Tampa Bay’s Overheard: Kriseman at Mary’s, HRC on St. Pete and Chick-fil-A in politics

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Mary’s Grand Opening

While the new Hamburger Mary’s at Tyrone Square in St. Petersburg has been opened for a few weeks now, they made the entire thing official with a grand opening ceremony Oct. 13.

A huge crowd gathered in the kitschy, fun restaurant known for big juicy burgers and even juicer drag queens as St. Pete mayor and super politician Rick Kriseman, along with family in tow, cut the ribbon. Mayor Kriseman wasn’t the only local celeb there. The event was also attended by former Republican governor (and future Democratic Congressman?) Charlie Crist, Tampa Bay gay royalty Mark & Carrie and Mary herself as they all let their hair down and celebrated the newest location.

The show continued with a few musical numbers from the Hamburger Mary’s drag stars and Una Voce, Tampa Bay’s gay men’s chorus.

Gay Ole City

The Human Rights Campaign released their annual ratings for LGBTQ friendly cities in the U.S. and once again St. Pete got a perfect 100. HRC’s Municipal Equality Index gave the magic score to only three cities in Florida; along with St. Pete, Orlando and Wilton Manors scored 100.

Tampa came in with a respectable 86, above the state average but significantly down from the 97 they scored last year. I wonder if the decrease in Tampa’s score had anything to do with every Hillsborough County commissioner other than Kevin Beckner refusing to even hear a discussion on recognizing LGBT Pride and History Month or making June 12 a Day of Remembrance for the Pulse shooting victims. Regardless of the reasons, Tampa has some catching up to do.

Florida’s average score was 70, with the average across the country being 55. The bottom of the barrel when it comes to LGBTQ equality in the Sunshine State goes to Port Saint Lucie’s dismal 30 and Cape Coral’s pathetic 25.

Hey Chick-fil-A voter registration card out

By the time you read this, voter registration will be all closed up for the 2016 election. Thanks to Hurricane Matthew, the deadline was pushed back a week to allow people who were impacted a chance to get registered. This seemed like a legit demand to the Stonewall Democrats of Pinellas County. What did get their feathers all rustled though was Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark’s decision to hold voter-registration drives at nine Chick-fil-A locations in the county.

Susan McGrath, the leader of the Stonewall Dems, went beak first right in that hen house screaming foul!

“As an elected official, you have a duty to be evenhanded and fair. Surely, you and your office staff do understand that using Chick-Fil-A as the base for voter registration activities is not only inherently unfair but overtly partisan as well. This company has a strong and well-understood history of anti-LGBT activism and is publicly associated with Republican Party values,” McGrath wrote in a letter to Clark.

McGrath compared it to Democrats holding a voter’s drive at a Planned Parenthood.

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