the Floor of the NYS Senate Chamber, and she was one of several senators who spoke personally and powerfully in support of the freedom to marry during the pre-vote debate.

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Voice for Equality: Stephanie Miner

Stephanie Miner is an attorney, Democratic politician, and the mayor of Syracuse, NY.

In its 2009 General Election Voter Guide, the Empire State Pride Agenda wrote: "A longtime supporter of LGBT equality, Stephanie Miner was the original sponsor of a resolution to raise the rainbow flag during Pride celebrations at Syracuse City Hall. She will be the first Mayor of Syracuse to support marriage equality and joins the ranks of many other large city New York state mayors who have pledged to work toward equality and justice for all LGBT New Yorkers."

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Voice for Equality: Padma Lakshmi

Padma Lakshmi is an Indian American cookbook author, actress, and model. She has been the host of the US reality television program Top Chef since season two.

Ms. Lakshmi was photographed wearing a White Knot at the Spirit Awards in Santa Monica, CA on February 21, 2009. The White Knot for Equality organization is dedicated to the promotion of marriage equality.

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