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Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have discovered a two-way link between depression and gestational diabetes. Women who reported feeling depressed during the first two trimesters of pregnancy were nearly twice as likely to develop gestational diabetes, according to an analysis of pregnancy records. Conversely, a separate analysis found that women who developed gestational diabetes were more likely to report postpartum depression six weeks after giving birth, compared to a similar group of women who did not develop gestational diabetes.
The study was published online in Diabetologia.
Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes (high blood sugar level) occurring only in pregnancy, which if untreated may cause serious health problems for mother and infant.
“Our data suggest that depression and gestational diabetes may occur together,” said the study’s first author, Stefanie Hinkle, Ph.D., staff scientist in the Division of Intramural Population Health Research at the NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). “Until we learn more, physicians may want to consider observing pregnant women with depressive symptoms for signs of gestational diabetes. They also may want to monitor women who have had gestational diabetes for signs of postpartum depression.”
Although obesity is known to increase the risk for gestational diabetes, the likelihood of gestational diabetes was higher for non-obese women reporting depression than for obese women with depression.
The researchers analyzed pregnancy records from the NICHD Fetal Growth Studies-Singleton Cohort, which tracked the progress of thousands of pregnancies, to understand the patterns of fetal growth. The study enrolled 2,334 non-obese and 468 obese women in weeks eight to 13 of pregnancy. The women responded to questionnaires on symptoms of depression when they enrolled in the study, again between the 16th and 22nd week of pregnancy, and then six weeks after giving birth. The researchers also reviewed the women’s records to identify who had developed gestational diabetes.
“Of particular note, persistent depression from the first to second trimester set women at even greater risk for gestational diabetes” said the study’s senior author, Cuilin Zhang, M.D., Ph.D, in the Division of Intramural Population Health Research at NICHD. Women who had the highest scores for depression in the first and second trimesters – about 17 percent – had nearly triple the risk for gestational diabetes when compared to women who had lower depression scores.
“Our results suggest it would be a good idea for clinicians to pay particular attention to women with high depression scores when evaluating the risk of gestational diabetes,” Dr. Zhang added.
Although obesity increases the risk for gestational diabetes, non-obese women with high depression scores had nearly triple the risk for gestational diabetes than the other women in the study. Depression did not appear to increase the risk for gestational diabetes among obese women.
Currently, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that physicians screen patients at least once for depression during the perinatal period (22 weeks of pregnancy through 7 days after birth.)
The researchers also found a higher risk for postpartum depression among the women who had gestational diabetes. Of the women who developed gestational diabetes, nearly 15 percent experienced depressive symptoms after birth, which was more than four times that of women who had not had gestational diabetes.
Dr. Hinkle stressed that the study was not able to prove a cause and effect relationship between symptoms of depression and gestational diabetes. The researchers added that earlier studies have shown that depression is associated with impaired glucose metabolism that may lead to higher blood sugar levels. Similarly, high blood sugar levels may lead to inflammation, hormonal, and other changes that could lead to symptoms of depression.]]>
The Civil Marriage Amendment Bill 2016 was passed unanimously by the government in Gibraltar on October 26, 2016. There are an estimated 30,000 citizens currently residing in Gibraltar, a British Overseas Territory on Spain’s south coast. Gibraltar joins England, Wales and Scotland in legalizing same-sex marriage in Europe.
Gay Times reports that “Same-sex sexual activity has been legal in Gibraltar since 1993, although the age of consent was only equalised in 2012. In 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples could adopt, and in 2014 civil unions were introduced for both same-sex and opposite-sex couples.”
“The definition of ‘Holy Matrimony’, a sacrament of the Catholic Church, or of the respective rites of marriage in the Jewish, Islamic or Hindu religions, is entirely unaffected,” a Government statement read when the bill was entered into parliament August 15, 2016. “Nothing that is being proposed in this Bill has any bearing on the religious concept of marriage.”
