In the News

Written by: Mitch Perry

Last month, the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners voted to include the LGBT community with other protected classes in connection with employment, public accommodations, real estate transactions and county contracting and procurement. The move was hailed by activists who have considered the county to be somewhat in the dark ages when it came to LGBT rights.

Source: Flagler Live

Almost exactly a year ago–on Nov. 7, 2013–the U.S. Senate voted 64-32 to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. The proposed law would have banned workplace discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people (LGBT). Florida’s Bill Nelson, a Democrat, voted for it. Marco Rubio, a Republican, voted against. Nevertheless, 10 Republican senators joined 52 Democrats and two independents to vote approval. It was a rare show of bi-partisan support.

Source: Miami Herald

Written by:Abraham Galvan

LGBT community leaders and allies on Sunday honored trans teen Jazz Jennings and paid tribute to late businessman Mark Haines at Equality Florida’s annual Broward Gala in Fort Lauderdale.

Hundreds attended the 12th annual gala, held this year at the Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six Panorama Ballroom. Equality Florida raised more than $400,000 at the event, according to Deputy Director Stratton Pollitzer.

Source: Keys News

Written by: Gwen Filosa

State Attorney General Pam Bondi has filed more appeals in both a federal and state case demanding the right for same-sex couples to marry, reiterating that Florida has every right to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

Written by: Morgan Watkins

The Alachua County Commission has joined the city of Gainesville and other local governments in signing onto a friend-of-the-court brief filed in various marriage equality cases in Florida involving the state’s same-sex marriage ban.

The Gainesville City Commission decided to join in the amicus curiae brief in October, and the County Commission followed suit Tuesday. (The friend-of-the-court brief was included as an item on the county’s consent agenda.)

Written by:Jake Stevens

Equality Florida’s 2014 Greater Orlando Gala raised more than $200,000 for the organization on Nov. 14. The event, held at The Mezz in downtown Orlando, boasted a sold-out crowd – nearly 400 guests.

EQFL honored their 2014 Voice for Equality honorees Dr. Kathryn Norsworthy, Ted Maines and Jeff Miller.

To view the photos of the Gala, click here.

Written by: Charlotte Robinson

Equality Florida will be hosting their 12th Annual Equality Florida Broward Gala at the Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six Panorama Ballroom in Fort Lauderdale on Sunday November 16th. The highlight of the event will be the presentation of the Voice for Equality award to South Florida resident Jazz Jennings, who was recently announced as one of the “25 Most Influential Teens of 2014” by Time magazine.

Source: WTXL

Written by: Elizabeth White

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) -- The Human Rights Campaign based in Washington, DC gave Tallahassee high marks based on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender inclusion in local laws and policies.

The city was given an index value of 81, which is far above the average for the rest of Florida cities, which sits at 65. It also trumps the national average of 59.

Source: Miami Herald

Written by: Patricia Mazzei

Raw emotion and invocations of biblical damnation over a proposed ban on discrimination against transgender people dominated Wednesday what was perhaps the fiercest debate Miami-Dade County Hall has seen this year.

Written by: Janelle Irwin

St. Petersburg is officially gay-friendly. Based on the annual nationwide Municipal Equality Index rating, St. Pete earned a perfect score on its level of LGBT equality.

“I’m proud to say our score is the best in the Tampa ay region,” mayor Rick Kriseman said during a press conference on the steps of City Hall. The city received a score of 100, up from just 66 last year.

Written by: Margie Manning

Diversity is key to developing a live-work-play environment that is vital for businesses and the workforce they are seeking.

That's why the perfect 100 score that St. Petersburg got on the Human Rights Campaign's Municipal Equality Index is being celebrated widely at City Hall and the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce. The index measures the inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals in municipal law and policy.

Source: Sun Sentinel

Written by: Margie Menzel

The 2014 election wasn't a good one for Florida's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

LGBT organizations supported Democrats Charlie Crist for governor and George Sheldon for attorney general, but both lost. So did state Rep. Joe Saunders, D-Orlando, one of the first two openly gay members of the Legislature, elected in 2012.

Source: Flagler Live

When the Flagler County School Board unanimously approved bereavement leave for school support personnel in domestic partnerships in July as part of the latest labor negotiations, it was the first time that domestic partnerships that include same-sex unions have been acknowledged in the contract. This opens up questions about why now and what benefits could follow.

Source: NewNowNext

Written by: Dan Avery

Even as we applaud the growing number of states embracing marriage equality, there are couples for whom it comes to late: Equality Florida has shared the tragic story of Liz Molina, who passed away this week before Florida lifted its ban on same-sex marriage and before she could be recognized as a wife and mother.

Liz, 35, succumbed to cervical cancer on Monday, just days before before her partner Joan Rodriguez is due to give birth to their son, Liam.

Source: Miami Herald

Written by: Steve Rothaus

A Central Florida woman died Nov. 3 of cancer before she could marry her partner and just before the birth of their son, Equality Florida announced Thursday. “Marriage equality will come too late for one Florida family. Liz Molina, 35, passed away on Monday,” Equality Florida CEO Nadine Smith wrote to supporters.

More from the mailing:

Source: Miami Herald

Written by: Steve Rothaus

Panelists this year will be U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston; Rea Carey of the National LGBTQ Task Force; Kevin Cathcart of Lambda Legal; Nadine Smith of Equality Florida; and attorney Paul Smith.

“Based on what has happened this week, it should be an interesting discussion,” said Our Fund CEO/President Anthony Timiraos, referring to Tuesday’s election. Here’s the complete news release, with biographies of the 2014 speakers:

Written by: SAMANTHA ROSENTHAL

Sarasota – On Nov. 3, the City of Sarasota unanimously approved on the first reading changes to the city’s anti-discrimination law which would add rights and protections for transgender individuals.

Source: Advocate

Written by: SUNNIVIE BRYDUM 

The woman whose lawsuit effectively dismantled the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, clearing the way for the federal government to recognize same-sex marriage, has a few words for one Republican governor stubbornly refusing to let marriage equality come to his state.