2005 Miss America pageant winner Deidre Downs Gunn married her same-sex partner in her home state of Alabama. Buzz60
A former Miss America pageant winner has married her same-sex partner in a Southern-style ceremony in her native Alabama.
Deidre Downs Gunn, who was crowned Miss America in 2005 and is now a doctor, walked down the aisle with her spouse, attorney Abbott Jones, at the Birmingham Museum of Art, People magazine reported.
“Saying our vows in front of our family and friends and making that commitment to the love of my life was the most meaningful part of the day for me,” Downs Gunn, 37, an obstetrician-gynecologist at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, told People.
Downs Gunn’s 8-year-old son, Jack, gave his mother away and acted as best man, People said. Downs Gunn married Andrew Gunn in 2008 but later divorced.
“I feel overjoyed to have found someone to share life’s adventures,” Downs Gunn told the magazine. “The wedding was beautiful and special, but it was really just the beginning of our life together. I’m so lucky to have a wife who fills even small, everyday moments with great joy.”
After the wedding ceremony, about 200 guests tucked into Southern foods such as mini chicken and waffles, fried okra, fried green tomatoes and buttermilk biscuits. The next day, the newlyweds flew out from Atlanta for a honeymoon in Ireland, the Associated Press reports.
Former Miss America Winner Deidre Downs Gunn Marries Girlfriend in Romantic Southern Wedding //t.co/GB4v9i2go6
The ceremony was officiated by an openly lesbian minister, the Rev. Jennifer Sanders, pastor of Beloved Community Church in Birmingham, according to the AP. “It was a beautiful wedding,” Sanders said. “They are a wonderful, happy couple. It was a joy to perform the ceremony.”
The guests were sworn to secrecy after the April 14 event, with People having an exclusive agreement to share the news.
“When we turned to recess down the aisle after the ceremony and really took notice of all of the family and friends who had gathered to celebrate our marriage, we felt so blessed to be surrounded by so much love and support,” they wrote in a joint statement provided to AL.com.
In a separate statement, Abbott told the website that “Deidre is the most beautiful person I’ve ever met, both inside and out. I have no doubt she will continue to be a role model to so many, especially to young women who can look to her and see that regardless of who they love, they can be beautiful, intelligent, and confident in their own skin.”
Downs Gunn told People she met Jones online in early 2017 and then met for drinks and sushi. Downs Gunn proposed on Christmas, getting down on one knee and presenting Jones with an engagement ring, the magazine reported. Jones then offered her own proposal after asking Downs Gunn’s son for permission. He said it was “cool.”
Downs Gunn captured the 2004 Miss Alabama crown in 2004 before participating in the 2005 Miss America pageant. Included in her presentation was a performance of “I’m Afraid This Must be Love.”
“It was surreal to stand on stage, on national television, and have my name called as Miss America and to walk the runway as they played, ‘There She Is, Miss America.'” Downs Gunn told AL.com in 2014. “It is still surreal.”
The Miss America Organization tweeted its congratulations, saying it wished the couple “all the happiness in the world!”
Scarlett Johansson and Colin Jost have made their relationship red-carpet official.
The Black Widow actress, 33, and Saturday Night Live star, 35, were arm-in-arm Monday night at her Avengers: Infinity War worldpremiere in Hollywood.
Johansson joked with Entertainment Tonight that her first carpet walk with Jost “was alright, not bad.” She added, “I’m just excited to share this experience with him because I’m so excited to see the film. I haven’t seen it before!”
Johansson also stopped by The Ellen DeGeneres ShowMonday, where she was asked to pick between Jost and his “Weekend Update” co-anchor, Michael Che. “I guess I’m a Colin fan, I’d have to say,” she grinned.
The actress, who stars in the newest film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, met Jost when she first hosted SNLin 2006. At the time, Jost was a new writer on the show.
However, the couple wasn’t romantically linked until last year, after Johansson finalized her divorce from Romain Dauriac following two years of marriage. Johansson and Dauriac have a three-year-old daughter, Rose, together. Johansson was previously married to Ryan Reynolds.
