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    Sister Dana sez, “Thanks to changing laws and a society growing more of an open mind, more and more LGBTQ people are able to start families of their own.”

    sisterdBy Sister Dana Inquity

    Sister Dana sez, “Thanks to changing laws and a society growing more of an open mind, more and more LGBTQ people are able to start families of their own. That means more and more women are celebrating Mother’s Day! The holiday fell on May 10th this year. Didja at least call home? What?? Not so much as a text and a lousy emoticon?!”

    It was Cinco de Mayo, so why not celebrate AIDS EMERGENCY FUND/ BREAST CANCER EEMERGENCY FUND Exec Director MIKE SMITH’s departure from office with the CINCO DE MIKE-O farewell fiesta at Chambers Eat + Drink with fish tacos and margaritas and best wishes from all his friends! The party was also in honor of Mike’s 55th (Cinco-Cinco!) birthday on May 1st – as well as in recognition of his tireless fundraising for 13 years on behalf of low-income people with HIV/AIDS and breast cancer! So, of course, the event was a fundraiser for BCEF (BREAST CANCER EMERGENCY FUND). A pink and a red piñata were provided to be filled with well wishes and fond goodbyes written on pieces of paper. A video screened zillions of photos of Mike at various events over the years. Entertainment was provided by colorful flag twirlers, hula hoopers, and fire dancers. Donna Sachet sang her special lyrics as a love song to Mike to the tune of “My Man” from Funny Girl. Sister Roma co-femceed with Donna. Everyone gave Mike special Certificates of Recognition, including one from Speaker Nancy Pelosi presented by Dan Bernal, from Senator Mark Leno presented by Anna Damiani, from the SF Board of Supervisors by Supervisor Scott Wiener, and one from Mayor Ed Lee. We Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence even sainted Mike for his many good works. The evening ended with Mike’s friends making a circle of love around him while waving lit sparklers in the night air. Oh yes, and Mike somehow managed to avoid threats of being tossed into the pool.

    The NATIONAL CENTER FOR LESBIAN RIGHTS (NCLR) honored a retired Navy veteran and NCLR client who is fighting to bring LGBTQ equality to Idaho, as well as the plaintiff couples and legal team in NCLR’s historic Tennessee marriage equality case. NCLR’s 38TH ANNUAL CELEBRATION was held at Marriott Marquis hotel. Idaho Navy veteran Madelynn “Lee” Taylor, 75, was honored with the Courage Award for her work standing up to the state’s discriminatory laws banning marriage equality and for her efforts calling attention to the need for anti-discrimination laws by taking part in sit-ins at the State Capitol. The Tennessee marriage equality plaintiff couples and attorneys received the Justice Award, just days after their hearing at the U.S. Supreme Court that could result in a nationwide marriage equality victory. The plaintiffs in the Tennessee marriage case who received the Justice Award were Dr. Valeria Tanco & Dr. Sophy Jesty, and although the couple had married in New York, the state of Tennessee treats them as if they are two unmarried women; Army Reserve Sergeant First Class Ijpe DeKoe & Thom Kostura, who have known each other since they were teenagers; and Matthew Mansell & Johno Espejo, who were married in California but moved to Franklin, Tennessee, in 2012 with their two children. The attorney honorees were Abby Rubenfeld, Maureen Holland, and Regina Lambert, and the law firms of Sherrard & Roe PLC and Ropes & Gray LLP.

    “Every single one of our honorees has demonstrated incredible courage and perseverance in their quest to help the entire LGBT community achieve full equality,” said NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell. She added, “The NCLR board and staff are invigorated for the challenges ahead to bring the full promise of equality to every member of our community.” She screened a video of the many victories won and challenges to come for full LGBTQ equality. “We are going to finish the job,” said Kendell. “And we can’t claim justice if it’s just us: everyone everywhere must be free of discrimination and stigma!” The after-party at City View Metreon had entertainment by Velocity Circus, including roller skaters, unicyclists, jugglers, and fan dancers – as we danced till midnight.

    California State Senator Mark Leno, the San Francisco Giants, and the Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF) were honored and acknowledged for their Giant contributions to the marriage equality movement at the third annual MARRIAGE EQUALITY USA SAN FRANCISCO GARDEN PARTY + AWARDS RECEPTION. (See additional information on page 16.) Celebrated on the heels of the landmark United States Supreme Court marriage hearing, the Garden Party was held at Chambers Eat + Drink, adjacent to the San Francisco Civic Center, where so much marriage equality history has been created. “Marriage Equality USA, an organization I have partnered with for more than a decade, honored me with this recognition,” said State Senator Leno, the 2015 Ally Honoree. “Together we have helped realize the dream of marriage for same-sex couples in California, while also fighting to secure more equal treatment of all LGBT people.”

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    Sarah Schnepf with Leslie Katz and the SF Giants’ attorney, Jack Bair, who accepted an award for the Giants at the Marriage Equality USA Garden Party and Awards at the Chambers Club on May 3. PHOTO BY RINK

    “Raising our voices together, both in the courtroom and in the community, has created the unstoppable momentum we see today,” said John Robert Unruh, BALIF Board Co-Chair.