Mark Haines, Founder of Mark's List, Killed After Being Struck by Vehicles in the Keys

Categories: LGBT News

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Via Facebook
Mark Haines, a prominent leader in the LGBT community and founder of the popular website Mark's List, was killed after being struck by three vehicles while walking after having had dinner with friends Friday evening.

Haines, 54, who hailed from Fort Lauderdale, had been in the Florida Keys with his father and brother as part of the SmartRide long-distance 165-mile bicycle race that goes from Miami to Key West.

The race is a benefit that raises money for organizations that help those affected with HIV/AIDS.


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Fort Lauderdale Draws Disappointing Score on LGBT Municipal Equality Index

Categories: LGBT News

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For a city with the highest concentration of same-sex couples, Fort Lauderdale got a pretty substandard score in the Municipal Equality Index this year. The index, released annually by the gay-rights group Human Rights Campaign, grades how municipalities across the country treat lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender residents.

And Fort Lauderdale scored a 76 out of 100 in this year's index.

Contrast that with the fact that three cities in Arizona -- ARIZONA -- got a perfect score of 100.

In fact, Fort Lauderdale also got beat by other cities in this state, including Miami Beach (100), St. Petersburg (100), and Tampa (97).

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Jazz Jennings, 14-Year-Old Transgender Youth and Author, to Be Honored by Equality Florida

Categories: LGBT News

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Courtesy of Jeanette Jennings
Jazz Jennings has the mind of a girl but the body of boy. So reads the back cover of her 32-page autobiographical book, I Am Jazz. The book, which was released in September, chronicles Jennings' struggles as a transgender child, opens up the dialogue on gender identity, and has helped spark awareness on how transgender people are discriminated against.

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Pam Bondi Officially Opposes Lesbian Couple's Divorce

Categories: LGBT News

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Pam Bondi is once again opposing same-sex marriage rights in Florida.

On Wednesday, the attorney general filed papers in Broward County Circuit Court saying that Palm Beach resident Heather Brassner and her former partner, Megan Lade, should not be granted a petition for divorce. Brassner and Lade were joined together in a civil union in Vermont back in 2002.

In August, Broward County Circuit Court Judge Dale Cohen had become the third Florida judge to rule that the state's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, as he presided over Brassner's case.

See also: South Florida Lesbians Challenge Gay Marriage Law: "We Are Not Second-Class Citizens"

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Pam Bondi Wants Florida Supreme Court to Decide Issue of Same-Sex Marriage

Categories: LGBT News

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On Monday night, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi filed a motion to the Third District Court of Appeal that the consolidated Pareto-Huntsman case, which deals with the topic of same-sex marriage, should be given a pass-through -- meaning it would skip the appeals court and go straight to the Florida Supreme Court.

Bondi once urged the Third District Court to deny the case a pass-through until the U.S. Supreme Court decides the matter of same-sex marriage. However, she changed her stance in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's (SCOTUS) decision last Monday to not hear any of the appeals against same-sex marriage.

See also: Supreme Court Rejects Gay Marriage Appeals: What Does That Mean for Florida?

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Same-Sex Couple Send Rick Scott Heartfelt Letter Pleading to Hear Their Story

Categories: LGBT News
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photo: Monica McGivern
With same-sex marriage on the brink of being legalized in Florida or getting forever mired in litigation, advocates and gay rights groups have been using news releases and the media to call on Gov. Rick Scott to lift the ban.

But now one same-sex couple is going directly to the governor in the form of a heartfelt letter pleading for him to meet with them and others like them, as well as their families, to hear their stories.

The letter, which has been sent to Scott's office, was penned by Terry and Sharon Kant-Raunch, but they're backed by hundreds of couples requesting the meeting.

See also: Same-Sex Couples Deliver Petitions to Pam Bondi's Office

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Pam Bondi and Rick Scott Refuse to Lift Ban on Same-Sex Marriage, Despite SCOTUS Ruling

Categories: LGBT News

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Following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to reject same-sex marriage appeals in several states earlier this week -- opening the door to lifting the ban in a total of 30 states -- the attorney general and Gov. Rick Scott are still sticking to their guns in trying to keep same-sex marriage banned in Florida.

Gay rights activist groups pounced on Bondi and Scott following the ruling, calling for them to cut out their political shenanigans and get with the times.

But Bondi's office has come out and said it will continue to fight against having the ban lifted, while Scott has remained silent on the issue.

See also: Supreme Court Rejects Gay Marriage Appeals: What Does That Mean for Florida?

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Florida Recognizes Deceased Woman's Same-Sex Marriage

Categories: LGBT News

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In August, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Hinkle ruled on Grimsley and Albu v. Scott that Florida's ban on marriage for same-sex couples was unconstitutional and, despite a stay on his ruling, ordered the State of Florida to issue a new death certificate for Carol Goldwasser, naming Arlene Goldberg, her partner of 47 years, as her wife.

Today, Arlene received that newly issued death certificate, making her and her late spouse among the first same-sex couples to have their marriage recognized in Florida and the first to receive an amended death certificate that reflects their marriage.

See also: Supreme Court Rejects Gay Marriage Appeals: What Does That Mean for Florida?


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Gay Wedding Commercial for Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau Needs Extras

Categories: LGBT News

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Photo by Phillip Pessar via Miami New Times Flickr group

The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau is calling on anyone from all ages and backgrounds to come out and be extras as pretend guests at a pretend gay marriage on the beach.

Shooting starts at 9 a.m. Thursday.

See also: Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce Supports Marriage Equality

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Marriage Equality in Florida: The Various Ways It Could Play Out

Categories: LGBT News

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Photo by George Martinez
Yesterday, the nine justices of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) declined to hear any of the federal cases pending before them regarding state bans on same-sex marriage. By not taking up the cases, SCOTUS allows the lower district court decisions to stand, meaning same-sex couples in Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Indiana will soon be able to marry. This development also means any other state with similar bans in the Fourth, Seventh, and Tenth Circuits will soon have marriage equality as well. These states include West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kansas, Colorado, and Wyoming.

Though this action by SCOTUS will impact thousands of couples across the U.S., it does not have a direct effect on Florida's ban because the state is part of the 11th Federal Circuit.

The constitutionality of gay marriage in Florida is still winding its way through the courts. Florida's attorney general, Pam Bondi, could drop the fight and let gay marriages proceed, or she could continue the fight until it is resolved in federal appeals courts. Bondi has said she continues to fight not because of her personal viewpoint but because gay marriage is prohibited by the state constitution --- in just 2008, 62 percent of voters chose to define marriage as between a man and a woman.

See also: Supreme Court Rejects Gay Marriage Appeals: What Does That Mean for Florida?

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