Former State Representative Joe Saunders returns to Equality Florida as Senior Political Director

By : Jeremy Williams
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Florida’s largest LGBTQ civil rights organization, Equality Florida announced Aug. 9 that former State Representative Joe Saunders would be rejoining the staff as the new Senior Political Director.

Saunders previously held the position of Field Director with Equality Florida for nearly a decade before running for, and winning, a seat in the Florida House of Representatives in 2012. Saunders, along with Miami Beach’s David Richardson, became the first openly gay Floridians elected to the legislature.

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St. Johns County GOP chair, school board member discuss transgender bathroom lawsuit

By : Staff Report
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The St. Johns County School Board has publicly stated they will not be commenting in regard to an ongoing lawsuit filed by Lambda Legal on behalf of a transgender high school student who wishes to be able to use the bathroom that aligns with his gender identity. However, one board member does not seem to be in line with that stance.

In a recent email sent by St. Johns County Republican Party Chairman Bill Korach, St. Johns County School Board member Tommy Allen is looking to stir up conservative opposition to the lawsuit.

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South Florida man shot dead after standing up for gay friends

By : Staff Report
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Nelson Hernandez Mena

A Florida man was murdered outside a Lake Worth restaurant after one of the other patrons threatened his friends for being gay, according to the Palm Beach Post.

The fatal incident occurred after midnight Aug. 6 in front of Restaurante Y Pupuseria Las Flores, a Salvadoran restaurant in Lake Worth, a witness told police.

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Mother of Florida transgender boy sues over bathroom access at school

By : Wire and Staff Reports
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ST. AUGUSTINE – The mother of a 16-year-old transgender boy who is being denied access to the boys’ restroom at his high school is suing the School Board.

The boy, identified as Drew Adams in the complaint filed in U.S. District Court, was born a girl but has identified as a boy and began to transition in the summer of 2015. That fall Adams began attending Nease High School in Ponte Vedra.

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Texas court questions right of benefits for same-sex spouses

By : Wire Report
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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Gay spouses may not be entitled to government-subsidized workplace benefits, the Texas Supreme Court ruled June 30 in a unanimous decision that was quickly condemned by gay-rights groups.

The court overturned a lower court’s decision that favored same-sex marriage benefits, ordering the issue back to trial. Social conservatives hope the case will help them chip away at the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling legalizing gay marriage.

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Gay State Representative David Richardson plots historic run for Congress

By : Billy Manes
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After becoming Florida’s first LGBTQ politician elected to Tallahassee’s big leagues, State Rep. David Richardson – who is known as a stickler for details and a champion of civil rights – has entered the national ring, publicly announcing that he intends to go after the Congressional District 27 seat that is soon to be vacated by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who unexpectedly revealed that she would be vacating the position before she was projected to bow out in 2020. The Miami-based seat she will likely vacate is an important one, as Richardson’s current district is virtually enclosed within Ros-Lehtinen’s congressional district.

“Whoever goes there and has a seat is going to have to work in a bipartisan way, which is something I’ve done in Tallahassee,” Richardson says on the phone from a special session in Tallahassee. “I think healthcare will continue to be an issue. Immigration will be a very big issue in South Florida. And criminal justice reform will be key.”

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Equality Florida CEO Nadine Smith recalls 1993 March on Washington

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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ABOVE: National March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Rights and Liberation on April 25, 1993. Equality Florida CEO Nadine Smith was one of its co-chairs. (Washington Blade archive photo by Doug Hinckle)

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. — Equality Florida CEO Nadine Smith is among the LGBT activists who met with then-President Clinton in the Oval Office on April 16, 1993.

The meeting — which was the first between a sitting U.S. president and advocates in the Oval Office — took place nine days before the 1993 March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation.

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Wasserman Schultz: U.S. foreign policy must promote human rights

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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MIAMI BEACH, Fla. — U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) on Saturday said the promotion of human rights must remain part of U.S. foreign policy.

The Florida Democrat who is the former chair of the Democratic National Committee pointed out in her remarks at the World OutGames Miami Human Rights Conference in Miami Beach that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson earlier this month said the U.S. “would have to sacrifice possibly America’s values when dealing with other countries in order to achieve sort of greater good or more broad goals, even if it meant sacrificing our values that matter to us when it comes to human rights.”

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Officials open ‘fraud investigation’ of World OutGames

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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MIAMI BEACH, Fla. — Local authorities have launched an investigation of the organizers of the World OutGames Miami over their decision to abruptly cancel almost all of its sporting events.

The Miami Herald reported the Miami Beach Police Department and the Miami-Dade County State Attorney’s Office on Friday announced they will investigate “the potential misappropriation of funds.”

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World OutGames sporting events abruptly cancelled

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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MIAMI BEACH, Fla. — The organizers of the World OutGames in Miami on Friday abruptly announced they have cancelled almost all of its sporting events.

“It is with deep regret that due to financial challenges, World OutGames must cancel opening and closing ceremonies and sports programming with the exception of aquatics, country western dance and soccer,” said the organizers in an email they sent to participants.

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Same sex couple says Southwest discriminated against them

By : Wire Report
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NAPLES, Fla. (AP) – A Florida man says a Southwest Airlines employee refused to let him board a flight as a family with his husband, their three children and a grandparent.

Grant Morse tells USA Today he was in the family boarding area at the gate at the Buffalo, New York, airport May 20 when a gate agent told them the area is for family boarding.

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Florida legislators wrap up a contentious session leaving the LGBTQ community relatively unscathed

By : Billy Manes
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Sine Die, they call it, the antiquated drop of the hanky to end the legislative session in Florida. On May 8, the bicameral bluster in Tallahassee came to an end following the approval of an $83 billion state budget that will siphon more taxpayer dollars to charter schools, and, remarkably, pull some power away from the state’s tourism driver, Visit Orlando. Those were the big headlines.

And while LGBTQ issues made their way around committees and lobbies, Equality Florida was there to fight back on some of the social issues.

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