“We have not taken this process lightly and we have treated this clearly important subject matter with the respect that it deserves,” said Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo in a statement on August 15, 2016. “I wish to make it clear that this law relates to civil marriage and not to the sacrament of Holy Matrimony or the rites of marriage in any religion. I want to also thank all those who replied to the Command Paper we issued and those who engaged directly with us in the Consultation process. Their input has been greatly valued by me and by all of my colleagues and the Bill we publish today is improved by those discussions. I am particularly happy that this Bill is being published as a Government Bill and not a Private Members Bill.”
Gibraltar now has one equal marriage law for all. #LoveIsLove I am proud to lead the GSLP/Liberal Govt that has delivered #EqualityAtLast
— Fabian Picardo (@FabianPicardo) October 26, 2016
Today Equal Marriage is a reality in Gibraltar and this is what it means: https://t.co/ZQqkYsyIqs @GibraltarGov
— Fabian Picardo (@FabianPicardo) October 26, 2016
Felix Alvarez, Chairman of Equality Rights Group Gibraltar, said: “Today is a happy and long-awaited day for many in Gibraltar. Equality Rights Group extends a big thanks to all the LGBTI community and also to the very special people who have fought unfailingly alongside us.”
Historic Civil #Marriage Amendment Bill 2016 is passed unanimously. @FabianPicardo said: ‘A landmark day for #Gibraltar & this #Parliament‘
— HM Govt of Gibraltar (@GibraltarGov) October 26, 2016
In an editorial post titled, “ERG: We are proud of Gilbraltar!” Alvarez wrote, “As we celebrate this important advance for the LGBTI community, let us remain just as adamant to support and achieve advances for other sectors within Gibraltar. Justice is not done only for us, but we must stand with others in their struggles, too. For instance, we now understand that the disabled community can expect to see a long-awaited law bringing them advances in rights by December of this year. They have been waiting for too long. And ERG trusts and hopes their patience will bear the kind of fruit for which they have been struggling. ERG will remain by their side in full support and solidarity for anything they may need.”]]>
The lawsuit – the first of its kind in the country to challenge such state laws – alleges that the laws violate the U.S. Constitution and federal education law by discriminating against LGBT people and restricting the First Amendment rights of students and teachers.
“These are some of the last remaining anti-LGBT laws that are currently being enforced in the country, and they’re especially odious, because they explicitly apply to school classes on every subject,” said Equality Utah Executive Director Troy Williams. “These laws send a message that our lives are shameful and must be hidden and censored. They create a deadly culture of silence and non-acceptance, causing harms that can never fully be undone. The time has come to end the stigma and strike down this shameful law.”
The lawsuit challenges several Utah laws and regulations that prevent positive portrayals of gay, lesbian, and bisexual people in curricula, classroom discussions, and student clubs. The lawsuit claims that these discriminatory restrictions create a negative environment for LGBT students, perpetuate discrimination and bullying, and contribute to the high rates of anti-LGBT harassment in Utah schools. For instance, one plaintiff experienced severe physical and verbal harassment from other students in his kindergarten class based on his gender non-conformity. When his parents complained to school leaders about the harassment, they were told that the school district could not protect their son because of these discriminatory school laws.
The lawsuit also describes the many other ways that these laws harm students and teachers, including preventing students from receiving accurate information about sexual orientation and LGBT people, even when it serves important educational purposes, and prohibiting teachers and students from sharing positive views of LGBT people. For example, one of the student plaintiffs was given a class assignment to give an oral family history report and wanted to report on his uncle’s marriage to his same-sex spouse, but was told he could not talk about his uncle in front of his classmates.
“We are honored to represent Equality Utah and these brave students and their families in this historic case,” said Ropes & Gray partner Douglass Hallward-Dremeier, who argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges, which struck down state laws barring same-sex couples from marrying. “These discriminatory laws are outdated, harmful, and blatantly unconstitutional. They serve no purpose other than to isolate and stigmatize young people who deserve to be fully supported and embraced.”