After the Oklahoma City Thunder lost Game 3 of its first-round NBA playoff series to the Utah Jazz, Russell Westbrook said he was going to “shut that (expletive) down.” Ricky Rubio had scored 26 points and completed a triple-double as Utah took a two-games-to-one lead in the series.
After the Thunder lost Game 4 Monday night, Westbrook said people were reading too much into the matchup between him and Rubio.
“It was not about me and him,” Westbrook said. “Let’s get past that. We’re done with that.”
Westbrook may not like it, but his matchup with Rubio was a defining part of Utah’s 113-96 victory in Game 4. Rubio didn’t have quite the same stat line he did in Game 3, but he had 13 points, eight assists and six rebounds, and Utah was plus-22 in his 34 minutes on the court.
Westbrook, on the other hand, had 23 points, 14 rebounds and three assists (with five turnovers) in 36 minutes but was minus-14. And Westbrook picked up both his third and fourth fouls in the second quarter — first trying to block a Rubio shot, then when he was called for a charge when he tried to drive by Rubio.
“We’re not really worried about one individual’s comment,” said Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell, who finished with 33 points, seven rebounds, four assists and no turnovers.
Westbrook’s comments after Game 3, as well as the natural desperation that comes with a pivotal Game 4, led to a chippy game. Several skirmishes broke out, including the most explosive one in the fourth quarter, when Westbrook committed a hard foul on Jae Crowder to stop play to complain to the referees about not getting a foul call on the prior play.
Crowder took exception, and when Steven Adams and Carmelo Anthony got in his face, Crowder hit Adams in the face with an elbow — earning his second technical of the game and an ejection.
“This was like a Game 7,” Crowder said. “I’ve been in a Game 7, and this was like the physicality of a Game 7.”
“We know it’s going to be another war next game,” Rubio said. “We have to be tough and be mentally ready for that. We have to be ready for a fight and respond.”
Can Oklahoma City put up a better fight on the court Wednesday in Game 5? The Thunder has now been run off the court for nine quarters, dating back to its collapse at the end of Game 2, and shows no signs of solving Utah’s swarming defense — as well as continually leaving shooters open for 3s.
“We’ve got to win,” Anthony said. “There’s nothing to it. We’ve just got to win. We can sit here and say what we have to do, or what we did do or didn’t do, but it comes down to winning that game on Wednesday.”
That will be easier said than done for a Thunder team that looks lost. Anthony was dreadful in Game 4, finishing with 11 points on 5-for-18 shooting. Paul George had 32 points, but he went just 2 for 9 from 3-point range. Westbrook spent much of the game playing out of control and trying to do too much — hence the foul trouble.
But perhaps the most damning thought of the night came from Isiah Thomas on NBA TV after Westbrook, Anthony and George finished their postgame news conference.
“In listening to them talk, I sense that they don’t seem to understand why they’re losing,” Thomas said. “And, strategically, they haven’t figured out a way how to attack Utah and how they can win the basketball game.”
The Thunder needs to figure that out in a hurry. If it doesn’t, its season could end Wednesday. And, if it is the end, George could be headed elsewhere as a free agent this summer, and this grand experiment could wind up being a blip instead of the start of another title-contending run in Oklahoma City.
The 2020 census will for the first time allow respondents to specify whether they are living with a partner of the same sex.
A spokesman for the Census Bureau confirmed to NBC News that a question about household formation had been expanded to include the possibility of same-sex spouses and unmarried partners.
“As our population and communities change, so do their needs,” the spokesperson said. “To better collect more detailed data about types of coupled households, the Census Bureau expanded the single response option of ‘husband or wife’ or ‘unmarried partner’ to the two response options of ‘opposite-sex husband/wife/spouse’ and ‘same-sex husband/wife/spouse,’ and ‘opposite-sex unmarried partner’ and ‘same-sex unmarried partner.’”
Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down state laws defining marriage as the union between one man and one woman, “furthered the need” to revise the census to include same-sex couples, the spokesperson continued.
Meghan Maury, policy director of the National LGBTQ Task Force, praised the move as a “step in the right direction.” She said the question will “capture more nuanced data” about gay families and will have a lower error rate than other surveys.
She expressed disappointment with the bureau’s decision not to expand the survey to ask respondents about their sexual orientation and gender identity.
