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Committing your life to another human being marks the beginning of a flourishing new existence. Whether it is legally-binding matrimony or a domestic partnership, commitment is intended to strengthen a relationship.

But could you promise your devotion to another person, knowing your choice could seriously suffocate your lifestyle, rendering your partner unable to earn an income, have health insurance, or even be able to drive a car? Could you make that decision, knowing this choice could possibly carry on for the rest of your lives, with no way out?

For Daniel Zavala and Yohandel Ruiz, their union thrust them into a standstill. The two are trapped in legal purgatory, an arduous battle between immigration laws and the Defense of Marriage Act.

Zavala, 28, is a Mexican citizen. Ruiz, 38, is a Cuban-born American citizen. Zavala’s 90-day tourist visa expired last year, shortly after his nuptials to Ruiz in May 2012, and he’s been living in Coral Gables illegally. If Zavala ever leaves the United States before obtaining legal status, he’ll be banned from returning ever again.

 

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ImageThere’s a palpable shift in Patrick Burke’s tone when he speaks of his younger brother Brendan.  The articulate, confident New England law student and Philadelphia Flyers scout becomes slightly subdued. Gentle, even.

But Burke, 30, is far from the business of gentle. He handpicks players for a National Hockey League team with a legacy of aggression — the Flyers were notoriously dubbed the Broad Street Bullies during their heyday in the early 1970s. He aspires to be the General Manager of an NHL team. His brusque and red-blooded father, Brian, was GM of three teams in his career. Burke knows first-hand the resilience and grit it takes to manage a professional sports team.

Burke calls Brendan his best friend. But his best friend is gone. Twenty-one-year-old Brendan passed away in a car accident on February 5, 2010.

Just three months before his death, Brendan came out to the world as gay in an intensely public way.

At the time, his dad was GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs, one of the most historic franchises in the NHL. Toronto is relentlessly scrutinized by media and followed with diehard passion by its fan base. But instead of hiding from the swarm and speculation that would inevitably follow his father’s high profile, Brendan bravely faced the world with his secret.

He put his story into the hands of ESPN hockey personality John Buccigross in December 2009, who wrote a first-person reflection of Brendan’s coming out to his family.

“Patrick approached me about it and I certainly [knew] the reach of ESPN would benefit Brendan’s message,” Buccigross remembered. “I knew it would be a big deal in Canada since Brian Burke was the GM of Toronto but the impact was a little bigger than I thought.”

Brendan’s coming out sent a jolt through the hyper-masculine hockey world, a sport where there are more gay slurs on the ice than natural front teeth. He’s often considered the first person with such close ties to the NHL to publicly identify as LGBT.

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South Florida Gay News

Tuesday, 12 February 2013 11:01 Written by and Photos by Caity Kauffman

The carport in David Gilmore and Barry Feinstein's home was the source of the fire on January 31.Last week, Barry Feinstein and David Gilmore had to explain to their three-year-old granddaughter Zoey what happened to her newly decorated lavender and pink bedroom.

Just after midnight on Jan. 31, two explosions coming from the carport startled the couple, quickly igniting a fire. The flames burned through the main wall that connected the carport to the house and spread through the attic — including little Zoey’s room.

“She has stayed with us every weekend since she was three weeks old,” Feinstein said. “We’re lucky she wasn’t with us that night.”

 

Neither Feinstein, 64, nor Gilmore, 60, was injured during the fire.

“The house was filled with noxious, black, boiling smoke belching everywhere,” Gilmore explained. “The interior of the house incurred water and smoke damage immensely, and the firemen had to break holes in the ceiling of every room to fight the fire in the attic.”

So far, officials are perplexed at what triggered the blaze and the cause is still under investigation.

Despite the extensive damage, the couple is upbeat and taking the incident in stride.

“We lost nothing important, nothing heartfelt. We were able to rescue everything. It was just fire and smoke damage,” Gilmore said. “After [the fire department] covered the house in foam, we almost threw a foam party afterwards.”

The two credit the quick response of the police, as well as the Fort Lauderdale and Wilton Manors fire departments.

“The police and fire department could not have been any nicer or more cooperative,” Feinstein said. “We were so pleased.”

Thanks to a realtor neighbor, the couple has settled into a rental while they make repairs to their damaged home, and continue to stay positive as they deal with the aftermath.

“We have been together 34 years, wherever Barry and I are together is home,” Gilmore said. “That is just a house.”

LINK: http://www.southfloridagaynews.com/news/local-news/9026-wilton-manors-gay-couple-who-lost-house-in-fire-glad-no-one-was-injured.html

Grassroots social media campaign forms to protest NHL & NHLPA on Sept. 15th

When the last National Hockey League lockout began September 16, 2004, Twitter didn’t exist. Mark Zuckerberg was still enrolled at Harvard nursing an infant six-month-old Facebook while Tom Anderson ruled the budding social media industry as everyone’s first MySpace friend.

Eight years later, hockey fans once again anxiously await the Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations battle to resolve before the September 15 deadline, fearing the second lockout in less than a decade.

However this time around, two fans have constructed digital picket signs to wave in front of NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, team owners and the NHL Player’s Association as they argue over percentages.

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