Orlando couple gets same-sex, stepparent adoption rights

By : Gina Avile
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Orlando – An Orlando mom was granted one of the first same-sex, stepparent adoption rights in Central Florida to her wife’s biological children at the Orange County Courthouse June 16.

Newlyweds Jennifer Schneider and Sarah Ratzlaff have been together as a family for eight years and have two children, 3-year-old daughter Avery and 15-month-old son Jackson. While Ratzlaff is their biological mom, Schneider has been a parent to the kids since day one.

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Central Florida LGBT Wedding Expo has big turn out

By : Jeremy Williams
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John Michael Events, Watermark Media and the DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando Downtown put on the largest LGBT Wedding Show in Central Florida June 14.

The event played host to more than 100 people who had the chance to meet with 30+ vendors including; caterers, photographers, videographers, florists, DJ’s, cake bakers, ministers and much more.

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Issue: 22.12: The Queen of Mean is Back!

By : Jake Stevens
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The Queen of Mean is Back: Comdian Lisa Lampanelli returns to shred Orlando’s biggest gay weekend, Wes Coast Players take on the gay marriage plays, Una Voce gives back with ‘I Am Harvey Milk,’ Carlos Guillermo Smith enters race for Florida house, local news, celebrity interviews, and much, much more!

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GAY DAY: YOUR DAY – DISNEY VIEWPOINTS

By : Kirk Hartlage
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More than any other large-scale Pride-type event, Gay Days Weekend attracts every shade of the LGBT rainbow. It also brings an equally vast range of scenic views, not just from taking part in the numerous events associated with the weekend, but also from behind-the-scenes if you’re making it all happen. We asked a variety of folks, with a variety of backgrounds with the Weekend, to share their favorite mental snapshots. We also asked: What does Gay Days Weekend mean to you, why has it lasted so long, and what impact do you think it’s had in all that time?

While you’re here we’d like to hear from you – tell us how Gay Day is Your Day!

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GAY DAY: YOUR DAY – WATERMARK VIEWS

By : Kirk Hartlage
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More than any other large-scale Pride-type event, Gay Days Weekend attracts every shade of the LGBT rainbow. It also brings an equally vast range of scenic views, not just from taking part in the numerous events associated with the weekend, but also from behind-the-scenes if you’re making it all happen. We asked a variety of folks, with a variety of backgrounds with the Weekend, to share their favorite mental snapshots. We also asked: What does Gay Days Weekend mean to you, why has it lasted so long, and what impact do you think it’s had in all that time?

While you’re here we’d like to hear from you – tell us how Gay Day is Your Day!

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Editor’s Desk 6.4.15

By : Rick Claggett
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Rick Claggett

Rick Claggett

A month ago I wrote a Viewpoint column on the vast changes that were happening around our community and within the walls at Watermark. In that issue, we delivered the news that our longtime editor-in-chief, Steve Blanchard, had accepted a new position and would be leaving us.

Although we love and miss Steve, his chapter closing here has opened the door for one of the most exciting advances in Watermark’s history. If you don’t know what announcement I am about to make, then you must not have hit “like” on Watermark’s Facebook page. The announcement that Billy Manes will be Watermark’s new editor-in-chief was made late May 27 and quickly became the talk of the town.

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Eye in the sky: I-Drive 360 is opened and ready for Gay Days

By : Kirk Hartlage
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This Gay Days Weekend the biggest, newest attraction isn’t in any of the theme parks. The Orlando Eye, a 400-foot tall observation wheel, opened just last month as the centerpiece of I-Drive 360, a new dining and entertainment destination on International Drive.

Standing 100 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty, The Orlando Eye is the tallest observation wheel on the U.S. East Coast. Visitors start their journey with a 5 minute pre-flight film experience featuring a 3D movie of iconic Central Florida landmarks accompanied by spectacular in-theater effects including fireworks, wind, scents and lighting.

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Orlando’s ultimate rides (and they’re not in the theme parks!)

By : Kirk Hartlage
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Welcome to the debut of a brand-new column that we anticipate running annually for at least the next six years! It’s the launch of important information you’ll need to know about driving around Orlando during Gay Days Weekend while navigating Central Florida’s I-4 Ultimate Project: perhaps the most heart-pounding and adrenaline-pumping ride in town!

For the unfamiliar, I-4 Ultimate is a 21-mile reconstruction and widening of Central Florida’s main transportation artery which will add four new express lanes – complete with tolls – in the center of the highway. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) project covers the area of I-4 from west of Kirkman Road to east of SR 434. Of the 142 bridges along the corridor, 13 will be widened, 74 will be replaced, 53 will be new and 4 will be temporary. In addition, 15 major interchanges will undergo complete reconstruction.

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The Orlando Gay Chorus celebrates 25 years with “One Voice” concert at the Plaza Live

By : Jeremy Williams
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Orlando – The Orlando Gay Chorus is celebrating their 25th anniversary with a concert at The Plaza Live June 13-14.

The concert, entitled “One Voice,” will be the first under the OGC’s new artistic director, James Rode.

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Lean, Mean, Queen and no, she’s not in drag— she’s Lisa Lampanelli

By : Kirk Hartlage
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Let’s face it—we’re Lisa Lampanelli’s bitch. We’ve interviewed her just about as many times we’ve run stories on gay-hate-spewing conservative politicians getting caught having some clandestine man-on-man lovin’ in an inappropriate place, and at least as many times as the phrase “anal leakage” appears in small type in one of those pill-of-the-week ads printed in these very pages.

Shocking, yes. But that’s just how Lampanelli likes it.

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Mr. Smith goes to Tallahassee?: Carlos Smith announces candidacy for District 49 House seat

By : Jeremy Williams
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Orlando – Equality Florida’s Carlos Guillermo Smith has announced he will run for Florida House Representative of District 49 in the upcoming election year.

The current chair for the Orange County Democrats decided to run after former State Representative Joe Saunders made the decision to not seek the seat for the Florida House in 2016.

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Preaching to the converted: Say Goodnight and Go

By : Jeremy Williams
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KenKundisHeadshot_808353452Last week, I had the occasion of being in Orlando for a big technology conference. The timing was fortuitous. I am also in the process of putting my Audubon Park house on the market. This gave me the excuse to combine business with…well, personal business. I went by the old girl on Virginia Drive to clean out what I had left and turn it into the hands of my very capable broker.

I bought the house in 2003 and expanded shortly after. If I had sold the resulting three bedroom, two bath house when I moved to NYC in 2007, I would have made an almost 100% return on my investment. Nineteen months later, I was upside down on my mortgage.

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