PrideFest Milwaukee announces 2014 headliners
Mar. 10, 2014 - , PrideFest Milwaukee announced its 2014 headliners for what it has dubbed the nation's largest showcase of LGBT talent.
Entertainment for the three-day weekend includes Bruce Vilanch and Chad Michaels on Friday, June 6; Chicago-area native Steve Grand, Mary Lambert, Big Freedia, and Macy Gray on Saturday, June 7; and the headliners for Sunday, June 8 are Lisa Lampanelli and Sandra Bernhard.
Nearly 100 national, regional and local performers will join these headliners on eight stages throughout the Summerfest grounds.
"We truly believe PrideFest Milwaukee offers something for every visitor," said Kate Sherry, festival co-producer. "This year, we're thrilled to host a dynamic mix of musical, comedy, and drag performances that reflects the diversity of LGBT culture and community. We're honored to have access to such stunning talent -- and our showcase continues to grow every day."
Tickets for PrideFest Milwaukee go on sale Friday, March 14. The festival will again offer the popular three-day, $30 weekend pass through June 6, 2014. Single-day admission prices will be $13 in advance, $16 at the gate. Single-day VIP passes, which includes access to the exclusive VIP Deck, will be $100 in advance, or $225 for the three-day weekend. Organizers noted ticket prices remained the same as last year.
Festival goers will have the option of adding $1 to their ticket purchases to support the American Civil Liberties Union in their critical battle for marriage equality in Wisconsin.
PrideFest Milwaukee is June 6, 7 and 8 on the Henry Maier Festival (Summerfest) Grounds. For more information, tickets or to volunteer, visit pridefest.com.
Related: Interview with out singer/songwriter Steve Grand
Ruling in Michigan gay marriage trial expected within 2 weeks
Mar. 9, 2014 - , A two-week trial in a case challenging Michigan's ban on gay marriage came to a close Friday with the federal judge overseeing it saying he expects to rule within two weeks.
Plaintiff couple Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer challenged the state's 2004 voter-approved constitutional amendment limiting marriage to heterosexual couples. The women are raising three adopted children they were forced to adopt individually because state law only allows married couples to adopt jointly.
"We are hopeful we'll be on the right side of history," DeBoer told reporters on Friday. "Everyone realizes that marriage means family, and that's what we want."
The state has argued that the ban is necessary to protect children.
"This is about ...what's best for the children of the state of Michigan," Kristin Heyse, an attorney for the state, said in her closing arguments.
"Voters decided a mom and a dad are important and not interchangeable," Joy Yearout, a spokeswoman for the attorney general's office, said after the hearing. "The strongest argument we have is that [voters] decided it's best for kids to be raised by a mom and a dad."
Witnesses for the state included Canadian economist Douglas Allen, who claimed that children raised by gay parents are more likely to have difficulties in school, and Mark Regnerus, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin, who testified that the state "should be skeptical" of gay couples raising children.
(Related: Economists in Michigan gay marriage trial claims gays going to hell.)
Both witnesses have strong ties to conservative groups. For instance, Regnerus' controversial 2012 study was funded by The Witherspoon Institute, which is opposed to marriage equality. During cross-examination, Allen denied that he sits on the board of advisers of the Ruth Institute, a vocal opponent of LGBT rights. Yet Allen is listed on the group's site as a member of its "Circle of Experts" available for speaking engagements.
Ken Mogill, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs, said that their witnesses presented convincing arguments that gay couples make good parents.
"The witnesses are at the top of their fields," Mogill said. "They all know what they are talking about and don't try to put a spin on it."
Federal judges in recent months have knocked down all or part of similar bans in Utah, Ohio, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Virginia and Texas.
On the same day that Michigan's trial wrapped up, four gay couples in Indiana filed a similar lawsuit.