Said NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell, a Utah native: “It is long past time for these dangerous laws to be struck from the books. The U.S. Supreme Court has held that sexual orientation is ‘a normal expression of human sexuality’ and that LGBT people must be treated equally under the law. These laws openly discriminate against LGBT students and teachers. They stigmatize vulnerable young people who should be celebrated and supported, and they censor constitutionally protected free speech, including students’ right to receive accurate information about sexual orientation and LGBT people.”
Download the complaint and learn more about the case.]]>
The Mock Election begins Oct. 31 at 9 a.m. and ends Nov. 4 at 1 p.m.
The Mock Election is free and open to all Washington K-12 students who attend public, private or tribal school or are homeschooled.
Now in its 12th year, the Mock Election lets students experience “voting” for real candidates and measures. Sponsored by the Office of Secretary of State, the Mock Election is a nonpartisan educational program that teaches kids to be informed voters.
Students can vote by going to the Mock Election website at: vote.wa.gov/MockElection. Students who participate will receive free “I Voted!” stickers from their teachers.
Secretary of State Kim Wyman said the Mock Election helps teach students to vote and be active in civic life.
“I love the Mock Election because it introduces students to voting and shows them why it’s important,” Wyman said. “I hope every Washington student will graduate with the skills to fully engage in our democracy, and have the passion and commitment to do so. Voting is a key part of that.”
Students in grades 6-12 will “vote” for president, U.S. Senate and governor. They also will consider three initiatives: I-1433 (raising state’s minimum wage); I-1491 (restricting firearms access); and I-735 (asking Washington’s congressional delegation to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that says constitutionally protected free speech excludes spending of money).
K-5 students will vote for president, U.S. Senate and governor, as well as I-1433.
The Mock Election happens a week before the end of the General Election, and the kids’ results sometimes offer an accurate glimpse on how adults may vote – or not. Last year, students narrowly passed I-1366 (restricting tax increases) and about 75 percent approved I-1401 (trafficking of endangered animals). The students’ results mirrored how adults voted, as about 51 percent gave a thumbs-up to I-1366 while 70 percent said yes to I-1401.
“It’s always interesting to see how students vote on key measures and whether they vote the same way as the adults,” Wyman said. “This is another reason why the Mock Election is fun.”
Results will be posted online for the state and by school on the Elections Division’s webpage at 1.usa.gov/bB9M3Q soon after the Mock Election ends on Nov. 4.
Teachers participating in the event are provided with kid-friendly voters’ pamphlets and sample ballots, and a recently updated Teaching Elections in Washington State curriculum book, which meets Common Core standards and includes Classroom Based Assessments with each unit, step-by-step voting instructions and a “Vote Here!” poster.
For additional information about the Mock Election, contact Jackie Wheeler in the Elections Division at (360) 902-4143 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Wheeler also can provide contact information for local teachers who have said their students are voting, for an in-the-classroom perspective.
Photo by flickingerbrad]]>
Outfest, the non-profit organization promoting equality by creating, sharing and protecting LGBT stories on the screen, announced this week that Jeffrey Tambor (Transparent), Amy Landecker (Transparent), Dax Shepard (Parenthood), Shay Mitchell (Pretty Little Liars), Teri Polo (The Fosters), and Sherri Saum (The Fosters) will be presenting Legacy Awards to Jill Soloway, Sean Hayes and Freeform, respectively. Singer Samuel Larsen (Glee) is set to perform.
The 2016 Legacy Awards will take place on Sunday, October 23 at performing arts venue Vibiana in downtown Los Angeles, with head chef Neal Fraser (Redbird). Merrill Lynch will return as the Presenting Sponsor.
