Florida lawmakers, activists divided on how to best legislate equality

By : A.S. Reynolds
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Florida’s legislative session convenes each March, a time where our legislators make or amend state law. With each session comes an opportunity for lawmakers to add LGBTQ employment and accommodation protections to the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992, which currently secures freedom from discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, age, handicap or marital status.

Since 2007, lawmakers have introduced legislation fighting for equality on these fronts but have met failure in the conservative Florida legislature. This year, Rep. Jennifer Webb (D-Gulfport), Sen. Darryl Rouson (D- St. Petersburg) and Sen. Joe Gruters (R- Sarasota) have introduced two differing LGBTQ equality bills ahead of the 2019 Florida legislative session, scheduled to begin March 5.

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Two catholic priests arrested in Miami for performing sexual act in a car

By : Melanie Ararat
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ABOVE: Diego Berrio and Edwin Giraldo Cortez were arrested in Miami after allegedly performing sexual acts in a parked car, reports said. Photo courtesy of Miami Beach Police Department

Two Catholic priests from Chicago were arrested in Miami on Sept. 3 for allegedly performing a sexual act in a car parked on a Miami Beach Street.

“This is in broad daylight, 13th Street and Ocean Drive,”  Miami Beach Police spokesman Ernesto Rodriguez says. “There are no tints on the window.”

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Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidates pitch for votes

By : Wire Report
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HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (AP) – Florida’s five Democratic candidates made their pitches to party activists at their annual convention June 30, hoping to swing support and drum up donations in advance of the August primary.

Former Congresswoman Gwen Graham, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and developers Jeff Greene and Chris King dashed between interest group caucuses in hopes of solidifying support among party stalwarts in advance of the Aug. 28 primary.

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Ros-Lehtinen talks retirement, slams Trump’s military trans ban

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Letinen (R-Fla.) speaks with the Washington Blade at her office on Capitol Hill on May 21. Washington Blade photo by Michael Key.

Retiring U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) last week reiterated her criticism of President Trump over a host of issues that includes his effort to ban transgender people from the military.

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Suspected Miami Pride attackers released, could face hate crime charge

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Miami | The four men charged with aggravated assault for attacking two gay men during Miami Pride have been released from jail and may face additional charges of a hate crime.

Miami Beach ABC affiliate 10 News reports that the four men have been identified as Juan C. Lopez, Adonis Diaz, Pablo Reinaldo Romo-Figueroa and Luis Alonso-Piovet. The suspects surrendered to Miami Beach police on April 10 and face charges of felony aggravated assault for brutally attacking Dimitri Lugonov and Rene Chalarca during the annual event.

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Progressive Miami Beach Community Church deals with homophobic threats

By : Wire Report
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joseph-jorczak

Joseph Jorczak

MIAMI (AP) – Miami Beach Community Church saw helping Joseph Jorczak as central to its mission – providing a place for people with mental illness to commune with God.

Church leaders let Jorczak march with them in the city’s gay pride parade. They gave him food. When he got sick, they drove him to the hospital and prayed for him.

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Chef Art Smith hosts mass gay wedding on Miami Beach

By : Wire Report
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MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) – With a mix of elegance and irreverence, only celebrity chef Art Smith could round up his famous chef buddies, a sea of white orchids and a drag queen DJ to pull off a wedding ceremony Feb. 21 for more than two dozen same-sex couples on Miami Beach.

Smith, a Florida native and former chef to Oprah Winfrey and Gov. Bob Graham, is revered by fellow chefs and those in the gay and lesbian community, known as the chef with a big Southern accent and an even bigger heart.

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Gloria Estefan serves as Miami Beach Pride’s grand marshal

By : Staff Report
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Miami Beach – Singer Gloria Estefan and choreographer Kenny Ortega served as grand marshals to April 13’s Miami Beach Gay Pride parade, and the former Miami Sound Machine diva wasn’t shy about voicing her support for LGBT equality.

“The gay community’s been so supportive of our music from before it was even in the mainstream,” Estefan told The Miami Herald during a kick-off event. “They were out there in the clubs in full force, always representing and supporting. I’m very happy to be celebrating the fact that I think we’re moving towards real equality.”

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