Judge retires after handling notorious juvenile cases

By : wire report
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MIAMI (AP)| For the past three years, Judge Cindy Lederman has walked by a half-dozen statues of playful bear cubs every day on her way up to her high-ceilinged, top-floor office looking out toward Miami’s waterfront. On a shelf behind her desk, below rows of glass awards and family photos, sit two teddy bears. In six months, she’ll take them with her and walk past the statues for the last time.

The stuffed bears are from a program the retiring judge helped start 20 years ago to give every child who came to juvenile court a teddy bear. The building, Miami-Dade County’s three-year-old children’s courthouse, and its bear statutes _ meant to be played with by those same unlucky children who find themselves needing court hearings _ were a project she began working on with colleagues more than a decade ago to replace Miami-Dade’s previous and notoriously horrible children’s courthouse.

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Italy joins the rest of Europe in giving legal rights to same-sex couples

By : Wire Report
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ROME (AP) – Italy has joined the rest of Europe in giving some legal rights to gay couples.

The lower Chamber of Deputies voted 369-193 with two abstentions May 11 to approve legislation already passed in February by the Senate.

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Words to Live by: Tops and Bottoms

By : Rick Claggett
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Rick Claggett

Rick Claggett

The release of this issue of Watermark is a milestone for me. It marks the one-year anniversary since I officially became publisher of Watermark Media. The past 12 months have been an interesting ride – and, although I’ve been here more than a decade, I’ve recently learned a great deal about our staff, our readers and the big picture of LGBT news.

We were not without amazing stories this past year. It’s been a downpour of fantastic triumphs and outlandish setbacks. Here, on this special occasion, I will commemorate some moments that were tops in my book, as well as those populating the bottom of the barrel.

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New York senator proposes bill to prevent discrimination against LGBT adoptions

By : Wire Report
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NEW YORK (AP) – U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is announcing legislation to remove legal barriers to adoption by lesbian, gay and transgender parents.

Gillibrand, a New York Democrat, said May 17 she will introduce legislation this week that would prohibit discrimination against LGBT adoptive parents.

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Florida House leaves Bathroom Bill flushed and the Conscience Protection Bill unadopted

By : Jeremy Williams
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May 1 was to be the day to get things done at the Florida Capitol, during the final session for state representatives and senators. Instead, the halls were silent as the House adjourned three days early due to a budget impasse with the Senate over Medicaid expansion.

House Speaker Steve Crisafulli (R-Merritt Island) thanked the state representatives for their “patience as we work through a really incredibly unusual session” before declaring adjournment sine die on April 28.

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El Salvador lawmakers look to ban same-sex marriage, gay adoption

By : Wire Report
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SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) – A bill that would ban same-sex marriage in El Salvador has won preliminary approval from the legislature.

A package of constitutional reforms approved April 16 also would bar same-sex couples from adopting children.

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ACLU urges Arizona official to drop policy on same-sex adoptions

By : Wire Report
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Phoenix (AP) – A civil rights group says Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery’s refusal to help married same-sex couples with adoptions must be rescinded or they will sue.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona sent Montgomery a letter on April 13. The letter says his policy of helping straight couples adopt but refusing to provide gay and lesbian couples the same services violates the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause.

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Stories of love, life, death in high court gay marriage case

By : Wire Report
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Washington (AP) – A middle-of-the night trip to the emergency room, with her 9-month-old son coughing and laboring to breathe, gave Pam Yorksmith her latest reminder of why she took up the fight for same-sex marriage.

Before baby Orion could be treated for croup, the hospital had to call his birth mother – Yorksmith’s wife, Nicole – “to get permission to treat my child,” Yorksmith said.

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Florida Rep. changes course on adoption vote

By : Jamie Hyman
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Ocala – One meeting with notorious anti-gay activist John Stemberger and state representative Dennis Baxley (R-Ocala) no longer supports a bill that would strike Florida’s gay adoption ban language from the books.

The gay adoption ban amendment is just a small part of HB 7013, a larger adoption bill that provides adoption benefits to state employees and incentive payments to community-based care groups.

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State bans on marriage equality and gay adoption harmful to gay men’s mental health

By : IrvingCQWD
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Ann Arbor – Statewide bans on marriage equality and gay adoption are especially hard on young gay men who want to be fathers, according to a study by the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

The study asked 1,487 young men in all 50 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico about their aspirations to be fathers in the future and evaluated whether these bans have any emotional impact to their psychological well-being.

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