Because the revised question only concerns household formation, the census will not count the number of gay and transgender people in the U.S., or same-sex couples who are not living together or married.
“This is not the universe of LGBT or even L and G,” D’Vera Cohn, senior writer at the Pew Research Center, told NBC. “Only people who are couples, and for that matter, couples in the same household, are counted.”
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The Woodland Police Department will step up “Bike & Pedestrian Safety Enforcement Operations” on Friday, focused enforcement on collision causing factors involving motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists.
Sgt. Dallas Hyde reported the department has mapped out locations over the past threes years where pedestrian and bike collisions have occurred along with the violations that led to those crashes.
“Extra officers will be on duty patrolling areas where bike and pedestrian traffic and crashes occur in an effort to lower deaths and injuries,” Hyde reported, although he did not specifically identify the streets to be targeted.
He did report that officers will be looking for violations made by drivers, bike riders and pedestrians alike that “can lead to life-changing injuries.
“Special attention will be directed toward drivers speeding, making illegal turns, failing to stop for signs and signals, failing to yield to pedestrians in cross walks or any other dangerous violation,” Hyde continued.
Additionally, enforcement will be taken for observed violations when pedestrians cross the street illegally or fail to yield to drivers who have the right of way.
Bike riders will be stopped and citations issued when they fail to follow the same traffic laws that apply to motorists, Hyde continued. All riders are reminded to always wear a helmet — those under 18 years of age must wear helmets by law. Pedestrians should cross the street only in marked crosswalks or at corners.
Bicycle and pedestrian fatalities are rising in California as more people use these non-motorized means of transportation.
Hyde reported that locally, police have investigated 81 fatal and injury collisions involving pedestrians and bicyclists during the past three years.
In 2013, California witnessed 701 pedestrians and 141 bicyclists killed, accounting for more than 28 percent of all traffic fatalities.
Funding for this program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
This is Speaker Ryan’s favorite time of year. St. Patrick’s Day brings with it a celebration of his own Irish heritage, and as speaker, the opportunity to continue a decades-old tradition of hosting the president of the United States and the prime minister of Ireland for lunch at the Capitol. Here are seven photos from yesterday’s festivities at the annual Friends of Ireland luncheon.
1. St. Patrick’s Day is a family affair. Speaker Ryan walks through the Old Hall of the House with his brother and sister.
2. The speaker greets President Trump and Vice President Pence as they arrive at the Capitol.
3. The guest of honor at the Friends of Ireland luncheon is always the prime minister of Ireland. Elected in June of last year, this is Leo Varadkar’s first time at the luncheon, but not his first time in the Capitol. In 2000, he spent a semester conducting tours as a congressional intern.
4. Speaker Ryan offers a toast: “May the winds of fortune sail you. May you sail the gentlest sea.
May it always be the other guy or gal, who says, ‘This drink is on me.’
5. Anthony Kearns of the Irish Tenors performs for members of Congress, cabinet members, and guests of honor at the luncheon.
6. Led by a Capitol Police bagpiper, the official party departs the Capitol to close out the day’s ceremonies.
7. Speaker Ryan thanks the U.S. Capitol Police ceremonial unit before heading back to work.
MOUHANAD SALHA would like nothing better than to work. But since arriving in the Netherlands in late 2014, he has managed to do so for just one week. Like more than 80% of Syrian refugees in Europe, he is unemployed.
He was studying information technology when he fled Syria in 2012, and worked as an apprentice electrician in Lebanon, where “you can just go in and fix everything.” Not so in the Netherlands. Becoming an electrician requires elaborate certification, and jobs usually need proficiency in Dutch. Such rules, intended to shield native workers, deter asylum-seekers from looking for jobs. Refugees who do find work lose their government-paid benefits.
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Asylum-seekers in the Netherlands are housed in government-run centres and not allowed to work until six months after they arrive. If they then find a job, the government withholds 75% of their wages to cover room and board. (Unsurprisingly, few do.) Once granted refugee status, as Mr Salha was last year, they are moved out into subsidised housing. Mr Salha registered with a temporary-job agency, but the local government told him working would mean losing housing and other subsidies.