As previously announced, Soloway will be honored with the Visionary Award, which recognizes artistic and creative contributions to the LGBT media visibility for a body of work that includes Transparent. Hayes is receiving the Trailblazer Award in recognition of his exemplary career as a stage, film, television, and recording artist and for his longtime, passionate support of the LGBT community. Freeform is receiving the Corporate Trailblazer Award in recognition of its groundbreaking programming for young adults – people in high school, college and the decade that follows – which includes such LGBT-friendly programs including Pretty Little Liars, The Fosters, and Shadowhunters.
The Legacy Awards serves as a fundraiser to support the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project. Outfest and UCLA Film & Television Archive partnered in 2005 to create the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project, the only program in the world exclusively dedicated to saving and preserving LGBT moving images. The Legacy Project is aimed at the crisis in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender moving-image archiving. Many of the landmark LGBT films produced over the last 40-plus years are already in danger of fading away; their original exhibition prints are in tatters, and their negatives are in woeful storage conditions or even lost. For the last 11 years, the Legacy Project is proud to have collected more than 36,000 moving-image items and to have restored 24 historically important film and video projects.
Previous Legacy Award honorees include Tom Hanks (Philadelphia), Lisa Cholodenko (The Kids Are All Right), Armistead Maupin (Tales of the City), Hilary Swank (Boys Don’t Cry), Lee Daniels (Empire), Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (Chicago), Adam Shankman (Hairspray), Roland Emmerich (Stonewall), Alan Poul (The Newsroom), Bruce Cohen (Silver Linings Playbook), and Paris Barclay (Glee).
Click here for tickets.]]>
“For the past month, our clients Juliet, Elissa and A.S. have felt singled out and marginalized by the discriminatory restroom policy imposed by the school board. This isn’t the result of teachers or their fellow students, who overwhelmingly support them. It’s the result of a sudden, fear-based and unconstitutional policy change, in response to pressure from outside anti-LGBT groups and individuals,” Lambda Legal Staff Attorney Omar Gonzalez-Pagan said. “Senior year only happens once in your lifetime—these students can’t get this time back. The rule imposed on them by the school board is demeaning, degrading and unnecessary – not to mention against the law.”
The targeting of LGBT-inclusive policies and practices by anti-LGBT organizations is not unique to Pine-Richland and is playing out across the country. North Carolina’s controversial discriminatory law, HB 2, passed in response to the city of Charlotte’s adoption of an inclusive anti-discrimination ordinance, is the most notable example, but there have been similar efforts in Mississippi, Texas and elsewhere.
In early October, Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit, Evancho v. Pine-Richland School District, on behalf of Juliet Evancho, Elissa Ridenour and A.S., a third transgender student at Pine-Richland High School who is a minor and identified by his initials. It argues that Pine-Richland’s newly adopted discriminatory restroom policy and practice sends a purposeful message that transgender students in the school district are undeserving of the privacy, respect, and protections afforded to other students.
The lawsuit was filed after the Pine-Richland School Board last month voted to reverse the School District’s longstanding, inclusive restroom practice in response to pressure from anti-LGBT groups and individuals. The vote followed months of controversy, during which Lambda Legal sent a letter to the district on behalf of several Pine-Richland transgender students, urging officials and the school board to reject the misinformation and to continue treating transgender students equally. Lambda Legal attorneys sent additional letters and were present at several school board meetings.
“Every day I feel like I’m walking on eggshells when I come to school,” Juliet said. “It’s not right to be made to feel that way just for being who I am.”
“Everything was fine at school, I was accepted for who I am, before some parents decided to make a fuss,” Elissa added. “We just need it to go back to the way it was, when there was no problem.”
Read the Motion for Preliminary Injunction.
The case is Evancho v. Pine-Richland School District. Read the complaint.
Read Lambda Legal’s earlier advocacy letter here.
To Know Your Rights about Bathrooms and Locker Rooms, click here.
