Mississippi justices dislike delay in gay divorce ruling

By : Wire Report
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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) -Two Mississippi Supreme Court justices say the court should find the state’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional and not wait for a gay marriage ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court.

Feb. 26’s 26-page statement, written by Justice Leslie D. King and joined by Justice James Kitchens, was attached to an order by a six-member court majority.

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Watermark Wednesday February 2015

By : Steve Blanchard
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Watermark Wednesday was a huge success on Feb. 25 where more than $600 was raised for the volunteer organization Balance Tampa Bay.

City Side Lounge in Tampa hosted the event on its back patio were more than 60 people gathered for the evening. More than 15 prizes were awarded via a raffle.

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‘Watermark’ wants to feature your wedding or engagement!

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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Watermark wants to feature your wedding or engagement under our new section, “Wedding Bells at Watermark.”

If you’re interested in being featured, please email editor@watermarkonline.com and samantha@watermarkonline.com, and include:

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Wedding Bells at Watermark: Michael Scott and Thomas Lawson

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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Michael Scott (L) and Thomas Lawson. (Photo by Art Faulkner)

Michael Scott (L) and Thomas Lawson. (Photo by Art Faulkner)

“It’s no longer just about yourself. You make this lifelong commitment to the person that you love, and you want to make sure you uphold those vows and what you said on that specific day,” said Michael Scott, 27, about how his wedding day changed him and made him feel.

Thomas Lawson and Michael Scott met two and half years ago at the April 2013 grand re-opening of Savoy Orlando. The pair tied the knot on Jan. 6.

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Alaska tribal organization gives the go-ahead for gay marriages

By : Wire Report
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Sitka, Alaska (AP) – The Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska has given the go-ahead to its courts to allow the performance of same-sex marriages.

CoastAlaska News reports the largest tribal organization in southeast Alaska announced its new policy on Feb. 23 following a unanimous vote last week by the council’s seven-member governing board to define legal marriage without a gender requirement.

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Development in Ivanhoe Village means changes for the neighborhood’s LGBT-owned businesses

By : Scottie Campbell
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Orlando – There was a time when the two gray towers looming over Alden Road had a practical use; a train would pull up alongside and fill the towers with small bits of plastic destined to become shower doors. Now dormant, the twin structure serves as a landmark to travelers using Alden’s brick roadway or the increasingly active thoroughfares of Orange Ave. or Virginia Dr., as well as SunRail passengers.

A mid-century touchstone, symbolic of the eclectic neighborhood that has grown around them, it seems fitting that these two stalwarts are the only recognizable features in the renderings of a new Ivanhoe Village development that will begin in November.

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LGBT survivors of human trafficking share their stories to shed light on a brutal practice

By : Zach Caruso
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Nathan Earl—and many more like him—have a story to share. He is a survivor of commercial sexual exploitation—more commonly referred to as human trafficking.

“I was sexually and physically abused when I was very young. The perpetrators were family members, so the protection aspect when I was little, it just didn’t exist,” the Sarasota resident says. “I was going through issues with my own sexuality, and all of this put together, I just felt like I was a mistake. I was initially too scared to run to the streets, so at 11 years old I started sniffing gasoline in the garage as a way to escape reality.

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LGBT youth turn to sexual encounters to survive

By : Wire Report
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New York (AP) – A unique federally funded study offers a detailed look at the lives of gay, lesbian and transgender youth in New York City who cope with homelessness and poverty by engaging in what the researchers call “survival sex.”

In extensive interviews conducted over three years by the Urban Institute, 283 young people spoke about experiencing family rejection, establishing support networks with groups of their peers, and learning how to subsist on earnings from sexual encounters. Many said there were positive aspects to their lives, but a large majority expressed a yearning to get out of the sex business.

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Wyoming House stops anti-discrimination bill

By : Wire Report
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Cheyenne, Wyo. (AP) – A bill to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity died Feb. 24 in the Wyoming House of Representatives.

The House voted 33-to-26 against the bill, which already had cleared the Wyoming Senate.

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2.26.15 Editor’s Desk

By : Steve Blanchard
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SteveBlanchardHeadshot_137x185To my 14 year old niece:

The same year you were born, 2000, I decided to leave my Midwest home state and move to Florida.

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Overheard in Tampa Bay: Introducing Miss Tampa pride emeritus 2015!

By : Anonymous
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Russell is Tampa Pride’s emeritus
Tampa Pride is only a month away. And who better to serve as queen for the inaugural pride festival on March 28 than Esme Russell. Russell, a performer, radio personality, Hamburger Mary’s hostess and all-around activist for equality, was selected as Miss Tampa pride emeritus 2015. A formal crowning and ceremony will be coming soon, but expect to see Tampa native of Cuban descent all over the pride festivities in an official capacity

G.Bar isn’t going anywhere
We can admit when we jump the gun on things in this column. When we recently reported that all signs pointed to the forthcoming sale of G.Bar to a bar owner in Orlando, we truly believed our sources. But, the always gracious G.Bar owner Steve Moss set the record straight for us, sharing that the bar hasn’t been sold and that it isn’t going anywhere in the foreseeable future. We were right, though, when we reported that owners of Southern Nights in Orlando expressed interest in the popular Ybor club. Moss said there were inquiries made and a few discussions, but nothing ever came of it. There was a liquor inventory reduction sale, which led us to believe a sale was in the future. But apparently, the sale was exactly what it said it was—a way to reduce inventory and make room for more booze.  We’re relieved the Ybor staple is sticking around!

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Overheard in Orlando: Sam Harris comes to Central Florida!

By : Anonymous
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From Barry to Boone
Local lawyer Barry Miller’s foundation is known for assisting the arts, like the Orlando Fringe Festival. Now, Boone High School’s Thespian troupe is counting on donations raised from To Boone, with Love: A Benefit Cabaret and Silent Auction and the Miller Foundation. The funds raised on Feb. 20  will assist the talented Boon Braves as they head to the Thespian Society’s state competition. The Barry L. Miller Foundation of the Arts and Education offered to match up to $2,500 of the money raised. The foundation was founded in 2013 with the goal to provide financial support for scholarships and quality programming to individuals, artists, students, educational institutions, community groups, theatre companies and other artistic endeavors. Break a leg Braves!

G is not Good to Go
Recently Watermark reported Rick Kowalczyck, owner of Southern Nights, was in the market to purchase G.Bar in Tampa. The tips were received by reliable sources in both Orlando and in Tampa’s Ybor City. However, by the time we last went to print, Kowalczyck wasn’t available to verify whether or not he was looking to buy. Since the last issue, Greg Skeen, manager at Southern Nights, stated that the story was false and that Rick was not looking to make a purchase at the Ybor city hot spot. G. Bar owner Stephen Moss, however, said inquiries were made, but negotiations didn’t go beyond that. 

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