Gay pastor faked cake slur, drops lawsuit

By : Wire Report
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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – A gay Texas pastor who sued Whole Foods after he bought a cake that he alleged had a slur written on it in icing has dropped his lawsuit against the grocer.

Jordan Brown of Austin dropped the suit and issued an apology May 16. Brown said he was “wrong to pursue this matter and use the media to perpetuate this story.”

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Around the World: Four romantic getaways for V-Day

By : Aaron Drake
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Aaron Drake

There’s something about arguing with your hubby while navigating the tumultuously windy backroads of Maui through a tropical forest – or clinging to each other at 3 a.m. during a downpour that rumbles like freight train on the tin roof of the cottage you’re staying in – that just spells the word “R-O-M-A-N-C-E.” I mean, it’s said that you never get to know someone better than when you travel together. What better way to kick off the most romantic month of the year than with a trip made for two? 2016 is the year to put it to the test, or perhaps re-spark that languishing LTR.

Inspired by the wintry weather, which is making its presence felt even here in the Sunshine State, we’ve got love and warmer temps on the brain.

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Wedding Bells at Watermark: Stephen Gibson and Rob Johnson

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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Rob Johnson and Stephen GibsonStephen Gibson, 45, who oversees vacation rentals and entertains as “Stephane Blair,” and Rob Johnson, 54, who is a graphic designer by trade, met online toward the end of 2007. Stephen noticed they had a lot in common,so he decided to message Rob.

“I got this message and email, and it said it was this guy from Florida,” Rob says. “And I was like ‘Oh my God, I don’t want to meet anybody from out of town.’ He and I started talking, and it got to the point where we would send messages back and forth online all the time, then we started talking on the phone and then we started talking on the phone every day.”

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Watermark looks back: When marriage equality came to Florida

By : Jamie Hyman
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Happy anniversary! One year ago Jan. 6, same-sex couples around Florida legally, joyfully were married.

Watermark staffers spent the day hopping from mass wedding to mass wedding interviewing couples, taking photos, eating cake and shedding more than a few tears.

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Watermark Wedding Bells: Brad and Zadin Lawson

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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“Zadin is genuine,” Brad says.“He sees the best in everybody; he sees the best in every situation.”

Brad Lawson, who is a nurse at South Lake Hospital in Clermont, and Zadin Lawson, who is a clinical IT at Leesburg Regional Medical Center, met online. They texted and emailed back and forth for a while, but Brad had to go out of town to take care of some family business in a place that had no cellphone reception and no access to a computer for three weeks. He was nervous at first that Zadin thought he was just flacking out on him because he really liked him.

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Oregon bakers pay up for refusing to serve a gay couple

By : Wire Report
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Portland, Ore. (AP) – Oregon bakery owners who denied service to a same-sex couple have paid $135,000 in state-ordered damages – after refusing to do so for nearly six months.

The Bureau of Labor and Industries says Aaron Klein, co-owner of the Portland-area bakery, dropped off a check Monday for $136,927.07. That includes accrued interest. Klein also paid $7,000 earlier this month.

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Bakery owners refuse to pay damages in gay wedding cake case

By : Wire Report
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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – The owners of a Portland-area bakery are refusing to pay $135,000 in state-ordered damages to a same-sex couple who were refused service.

Melissa and Aaron Klein, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, cited religious beliefs when they refused to bake a wedding cake for Laurel and Rachel Bowman-Cryer more than two years ago.

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Smithers comes out in new season of “The Simpsons”

By : Jeremy Williams
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EXCELLENT!

Waylon Smithers, the overly obsessive personal assistant to billionaire Mr. Burns on the hit FOX show The Simpsons, is coming out and it only took him 27 seasons.

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Boy Scouts deemed too gay to attend conservative summit

By : Jeremy Williams
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Family Research Council Action held the Values Voter Summit, the premier political conference for evangelical Christians, in D.C. Sept. 25- 27, and while many conservative icons and Republican presidential candidates were invited to partake in the festivities, the Boy Scouts of America were deemed too liberal to be asked back, according to Mother Jones.

The Boy Scouts, who for many years were asked to present the American flag as part of the color guard, were replaced by Trail Life USA. This “outdoor adventure and character development group” was created last year as a Christian alternative because of the Boy Scouts inclusion of gay scouts and scoutmasters. Trail Life USA is run by John Stemberger, head of the anti-gay hate group Florida Family Policy Council (part of Focus on the Family).

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Sarasota baker will not use his religion against same-sex couples

By : Jeremy Williams
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Since marriage equality started to become law, first state-by-state and then nationwide this past June, some in the conservative, Christian community have declared a war on same-sex weddings using the excuse that it infringes on their religious freedom.

Kim Davis used the excuse to not issue marriage licenses to any couples in Rowan County, Kentucky and many Christian bakers across the country refused to bake wedding cakes for same-sex couples saying that a part of them would be participating in the ceremony.

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Words to Live by: Tops and Bottoms

By : Rick Claggett
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Rick Claggett

Rick Claggett

The release of this issue of Watermark is a milestone for me. It marks the one-year anniversary since I officially became publisher of Watermark Media. The past 12 months have been an interesting ride – and, although I’ve been here more than a decade, I’ve recently learned a great deal about our staff, our readers and the big picture of LGBT news.

We were not without amazing stories this past year. It’s been a downpour of fantastic triumphs and outlandish setbacks. Here, on this special occasion, I will commemorate some moments that were tops in my book, as well as those populating the bottom of the barrel.

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Wedding Bells at Watermark: Dean Dover and Les Chittenden

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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“We were watching something on TV, and we both have recliners. He slid down off his recliner, got down on his knee and said ‘Will you marry me?’And I went, ‘If you can get back up, I will,’” Dean jokes.

With a 19 year age difference, Dean Dover, a 65-year-old retired chef and dietary manager, and Les Chittenden, a 84-year-old retired businessman, say that is something that never phases them —even their doctor says that Les is as healthy as an 18-year-old man.

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