LifeLong Celebrates LGBTQ Pride 

By Elaine Herscher, Senior Editor

Throughout this month, we’re celebrating LGBTQ Pride by bringing you stories that reflect positive strides, accomplishments, achievements, and just plain fun. No doubt, with an unprecedented 520 bills pending that threaten civil rights and healthcare — and 70 anti-LGBTQ bills enacted this year – the community is under attack. And while we acknowledge the seriousness of those battles throughout the nation, we also want to honor that since the 1970s, the month of June is a time to celebrate and be proud. 

According to LGBTQ Nation, several places around the country and the world are offering new rights and safety to LGBTQ folks. 

The tiny nation of Liechtenstein last month legalized same-sex marriage, making it the 22nd country among Europe’s 37 nations to do so. Just 62 square miles and with a population of 39,790, the country is wedged between Austria and Switzerland. Liechtenstein had been allowing domestic partnerships since 2011, for which only 43 same-sex couples had registered up until two years ago. When the bill came before Parliament this year, 24 of 25 members supported it. 

The conservative small town of Broadview Heights, Ohio, population 19,635, celebrated its second Pride Fest a few days ago. Last year organizers approached their first event with some trepidation. “This was our first annual event, and it was being held in a conservative community,” said organizer Jennifer Speer. “Our goal was to have 250 people – but we had 750!” 

And last month, a lesbian couple fled Venezuela’s Darien Gap, a 60-mile-long region of jungle dubbed one of the most dangerous areas in the world, to come to the U.S. to marry. Unaccepted by their families, they made the dangerous trek through Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Mexico, selling lollypops to raise enough money to reach the American border.  

But when they arrived in Denver, where an immigration official said they would be welcomed, they didn’t have enough money for a marriage license. A local mental health nonprofit stepped in and covered the costs of a wedding. “The people here have supported us a lot,” one of the women said. “We can get ahead and move forward little by little.” 

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