#LoveWins for Harriet & Alley

Harriet and Alley planned their wedding date two weeks ago not knowing June 26th would become a historic day for the United States. They woke up on their wedding day to text messages breaking the news that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that all 50 states must recognize and license same-sex marriages. Here’s their journey to the aisle …

Meet Harriet and Alley.

Courtesy of Alley and Harriet

Harriet Phillips-Woods (left), 24, and Alley Brito (right), 21 met online over four years ago.

They’ve been in a long-distance relationship for four years.

Courtesy of Alley and Harriet

And we don’t mean an-hour-away type of long distance. Harriet lived in London while Alley, a Cuban-American, was in L.A. Harriet says the most difficult part of their relationship was the huge time gap and of course, the normal ‘missing you’ cheesy stuff.

“The biggest struggle was timeframe being that the U.K. is eight hours ahead of the West Coast. It would be like 4 a.m. in the U.K. and Alley would be getting home from work. The time zones were really baffling and just the normal, cheesy missing each other and missing events – those were difficult, like birthdays and Christmas,” said Harriet.

READ: How Gay Marriage Broke the Internet

They did a lot of traveling between both countries.

Courtesy of Alley and Harriet

To be closer to Harriet, Alley studied abroad in the U.K. for six months. Then Harriet moved to the U.S. on a Visa.

“We visited back and fourth for a really long time, probably for about two and a half years. Alley came to the U.K. to stay for like six months and then it’s been back and fourth ever since then. I moved to the states last year,” said Harriet.

Finally, they decided to take the plunge.

Courtesy of Alley and Harriet

They decided to head down the aisle in mid-June this year.

“We’d been together for four years and we’d been thinking about it for a year – and [because] of logistics too, since I’m from the U.K. and Alley’s here [in the U.S.]. It just made sense to make it official so no one could deport me [laughs],” said Harriet.

Harriet has been in the U.S. just over a year on an F-1 student visa. Now that she is done with school and married a U.S. citizen, she’s begun processing her paperwork to become a U.S. resident.

Then they received MAJOR news the morning of their big day.

Courtesy of Alley and Harriet

After weeks of planning, they woke up to the news that their wedding day, Friday, June 26th had turned out to be…let’s just call it a “national holiday”… now that the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples can marry nationwide.

“It was literally one of the first things I saw. One of my buddies text me saying, ‘OMG you’re getting married AND the Supreme Court filed same sex marriage everywhere [in the U.S.]… I woke Alley up and was like ‘Ah, it’s a big day! They passed it everywhere, what a coincidence! What a good day. It makes me very happy that our day means something else as well,” said Harriet.

“Harriet woke me up this morning and was like, ‘OMG, the news broke that the Supreme Court passed the bill that same-sex marriage is legal across all states.’ It was really exciting and nice to know that because I’ve heard a lot of stories from other people that have had to leave their home state to get married. It’s a feeling of joy that other people are allowed to get married in their home state and be free to do that without any hassle,” said Alley.

Basically, they’re going down in history.

Credit: mitú

To add to their good news, they were the first same-sex couple their commissioner at the Beverly Hills courthouse married today. He was VERY excited.

“The commissioner was very nice. He kept saying that he was hoping he would get one same-sex couple today – and we were the first of the day! I was joking with Harriet saying that they were going to put us in textbooks” said Alley.

How are the newlyweds celebrating?

Credit: mitú

“My family booked us a night in a hotel with dinner and a ‘surprise,’ so we don’t know too much about it. But first, brunch and strong margaritas!” said Harriet.

Do you know any great love stories like this one? mitú wants to know.  Leave a comment below.

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Marriage Equality Could Soon Be The Law Of The Land In Bolivia After Country Recognizes Its First Same-Sex Marriage

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Marriage Equality Could Soon Be The Law Of The Land In Bolivia After Country Recognizes Its First Same-Sex Marriage

AIZAR RALDES/AFP via Getty Images

LGBTQ Bolivians are celebrating the news of a gay couple who have been together for 11 years and just now had their relationship legally recognized by the government.

After a two year legal battle, the nation’s Constitutional Court ruled that Bolivia’s registró civil must recognize the couple’s relationship and afford them the same rights that opposite-sex couples have.

Many are hoping that this court ruling from the nation’s highest court will lead to additional changes for the country’s LGBTQ community and finally bring marriage equality to one of the few remaining countries in South America that don’t already recognize same-sex marriage.

A gay couple has become the first same-sex couple to get legally married in Bolivia.

After a protracted legal fight, David Aruquipa, a 48-year-old businessman, and Guido Montaño, a 45-year-old lawyer, were able to marry one another thanks to a court ruling in their favor.

Although the country’s constitution still defines marriage as being between a man and a woman, many are seeing this legal ruling as a victory for Bolivia’s LGBTQ community, not to mention the newlywed couple.

Aruquipa and Montaño’s legal battle kicked off in 2018 when the Bolivian civil registry refused to recognize their union, arguing that the country did not allow same-sex marriages.

Bolivia’s constitutional court ruled in July that the civil registry must recognize their relationship as a free union. The court also ruled that the country’s constitution must be interpreted in a way that lines up with human rights and equality standards. Referencing a 2017 opinion published by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the constitutional court ruled that all rights enjoyed by opposite-sex couples should be given to same-sex couples.

And although this court ruling didn’t legalize same-sex marriage in Bolivia, it’s a major step forward towards reforming the country’s marriage laws.

David and Guido have been together for more than 11 years and hope their marriage brings hope to the LGBTQ community.

Aruquipa and Montaño have been together for more than 11 years, with two of those years being involved in this complicated legal battle. So, it was a major win for the couple to be able to finally see their union recognized by the government.

