Edith Windsor, lesbian activist who took down DOMA, dead at 88

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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Edith Windsor, a lesbian activist who was a pioneer for LGBT rights and brought down the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act, died Tuesday at age 88.

Judith Kasen-Windsor issued a statement Tuesday confirming Windsor’s death but didn’t disclose a cause. The two were married in 2016.

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Watermark readers respond: HRC endorses Hillary Clinton

By : Jamie Hyman
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You guys had a lot to say about the Human Rights Campaign’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton for U.S. President.

Read a round-up of Watermark reader comments after the jump: 

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IRS says it will recognize all same-sex marriages after Supreme Court ruling

By : Wire Report
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The IRS is making it official: The tax agency says it will now recognize same-sex marriages regardless of where they were performed.

The IRS and the Treasury Department also said they will interpret the terms “husband” and “wife” to apply to same-sex spouses as well as opposite-sex spouses.

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Words to live by: History

By : Rick Claggett
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Rick Claggett

Rick Claggett

October is a full month of celebration and awareness. It’s LGBT History Month, Headdress Ball, Come Out With Pride, Tampa Bay Internal Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, National Coming Out Day, Sarasota Pride and Volusia County Pride to name a few.

Amid the parties and fundraisers it is easy to lose sight of another yearly happening, the anniversary of the death of Matthew Shepard.

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As a Valentine’s Day gift to Watermark, long-term couples share their stories and secrets to success

By : Krista DiTucci, Zach Caruso and Steve Blanchard
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Finding love isn’t easy. Websites, phone apps and bars provide plenty of opportunities to find “the one.” But sometimes there seems to be too many fish in the sea. And too often, the ones we do catch we end up throwing back.

But that’s not always the case. Long-term couples exist in the LGBT world and now, with 70% of America’s population living in marriage equality states, couples are able to seal their love with the government’s blessing.

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Melissa Manchester talks about her incredible career and the influence LGBTS have had on it

By : Stephen J. Miller
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It’s hard to pin Melissa Manchester’s style down—that’s what becomes immediately apparent in her newest album, You Gotta Love the Life. The Grammy-winning, Oscar-nominated singer-songwriter isn’t scared of shaking it up. With over four decades in the business, Manchester has embraced the new and crowd-funded her latest work, loaded with many musical styles.

“It’s about show business. The challenge is the key component of an artistic world. You’ve got to be okay with this version of normal—the unsteady, insane and unsure path. I am, and I’ve always been,” says Manchester, who’ll turn 64 on Feb. 15.

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Issue 22.02: Legally Wed

By : Jake Stevens
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Legally Wed: Marriage equality finally came to Florida Jan. 6, and couples across the state took advantage of the historic day, Comedy meets pathos in freeFall’s Buffalo Kings, Name change snag greets Orlando’s newlyweds, Orlando, St. Pete mayors officiate gay weddings, local news, celebrity interviews, and much, much more!

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Sen. Bill Nelson backs Respect for Marriage Act

By : Staff Report
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U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) is sponsoring a bill designed to reverse some of the damage done by the Defense of Marriage Act.

DOMA, approved in 1996, kept same-sex married couples from being recognized under federal law, for federal marriage benefits. It was ruled unconstitutional in 2013, but part of DOMA still stands – the part that allows states to refuse to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples.

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Top 5 Tampa Bay and Sarasota Stories of 2014

By : Staff Report
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LGBT Welcome Center opens its doors
It has taken a full year, but Metro Wellness and Community Center opened its St. Petersburg LGBT Welcome Center at 2227 Central Ave. in 2014. With the official ribbon cutting Dec. 12, the year-long project was open and ready to welcome the LGBT community, special events and, probably most importantly, LGBT youth.

Hillsborough evolves on LGBT issues
This was a year of growth for Hillsborough County. The notoriously conservative county commission approved both a domestic partnership registry and an amendment to its human rights ordinance to protect gay and transgender residents. Gays and lesbians were protected from discrimination once before—in 1991—but a previous commission striped those protections in 1995. Even more shocking, yet extremely welcome, is both measures had the full support of the entire commission.

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Louisiana asks Supreme Court to hear same-sex marriage case

By : Wire Report
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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The state of Louisiana agrees with gay rights activists about one thing: asking the U.S. Supreme Court to take the rare step of hearing an appeal of Louisiana’s ban on same-sex marriages before a federal appeals court rules.

The request filed this week by Washington attorney Kyle Duncan asks the justices to hear appeals of Louisiana’s case and the only other federal court decision to uphold gay marriage bans. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati upheld bans in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee.

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11.6.14 Editor’s Desk

By : Steve Blanchard
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SteveBlanchardHeadshot_137x185Sitting in the Watermark newsroom on election night was exciting, sickening, disheartening and enlightening.

Once the polls closed at 7 p.m., it was an all-hands-on-deck situation with members of our editorial team monitoring different races in the different counties Watermark covers. We were streaming live television on the newsroom’s flat screen while refreshing the websites for an array of supervisors of elections offices.

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DOMA hero Edie Windsor sends message to Florida governor Rick Scott

By : Jamie Hyman
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Edie Windsor, whose lawsuit led to the fall of the Defense of Marriage Act, is sending a message to Florida Governor Rick Scott: let same-sex Florida couples marry.

Check out the video and the transcript after the jump: 

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