New bill proposed in House to ban all non-U.S. flags at embassies, including pride flag

By : Colton Adkins
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A new bill proposed by Republican Rep. Jeff Duncan from South Carolina looks to ban all U.S. embassies from flying flags other than the American flag – including the rainbow flag.

The bill comes after the U.S. embassy in Belize flew a rainbow flag to celebrate LGBT Pride this year. The U.S. embassy in Jamaica also flew the rainbow flag in 2016 in support the LGBTQ community in Orlando after the Pulse shooting.

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Rhode Island House votes to ban ‘gay or trans panic’ defense

By : Wire Report
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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – The Rhode Island House of Representatives has voted to prohibit the “gay or trans panic” defense, a controversial legal strategy that seeks to use a victim’s sexual orientation or identity as justification for a violent crime.

The House voted to ban the legal defense May 23. It will now go to the Senate.

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Bermuda Senate approves marriage repeal bill

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The Bermuda Senate on Wednesday approved a bill that would rescind marriage rights for same-sex couples in the British island territory.

The 8-3 vote took place less than a week after the Bermuda House of Representatives approved the measure, which would allow same-sex couples to enter into domestic partnerships as opposed to get married. The bill will become law unless Gov. John Rankin refuses to sign it.

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Bermuda House approves same-sex marriage repeal bill

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Members of the Bermuda House of Representatives have approved a bill that would rescind marriage rights for same-sex couples in the British territory. Photo by Mike Oropeza; via Wikimedia Commons

Members of the Bermuda House of Representatives have approved a bill that would repeal marriage rights for same-sex couples in the British island territory.

The Royal Gazette newspaper reported lawmakers approved the Domestic Partnership Act — which would allow same-sex couples to enter into domestic partnerships as opposed to get married — by a 24-10 vote margin. Lawmakers debated the measure for five hours on Friday before they voted on it.

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Australia House of Representatives approves same-sex marriage bill

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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The Australian House of Representatives on Thursday nearly unanimously approved a bill that would extend marriage rights for same-sex couples.

The vote took place less than a week after the bill passed in the Australian Senate by a 43-12 vote margin.

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Lawmaker proposes during Australian same-sex marriage debate

By : wire report
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CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — An Australian lawmaker giving a speech on same-sex marriage proposed to his gay partner Monday during Parliament’s debate on a bill that is expected to soon legalize marriage equality across the country.

Tim Wilson, a 37-year-old lawmaker in the conservative coalition government, was among the first lawmakers to join the House of Representatives debate and toward the end of his speech popped the question to his partner of seven years Ryan Bolger, who was watching from the public gallery.

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Australia Senate approves same-sex marriage bill

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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The Australian Senate has approved a bill that would extend marriage rights to same-sex couples.

Lawmakers approved the measure by a 43-12 vote margin. The Australian House of Representatives will now consider the bill.

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Emboldened by Trump victory, new Florida legislature aims rightward

By : Billy Manes
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Though early reports of Florida’s arriving House of Representatives and Senate seem to indicate a kinder, gentler edge to proceedings – including more transparency, less nepotism, fewer spouses on airplanes during official business – at least one Democratic legislator isn’t really convinced. Carlos Guillermo Smith, who was officially elected to represent east Orlando this fall, making him the first Latino LGBTQ house representative to take that office, isn’t convinced.

“I think the Florida legislature is preparing to take a hard right turn,” he says. “They have been unapologetic already.”

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Watermark endorses Jennifer Webb for District 69 in the Florida House of Representatives

By : Billy Manes
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As director of community partnerships at the University of South Florida, Jennifer Webb knows her way around the cacophony of dissent. She cuts a friendly character when we meet up in St. Petersburg, but she’s got the wonk-like traits that make a candidate a real politician, a life in academia notwithstanding.

“I went back to get an advanced degree, specifically because I wanted to have one foot in academia and one in the real world,” she says. “We need more really thoughtful people engaged in our process, whether that means coming up with common sense solutions through community work or through developing policies, that’s where I think certain people do the impact. That’s why I went back to an advanced degree for anthropology. And the anthropology that I do is anthropology in public policy, which is how certain policies can impact local communities and local businesses.”

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Watermark endorses Beth Tuura for District 47 in the Florida House of Representatives

By : Billy Manes
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Going head-to-head with state house candidate just prior to a photo shoot with Beth Tuura at Langford Park, just south of downtown, could seem more intimidating than it actually is. After all, her background is in sports broadcasting, a career that has seen her covering eight Olympics, the Kentucky Derby and the Super Bowl.

As a broadcasting veteran, Tuura has seen her share of fouls and bad behavior, but given the recent controversies involving the Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and his flaring penchant for insulting women and their physical privacy, her very presence as the Democrat in the hotly contested race for Orlando’s District 47 is impressive. Tuura, who is a married lesbian (“My wife wants nothing to do with this,” she jokes when we notice her wedding band), finds the recent appearance of “locker-room banter” into the political fray amusing and horrifying, but only to a certain point.

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Washington Democrats hold vigil for Pulse victims on one-month anniversary

By : Wire Report
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Washington (AP) – Dozens of Democratic lawmakers held a vigil on the House steps on July 12 to commemorate the one-month anniversary of the murders of 49 patrons of a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

They took turns addressing a small gathering of onlookers with pleas for equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, new laws to limit sales of assault weapons, and other gun control measures.

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House Democrats hold sit-in for gun reform

By : Wire Report
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Washngton (AP) — A drained and dwindling group of Democrats, some draped in blankets and toting pillows, carried their remarkable House floor sit-in past daybreak June 23, disrupting the business of Congress in the wake of the Orlando shooting rampage with demands for gun-control votes in an extraordinary scene of protest broadcast live to the world.

Unyielding Republicans who control the chamber branded the move a publicity stunt and summarily adjourned the chamber at around 3:15 a.m. EDT until after the Fourth of July. By 7:30 a.m. on June 23 — 20 hours after the protest commenced — around a dozen Democrats remained, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, giving speeches that mixed victory declarations with vows to never back down in their drive to curb firearm violence.

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