Watermark readers respond hot and cold to Teresa Jacobs’ statement on marriage equality

By : Jamie Hyman
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Our latest interview with Orange County mayor Teresa Jacobs – where she finally confirmed that she is in support of marriage equality – sparked some polarized readers comments. For some of you, the interview was a great step forward for equality, while others thought it was too little, too late.

Read the comments round-up after the jump:

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Readers respond to Watermark’s story remembering Paul Wegman

By : Jamie Hyman
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It was ten years ago that Central Florida lost an entertainer who was both a force and a friend – Paul Wegman. In Issue 21.10, we published an article that was a tribute to Wegman’s life and legacy.

Several readers took to the comments section to post their own memories of Miss P. Read what they had to say after the jump: 

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Screened Out – As Above/So Below

By : Stephen Miller
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Perdita Weeks, Ben Feldman

The shaky horror flick depicts a trip to Hell via the Paris catacombs. For the audience, Hell is dumb characters, cheap sets, outdated film gimmicks, and an overall lack of creativity.

Notice how the actors don’t sound familiar? That’s on purpose. Director John Erick Dowdle (Quarantine) is stealing from The Blair Witch Project 15 years ago, filming a documentary of unknown performers portraying stupid people. These boneheads want to traverse the old Paris stone mines, which are now filled with over 6 million human remains. They all have digital cameras strapped on – making for vomit-inducing cinematography – as they act like morons.

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Oklahoma couple asks Supreme Court to hear same-sex marriage case

By : Wire Report
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TULSA, Okla. (AP) – Lawyers for a same-sex Tulsa couple seeking the right to marry in Oklahoma have filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court asking the court to take up their case.

The couple, Sharon Baldwin and Mary Bishop, sued Tulsa County Clerk Sally Howe Smith for failing to issue them a marriage license shortly after voters in Oklahoma approved a ban on same-sex marriage in 2004.

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Chilean sailor makes history, publicly announces he is gay

By : Wire Report
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SANTIAGO, Chile – A sailor with Chile’s navy on Aug. 27 announced he is gay, an unprecedented public declaration in this socially conservative South American nation.

Chile has traditionally been a tough place for gays, although the country decriminalized gay sex in 1999 and attitudes toward gays are evolving. The killing of a gay man in Chile 2012 set off a national debate that prompted Congress to pass a hate crimes law.

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Australian Rugby Union announces measures to tackle discrimination

By : Wire Report
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SYDNEY (AP) — World Cup-winning captains John Eales and Nick Farr-Jones joined with the Australian Rugby Union on Aug. 29 for an anti-discrimination policy launch that coincided with the opening day of the Bingham Cup gay rugby tournament.

ARU chief executive Bill Pulver said the “inclusion policy” ensures “every individual, whether they’re players, supporters, coaches or administrators, feel safe, welcome and included, regardless of race, gender or sexuality.”

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Georgia city moves ahead on benefits for same-sex couples

By : Wire Report
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MARIETTA, Ga. (AP) – A city committee in Marietta has approved a plan aimed at extending retirement benefits to same-sex couples.

The City Council is now scheduled to consider the change, which would give employees in same-sex relationships the chance to receive retirement benefits now given to men and women who are married.

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Court of Appeal tells Bondi marriage cases must move forward

By : Staff Report
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Tallahassee – Pam Bondi can’t avoid the marriage equality debate any longer. That’s according to a decision released by the Third District Court of Appeal Aug. 28.

“Upon consideration, appellant’s motions to stay briefing are denied,” wrote the Third District Court of Appeal in a terse ruling.

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Ban on ‘gay panic defense’ approved, heads to California governor

By : Wire Report
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Defendants could not escape murder charges by claiming they panicked when they discovered someone was gay or transgender under a bill headed to Gov. Jerry Brown.

The state Assembly approved AB2501 on a 50-10 vote Aug. 27.

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Through modern and traditional media, Your Real Stories breaks social boundaries

By : Chris Muscardin
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St. Petersburg – The 2011 dramatic film The Help had quite the impact on St. Petersburg resident Lillian Dunlap. It inspired her to take a look at the stories of the real life ‘help’. What started as a small project to showcase “Decades of Day Work” has turned into a journey of stories turned into plays turned into art shows.

Now, Your Real Stories, the organization that produces the show, has announced its first official season.

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Award-winning Hollywood luminary talks lesbians, drag and American Horror Story

By : Chris Azzopardi
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Long before dishing lesbian wisdom to Melissa McCarthy’s mess of a character in the summer’s road-trip comedy Tammy, Kathy Bates had the gay community in shackles. It didn’t take a sledgehammer to maintain our obsession with her—it just took the Hollywood icon’s every turn on television Six Feet Under, American Horror Story, Broadway (‘night, Mother) and the big screen (Titanic, Misery).

Notably with Fried Green Tomatoes, her 1991 girl dramedy, and then with Dolores Claiborne and Primary Colors, Bates has kept us captivated for over four decades, bound to her boundless greatness. On Aug. 25, Bates won a Best Supporting Actress Emmy for her role in season 3 of American Horror Story: Coven as the racist witch Marie LaLaurie. The role gained her even more fans, if that’s possible, and the star is slated to appear in the FX mini series’ fourth incarnation set to launch in October.

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Overheard in Tampa Bay: Walk for a cause, cool down poolside

By : Anonymous
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Sawmill has new royalty
Eight contestants competed for the coveted title of Miss Sawmill 2015 on Aug. 23, but only one could walk away with the crown. Orlando performer Imani Valentino wowed the panel of nine judges and secured the title. First runner-up was Emoni Sanchez and second runner-up was Stephanie Stuart. The night was a fun one with emcees and former Miss Sawmill title holders Sofonda Cox, Dede Taylor and Alexis Mateo sharing duties behind the podium. Valentino will now appear in ads and promotions for the Dade City Campground in LGBT publications and on websites. See more photos from the pageant at WatermarkOnline.com.

LGBT actors get tons of nods
Theatre Tampa Bay recently announced its nominees for its annual awards ceremony, and it reads like a who’s who of LGBT actors, designers, directors and theaters. Out performers Eric Davis (FreeFall Theatre) has eight nominations including one for his starring role in The Normal Heart, Karla Hartley has three, designer and actor Scott Daniel has three and musician Michael Raabe has two, as does actor Matthew McGee. Speaking of The Normal Heart, the drama surrounding the early days of the AIDS epidemic, the production secured seven nominations total, as did The Divine Sister, and Two Trains Running. The theater company with the most nominations is FreeFall, with 43, followed by American Stage with 24. Both theater companies have large contingents of LGBT actors, directors and employees, as well as LGBT-centric plays. The list of nominees goes on for three pages, much too many to list here. See them all at TheatreTampaBay.org. Winners will be announced Oct. 6 at the Palladium Theater in downtown St. Petersburg.

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