The agency could not guarantee enough work, so he quit, and the Dutch taxpayer is supporting him again. Across Europe unemployment rates among refugees are higher than among the native-born. In the Netherlands, the gap is among the highest. Even among refugees who arrived in the Netherlands in the late 1990s, only 55% were in the workforce 15 years later, compared with a rate among natives of 80%. Yet the Dutch unemployment rate is under 5%, and last year 40% of Dutch construction firms said they were struggling to fill positions. In particular they needed electricians, like the redundant Mr Salha.
Evidence from past refugee waves, and the experience of other countries, suggest that the long-term gains to everyone of allowing refugees to work outweigh the short-term costs, not just to the public purse, but to natives’ jobs and wages. In America, within six years, refugees’ employment rates exceed natives’. The average refugee becomes a net fiscal contributor just eight years after arriving. Also, in European countries sectoral wage agreements often make it expensive to employ low-productivity workers and tough to fire them. America has no difficulty creating low-wage jobs for unskilled immigrants, and its welfare benefits are too mean to tempt refugees out of work.
But European countries have shown that it is possible to accommodate an influx of low-paid workers without either driving people permanently out of work, or forcing their wages down. A study that examined two decades of employment data from Denmark found that low-skilled native workers in towns that received large numbers of refugees (mostly from Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and Bosnia) were indeed displaced from their jobs. But they tended, eventually, to move into higher-skilled, higher-paying jobs at other firms.
A recent study by Patrick Joyce, a Swedish economist, compared refugee labour-force integration in Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. Germany was the clear leader, with 70% of refugees working after 15 years, nearly as high as the native employment rate of 74%.
One reason for Germany’s success is that the Hartz labour-market reforms, beginning in 2003, allowed the economy to create more low-wage jobs suitable for immigrants. Moreover, Germany has allowed municipalities to adapt their refugee-integration policies to local conditions, whereas Scandinavian countries have one-size-fits-all policies. Unlike the Netherlands, Germany encourages asylum-seekers with a high likelihood of receiving approval to begin working before they get it. Germany does a better job of co-ordinating asylum-claim processing with refugee housing, language and job training, and job placement. Other European countries could do a lot more along these lines to increase the chances that refugees’ role in the labour force is complementary to native workers, rather than competitive.
But, first, rich places that receive just a fraction of the world’s refugees would need to heed their own advice to the poorer countries that receive the lion’s share: allow asylum-seekers to work. Mr Salha is now enrolled in a training programme sponsored by Alliander, an electrical-grid operator. It will earn him a job at the company and a piece of paper that proves that he knows how to install electric cable. This is a step in the right direction. But it has taken three years.
Donald Trump has called Kim Jong-un “very open” and “very honourable” and said the North Korean regime wanted a summit as soon as possible.
The president’s compliments marked a dramatic turnaround from “Little Rocket Man” – one of the insults Trump aimed at Kim before the North Korean dictator’s announcement last week that he was suspending nuclear and missile testing.
They were also unprecedented for a US president describing the head of one of the world’s most repressive regimes.
At a White House meeting with the visiting French president, Emmanuel Macron, Trump was asked about prospects for a summit with Kim.
Trump replied: “We have been told directly that they would like to have the meeting as soon as possible. We think that’s a great thing for the world.”
Referring to the North Korean leader, who has been in power since 2011, Trump said: “He really has been very open and, I think, very honourable from everything we’re seeing.”
He added: “Now, a lot of promises have been made by North Korea over the years but they have never been in this position.”
Plans for a summit follow a secret mission to Pyongyang at the end of last month by the CIA director, Mike Pompeo, whose nomination as secretary of state is now before the US Senate. Last week, Kim announced a moratorium on tests of nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles.
However, most experts believe any White House expectations that Kim is ready to give up the regime’s nuclear arsenal are likely to be disappointed.
Trump, however, was insistent about what he wanted to the outcome of the summit to be.
“It would be ver easy to make a simple deal and claim victory,” Trump said. “I m not going to do that. I want them to get rid of their nukes.”
“We’ll see where that will all go,” Trump said, adding that he is prepared to walk away from talks if they are not productive. “Unlike past administrations, I will leave the table. But I think we have the chance to do something very special.”
