Watermark’s Wedding Bells: Maria and Andrea Ruiz-Hays

By : Holly V. Kapherr
Comments: 0

The universe brought together these two women who share a passion for social justice, travel and their dogs.

When Maria saw Andrea, a tall, striking blonde, from across the ballroom at the MBA Gala, she says, “it felt like I had been hit by lightning.” The two women ended up sitting together at the gala dinner and chatted throughout the night. After the gala, they exchanged business cards.

A few weeks later, Andrea asked Maria if she would be interested in participating in an executive panel hosted by Out and Equal. Maria agreed and the pair met for dinner at the Greek Corner to discuss the details. “It was as if the universe was conspiring to bring us into each other’s orbit,” says Maria. After dinner, they walked across the street to the Lucky Lure and continued connecting. “I was mesmerized by her and found myself wanting to know everything about her,” says Andrea. “We talked all night long and shared stories, just laughing and flirting.”

Continue Reading >>

Palm Beach County is first in Florida to ban conversion therapy

By : Jeremy Williams
Comments: 0

ABOVE: (L-R) Palm Beach County Commissioner Dave Kerner, Vice Mayor Mack Bernard, Commissioner Hal Valeche, Mayor Melissa McKinlay, and Commissioners Mary Lou Berger, Paulette Burdick and Steven Abrams. Photo courtesy Palm Beach County Human Rights Council.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. | While many councils in the state have passed conversion therapy bans in their own cities, no Florida county had passed a ban until now.

The seven county commissioners voted 5-2 to prohibit conversion therapy for minors in Palm Beach County Dec. 19. Commissioners Steven Abrams and Hal Valeche were the two to vote against the ban.

Continue Reading >>

Jacksonville religious group continues to raise funds to fight city’s LGBTQ-inclusive HRO

By : Jeremy Williams
Comments: 0

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. | The anti-LGBTQ group Empower Jacksonville is continuing to raise funds in an effort to overturn Jacksonville’s LGBTQ protections added into their Human Rights Ordinance this past Valentine’s Day.

According to FloridaPolitics.com, the political action committee brought in just over $10,000 in November. This pushes the total the conservative organization has raised to nearly $32,000.

Continue Reading >>

Straz Center gets grant; Over 3,500 students to benefit

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
Comments: 0

Tampa | The Straz Center for the Performing Arts has announced its acquisition of a $20,000 grant from The Community Foundation of Tampa Bay to help bring the arts to the area’s disadvantaged students.

The Community Foundation of Tampa Bay is a partnership between donors, nonprofits, community leaders, businesses, volunteers and businesses. During their fiscal year of 2017, they awarded $10.3 million in grants to qualifying organizations in Tampa Bay.

Continue Reading >>

ABC’s ‘Great Christmas Light Fight’ visits an Orlando couple’s home

By : Kirk Hartlage
Comments: 0

ABOVE: Longwood’s Jim Cheslin and Alex Laneaux’s holiday decorations include 100,000 lights, a 16-foot Christmas tree of bulbs and a light show set to RuPaul’s “You’re the Star (On My Christmas Tree).” Photo courtesy of the heslin-Laneaux family.

LONGWOOD, Fla. | For more than a decade, long-time partners Jim Cheslin and Alex Laneaux have used the Osbourne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights from Disney Hollywood Studios as inspiration for their own yard-and-lawn holiday display at their Longwood home.

The Cheslin-Laneaux’s impressive display of 100,000 lights caught the attention of the folks behind ABC’s The Great Christmas Light Fight, which featured the couple’s home earlier this month on its fifth-season finale.

Continue Reading >>

Oklahoma regents vice chair to resign after anti-gay comment

By : wire report
Comments: 0

ABOVE: Vice Chair Kirk Humphreys front row on right. Photo from University of Oklahoma Board of Regents website

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The vice chair of the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents announced Thursday he would resign after an uproar over a comment on public affairs television that appeared to liken gay people to pedophiles.

Following a two-hour closed-door meeting of the board, Vice Chair Kirk Humphreys said he does not want to be a distraction and announced plans to step down before the start of the spring semester in 2018. Humphries said the board asked him to step down during the private meeting.

Continue Reading >>

Taylor Swift’s new app taken over by Trump supporters, homophobic users

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
Comments: 0

Share this story:

Taylor Swift’s new social networking app The Swift Life has been taken over by political commentary, Trump supporters and homophobic comments.

The Swift Life is for Swifties to access news, video footage, pictures and Taylor Swift themed-emojis. Fans can also post content that Swift can see and discuss their favorite artist in forums.

Continue Reading >>

Sam Smith and Brandon Flynn make their relationship Instagram official

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
Comments: 0

Sam Smith and Brandon Flynn have made their romance Instagram official.

Flynn, 24, posted a photo with Smith, 25, on Instagram featuring the pair sporting matching unicorn hats in an elevator.

Continue Reading >>

County commission votes down anti-gay marriage resolution

By : wire report
Comments: 0

Photo from Hamblen County Commission website

MORRISTOWN, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee county commission has rejected a symbolic resolution condemning same-sex marriage.

News outlets report four Hamblen County commissioners voted for the resolution Thursday, while five voted against it and four abstained. The commission meeting was preceded by around 50 people demonstrating against the resolution outside the courthouse.

Continue Reading >>

Court seeks justification for unusual gay slur hate crime order

By : wire report
Comments: 0

Share this story:

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine’s high court this week ordered a lower court to explain why potential jail time for any future hate crimes he might commit would be justified for a Turner man convicted of twice ramming into the car of a man he believed was gay.

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court on Tuesday ordered the Androscoggin County Superior Court to provide clear reasoning for issuing the “very broad and permanent injunction” against Ronald Champagne.

Continue Reading >>