Kevin Beckner launches campaign against Pat Frank to become Hillsborough’s Clerk of Court

By : Greg Stemm
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Tampa – Two-term Hillsborough County commissioner Kevin Beckner has announced that he will be running for Hillsborough County Clerk of Court. Beckner was elected to the county commission in 2008 as the first openly gay elected official in Hillsborough County. He easily won re-election in 2012 and has reached his term limit.

His filing challenges current clerk of court and fellow Democrat Pat Frank, who said she will seek re-election in 2016.

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Kansas Supreme Court allows more same-sex marriages

By : Wire Report
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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court cleared the way Nov. 18 for additional same-sex marriages in the state’s most populous county while declaring that it would defer to the federal courts on whether Kansas’ ban on same-sex marriages is constitutional.

The Kansas court also declined to say whether all of the state’s 105 counties fall under a U.S. Supreme Court order last week blocking the state from enforcing laws and a provision in its constitution against gay marriage. The nation’s highest court acted in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union over the denial of marriage licenses to lesbian couples in two counties.

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Same-sex marriage legal challenges: Where things stand across the country

By : Wire Report
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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – State same-sex marriage bans have been falling around the country since June 2013, when the nation’s highest court ordered the federal government to recognize state-sanctioned gay marriages. The remaining state bans all face legal challenges to overturn them.

Gay and lesbian couples can now marry in 19 states and the District of Columbia, with Oregon and Pennsylvania being the latest to join the list. The others are: Massachusetts, California, Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Maine, Maryland, Washington, Delaware, Hawaii, Minnesota, New Jersey, Rhode Island, New Mexico and Illinois.

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Judge rules Florida marriage ban unconstitutional

By : Staff Report
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UPDATE! Florida attorney general Pam Bondi has appealed the Judge Luis Garcia’s decision to overturn the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

“With many similar cases pending throughout the entire country, finality on this constitutional issue must come from the U.S. Supreme Court,” reads a statement Bondi’s office released quickly after the ruling. 

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Hillborough County Commissioners approve HRO amendment

By : Aaron Alper
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Tampa Hillsborough County Commissioners unanimously voted to move forward with an authorization for an amendment that would prohibit discrimination within the county on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The 7-0 vote is a stark change to previous LGBT initiatives, which have typically failed or split the board.

Prior to the July 16 vote, the floor was open to comments and 23 citizens spoke. Fourteen of those speakers supported the amendment to the HRO and nine spoke against it.

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