Tampa Bay’s Overheard: Arson at the bathhouse and a conversion therapy ban at City Hall

By : Anonymous
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In the heat of the night

The Ybor Resort & Spa in Tampa has had a rough time lately. The private men’s club and bathhouse was closed down earlier this year after being sold by owner Vincent R. Pawlowski Esq.

Pawlowski wrote in an email that he sold the property due to “tremendous heat from the city” and that they could have “stayed open another four to five years,” but he had an “opportunity to sell the property for a nice profit.” Bathhouses were a popular hotspot back in the day, but today, with everybody online, they just aren’t the hangouts they once were. “Why pay money to hang out at a place when you can dial up a menu on your computer and have sex delivered via social media? In short, Tampa didn’t want the drugs and sex associated with this type of business. Tampa gets what Tampa wants,” Pawlowski wrote.

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Norfolk City Council passes anti-discrimination ordinance

By : Wire Report
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NORFOLK, Va. (AP) – The Norfolk City Council has passed measures prohibiting discrimination in city hiring or contracting based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

The Virginian Pilot reports the ordinances adding protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people were approved in two 8-0 votes Tuesday night.

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Jacksonville City Council finally approves Human Rights Ordinance

By : Billy Manes
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JACKSONVILLE – It was a Valentine’s Day to remember as the Jacksonville City Council, after years of effort, pushed through additions to the already existing Human Rights Ordinance that will now recognize sexual orientation and gender identity. Specifically, the ordinance protects minorities in housing and employment, among other necessities, and more broadly signals a change in Jacksonville’s historically conservative culture.

“Jacksonville is such a conservative area. It really is part of the deep south in the way that most cities in Florida are not,” Equality Florida field director Amber Paoloemilio says. “There really is a tangible shift and it’s really because of the community we’ve been building over the past few years.

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Jacksonville passes inclusive nondiscrimination protections

By : Wire Report
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Jacksonville City Council has voted to update the city’s civil rights laws to ban discrimination against gays and lesbians.

Tuesday’s 12 to six vote was a victory for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people. Mayor Lenny Curry said he will let it become law without his signature.

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Community banker Barclay Harless kicks off campaign for St. Petersburg City Council

By : Jeremy Williams
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ST PETERSBURG – Barclay Harless, civic leader and local community banker, kicked off his campaign Jan. 31 as he runs for District 2 of St. Petersburg City Council.

Harless gathered with supporters at Ricky P’s Creole Kitchen in St. Petersburg to lay out his plan for the city should he be elected.

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New Jersey shore town won’t settle yet with gay ex-cop

By : Wire Report
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CAPE MAY, N.J. (AP) – Officials in a New Jersey shore town won’t sign off yet on a proposed $369,000 settlement with a gay former police officer who filed a discrimination lawsuit.

The Press of Atlantic City reports Cape May City Manager Bruce MacLeod issued a statement saying city officials would review the case. But they haven’t decided if the settlement is in the taxpayers’ “best interest.”

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The gloves come off as the race for District 70 gets closer

By : Jeremy Williams
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ST. PETERSBURG – The candidates are upping their attacks as the Democratic primary for District 70 gets closer.

St. Petersburg business owner, and openly gay candidate, Dan Fiorini has called Tampa Bay area lawyer CJ Czaia out for hiring Theresa “Momma Tee” Lassiter as a campaign consultant.

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Push for LGBT-inclusive Human Rights Ordinance in Palm Bay

By : Jamie Hyman
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The march to make all LGBTs in Space Coast are covered by Human Rights Ordinances continues.

Up next? Palm Bay, where supporters in red will converge upon a City Council meeting Feb. 4 to ask council members to consider an HRO with protections for sexual orientation and gender  identity. 

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Indiana city to look at adding gay, transgender protections

By : Wire Report
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ELKHART, Ind. (AP) – A proposed ordinance change in Elkhart would add protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The proposal submitted by Mayor Dick Moore was sent to a special City Council committee May 4. Moore says he submitted the proposal in light of the state’s controversial religious objection law, and that he doesn’t want it to “hamper our economy.”

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Winston-Salem considers domestic partner benefits

By : Wire Report
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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – A Winston-Salem City Council committee is to consider whether to offer benefits to same-sex domestic partners.

Local media outlets reported the proposal is on the agenda for the Sept. 9 meeting of a council committee.

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Orlando unanimously moves forward with transgender revisions

By : Christal Hayes
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Orlando – Orlando’s City Council unanimously approved revisions to include gender identity and expression in the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance during its first reading on July 28.

The ordinance — Chapter 57 — if approved, will be amended to include protections for Orlando’s transgender community and protect against discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations.

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Pensacola moves toward domestic partner registry

By : Jamie Hyman
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Pensacola – The Pensacola City Council has taken a step toward creating a domestic partner registry. The City Council Nov. 14 voted 7-1 to approve a first reading of the ordinance, with a second and final vote set for December.

The registry provides legal protections for things like medical emergencies and financial planning for couples who cannot get married under current law. As of right now, Pensacola’s registry does not limit itself to same-sex couples, and so heterosexual couples can access its protections.

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