4.6.17 Editor’s Desk

By : Billy Manes
Comments: 0

As some of you might recall, I’ve been through a public battle with gun violence, suicide and gay marriage for the past few years. As some of you also know, I am married now to my best friend, Tony (two years and counting). The only reason I bring this up is that I couldn’t have survived the suicide of Alan Jordan, my partner of 11 years, without the assistance of Equality Florida and Orlando attorney Mary Meeks.

This issue, we celebrate 20 years of Equality Florida’s work throughout the state. This is an organization that came from virtually nothing and grew into the leading force for municipal and statewide rulings on LGBTQ rights at a time that most thought Florida was going to drip into the backwoods of the South. Equality Florida published a letter that I wrote to Florida state senators in 2013, one year after Alan took his life in front of me, with a gun, in our backyard. So, for the sake of posterity, as April 8 was the day he left me, I present you with a shortened version of that letter, and I wish you well as we persevere through these difficult times.

Continue Reading >>

Pride Fund and politicians gather to rail against gun violence

By : Billy Manes
Comments: 0

Orlando – On October 12, the Pride Fund to End Gun Violence brought together some of its biggest supporters and endorsees for a downtown Orlando press conference. The subject at hand, of course, was the threat of firearms in the wrong hands, an issue that was only made more notable by the fact that the event was held four months to the day that 49 people were killed and 53 injured at Pulse Orlando on June 12.

Pride Fund, which is an LGBT political action committee focusing predominantly on state and federal candidates, as most gun laws are not written by municipalities, picked senatorial hopeful U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, congressional candidate and former Orlando Police Chief Val Demings and Senator Chris Murphy, D-Conn., to carry its message.

Continue Reading >>

Pride Fund to End Gun Violence to launch Orlando campaign

By : Billy Manes
Comments: 0

As previously mentioned in Watermark, Washington, D.C., political action committee Pride Fund to End Gun Violence jumped into existence and immediate action following the June 12 Pulse shooting. The group, which claims, “It’s time to loosen the stranglehold that the gun lobby has on Congress and create the change we need to keep our communities safer,” is one of many philanthropic arms to this post-traumatic stress wake-up call. But it’s also one that could prove the most important on the political scale.

The Pride Fund is going straight to the root of the cause in a manner many organizations haven’t dared to do as of this date. “Pride Fund to End Gun Violence is America’s only LGBTQ organization dedicated to reforming our gun laws,” its press release reads. “Our Orlando community is central to our vision of electing pro-LGBTQ candidates who will act on sensible gun reforms to help prevent acts of senseless gun violence.”

Continue Reading >>

In the wake of the Pulse massacre, the LGBT community inadvertently intersects with the gun-rights battle

By : Billy Manes
Comments: 0

“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine, let it shine for the 49,” was just one of the transcendent protest hymns echoing through the lobby outside the Orlando office of U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., on July 11.

While organizers representing the full panoply of Central Florida staged their “#sitinforthe49” – a clear reference to the 49 people gunned down by a semi-automatic rifle in the early hours of June 12 – echoes of unrest from the fringes were everywhere. Members of Black Lives Matter, Planned Parenthood, Equality Florida and Organize Now, among others, assembled peacefully, even mournfully, for a morning of conscientious objection.

Continue Reading >>

Mother of Pulse victim to speak at Democratic National Convention

By : Nicole Dudenhoefer
Comments: 0

nadine1Christine Leinonen, a mother who lost her son in the Pulse nightclub shooting, will speak at the Democratic National Convention July 27.

Although she is not listed on the official DNC schedule, Leinonen is expected to take the stage at the Pennsylvania Convention Center at 8:00 p.m., according to an Equality Florida Facebook post. Pulse survivors Jose Arriagada and Brandon Wolf will also join her.

Continue Reading >>

Live coverage of the Republican National Convention DAY TWO

By : Washington Blade reporters
Comments: 0

Share this story:

Watermark Publishing Group is a member of the National Gay Media Association, a group of the leading LGBT newspaper publishers in the United States.

The Washington Blade, a member of the NGMA and D.C.’s LGBT newspaper, is providing coverage of the Republican and Democratic National Conventions for Watermark and our readers.

Photos by the Washington Blade’s Michael Key.

Continue Reading >>

Activists step in and sit down to convince Sen. Marco Rubio of the importance of gun control in Orlando

By : Billy Manes
Comments: 0

We were there, and we did cry. This morning around 10 a.m., numerous organizers from a coalition of organizations occupied 201 S. Orange Avenue for a classic sit-in against Sen. Marco Rubio (his office is there), gun violence and  hatred across the spectrum.

“This Little Light of Mine” was altered to include “the 49,” referencing those who were shot down at Pulse in Orlando on June 12. Rubio’s office took notice, sending a chief staffer to try to mitigate the mud on his face, but so far as we could tell, nobody was about to move. We’ll certainly be covering this at more length in the future, but today was a cathartic display of peace with pizza delivery. Here’s the press release. Beneath are the pictures we were able to capture.

Continue Reading >>