Following the court’s ruling in July, José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch, said: “Gay and lesbian couples are an integral part of Bolivia’s social fabric and deserve to be recognized by the state and its institutions.”

At a press conference following their marriage, Arequipa said of their marriage that “It is an initial step, but what inspires us is [the goal] of transforming the law.” He added that “All civil registries in Bolivia should stop treating us like second class citizens and start recognizing our unions.”

“It is an initial step, but what inspires us is [the goal] of transforming the law,” Aruquipa said at a press conference.

Despite religious pushback, Latin America has gradually come to accept same-sex marriage.

Credit: AIZAR RALDES/AFP via Getty Images

Despite considerable opposition from religious groups, gay marriage has become increasingly accepted in Latin America. In fact, same-sex couples were legally able to marry in Argentina (2010), Brazil and Uruguay (2013) before they were accepted in the United States (2015).

Colombia and Ecuador were ahead of the curve, having de facto recognition of same-sex couples since 2007 and 2009 respectively. Meanwhile, parts of Mexico have been accepting same-sex marriage since 2010.

In January 2018, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled that the American Convention on Human Rights recognizes same-sex marriage as a human right. This has made the legalization of such unions mandatory in the following countries: Barbados, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and Suriname.

However, public opinion and treatment of the LGBTQ community remains complicated. Paraguay and Bolivia still maintain constitutional bans on same-sex marriage but people’s attitudes can be even more challenging. Violence against same-sex couples and transgendered people are still major issues that affect the LGBTQ community across Latin America.

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Gay Men Took Over #ProudBoys On Twitter And The Results Are Exactly What We Needed Right Now

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Gay Men Took Over #ProudBoys On Twitter And The Results Are Exactly What We Needed Right Now

@CarlosGSmith / Twitter

Although social media is so often ridiculed for being filled with self-obsessed, attention-seeking content, for the past few days its been filled with messages of love and compassion.

The words Proud Boys took on a whole new meaning as gay men flooded Twitter with messages of love and acceptance using the hashtag #ProudBoys.

This has caused two very different groups of men to face off on the same hashtag: the far-right cadre known as the Proud Boys—and the thousands of gay Twitter users who flooded that platform with pro-LGBT images, marking those posts with #proudboys. 

Tens of thousands of gay men have taken over the #ProudBoys on Twitter and the actual Proud Boys are pissed.

#ProudBoys, which members of the hateful, far-right group have been using, was trending over the weekend after tens of thousands of gay men on Twitter hijacked it and flooded the feed with photos of their loved ones and families and with memes.

The celebration of LGBTQ pride was a clear attempt to drown out voices of the far-right group with the same name, which made headlines after getting mentioned by President Trump during last week’s first presidential debate.  

“Let’s replace the hashtag with images of love, positivity and true PRIDE,” tweeted Carlos G. Smith, an openly gay member of Florida’s House of Representatives. 

Many tweets attached to the trending hashtag showed photos of couples who had been together years or decades — at their weddings, posing with their children, marching in pride parades or just looking happily in love.

At least one of the many tweets from gay men using the #ProudBoys hashtag referenced Trump’s debate words. “We will never stand back and stand by! Together for 25 years with two amazing children,” Dan Ort-Patrick wrote

It seems that we can thank actor George Takei for the brilliant takeover idea!

The hashtag takeover appears to have originated with Star Trek star George Takei, who wondered aloud Thursday what would happen if gay men tagged themselves as #ProudBoys on social media. 

“What if gay guys took pictures of themselves making out with each other or doing very gay things, then tagged themselves with #ProudBoys? I bet it would mess them up real bad,” Takei tweeted.

The Proud Boys – a racist, hate group – began trending last week after Trump refused to denounce their actions and beliefs.

The Proud Boys group entered the mainstream conversation last week after Donald Trump seemed to call them to action at the first presidential debate. During an exchange between Trump and moderator Chris Wallace about white supremacists, Trump told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by.”

Following the debate, members of the group celebrated Trump’s reaction, using “stand back” and “stand by” in their logo and posting videos from the debate with the caption “God. Family. Brotherhood.”

The Proud Boys referenced in the debate are “self-described ‘western chauvinists’ who adamantly deny any connection to the racist ‘alt-right,’ insisting they are simply a fraternal group spreading an ‘anti-political correctness’ and ‘anti-white guilt’ agenda,” according to civil rights organization Southern Poverty Law Center. The SLPC maintains, however, that the group, founded in 2016, affiliates with extremists and is known for anti-Muslim and misogynistic rhetoric.  

All sorts of people showed their support – even the Canadian Armed Forces.

The official Twitter account of the Canadian Armed Forces in the United States took part, too, tweeting a picture of two men kissing—one a corporal named Brent Kenny—with #proudboys.

“Love is love,” the group wrote in a reply tweet. (It was perhaps not a surprising piece of activism from an institution that describes itself in its Twitter bio as: “Nice people. Maple syrup.”)

The Canadian Navy’s Twitter account later retweeted the image, as did the account for the ship that Kenny sailed on, the Winnipeg.

Couples from around the world got in on the viral hashtag to help spread love, not hate.

So many couples shared their wedding photos, images of their families, pictures from their first date, and so much more – to help deliver a takeover of a hashtag so often used to spread hate.

Gay men shared their pride in themselves, their community, and in their love.

But back on Twitter, it was all love and rainbows, with Takei expressing gratitude for the enthusiastic response to his idea.  

“Brad and I are #ProudBoys, legally married for 12 years now,” he tweeted Sunday along with a photo of him and his partner. “And we’re proud of all of the gay folks who have stepped up to reclaim our pride in this campaign. Our community and allies answered hate with love, and what could be better than that.”

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