Judge was supposed to preside over a Pennsylvania couple's wedding. She called ICE on them instead

If you want to erode the public's trust in the legal system, making a court house an unsafe place to be, even during what's supposed to be a joyful occasion, is a great place to start. Just ask Alexander Parker and Krisha Schmick: They went to a courthouse in Pennsylvania, intent on getting married. The pair had known one another since high school and it seemed like the right time. There was just one problem – Alexander's skin was brown and the judge he and his bride were to stand before was a raging bigot.

According to Newsweek, when Parker and Schmick stood before Judge Elizabeth Beckley in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, instead of presiding over their wedding ceremony, she called Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agents to check out Parker.

Parker, originally from Guatemala, was adopted by American parents and brought to the United States when he was eight months old – he is legally allowed to be in the country. He has the paperwork to prove it, too. But for some reason, maybe because, I dunno, HE WAS GETTING MARRIED, he forgot the official documents that proved his right to be in the country at home. All he had on him was a Guatemalan identification card. Court staff, believing for some reason that the document was a fake, contacted ICE to check Parker out.

On his wedding day, when he should have been exchanging vows, Parker was answering questions. Instead of having a ring slipped on his finger, he was forced to provide fingerprints. Read the rest

Watch woman torture husband with relentless Alanis Morissette impressions

Well, can you feel it?

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Watch this absolutely wonderful skateboarder marriage proposal

Pro skateboarders Amelia Brodka and Alec Beck first met at the Vans Combi Bowl skatepark in Orange, California. Beck's recent marriage proposal to Brodka at that same skatepark is absolutely wonderful. Their joy is infectious. (via r/MadeMeSmile)

Read the rest

Taco Bell now has a wedding chapel in Las Vegas

Taco Bell will soon offer fully-catered weddings at its Las Vegas flagship restaurant. Key selling points of this elegant offering are that this Taco Bell Cantina location has a DJ booth, pours booze, and has big digital displays. The $600 wedding package includes:

• A ceremony in the chapel inside the restaurant with an ordained officiant within as little as four hours

• Private area for a reception inside the restaurant with up to 15 of your closest family and friends

• Custom merchandise, including a sauce packet garter and bow tie, “Just Married” t-shirts for the bride and groom, Taco Bell branded champagne flutes and, of course, a Taco 12 Pack filled with tacos and a Cinnabon Delights cake for dessert

• A Sauce Packet bouquet is also available for the bride to use during the ceremony

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Couples who divide housework fairly have more sex

New research from the University of Utah and Cornell University suggests that couples involved in egalitarian marriages, at least as chores are concerned, have more sex. (Note that the study is only about heterosexual marriages.) This new study appears to counter a 2014 New York Times Magazine article titled "Does Gender Equality Kill Sex Lives?." For this work, the Utah and Cornell researchers compared a 2006 marital satisfaction survey with data from 1992-1994. From a news release about the paper:

Turns out, the “rules” that govern sexual and marital satisfaction have been changing rapidly—and, like many generalizations about modern marriage, the 2013 study (that the NYT article reported on) was based on outdated data. As Cornell University Professor Sharon Sassler shows in her new paper, “A Reversal in Predictors of Sexual Frequency and Satisfaction in Marriage,” presented today to the Council on Contemporary Families, when couples share similar tasks rather than different, gender-stereotyped ones, this seems to deepen desire.

Sassler reports, “Contemporary couples who adhere to a more egalitarian division of labor are the only couples who have experienced an increase in sexual frequency compared to their counterparts of the past. Other groups – including those where the woman does the bulk of the housework – have experienced declines in sexual frequency. This finding is particularly notable given reports indicating that sexual frequency has generally declined worldwide over the past few decades.”

Quartz digs deeper into the new study:

...Couples who reported sharing housework equally had sex 6.8 times per month, on average, or about once more per month than those where the woman does more “routine housework,” defined as: preparing and cooking meals, washing dishes, cleaning around the house, shopping for groceries, and doing laundry...

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Odd billboard that advertises blinged-out cock rings

Roadside snapshot by my pal Rachel Demy in Twisp, Washington.

(via Rachel's Instagram) Read the rest

Saying "thank you" will improve your marriage

Seems obvious, but saying "thank you" more often may improve your marriage. New research shows that the amount of gratitude expressed by spouses toward each other is a very good predictor of marital happiness.

"We found that feeling appreciated and believing that your spouse values you directly influences how you feel about your marriage, how committed you are to it, and your belief that it will last," says University of Georgia researcher Ted Futris.

The study also found that higher levels of spousal gratitude expressions protected men's and women's divorce proneness as well as women's marital commitment from the negative effects of poor communication during conflict.

"Importantly, we found that when couples are engaging in a negative conflict pattern like demand/withdrawal, expressions of gratitude and appreciation can counteract or buffer the negative effects of this type of interaction on marital stability," Futris said.

"The power of thank you: UGA research links gratitude to positive marital outcomes" Read the rest

Pope met with Kim Davis, urged homophobic Kentucky clerk to “stay strong”

Where is your Cool Pope now, America? His PR game is undoubtedly on fleek, but he's still beholden to the same homophobic crap we know and love from the Catholic Church, the world's most powerful supporter of impunity for priestly pedophiles. Read the rest

What is marriage, anyway? Sesame Street's Grover and a cute child explain.

