8 -- Maryland's Senate passed a marriage equality bill yesterday by a vote of 25-22! Governor Martin O'Malley has pledged to sign this bill into law, which will make Maryland the 8th state where gay and lesbian couples can legally marry! Of course, the bill hasn't even been signed into law yet and social conservatives are already planning a voter referendum to disenfranchise gay and lesbian families in Maryland.
$206 -- That's how much Quantrel Ward of Lincoln, NE, is accused of stealing along with three other guys (who have yet to be identified or arrested, according to the linked article) from a Cedar Rapids, IA, resident during a January 18th armed home robbery. Police arrested him yesterday and claim that Ward was positively identified as one of the robbers and that he indirectly corroborated his involvement through a series of text messages! Ward is being held in the Linn County Jail in lieu of a $20,000 cash bond. $20,000 case bond for threatening someone at knife point and tying him up in his home so that you can steal $206 in stolen electronics. Doesn't seem worth it...
1,000 -- Earlier this week, the United Church of Christ welcomed its 1,000th Open & Affirming (ONA) church into the denomination! That new ONA church was Pillar of Love Fellowship UCC of Chicago (my favorite big city!):
Pillar of Love is an African-American congregation with a predominantly LGBT membership, says Phyllis Pennese, pastor. The church is also affiliated with the Fellowship of Affirming Ministries, a movement led by the Rev. Yvette Flunder. "We're excited about this honor," Pennese said, "and we're planning to join the celebration when the Coalition's National Gathering comes to our home town in June."Christ Church of Kennebunk, ME) and #1,0002 (Congregational UCC of Decorah, IA -- Home of my old college!!!!) this week! Hurray!
"Pillar of Love, like other ONA churches, is a community where LGBT individuals and families can be restored to wholeness," said Pennese. "Our church motto is that 'we have the courage to be all that God created.' I do believe that because so many of us in the LGBT and black LGBT community have been abused and brutalized in the church, the only way we can heal and grow and walk confidently into what God has called us to be is to be showered with love."
$1,500,000 -- How much Republican lawmakers expect to spend fighting that unconstitutional DOMA lawsuit, Golinski v. United States Office of Personnel Management.