Lambda Legal attorneys Omar Gonzalez-Pagan and Christopher Clark are the lead attorneys on the case, joined by local counsel Tracie Palmer and David C. Williams with Kline & Specter, P.C.]]>
SIFF announced Thursday that Sarah Wilke has been hired to replace outgoing Interim Executive Director Christine Martin. Wilke comes to SIFF after a year-long search by SIFF’s Board of Directors, with support from search firm partner Arts Consulting Group. Wilke will transition into her new position over two months, starting Thursday, October 27 when she makes her first public debut as Executive Director at SIFF’s annual fundraising gala, SIP for SIFF. Martin will remain at SIFF in a reduced capacity through November to help transition Wilke into her new role.
Wilke became Managing Director of Seattle’s On the Boards at the start of its 2004-2005 season. Her responsibilities include the day-to-day and long-term strategic management of the organization. During her time there, On the Boards received a 2015 Fractured Atlas Arts Innovation Award for OntheBoards.tv., a 2013 William Dawson Award for Programmatic Excellence and Sustained Achievement in Programming from the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, a 2011 Mayor’s Arts Award, and a 2006 Stranger Genius Award for outstanding Arts Organization.
Prior to this position, Wilke worked as Managing Director of Consolidated Works in Seattle, as Associate Curator of education at the Tacoma Art Museum, and at the Freer & Sackler Galleries in Washington, D.C. in various education, programming, and curatorial positions. Wilke was a Fulbright Fellow in Sri Lanka. She has served as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, The Kresge Artist Fellowships, The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, Artist Trust, and the National Performance Network.
“On behalf of the entire SIFF Board of Directors, we couldn’t be more pleased that Sarah has agreed to leave a job she loves in order to join SIFF as its new Executive Director,” said Brian LaMacchia, SIFF Board President. “This is an exciting time for our organization; SIFF is experiencing consistent upward growth and we are about to conclude another record year. The Board looks forward to supporting Sarah as she continues SIFF’s mission to bring the best of the world of cinema to Puget Sound and beyond. ”
“I’ve known and respected Sarah for many years and am looking forward to working with her,” said Beth Barrett, SIFF’s Interim Artistic Director. “Sarah has demonstrated in her current position that she is incredibly smart, strategic, enthusiastic, and just darn nice. The SIFF staff and I are excited to have a leader like her who not only knows our organization and Seattle so well, but who has the kind of experience she brings to the table.”
“I have been incredibly lucky in my life that I have been able to be places that I love working, in areas that are engaging intellectually to me,” said Wilke. “I have cherished my years at On the Boards and now I am very excited to get to join SIFF, a strong organization I have enjoyed as an audience member since moving to Seattle in 2001. I look forward to furthering SIFF’s role within the film community in Seattle and beyond.”]]>
Around approximately September 18, 2016, a Facebook page was created: Equal Justice for All. It has been posting information attempting to get the LGBTQ community not to vote for two incumbent judges on the state Supreme Court: Chief Justice Madsen and Justice Wiggins. Equal Justice for All has no information about who they are and they are currently being investigated by the Public Disclosure Commission for possibly violating public disclosure campaign rules. It is particularly troubling to me that they do not have anything on the About page. Given the anonymity and the fact that it does not seem to be connected to any LGBTQ organizations in Washington, it seems like it is trying to catfish the LGBTQ community.
Three incumbent justices are up for re-election: Chief Justice Barbara Madsen, Justice Mary Yu, and Justice Charlie Wiggins. Equal Justice for All is specifically targeting Justice Madsen and Wiggins. Justice Mary Yu would be hard to challenge as anti-LGBTQ as our first openly lesbian justice and because she did so many same-sex adoptions, she is probably the most well-known justice in our LGBTQ community.
The LGBTQ community is diverse in our ideals and so the fact that a group of conservatives who believe our supreme court is “too political” (coded language conservatives use when they mean too liberal) may not mean that every member of the LGBTQ community will oppose these justices who are a block of men running to unseat the incumbent justices primarily to oppose the McLeary school funding decisions. The best source for finding the judge consistent with your views, is the non-partisan and non-biased is votingforjudges.org. From there you can see that the challengers to the incumbents have so far refused to participate in the surveys by the various minority bar groups, including the LGBTQ Bar group, the QLaw Association.
