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china gay marriage, utah gay marriage, online gay marriage

The Old Utah County Courthouse (Provo, Utah) and Shanghai's first gay pride parade.

Utah probably doesn't come to most people's minds when they think of places that are champions of marriage equality. Especially in Utah County, where Provo is located, which has the highest concentration of Latter-day Saints (72%) of any place in the U.S.

Latter-day Saints, known as Mormons, can be excommunicated from the church for acting on LGBTQ feelings and have put large amounts of money into campaigns to make same-sex marriage illegal.

However, two loopholes in Utah County law reported by The Guardian have allowed same-sex couples from across the globe to marry in the state. First, Utah does not have residency or citizenship requirements for marriage licenses. Second, Utah County allows for international marriages online.




The county rolled out online marriages via Zoom during the pandemic, which made it easy for people overseas to get married. All they have to do is fill out some paperwork, pay $100 and hire a licensed officiant. The paperwork is “to verify who they are,” radio host and licensed marriage officiant in Utah Michael Foley told The Guardian, “to make sure they’re of age, that it’s not part of some kind of scam, that it’s not some kind of human trafficking.”

When word of this loophole spread on Chinese LGBTQ websites, same-sex couples from all over the country began virtually flocking to Utah to get hitched. Rest of World reports that more than 200 same-sex couples from China have tied the knot through the county’s digital licensing system since 2021.

In China, same-sex marriages are illegal and marriages conducted overseas aren't recognized but couples are happy to have their relationships recognized by a legal authority somewhere in the world.

However, the Utah provisions are beneficial to residents of the Chinese city of Hong Kong, which has a little more autonomy given its designation as a Special Administrative Region. Hong Kong residents who get married in other parts of the world can apply for dependent visas for their partners. These couples are also allowed to file their taxes as married in Hong Kong.

Even though same-sex Chinese couples aren’t married in the state where they live, having their relationships legally recognized in Utah has strengthened them. It’s a strange situation when couples can escape the tyranny of the state in a place where religious fundamentalism can be just as repressive.

“Even without legal status in China for now, many gay couples … have told me that marriage has made their relationships feel more secure,” Zhijun Hu wrote in ChinaFile. “And, as one friend told me when he and his husband go to a place where marriage equality is the law of the land, their marriage means that they ‘will be treated like a family and not like strangers.’”

Newlyweds Liu Yangming and Zhu Guangyu believe that their marriage ceremony and Utah license have helped to solidify their relationship. “It made our love stronger,” Liu told Rest of World. “My husband was talking more about our responsibilities. Before, we thought we might break up someday, but now we can’t just break up.”

Foley loves being able to help people from around the world realize their dream of being married, even if it means he has to get up at odd hours of the night to accommodate his Chinese customers.

“It just makes me happy,” Foley said. “That’s the stuff that makes me get up at three o’clock in the morning to do it.”

True

The last thing children should have to worry about is where their next meal will come from. But the unfortunate reality is food insecurity is all too common in this country.

In an effort to help combat this pressing issue, KFC is teaming up with Blessings in a Backpack to provide nearly 70,000 meals to families in need and spread holiday cheer along the way.

The KFC Sharemobile, a holiday-edition charitable food truck, will be making stops at schools in Chicago, Orlando, and Houston in December to share KFC family meals and special gifts for a few select families to address specific needs identified by their respective schools.

These cities were chosen based on the high level of food insecurity present in their communities and hardships they’ve faced, such as a devastating hurricane season in Florida and an unprecedented winter storm in Houston. In 2021, five million children across the US lived in food-insecure households, according to the USDA.

“Sharing a meal with family or friends is a special part of the holidays,” said Nick Chavez, CMO of KFC U.S. “Alongside our franchisees, we wanted to make that possible for even more families this holiday season.”

KFC will also be making a donation to Blessings in a Backpack, a nonprofit that works to provide weekend meals to school-aged children across America who might otherwise go hungry.

“The generous donations from KFC could not have come at a better time, as these communities have been particularly hard-hit this year with rising food costs, inflation and various natural disasters,” Erin Kerr, the CEO of Blessings in a Backpack, told Upworthy. “Because of KFC’s support, we’re able to spread holiday cheer by donating meals for hunger-free weekends and meet each community’s needs,” Kerr said.

