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Tuesday Morning Men: Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo!

It is a big day in LGBT history as the US Supreme Court hears oral arguments in the case challenging the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8.

Today’s Morning Men, Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo, are at the center of the case as one of the two couples who are the lead plaintiffs.

Paul and Jeff have been together since 1998 and have wanted to marry each other since 2008.

They share a home with their two French bulldogs, Gordon and Gracie, on a tree-lined street in Burbank.

Zarrillo, 39, manages a huge multiplex theater in Burbank, while Katami, 40, produces home fitness products and videos.

“We honestly think of ourselves as kind of regular, everyday guys,” Katami told USA Today in a recent interview. “We’re not asking for a special right.”



FILE UNDER: Morning Men - 2013

Preview: Supreme Court challenges to Prop 8 and DOMA could have historic implications

Well, this is it.

Tomorrow morning the United States Supreme Court will hold oral arguments in the case challenging the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8, the anti-gay marriage measure passed by voters in 2008.

I’ll be covering it all from afar for Gay Star News with transcripts and audio recordings available by about 10 a.m. Pacific Time.

Wednesday is oral arguments for the challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal law passed in 1996 that prevents the US government from recognizing same-sex marriages even in states where such marriages are legal.

I preview the cases over at Gay Star News so hop on over and check the preview story out!

FILE UNDER: Gay Marriage

“The New Normal” takes on Boy Scouts gay ban!

In case you aren’t already watching The New Normal, you should be.

I was slow to warm to the show initially but it has found its comic rhythm and its heart. The writing is very good and the cast is clicking.

It is now one of my favorite shows.

Tomorrow night’s episode focuses on the Boy Scouts of America’s ban on gay members and leaders.

The episode has the character of David (Justin Bartha) volunteering to help out a friend by chaperoning an overnight scouts camping trip.

He agrees to participate despite the concern of Bryan (Andrew Rannells) who is concerned about the BSA’s anti-gay ban.

It becomes clear to the three adult Scout Masters that David is gay once they meet the more flamboyant Bryan. After the camping trip, David receives a letter from the national board stating that his membership has been revoked for ‘homosexual conduct.’

David breaks the news to the upset troop members that he must leave and says: ‘When the Scouts can live up to the values they taught me, I’m happy to be of service. […] I do [love the Scouts], but they don’t respect the way that I love.’

He adds that ‘change is coming’ to the Boy Scouts and there is no doubt ‘the world is changing.’

FILE UNDER: Television

Video Flashback: The Chris and Martina skit from a 1989 episode of “Saturday Night Live”


I started following Chris Evert’s official page on Facebook this week and there are all kinds of goodies on there including this Saturday Night Live sketch.

Chrissie had just retired from pro tennis in 1989 after a glorious career (7 French Opens, 3 Wimbledons, 6 US Opens) and that meant the end of her great rivalry with Martina Navratilova.

Or did it?

In this amusing sketch from the show. Chrissie continues to be haunted by Martina (played by Nora Dunn) who wants to continue the rivalry as Chris tries out various new careers.

The 'Chris & Martina Skit' on Saturday Night… by jenniesslave

FILE UNDER: Sports

Lily Tomlin remembers being offered a “Yep, I’m Gay” TIME magazine cover decades before Ellen

At 73, the great Lily Tomlin is busier than ever with a new movie Admission (starring Tina Fey and Paul Rudd) and the ABC sitcom Malibu Country with Reba McEntire.

It’s been more than 40 years since she made her splash on TV’s Laugh-In which she parlayed into a movie career with an Oscar-nominated performance in Nashville and such films as Nine to Five, The Incredible Shrinking Woman and All of Me.

What wasn’t known until more recent years – publicly at least – is that Tomlin her frequent professional collaborator Jane Wagner have been a solid couple for more than four decades.

Tomlin says in the new issue of Entertainment Weekly that she had an opportunity to come out publicly in much the same way Ellen DeGeneres was to do 212 years later.

“TIME magazine offered me the cover in 1975 if I would come out,” she says. “I was a bit insulted that they thought I’d trade my personal life for the cover of TIME. It’s probably just as well. Being such a big TV personality at that time, it probably would have been tsunami-like.”

She adds: “It’s stunning the progress in the last 15 years.”

In the end, Tomlin ended up getting a TIME cover anyway but for her professional accomplishments, not her personal life.

FILE UNDER: Lesbian

Happy 66th Birthday to Elton John!

The Rocket Man is still going strong at 66!

Elton John is a father to two young children, continues to raise millions for AIDS each year, and he remains a major concert draw.