Despite the diverse views in the LGBTQ community, at this moment in history people who sit on the more conservative/Republican side of the ideological spectrum tend to hold anti-LGBTQ biases. All three challengers to the incumbents have been endorsed and have catered to Republicans and use coded language that the court is “too political” which conservatives use to say that it is “too liberal.”
For the LGBTQ community identifying primarily with conservatives is a troubling for a potential supreme court justice. The Washington State Republican party is seeking to roll-back LGBTQ equality and in the last couple of years have attempted to eliminate protections for the transgender community. In the last legislative session, the anti-trans bill had 14 sponsors, all Republicans. The attempt to removed protections for transgender or any gender nonconforming people was narrowly defeated by one vote.
There are some upcoming LGBTQ issues before the court. There is a parenting case, where the court will be deciding whether or not the trial court’s abuse of discretion in restricting a parent’s expression of identity as a lesbian (she came out after a heterosexual marriage with children) and her exercise of religion with her children (Christian, but supporting of the LGBTQ community) made an entire parenting plan invalid or just the portions with the explicit references to her sexual orientation and expression of religion. This is an important issue and the result will make a huge difference in the lives of the LGBTQ people and whether they feel like they will treated with respect when they access the court system.
There is also the Arlene Flowers case, where a florist refused to sell flowers to a long-standing customer for his wedding to his longtime partner because it was a same-sex wedding. The trial court in Benton County (Richland), Washington found refusal violated Washington’s Law Against Discrimination. This case is also before our state supreme court.
In the effort for the LGBTQ community to be fully equal citizens, there will likely be similar cases over the next few years. The justices will make decisions that have a profound impact on our lives.
Justice Madsen does not have the excited support of the LGBTQ community. She authored the Andersen marriage decision in 2006, which meant it took same-sex couples another six years to achieve marriage equality. Her main legal reasoning was that she felt that marriage equality was a political question and that the LGBTQ community had the political clout to change the law through the political process as opposed to the courts. It was a disappointing decision and the LGBTQ community is right to be critical of the decision and to be concerned about whether Justice Madsen fully understands the issues impacting the LGBTQ community. But her opponent is not a better choice on LGBTQ issues. Also, let’s be real in 2006, only one state had marriage equality: Massachusetts. The next state, Connecticut would not follow until 2008. Our state legislature finally passed changes to the Washington Law Against Discrimination to protect the LGBTQ community in 2006, the same year as the Andersen decision. It took another year to have our first domestic partnership law, and that was limited for death and dying benefits.
Zempel is an unknown on LGBTQ issues. According to Equal Justice for All, he was opposed to Referendum 71. Which means he opposed the 2009 Everything But Marriage Law.
His reason for running seems to be about the privatization of our public schools. As of August 2016, Political Action Committees have raised close $230,000 for Zempel according to an August 16, 2016 article by the Peninsula Daily News. According to the article’s author, Jesse Major, Zemper’s campaign is the only judicial campaign in our state to receive more than $200 from a PAC as an independent expenditure.
As for Wiggins, the Equal Justice for All Facebook group posted a July 28, 1999 letter that they allege Justice Wiggins wrote, but do not include a signature block. The 1999 letter addresses proposed changes to the Rules for Professional Conduct 8.4.(g) and (h). Under RPC 8.4 it is considered professional misconduct for a lawyer to commit a discriminatory act prohibited by state law (g) and that representation must be void of bias based on several protected categories (h). These categories appear to mostly mirror our state law against discrimination.
Whoever wrote this letter stated “even a worthwhile goal should not be pursued through flawed means.” The author noted that the proposed language referenced a violation of state law, but the proposed law went beyond state law by including sexual orientation in its protections, which our state law did not include and would not include until seven years after this letter was written.