This isn’t the first time KFC has worked with Blessings in a Backpack. The fried chicken chain has partnered with the nonprofit for the last six years, donating nearly $1 million dollars. KFC employees also volunteer weekly to package and provide meals to students in Louisville, Kentucky who need food over the weekend.

KFC franchisees are also bringing the Sharemobile concept to life in markets across the country through local food donations and other holiday giveback moments. Ampex Brands, a KFC franchisee based in Dallas, recently held its annual Day of Giving event and donated 11,000 meals to school children in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods.

If you’d like to get involved, you can make a donation to help feed students in need at kfc.com/kfcsharemobile. Every bit helps, but a donation of $150 helps feed a student on the weekends for an entire 38-week school year, and a donation as low as $4 will feed a child for a whole weekend.

Celine Dion spoke directly to her fans on social media.

Celine Dion has shared the devastating news that she has been diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder called stiff person syndrome.

In an emotional video to her fans, the 54-year-old French-Canadian singer apologized for taking so long to reach out and explained that her health struggles have been difficult to talk about.

"As you know, I have always been an open book, and I wasn't ready to say anything before. But I'm ready now."

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Trevor Noah says goodbye in his last episode of "The Daily Show."

Trevor Noah, who has spent the past seven years hosting "The Daily Show," has officially said goodbye to his late-night fans. While he could have chosen any note to leave on, he made his final words an emotional tribute to the Black women who have influenced him.

Since he took over the spot from Jon Stewart, Noah has made the show his own with a blend of quick-witted comedy and thoughtful commentary. Noah had big shoes to fill, but to his credit, he didn't try to cram his feet into them. He simply brought his own shoes and placed them right next to Stewart's, offering his own style of comedy and unique perspectives on the world night after night. Even in his "Between the Scenes" segments, where he chatted with the audience during commercial breaks, Noah frequently added insightful context to current issues.

In his final monologue, he credits those insights to his Black women mentors, from his own mother and grandmother to thought leaders he has had on his show to Black women in general. And it's quite telling that he managed to keep it together in his final show, right up until the point when he talked about these women.

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Tenacious D performs at the Rock in Pott festival.

The medley that closes out the second side of the Beatles’ “Abbey Road” album is one of the most impressive displays of musicianship in the band’s storied career. It also provided the perfect send-off before the band’s official breakup months later, ending with the lyrics, “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”

In 1969, “Abbey Road” was the last record the group made together, although “Let it Be,” recorded earlier that year, was released in 1970.

At first, the medley was just a clever way for the band to use a handful of half-finished tunes, but when it came together it was a rousing, grandiose affair.

Arranged by Paul McCartney and producer George Martin, the medley weaves together five songs written by McCartney, "You Never Give Me Your Money," "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window," "Golden Slumbers," "Carry That Weight” and "The End," and three by John Lennon, “Sun King," "Mean Mr. Mustard" and "Polythene Pam."

Fifteen seconds after the medley and the album’s conclusion, there is a surprise treat, McCartney’s 22-second “Her Majesty,” which wound up on the record as an accident.

Jack Black and Kyle Gass, collectively known as Tenacious D, recently reimagined two of the songs in the medley, "You Never Give Me Your Money" and "The End," for acoustic guitars for a performance on SiriusXM's Octane Channel. Like everything with Tenacious D, it showed off the duo’s impressive musical chops as well as their fantastic sense of humor.

The truncated version of the medley was also a wonderful tribute to the incredible work the Beatles did 53 years ago.

Warning: This video contains NSFW language.

Adam Sandler and Brendan Fraser for Variety's "Actors on Actors."

There are few actors in this world as universally loved as Brendan Fraser and Adam Sandler. So when the two sign on to interview one another, you can bet that people are going to be thrilled.

During one of Variety's “Actors on Actors” segments, the two swapped stories of being in the entertainment business—from the movie “Airheads," which they both starred in, to more recent projects like Sandler’s “Hustle” and Fraser’s “The Whale.”

It’s clear that these two respect and admire each other’s work. Sandler applauded Fraser’s career-long stride of making bold and interesting choices, and especially commended him for his starring role in Darren Aronofsky’s “The Whale,” which has been hailed as a major comeback for the “Mummy” franchise star.
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