Nice to see him still so active and relevant after all he’s accomplished – gold records galore, multiple Grammy wins, an Academy Award, a Tony, The Kennedy Center Honors, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and, of course, being knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

Here are some of my favorite Elton songs:


FILE UNDER: Birthdays

NFL star Scott Fujita writes powerful essay on gay marriage and the lessons of history

It was nearly three years ago that I got the chance to chat with NFL star Scott Fujita and I just felt so happy and proud to have him on the side of LGBT equality.

He has continued to be a staunch ally and an essay he wrote for The New York Times is a must-read.

It’s timed, of course, to this week’s historic Supreme Court hearings on Prop. 8 and DOMA.

I’d like to share a few excerpts with you:

As my girls grow up, they will learn about a few of the more embarrassing moments in our nation’s history. And I expect they’ll ask questions. But for the most part, I’ll be prepared to respond because I can point to the progress that followed.

They will learn that their great-grandmother Lillie delivered a son, their Grandpa Rod, in a Japanese-American relocation camp during World War II. Initially, they might be shocked that this is part of America’s past. But I’ll be able to tell them, ”I think a lesson was learned from that experience, and it won’t happen again.”

They will learn that couples of different races, like their grandparents, were once denied the right to marry. But at least I’ll be able to say, “Thanks to a Virginia couple named Richard and Mildred Loving, things are better now.”

At some point, they will hear the term “separate but equal,” and will learn there was a time when their father would not have been able to go to the same school or sit in the same restaurant with many of the same friends that he now shares an N.F.L. locker room with. But then I can say to them, “That was a long time ago, and look how far we’ve come.”

I anticipate us having similar conversations about women’s suffrage or Rosa Parks. And each time, I’ll be able to say that this country moved toward progress. Sometimes, change is slow, but when we know better, we do better.

*****

I support marriage equality for so many reasons: my father’s experience in an internment camp and the racial intolerance his family experienced during and after the war, the gay friends I have who are really not all that different from me, and also because of a story I read a few years back about a woman who was denied the right to visit her partner of 15 years when she was stuck in a hospital bed.

My belief is rooted in a childhood nurtured by a Christian message of love, compassion and acceptance. It’s grounded in the fact that I was adopted and know there are thousands of children institutionalized in various foster programs, in desperate need of permanent, safe and loving homes, but living in states that refuse to allow unmarried couples, including gays and lesbians, to adopt because they consider them not fit to be parents.

In articulating all my feelings about marriage equality, I almost don’t know where to begin. And perhaps that’s part of the problem. Why do we have to explain ourselves when it comes to issues of fairness and equality? Why is common sense not enough?

FILE UNDER: Gay Marriage

Monday Morning Man: Leigh Halfpenny!


This cutie is Leigh Halfpenny, a 24-year-old Welsh rugby player who I spotted the other day and thought my friend Lorna might like to see him featured.

Leigh is a Wales international rugby union player who plays for the Cardiff Blues. He was recently named Six Nations player of the championship after helping to steer Wales to a second consecutive title.

With more than 80,000 people voting, the Blues star received 40% of the public’s vote. He scored 74 points for Wales during the tournament.

Halfpenny made his debut for Wales at the aged 19 in a game against South Africa in November 2008.


FILE UNDER: Morning Men - 2013

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts invites lesbian cousin to attend Tuesday’s Prop. 8 hearing

I’m just going to take this as a good omen.

The Los Angeles Times reports that among the invited guests of Chief Justice John Roberts at Tuesday’s Supreme Court hearing on Proposition 8 will be his lesbian cousin Jean Podrasky.

The San Francisco resident wants to marry her partner so she has a lot riding on whether or not a majority of the justices uphold an appellate court ruling declaring California’s ant-gay marriage ban unconstitutional.

She tells The Times: “I am so excited. I feel quite honored and overwhelmed.”

Roberts is Podrasky’s first cousin and his mother is her godmother. She says she hopes to introduce Roberts to her partner of four years, Grace Fasano.

“He is a smart man,” she says. “He is a good man. I believe he sees where the tide is going. I do trust him. I absolutely trust that he will go in a good direction.”

FILE UNDER: Gay Marriage

HRC gala in LA brings out Kerry Washington, Rob Reiner, Lance Bass and some political stars too!

It is to my great frustration that a bad back kept me from attending last night’s Human Rights Campaign gala in downtown Los Angeles.

It would have been so great to chat with people just a few days before the Supreme Court hearings on DOMA and Prop. 8.

But my pal Ted Johnson was there and I want to direct to his coverage in Variety today.

Ted reports that director and activist Rob Reiner told the audience at downtown Los Angeles’ J.W. Marriott of the fight for marriage equality: “Everything is moving in the right direction. This is inevitable.”

Disney/ABC Television will be honored at the dinner for its programming and LGBT characters. It is also the first major Hollywood studio to reach 100% on HRC’s Corporate Equality Index, consistently scoring 100% over the last seven years.