Asked about Trump’s choice of adjectives for Kim, Ben Cardin, the ranking Democrat on the Senate foreign relations committee, said: “I think it is important for the president to used measured descriptions of Kim Jong-un. In the past, he has not done that. He may have gone a bit far calling him honourable.”
“I have never uttered an unkind, unsupportive, unfriendly word, so I would love to redefine it… I’ve always held Kim’s work in high regard and always appreciative of her contributions,” she said. “If she chooses not to do the third movie, there’s not a lot I can do to change her mind and we must respect it. That’s the only thing I’ve ever said about it, you know?”
“I felt after six years it was time for all of us to participate in the financial windfall of ‘Sex and The City,'” she told Ross. “When they didn’t seem keen on that I thought it was time to move on.”
Cattrall had reportedly been paid $350,000 per episode previously, while Parker — the show’s lead star and the executive producer — was banking more.
The first “SATC” movie was supposed to begin production shortly after, but it was halted due to the salary negotiations.
It seemed the distance made its way to the award circuit because at the 2004 Emmys. Parker and co-stars Kristin Davis and Cynthia Nixon were all sitting near each other, while Cattrall was nowhere in sight. The trio was also pictured snuggling up at the afterparty, sans Cattrall.
Cattrall later told The Telegraph that that the co-stars’ on-screen chemistry didn’t linger off-screen.
Celebrity feuds played out in the public eye
“Are we the best of friends? No,” she said. “We’re professional actresses. We have our own separate lives.”
‘Sex and the City’ movie
The first “Sex and the City” movie came out in 2008 — and salary negotiations again soured the friendship.
“Honestly, we are all friends and I wish I saw more of Kim,” Parker told The Telegraph. “She mentioned money, and no one should vilify her for it. People made a decision that we had vilified her. No one bothered to say (to the rest of us), ‘Are you disappointed by not making the movie?’ Yes. ‘Do you respect and support her choice to not do it?’ Absolutely.”
In the same interview, Cattrall defended her decision to push for more money for portraying Samantha.
“I was going through a divorce and my job of seven years was coming to an end. Then my dad was diagnosed with dementia,” she said. “So I took a step back and returned to Canada, where my family is — that’s the reason behind it. It wasn’t all about the money.”
Chris Albrecht, the former CEO of HBO, alluded at the time to Parker’s salary becoming more than what was “contractually committed,” adding that the other actresses “wanted to keep up.”
Speaking to Elle in 2009, Parker downplayed the feud rumors.
“I don’t think anybody wants to believe that I love Kim,” she said. “I adore her. I wouldn’t have done the movie without her. Didn’t and wouldn’t.”
‘Sex and the City 2’
In May 2010, the second “Sex and the City” film hit theatres.
Cattrall was seemingly on SJP’s side in an 2010 interview with The Daily Mail, noting: “I think Sarah was right: people don’t want to believe that we get on. They have too much invested in the idea of two strong, successful women fighting with each other. It makes for juicy gossip and copy.”
“The truth of us being friends and getting along and happily doing our jobs together is nowhere near as newsworthy,” she continued. “I think Sarah is fantastic… She and I are sick of this. It’s exhausting talking about it, and a real bore. Next?”
Cattrall told Piers Morgan in 2017 that the castmates were “never friends.”
“I’ve moved on, this is what my sixties are about, they’re about me making decisions for me, not my career, for me. And that feels frickin’ fantastic,” the 61-year-old said.
“It’s over… we’re not doing it,” SJP told Extra in September 2017 of the long-anticipated third movie. “I’m disappointed. We had this beautiful, funny, heartbreaking, joyful, very relatable script and story. It’s … disappointing that we don’t get to tell the story and have that experience.”
In an explosive bout of drama that disproved any notion that the two women were ever friends at all, Cattrall flipped out in the wake of her brother’s death about Parker’s condolences.
After learning the tragic news, Parker issued a statement that said: “Dearest Kim, my love and condolences to you and yours and Godspeed to your beloved brother. Xx.”
“Let me make this VERY clear. (If I haven’t already) You are not my family. You are not my friend,” Cattrall wrote on Instagram.
