Church says gay teacher fired by Miami Catholic school

By : wire report
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MIAMI (AP) – Church officials say a gay schoolteacher has been fired by a Miami Catholic school after marrying her same-sex partner in an apparent violation of church rules.

Archdiocese of Miami officials confirmed to the Miami Herald that first-grade teacher Jocelyn Morffi lost her job at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic School on Thursday, the day after she returned from her Florida Keys wedding.

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Jacksonville city attorney: challenge to gay rights law ‘defective’

By : wire report
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The city attorney in Jacksonville says an initiative intended to challenge a new gay rights law cannot be legally placed on the November ballot.

The Florida Times-Union reports that city general counsel Jason Gabriel said in a memo this week that the initiative is “defective” because it would grant local voters a power they do not have. Gabriel says only the Jacksonville city council has legislative authority.

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UPDATE: Publix to begin covering HIV preventative drug PrEP for employees

By : Jeremy Williams
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UPDATE:

After meeting with state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, Publix announced they would begin allowing PrEP to be covered for their employees under their prescription benefits.

The company took to Twitter saying:

Publix appreciates the concerns shared by our associates and customers. We offer generous health coverage to our eligible full-time and part-time associates at an affordable premium and are committed to the health and well-being of our associates and their families.

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‘Storm Chasers’ star Joel Taylor found dead on board gay cruise

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Joel Taylor, star of the Discovery Channel series “Storm Chasers,” was found dead of a suspected overdose on board a Royal Caribbean cruise ship on Tuesday. He was 38.

The ship, Harmony of the Seas, was being chartered for Atlantis Events’ all-gay cruise that departed Fort Lauderdale, Fl. on Jan. 20 with planned stops to St. Maarten, San Juan, Puerto Rico and Royal Caribbean’s private island of Labadee.

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Adult film star Matthew Rush enters drug program after third arrest

By : Staff Report
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WILTON MANORS, Fla. | Gay adult film star Matthew Rush was arrested and booked by the Broward County Sheriff’s Office in Wilton Manors on Jan. 17, the third time he’s been arrested in South Florida since September, according to the gay porn blog Str8UpGayPorn.

Rush, whose real name is Gregory Andrew Grove, was initially arrested Sept. 19 and charged with felony possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.

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Florida man robbed at gunpoint in Grindr app setup

By : wire report
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) — Florida police say a man thought he was going on a date set through an app, but instead was attacked and robbed at gunpoint.

Police say a 21-year-old Taborice Lee Foster lured his target using Grindr, a dating app for gay men. When the victim arrived to his home in Panama City, Foster and another man attacked him, pointing a gun from behind while searching the date’s pockets and stealing his wallet.

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Jacksonville’s Human Rights Ordinance threatened on the federal level by new bill

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. | Jacksonville’s City Council approved an anti-discrimination ordinance protecting the LGBTQ community less than a year ago, but those protections are already in danger at the state level.

Jacksonville Republican Rep. Jay Fant has introduced House Bill 871. It would allow businesses to set their policies in accordance to their religious beliefs—something Jacksonville attorney and LGBT activist Jimmy Midyette calls “insidious.”

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Richardson raises more than $1 million in his run for Congress, earns national endorsement

By : Jeremy Williams
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Democratic State Rep. David Richardson raised more than $500,000 in the final three months of 2017 for his run to become the next U.S. Congressman in Florida’s 27th District, according to FloridaPolitics.com.

Adding in what he raised earlier in the year brings his total to $1 million since announcing his run this past summer.

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Watermark’s Top headlines of 2017

By : Watermark Staff
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2017 was a roller coaster of a year. Our highs were marked with great achievements and big celebrations, and our lows were filled with the passing of great LGBTQ leaders and fear-filled headlines we thought we would never read.

Below we look back on the top 5 LGBTQ headlines out of Central Florida, Tampa Bay, from the state of Florida and across the nation, and the world.

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Palm Beach County is first in Florida to ban conversion therapy

By : Jeremy Williams
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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.

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

By : Jeremy Williams
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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.

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Gloria Estefan’s daughter Emily proclaims love for girlfriend on Instagram

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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(Photo via Instagram.)

Gloria and Emilio Estefan’s daughter Emily celebrated one year with her girlfriend, Geremy Hernández, with a touching Instagram post proclaiming her love.

The 23-year-old musician posted a snap of a polaroid of the couple captioned, “Happy anniversary to my delicate, bold, intelligent, important, honest, loving, funny (but not funnier than me), brave, compassionate, patient, badass, talented, and the most beautiful… Moon Flower. I love you. One circle exquisitely sealed in time forever. Cheers to many more, and tons more laughing.”

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