Representing ABC at the dinner was Anne Sweeney who is co-chair of Disney Media Networks and president of Disney/ABC Television Group. She is pictured below with the cast of ABC’s Scandal.

Pictured: 1) Scandal star Kerry Washington; 2) Lance Bass 3) Rob Reiner and HRC President Chad Griffin 4) Washington state Governor Christine Gregoire 5) California’s first openly gay congressman Mark Takano 6) Sweeney and Scandal cast 7) Scandal star Dan Butinsky.





FILE UNDER: Benefits

Sunday Videos: Gay marriage and this week’s US Supreme Court cases are talk of the tube today

This week marks the first time in history that the United States Supreme Court will review same-sex marriage laws.

On Tuesday, the court will hear oral arguments in a case challenging California’s Proposition 8. The next day, oral arguments take place in a case challenging the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

These are historic times so it’s no surprise that the cases were the talk of the news shows this morning.

Love what Freedom To Marry’s Evan Wolfson has to say on the topic during a conversation on CBS’s Face the Nation: “The gay people are not going to use up all the marriage licenses when we enter marriage. And this is not just somebody saying it. We now have nine states including the District of Columbia, fourteen countries on four continents in which gay people share in the freedom to marry and the result is families are helped and no one is hurt.”

Here are some clips via Towleroad:

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


FILE UNDER: Gay Marriage

Snapped! Thomas Roberts & hubby in Costa Rica!

Nice to see MSNBC newsman Thomas Roberts enjoying a vacation in Costa Rica with his handsome hubby Patrick Abner.

The couple were married last year after more than a decade together.

They honeymooned in Brazil but appear to already be on a second honeymoon.

May they honeymoon forever.

FILE UNDER: Snapped!

GLAAD is now the organization formally known as Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation

In case you didn’t already know, GLAAD has since 1985 been the acronym for Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

But now GLAAD is simply just GLAAD, the LGBT media advocacy organization.

The organization, which promotes the image of LGBT people in the media, says its
“alliance” is now a much bigger tent than it was in 1985, and it is ever-growing.

So it announced today that the name change reflects a renewed commitment to incorporate bi, trans people and allies in shaping media narrative and building public support for the LGBT community.

“It is a natural progression that reflects the work GLAAD’s staff is already leading,” GLAAD’s Wilson Cruz said on MSNBC. “We respect and honor the full name that the organization was founded with, but GLAAD’s work has expanded beyond fighting defamation to changing the culture. Our commitment to marriage equality, employment nondiscrimination, and other LGBT issues is stronger than ever, and now our name reflects our work on transgender issues as well as our work with allies.”

Whatever it’s called, I’m just glad there’s GLAAD.

Below is an MSNBC segment, featuring Cruz, is below:

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

FILE UNDER: GLAAD

Happy 40th Birthday to Jim Parsons!

Jim Parsons is so funny, so talented, so cute.

He’s won two Emmys and a Golden Globe Award for his portrayal of Sheldon Cooper on the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory.

Jim, who turns 40 today, came out publicly – and very casually – in a New York Times article last May.

A few days ago, Jim dazzled as Frank N. Furter as the Big Bang Theory cast performed Time Warp at the 2013 A Night at Sardi’s Gala benefiting the Alzheimer’s Association in Beverly Hills.

See a bit of it below:

FILE UNDER: Birthdays

Showtune Sunday: Celebrate Stephen Sondheim’s 83rd b-day with three tunes performed by Patti LuPone

The great Stephen Sondheim turned 83 a few days ago.

So it seems like the perfect time to celebrate the music of the man behind such Broadway shows as Follies, Company, A Little Night Music,  Into the Woods, Gypsy, Sweeney Todd and Assassins, among so many others.

While it is Bernadette Peters who is most closely identified with the Sondheim songbook, I’m choosing Patti LuPone to dazzle us with a trio of tunes from Sondheim shows she performed on Broadway: Worst Pies in London from Sweeney Todd, Have an Egg Roll Mr. Goldstone from Gypsy and Ladies Who Lunch from Company.

Enjoy!



FILE UNDER: Showtune Sunday

Morning Man Classic: Brian Kelly!


I give full credit for today’s gorgeous Morning Man Classic, Brian Kelly, to actor David Pevsner who posted a photo of the star of Flipper on Facebook the other day.

I vaguely remember seeing a rerun or two of the series and knew Flipper was a dolphin. What I didn’t notice – so I must’ve been extremely young – was how handsome the show’s leading man was!

He played Porter Ricks, a widower raising two young sons and working as chief warden at Coral Key Park and Marine Preserve. The show ran from 1964-67.

