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On Thursday, August 1, dozens of same-sex couples in Rhode Island and Minnesota exchanged vows in honor of the first official day that a marriage of this kind could be officiated according to the laws of their respective states. In Minnesota, eager couples were even counting the seconds, as ceremonies began at midnight—nearly 1,000 people gathered in city hall to watch the pronouncement of 46 marriages. With the passage of these laws, same-sex couples can now marry in over twenty-five percent of all U.S. states.
Back on May 18, 32-year-old Mark Carson was shot and fatally killed by Elliot Morales in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village. The shooting was deemed a hate crime, as witnesses reported that Elliot was also shouting anti-gay slurs at Carson, who was openly gay. On Tuesday of this week, Morales’s attorney announced that he might plead not guilty on the grounds of temporary insanity, claiming that the defendant also intends to present psychiatric evidence during his trial. It has also been reported that Morales told the police he doesn’t “have a problem with gay people.”
And in June, an anti-gay bill was passed in Russia that, among other things, bans “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” and forbids children from being educated about homosexuality. In response, there has been a worldwide boycott of Stolichnaya (Stoli) vodka, with many gay bars refusing to serve the liquor. Last week, Val Mendeleev, the CEO of Stoli Vodka, wrote an open letter to Advocate, where he insisted that
I want to stress that Stoli firmly opposes such attitude and actions [of the Russian Parliament]. Indeed, as a company that encourages transparency and fairness, we are upset and angry. Stolichnaya Vodka has always been, and continues to be a fervent supporter and friend to the LGBT community. We also thank the community for having adopted Stoli as their vodka of preference.
This week, Mendeleev also sat down for an interview on SiriusXM Progress, where he argued that his company is “not a Russian company,” despite the fact that its distilleries continue to operate in Russia and that the majority of its employees are of Russian decent.
As for news in the literary community, since 2005, the Golden Crown Literary Society (GCLS), “an educational organization whose mission is for the enjoyment, discussion, and enhancement of lesbian literature and creative non-fiction,” has been presenting their annual “Goldie” awards. The awards consist of 12 categories, including romance, mystery/thriller, sci-fi/fantasy, and debut author, as well as four special awards. Take a look at the 2013 Goldie winners here.
Lastly, in light of several recent opinion pieces that have argued, in various ways, that “poetry is dead,” an article at Flavorwire provides a list of 23 people who are proving just the opposite about poetry. Included in this list are several queer and queer-friendly writers, including Eileen Myles, Tommy Pico, and Alex Dimitrov.
Photo: Eileen Myles