Justice Wiggins may have written this letter. The QLaw Association only rated him as Well-Qualified versus Extremely Well Qualified, which indicates that there is some concern about him with regard to interpreting LGBTQ laws, but not enough concern to believe he wouldn’t follow our state laws, which provide strong protections for the LGBTQ community. He has also written an opinion regarding racial bias in the selection of a jury that made it seem like he is aware that bias in our judicial system erodes our judicial system, presumably now that our state law includes protections for the LGBTQ community he would enforce these provisions as well.
Like Zempel, Mr. Larson, who is opposing Justice Wiggins, is opposed to the court’s ruling in the school funding case, McLeary, and appears to be running in large part because he opposes this verdict. Unlike, Zempel, Larson actually has a few newspaper endorsements. He has used the same kind of “too political” rhetoric, which is code for “too liberal.” He has been repeatedly described as conservative. Larson is more savvy than Zempel and didn’t put the political affiliations of those who endorse him on his website, but that’s easy to check and all but two of his state congressional endorsements come from Republicans. Six of ten state senators who endorsed Mr. Larson sponsored the legislation to overturn the protection of transgender individuals in public accommodations.
When casting your ballot, make sure you are voting based on facts. Don’t let this “Equality for All” group catfish you. Chief Justice Madsen does not deserve the enthusiastic support of the LGBTQ community. If Justice Wiggins wrote the letter, he too may not deserve the enthusiastic support of the LGBTQ community (although 1999 was a incredibly long time ago with regard to LGBTQ acceptance, so perhaps this letter shouldn’t be the deciding factor). Nevertheless, based on what is known about their opponents, Chief Justice Madsen and Justice Wiggins are likely a better choice for LGBTQ issues.
Jill Mullins-Cannon is an attorney in Washington. She blogs about appellate court decisions in Washington. Full disclosure: She is also the former President of the QLaw Foundation, the sister organization to the QLaw Association. She is a member of the QLaw Association, but has not served on that Board and has never been on the panel for judicial evaluations.]]>
The Gay Travel Approved Seal of Approval is awarded by GayTravel.com to select travel partners that offer a safe and welcoming environment for LGBTQ travelers. This accolade is reserved for travel partners whom a panel of experts, editors and tastemakers have deemed deserving of a higher level of recognition by the LGBTQ community.
“This designation has been a long time in the making,” said Steve Rohrlick, CEO of GayTravel.com. “Our GayTravel Cruise Guru Stephen Prisco has sailed on more than 100 Royal Caribbean cruises. The recent appointment of Grant Van Ulbrich as the first openly-gay Diversity Executive on a major cruise line and the steps he is implementing are indicative of Royal Caribbean International’s commitment to the LGBTQ community. It is therefore our distinct pleasure to bestow GayTravel Approved 2016 to Royal Caribbean International.”
“Royal Caribbean has always been known and recognized for extraordinary service that is warm and attentive and remains committed to creating a diverse, welcoming environment on each and every one of our ships,” said Grant Van Ulbrich, Director, Diversity & Inclusion, Royal Caribbean. “To take our efforts to the next level, we recently introduced a new Diversity and Inclusion department and one of its first priorities is to focus on continued training and education for our international crew members.”
With its parent company’s perfect rating on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index and a rich history of hosting LGBTQ charters, groups and luminaries, it’s not surprising that LGBTQ travelers are frequent guests. One such guest and avid sailor is GayTravel.com’s Cruise Guru Stephen Prisco.
“From the moment I set foot on my first Royal Caribbean cruise, I felt like I belonged,” said Prisco. “On every one of my cruising adventures, I feel like I am home and that Royal Caribbean is my family. The strides that they have taken to welcome our community onboard and the incredible innovations they have made to their fleet are just a few of the reasons I continue to return time and time again.”
GayTravel.com encourages the LGBTQA community to offer recommendations for Gay Travel Approved travel destinations, accommodations, cruises, tours, events, restaurants, and venues.]]>