“My Mom asked me today ‘When will that @sarahjessicaparker, that hypocrite, leave you alone?” she wrote in response. “Your continuous reaching out is a painful reminder of how cruel you really were then and now.”
Parker later told Entertainment Tonight this week that she just wanted Cattrall to know she was in her thoughts.
“If somebody in your life, whether you’re in touch with them or not, (is) suffering for any reason, it’s involuntary that you want to convey condolences or sadness or just let someone know you’re thinking about them,” she said.
Cattrall has not weighed in on the drama since her brother Chris’ death in February.
Question: Is free agent John Tavares a possibility or pipe dream for the Avalanche?
Kiz: Six NHL playoff games. Heady stuff. The Avs poured six shots of bourbon, set ’em on on the bar, and the party was back in Denver. I like it, I love it, I want some more of it. So how does Colorado become a legit contender for the Stanley Cup next year? Go get us a legit scorer to lead the No. 2 line, Joe Sakic. How about John Tavares? He’s 27 years old. He has scored nearly 300 NHL goals. He’s about to become a free agent.
Chambers: I believe the Avs will indeed deliver a solid pitch to Tavares, and I think the 2009 No. 1 overall draft pick — selected two spots ahead of Matt Duchene — will consider joining the NHL’s youngest team. It’s often difficult to lure Eastern Conference veterans west, because of the more difficult travel, but Tavares is all about putting him in the best position to win the Stanley Cup. Although the Avs certainly aren’t there yet, they have an excellent growth plate in place — partly because of the Duchene trade — and Tavares would work with Nathan MacKinnon and Colorado’s other leaders.
Kiz: There will be no shortage of suitors for Tavares. Heck, a bidding war could break out for his services within the New York metro area. If Tavares gets a dime in free agency, he’ll earn $9 million per year. That’s some heavy coin. But I can almost guarantee you this: Nobody would welcome the sight of Tavares wearing an Avalanche sweater more than MacKinnon. Can you say MacKinnon-Tavares? Sounds as sweet as Sakic-Forsberg.
Chambers: The Avs can definitely afford Tavares, but his number could be $10 million or more. Colorado finished 28th in the 31-team league in spending, ending more than $8 million under the salary cap after keeping a handful of AHL guys on the roster in the final weeks of the season. Money won’t be a giant stumbling block. But they might have to buy out one of their expensive forwards in Carl Soderberg ($4.75 million) or Colin Wilson ($3.9 million) to make it happen. And yes, MacKinnon-Tavares does indeed sound like Sakic-Forsberg. MacKinnon isn’t pegged to be a Hall of Famer just yet, but based on this season he’s on the right track.
Kiz: One tenet of the franchise’s glory years, established by Pierre Lacroix and honored to this day: The Avs stick to a salary structure. When the Rangers made a predatory offer on Sakic way back in 1997, it made Lacroix furious. I’m convinced the slow, steady build of this Colorado roster is what caused the nasty break-up of an impatient Patrick Roy and Sakic, an advocate of staying the course. The Avs’ return to the playoffs justified Joe’s super vision. So if he stays away from free agency, I understand and respect his position. But let me add: Tavares! Tavares! Tavares!
Chambers: Mr. Sakic told us Monday that staying the course could still mean they add a piece or two — or even perhaps a huge piece like Tavares? — in free agency or trades. I specifically asked Sakic if he would get involved in the Tavares sweepstakes. He didn’t directly answer the question, but he never said no. Listen, there’s no doubt Tavares would be excited to play with young Tyson Jost or fellow rookies Alex Kerfoot, Vlad Kamanev, A.J. Greer and other up-and-comers. And he’d play with MacKinnon and his line on the power play. On the back end, Tavares might look at Colorado’s blue line and say, “That’s something I can work with” — based on offensive-minded puck-movers Tyson Barrie, Sam Girard and Conor Timmins each paired with a big guy Erik Johnson, Nikita Zadorov and Patrik Nemeth. Suddenly, that defensive corps looks sharp with Girard beginning his second season and Timmins coming in as the best teenage Canadian blue-liner next to Cale Makar, who will remain at UMass for his sophomore season before joining the Avs the following year.