Kelly had previously starred in two short-lived TV series: 21 Beacon Street and Straightaway.

Post-Flipper, he starred in the films Around the World Under the Sea and Shoot, Gringo … Shoot! But he was severely injured in a motorcycle accident while filming The Love Machine in 1970. It left his right arm and leg paralyzed and ended his acting career.

But he went to produce some films including being an executive producer of 1982′s Blade Runner.

Kelly died in 2005, two days before his 74th birthday.



FILE UNDER: Morning Men - 2013

Cher to host TCM series “A Woman’s World: The Defining Era of Women in Film” throughout April

Next month is one of my favorite events all year long: TCM Classic Film Festival.

It was at this event three years ago that I saw Cher, dressed casually but nicely, quickly entering Grauman’s Chinese Theatre on opening night just as the red carpet was about to be rolled up.

It’s the only time I’d ever seen her up close and not in concert or at an awards show.

I found out that night that Cher is a big TCM fan, so much so that she is set to be the first host of Friday Night Spotlight, a brand new film showcase launching April 5 on TCM (Turner Classic Movies).

TCM host Robert Osborne will join Cher to kick off the franchise with A Woman’s World: The Defining Era of Women in Film, a collection of 17 films handpicked by Cher to illustrate the evolving roles of women from the late 1930s to the early ’50s. Each month thereafter, Friday Night Spotlight will feature a celebrity or expert host who will take viewers through a collection of films focusing on a specific topic.

Oscar winner Cher and Osborne kick things off hosting a night of movies focusing on motherhood, beginning with Joan Crawford’s Oscar®-winning performance in Mildred Pierce (1945). Subsequent Fridays in April will feature films about the war effort and life on the homefront (April 12), working women (April 19) and women taking charge (April 26).

Here’s what Cher had to say about putting the series together with Osbourne: “Working with Robert isn’t like working at all! We can’t stop taking about the classics and obscure golden oldies. We talk though the breaks while they move the cameras, check the lighting and do the touch-ups. I can’t stop when it comes to the subject of old films, and then I get Robert going, and then the crew and director finally say, ‘Ahh, Cher? We have a show to do.’ Robert and I laugh and become gown-ups again. We don’t work.”

Cher has previously appeared on the network with Osborne as a Guest Programmer in September 2011.

He says: “Cher loves movies, knows movies and has fascinating things to say about them. We’re also proud to claim her as one of Turner Classic Movies’ most passionate and knowledgeable fans.”

Among the other films Cher has chosen for the month are Stella Dallas (1937), The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), His Girl Friday (1940), Woman of the Year (1942), Kitty Foyle (1940), and The Women (1939).

Go to TCM.com to see the full schedule.

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Glee: Straight Sam is flattered when he figures out that he is gay BFF Blaine’s guilty pleasure


Developing a crush on your cute straight friend in high school is pretty much par for the course for any gay guy.

I had several but in those days, you never told them – and they didn’t even know you were gay!

Not the case on Glee where kids can be openly gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender which makes this show one of the most significant in television history.

In this week’s episode, titled Guilty Pleasures, openly gay Blaine sings a beautiful version of Against All Odds and it is clear to all – including his straight best friend Sam, that he is singing about his crush on the sweet, trouty mouth Sam.

Later Sam says to Blaine: “I’m your guilty pleasure.”

Sam has known about Blaine’s crush on him for a while, and he has no problem with it. He finds it flattering and admits that he would’ve been a little offended if it didn’t exist.

Very sweet.

Here is Blaine’s song to Sam:

BONUS VIDEO: In the same episode, Sam reveals that is guilty pleasure is being a Fanilow! Here he is performing Copacabana!

FILE UNDER: Glee

Days of Our Lives: Sonny and Nick have a fight as Gabi is realizing she doesn’t really know her husband

Some really intense stuff going on here as Nick Fallon begins to lose control of what Gabi knows about him.

We see just how unstable Nick is becoming in his coffee house confrontation with Sonny as the two get into a physical confrontation. But more than just using fists, Sonny really takes Nick apart with his words.

Freddie Smith, who plays Sonny, is at his absolute best in this scene.

Will continues to be passive in all of this, perhaps necessary since everyone else around him is being plenty aggressive.

FILE UNDER: Days of Our Lives

Lunch Break Video: Anderson Cooper meets a very grumpy cat on “Anderson Live!”

Yeah, I know it’s silly but here it is anyway.

There’s a cat that always appears so grumpy that he has become a bit of a celebrity – even getting a cat food commercial.

So Anderson Cooper had the forlorn feline on his daytime show Anderson Live! and gifted grumpy with a bottle of “Happy Pills.”

I’m just wondering what those pills are!

FILE UNDER: Uncategorized