Watermark’s Most Eligible – Tampa Bay: Darlene Herrick

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Age: 45

Hometown: Tampa, Florida

How you identify: “Try-sexual”

What’s your sign: Libra

“I’m very passionate about my work,” Darlene Herrick says. “I love cooking. I love being a chef. I love creating.”

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Watermark’s Most Eligible – Central Florida: Brooke Renney

By : Jeremy Williams
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Age: 27

Hometown: Polk County, Florida

How you identify: Lesbian

What’s your sign: Scorpio

Brooke can be summed with two words: passion and politics.

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Watermark’s Most Eligible – Central Florida: Michael Deeying

By : Jeremy Williams
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Age: 33

Hometown: Orlando, Florida

How you identify: Gay

What’s your sign: Aquarius

Michael is a self-professed nerd; he loves golf, Pokemon Go and board games. Above all, he values one thing the most: intelligence.

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Florida man robbed at gunpoint in Grindr app setup

By : wire report
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) — Florida police say a man thought he was going on a date set through an app, but instead was attacked and robbed at gunpoint.

Police say a 21-year-old Taborice Lee Foster lured his target using Grindr, a dating app for gay men. When the victim arrived to his home in Panama City, Foster and another man attacked him, pointing a gun from behind while searching the date’s pockets and stealing his wallet.

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Palm Beach County is first in Florida to ban conversion therapy

By : Jeremy Williams
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ABOVE: (L-R) Palm Beach County Commissioner Dave Kerner, Vice Mayor Mack Bernard, Commissioner Hal Valeche, Mayor Melissa McKinlay, and Commissioners Mary Lou Berger, Paulette Burdick and Steven Abrams. Photo courtesy Palm Beach County Human Rights Council.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. | While many councils in the state have passed conversion therapy bans in their own cities, no Florida county had passed a ban until now.

The seven county commissioners voted 5-2 to prohibit conversion therapy for minors in Palm Beach County Dec. 19. Commissioners Steven Abrams and Hal Valeche were the two to vote against the ban.

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Stalled in Congress, LGBT rights advance at the local level

By : Wire Report
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At the U.S. Capitol and in most statehouses nationwide, supporters of LGBT rights are unable to make major gains these days. Instead, they’re notching victories in seemingly unlikely venues, such as Morgantown, West Virginia, and Birmingham, Alabama.

They are among scores of cities and towns in Republican-governed states that have acted on their own, passing resolutions and ordinances pledging nondiscrimination protections for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people in the absence of comparable statewide laws.

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Florida’s Competitive Workforce Act is back with bipartisan support

By : Jeremy Williams
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Three Florida legislators have again filed the Competitive Workforce Act, an update to the state’s Civil Rights Act of 1992 which would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of groups protected against discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations.

Florida law currently offers these protections based on race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, disability status, national origin, age and marital status.

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10.19.17 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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We are nearing the end of Pride season; Oct. 21 marks bi-coastal celebrations in Volusia County and Sarasota, and we close with Sanford Pride Nov. 5. As the Pride door shuts the holiday door swings open.

You can always tell when the holidays are coming, and I include Halloween as the official kickoff to the end of year holiday extravaganza. Pumpkin spice is everywhere, people are complaining that Christmas trees are already on sale and the temperature drops from a balmy 98 degrees to a cool 92. Ah yes, fall in Florida. There really is nowhere I’d rather be. I’m so basic that I love everything pumpkin, it’s never too early for tree shopping and nothing is better than warm weather. Fall is arguably the best time of the year.

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LGBTQ rights is personal for Florida gubernatorial candidates

By : Wire Report
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – The leading Democrats running for Florida governor met with gay and lesbian party members on Aug. 19 in an event that at times was touching and personal, and served as a reminder that Florida is a place where people can still be discriminated against because of who they love.

Perhaps the most chilling moment was when Orlando-area businessman Chris King described his brother as a brilliant, handsome man who would light up a room as soon as he walked in. But his brother was gay, and Florida wasn’t a tolerant place when they were growing up in the 1970s and 1980s. He struggled with depression.

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Same sex couple says Southwest discriminated against them

By : Wire Report
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NAPLES, Fla. (AP) – A Florida man says a Southwest Airlines employee refused to let him board a flight as a family with his husband, their three children and a grandparent.

Grant Morse tells USA Today he was in the family boarding area at the gate at the Buffalo, New York, airport May 20 when a gate agent told them the area is for family boarding.

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Florida legislators wrap up a contentious session leaving the LGBTQ community relatively unscathed

By : Billy Manes
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Sine Die, they call it, the antiquated drop of the hanky to end the legislative session in Florida. On May 8, the bicameral bluster in Tallahassee came to an end following the approval of an $83 billion state budget that will siphon more taxpayer dollars to charter schools, and, remarkably, pull some power away from the state’s tourism driver, Visit Orlando. Those were the big headlines.

And while LGBTQ issues made their way around committees and lobbies, Equality Florida was there to fight back on some of the social issues.

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Anti-LGBTQ Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi racked up $253 million in taxpayer costs over six years

By : Wire Report
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TALLAHASSEE – Gov. Rick Scott and other top Florida Republicans frequently complain about government spending, but they have quietly spent more than $237 million on private lawyers to advance and defend their agendas, an Associated Press investigation has found.

Florida taxpayers also have been forced to reimburse nearly $16 million for their opponents’ private attorney fees. That means an overall $253 million has been spent on legal fights in the last six years, including a water war with Georgia and losing battles to test welfare recipients for drugs, trim the state’s voter registration lists and ban companies that do business with Cuba from bidding on government contracts.

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