Central Florida Fair celebrates LGBT families

By : Dylan Drobet
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Orlando – The Central Florida Fair has become a tradition in Orlando for many families, but this year the event will make new efforts to welcome the LGBT community with a brand new LGBT family night March 3.

The Central Florida Fair has been working on ways to introduce the fair to more people in the community, according to Sponsorship Coordinator Frances Salas.

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Watermark’s Complete Coverage: Marriage equality comes to Florida

By : Jamie Hyman
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No doubt about it – January 6, 2015 was an historic day. Same-sex couples all across the state lined up for licenses and celebrated ceremonies.

Here are links to all of Watemark’s coverage of the day that love won in Florida.

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Fifty couples tie the knot at The GLBT Center

By : Jamie Hyman
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Fifty couples – 35 newlyweds and 15 reaffirming their vows from previous commitment ceremonies – were married outside The GLBT Center of Central Florida Jan. 6.

After the couples walked down the aisle to “At Last,” Judge Robert LeBlanc presided over the ceremony which included a performance by the Orlando Gay Chorus, a quiet moment for couples to privately say their vows to each other and blessings by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and Terry DeCarlo, the executive director of The Center, who also happens to be an ordained minister.

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Vowed and Proud: Orlando City Hall Weddings Jan. 6, 2015

By : Jamie Hyman
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More than 50 couples chorused “I do!” on the Orlando City Hall front steps Jan. 6, the first day same-sex couples could be legally married in Central Florida.

At 9 a.m., pairs of radiant couples marched out of the City Hall front doors, most of them hand in hand, many cheering, celebrating and proudly waving their newly-minted marriage licenses.

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West/Central Florida marriage equality by the numbers

By : Jamie Hyman
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Here is a breakdown of number off marriage licenses issued Jan. 6, 2015, the first day same-sex marriage was legally available in Florida.

When available, we included number of couples married on-site, whether at the clerk’s office or courthouse.

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Watermark’s New Year’s Eve 2014 events roundup!

By : Staff Report
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What are you doing to ring in 2015? Watermark has you covered with a round-up of LGBT and LGBT-friendly options in both the Central Florida and Tampa Bay areas.

Feel free to leave a comment if you know about a great party we missed!

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With funding finalized, The Center’s renovation moves ahead

By : Jamie Hyman
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Orlando – The GLBT Center of Central Florida is looking for a few good men (and women).

On Dec. 8, The Orlando City Commission gave final approval to a $146,500 to renovate The Center’s headquarters on Mills Avenue, paving the way for the bidding process to begin. Terry DeCarlo, executive director of The Center, said it is hiring roofers first because that has to be fixed before the board can move ahead with other renovations. DeCarlo said the architect plans are also almost complete.

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MBA still searching for answers

By : Jamie Hyman
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Orlando – The Metropolitan Business Association is in talks with police about pursuing charges against Mikael Audebert, its former president, but the organization has not yet made the move.

Audebert resigned from the MBA in October and was fired from his post as executive director of Come Out With Pride in November. Since then, the MBA Board and its subsidiary organizations have revealed a financial mess, blaming Audebert, and told Watermark Dec. 2 they planned to go to the authorities with their findings of alleged financial fraud.

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The 14 Most Remarkable People of 2014

By : Jamie Hyman
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Every year, Watermark chooses a couple of stand-outs from the LGBT community – individuals who made a mark in the past year, whether through activism, generosity or beating the odds.

For 2014, we decided to open it up. We took nominations from readers and then selected the 14 Most Remarkable People of 2014 – seven from the Central Florida area, and seven from Tampa Bay. See our selections and read their exceptional stories:

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In 2014, Mary Meeks’ remarkable activism has directly impacted LGBT equality in Florida

By : Jamie Hyman
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Orlando – If you have exercised any of your existing rights to equality as an LGBT in Central Florida, chances are Mary Meeks had a hand in it.

Meeks, an Orlando attorney and LGBT activist, has been involved in the fight for equality since the early 2000s, when Orlando passed Chapter 57, the city’s human rights ordinance. Since then, Meeks has been a key player in the fight for an Anti-Discrimination Ordinance, Orlando and Orange County’s domestic partner registries, and is a member of the legal team working to legalize same-sex marriage in the state of Florida.

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By setting up a scholarship, Karen Castelloes reached out directly to LGBT Youth in 2014

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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Orlando – If Karen Castelloes could describe her year in one word, she said it be “rewarding.”

Castelloes, an exiting board member of Joy MCC and the co-founder of the Jeff Voss Education Fund, has been an active member in the LGBT community, volunteering her time and effort to a variety of organizations and people to help give back.

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