Helpful definition for anyone confused by the Supreme Court ruling that legalized gay marriage in America.

WATCH: John Cage, Gay Divorce Lawyer

John Cage: Gay Divorce Lawyer from Funny Or Die

Now that America's civil rights honeymoon is over and everyone is reverting their rainbow avatars, divorce lawyer John Cage is ready to help gays achieve equality in divorce rates. Read the rest

Internet preacher: Because SCOTUS gay marriage ruling, Putin will destroy America for Jesus

You heard it here first.

[via Christian Nightmares] Read the rest

Misleading on Marriage: how gay marriage opponents twist history to suit their agenda

Much of what you hear about the purpose of marriage is ahistorical. Lisa L. Spangenberg on what the institution was traditionally fit for.

Essay on "how to survive a divorce"

Over at the Bold Italic, my friend Debbie Hampton wrote a heartfelt, no-nonsense, funny, and informative essay titled "How To Survive A Divorce":

...California is a no-fault state, meaning the dissolution of our marriage didn’t require a showing of wrongdoing by either person. Thank. God. Because I did some serious wrongdoing. There were addiction issues (mine) and excessive career demands (his). I got lost for a while. There are an endless amount of bad choices to be made if one wants to focus their attention away from a divorce. I drank. I started smoking again. I became a crappy friend. These choices caused a shit-ton of wreckage that I now have to work through as well. So don’t do that. Look at the divorce as an opportunity to grow, not an excuse to go backwards.

The legality of splitting up is absolutely overwhelming. California is a community property state, meaning all the crap you acquire during your marriage is equally owned. So there’s the potentially nail-biting adventure of dividing up furniture, plates, art, and everything else. We didn’t have this problem. Neither of us cared much for stuff.

"How To Survive A Divorce" Read the rest

Prevent divorce — with science!

Back in 2002, psychologists studying how couples argued found four different behaviors that correlated strongly with future divorce. In fact, in a small sample of 80 couples, the combination of those behaviors could be used to predict who would divorce over the next 14 years with 93% accuracy. The good news: While these behaviors are all things that people probably do sometimes, it's the frequency of behaviors that matters ... and, better yet, they're all things that you can change. At PsySociety, Melanie Tannenbaum uses the amazingly spot-on example of Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries to illustrate how unhealthy arguments can lead to relationship collapse. Read the rest

Sloppy statistics: Do 50% of Americans really think married women should be legally obligated to change their names?

Jill Filipovic wrote an opinion column for The Guardian yesterday, arguing against the practice of women taking their husbands' names when they get married. It ended up linked on Jezebel and found its way to my Facebook feed where one particular statistic caught my eye. Filipovic claimed that 50% of Americans think a women should be legally required to take her husband's name.

First, some quick clarification of my biases here. Although I write under a hyphenate, I never have legally changed my name. I've never had a desire to do so. In my private life, I'm just Maggie Koerth and always will be. That said, I personally take issue with the implication at the center of Filipovic's article — that women shouldn't change their names and that to do so makes you a bad feminist. For me, this is one of those personal decisions where I'm like, whatever. Make your own choice. Just because I don't get it doesn't mean you're wrong.

But just like I take objection to being all judgey about personal choices, I also take objection to legally mandating personal choices, and I was kind of blown away by the idea that 50% of my fellow Americans think my last name should be illegal.

So I looked into that statistic. And then I got really annoyed. Read the rest

Alone together in Antarctica

Last week, "Inspiration Mars" announced its search for a male and female couple to do a Mars flyby mission, requiring the pair to spend 501 days alone together. Sailors/adventurers Deborah Shapiro and Rolf Bjelke have some experience doing just that, at least terrestrially. More than twenty years ago, Shapiro and Bielke had 9 months of alone time on the Antarctic Peninsula. By choice. Shapiro wrote about their experience in a book called Time On Ice. Over at BBC News, Shapiro answers the question: "Why didn't you two kill each other?"

One has to be able to give the other person mental elbow room. During our winter, when a person settled into the sofa in the salon with a book and started reading, he or she was not interrupted.

Keeping quiet when the person is close enough to practically read one's thoughts, is a matter of self-discipline, fuelled by caring.

The only exception to our silence rule was for boat-related safety issues. The boat, for obvious reasons of survival, always came first.

"How to get along for 500 days alone together" Read the rest

Last wish of married lesbian soldier dying of breast cancer: "Let DOMA die before I do"

Charlie Morgan, a 47-year-old career soldier in the late stages of metastatic breast cancer, says she hopes to live long enough to see the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) overturned, so that her wife will receive the benefits that a widow in a hetero couple would receive. “I’m praying that they take it up soon,” Morgan told the Washington Post in a phone interview from her home in New Durham, NH “It’s my motivation for staying alive. I really need to be alive when they actually do overturn DOMA, otherwise Karen is not guaranteed anything.” Read the rest here. Read the rest

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