Wedding Bells at Watermark: Melissa Crispo and Candace Salemi

By : Samantha Rosenthal
Comments: 0

Melissa Crispo and Candace Salemi“My favorite thing about Candace is she has a beautiful heart,” Melissa says. “She has so much love in her, and not just for me but for everybody—and it just shines.”

Candace Salemi, who is a senior higher education specialist, and Melissa Crispo, who is a musician/songwriter and paramedic, hung out in the same circle of friends for 15 years. Candace came to see Melissa perform regularly, but they only ever considered themselves acquaintances.

Continue Reading >>

Boy Scout performs gay community service for Eagle Scout project

By : Wire Report
Comments: 1

Chicago (AP) – David Fite had already earned the 21 Boy Scout merit badges needed to earn the coveted rank of Eagle. But he still had to complete a community service project.

Now 16, he’d always been a gung-ho scout, dutiful, polite and committed. But he’d also been disappointed with the organization’s longstanding ban on openly gay scouts and leaders, so much so that he’d considered quitting. “I knew it wasn’t right,” said Fite, who has many family friends who are gay or lesbian – some of them honorary “aunts” and “uncles” who’ve given him money for camp and other scouting projects over the years.

Continue Reading >>

Wedding Bells at Watermark: Stephen Gibson and Rob Johnson

By : Samantha Rosenthal
Comments: 0

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.”

Continue Reading >>

Republican lawmakers want exemptions for same-sex marriage opponents

By : Wire Report
Comments: 0

ATLANTA (AP) – Months after the Supreme Court effectively legalized same-sex marriage, lawmakers across the U.S. are pushing bills that would give businesses and some public employees the right to refuse serving gay couples because of their religious beliefs.

The American Civil Liberties Union opposes such bills and says variations have been proposed in 22 states – mostly by Republicans, though they aren’t universally backed in the GOP. Top employers, including Delta Air Lines, Home Depot, Porsche and UPS in Georgia, warn the proposals are unwelcoming and bad for business.

Continue Reading >>

City of Orlando Oath of Office Ceremony

By : Jamie Hyman
Comments: 0

Share this story:

Patty Sheehan, Orlando’s first openly gay city commissioner, was sworn into her fifth term of office Jan. 11 at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.

At the Oath of Office ceremony, in addition to Sheehan, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer was sworn into his fourth full term, District 2 Commissioner Tony Ortiz was sworn into his third term, and District 6 Commissioner Samuel B. Ings was sworn into his third full term on the City Council.

Continue Reading >>

Pope Francis addresses gay issues in his first book

By : Wire Report
Comments: 0

Vatican City (AP) – Pope Francis lays out his case for emphasizing the merciful face of the Catholic Church in his first book as pontiff, saying God never tires of forgiving and actually prefers the sinners who repent over self-righteous moralizers who don’t.

“The Name of God Is Mercy,” a 100-page conversation with Italian journalist Andrea Tornielli, is being published this week in 86 countries to help kick-start Francis’ Holy Year of Mercy. A copy was provided in advance to The Associated Press.

Continue Reading >>

HRC predicts anti-LGBT bills for Florida in 2016

By : Jamie Hyman
Comments: 1

Tallahassee – The Human Rights Campaign predicts anti-LGBT legislation will be introduced in Florida during the 2016 state legislative session, which begins on Jan. 12. It’s part of the HRC’s preview 2016, a report released Jan. 8 on both pro-equality and anti-LGBT legislation at the state and local levels.

It’s a safe call for Florida, as two anti-gay bills have already been introduced. The Pastor Protection bill, filed by Rep. Scott Plakon, R-Longwood, in August, purports to protect religious leaders from being forced to conduct same-sex weddings. The bill is unnecessary because religious leaders are already free from being forced to perform any sort of wedding ceremony at all that doesn’t align with their faith or personal convictions. HB 43 moved through the Civil Justice subcommittee and is now at the Judiciary Committee. A companion bill filed in the Florida Senate has not advanced.

Continue Reading >>

Watermark Wedding Bells: Brad and Zadin Lawson

By : Samantha Rosenthal
Comments: 0

“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.

Continue Reading >>

Associated Press poll: Gay marriage top Florida story of 2015

By : Wire Report
Comments: 0

Miami (AP) – Florida’s biggest news story for 2015 happened in the year’s first days, when the state became the 36th with legalized gay marriage, according to an Associated Press poll of the state’s newspaper and broadcast editors.

Gay marriage easily beat out the No. 2 story, the long-running saga over the districts the Florida Legislature drew for Congress and the state Senate that had to be redrawn because they violated the state’s 2010 anti-gerrymandering law.

Continue Reading >>

VIDEO! City of Orlando highlights marriage equality in 2015 retrospective

By : Jamie Hyman
Comments: 0

Marriage equality is front and center of the City of Orlando’s 2015 accomplishments retrospective video.

It kicks off with “Vowed and Proud,” the mass wedding ceremony held at City Hall in January. Check out the video after the jump: 

Continue Reading >>

Nathan Lane and Devlin Elliot tied the knot

By : Jeremy Williams
Comments: 0

Share this story:

“Whatever I am, he made me,” and someone has made Nathan Lane a married man!

The 59-year-old film and Broadway star wed his partner, producer and playwright Devlin Elliott, at New York City Hall Nov. 17, according to PEOPLE.

Continue Reading >>

Clerical error led to Costa Rica’s first legal same-sex marriage

By : Wire Report
Comments: 0

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (AP) — When Jazmin Elizondo Arias was born in 1991, someone goofed and noted on her birth certificate that she was male.

As the years passed and Elizondo grew up, the mix-up never caused any problems. So she never bothered to try to correct the record officially, something that others in her situation found could turn into a slog through Costa Rica’s bureaucracy with no guarantee of success.

Continue Reading >>