Watermark’s Wedding Bells: Rami Ayoub & Jason Lowe

By : Aaron Drake
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“Our first date was on Feb. 3, 2013, which happened to be Super Bowl Sunday,” Rami Ayoub shares about meeting his now-husband Jason Lowe. “After chatting back and forth for over a month, we finally met at Spice downtown [Orlando]; a brief Super Bowl stop with friends for Beyonce’s halftime show and off to live music at the Peacock Room, a venue we miss often.”

Ayoub, who works as assistant manager at Cedars Restaurant in Orlando, grew up in Damascus, Syria. His husband, Lowe, is employed as senior vice president of CCMC, Inc. He hails from Greensboro, N.C. They now live together in Orlando.

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Judge rules HB2 deal doesn’t impair bathroom access for trans people

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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A federal judge has allowed a lawsuit against the compromise over North Carolina’s anti-LGBT House Bill 2 to continue, but found the new law doesn’t inhibit bathroom access to transgender people in the state.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder, a George W. Bush appointee, ruled Sunday night the challenge to House Bill 142 can proceed in so far it pertains Section 3 of the law, which prohibits municipalities from enacting ordinances regulating private employment practices or regulating public accommodations until December 1, 2020.

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Anderson Cooper debunks hurricane conspiracy photo tweeted by Donald Trump Jr.

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Anderson Cooper devoted nearly 10 minutes of his live CNN broadcast on Monday to debunking a hurricane conspiracy photo that was shared by Donald Trump Jr.

“It’s a shame that CNN’s ratings are down 41%. What’s worse is there’s a simple solution that they refuse to accept. Stop Lying to try to make @realDonaldTrump look bad,” Trump Jr. tweeted along with a photo which shows Cooper standing waist-deep in water while filming a report for CNN. A crew member is seen standing above him in much shallower water.

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Man accused of attacking transgender woman in South Carolina

By : wire report
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) | A man is accused of brutally attacking a transgender woman and her sister as the two women left a bar and restaurant district in South Carolina.

The Post and Courier reports 30-year-old Christopher Lamar Price was arrested Tuesday and charged with second-degree assault and battery. Authorities have classified the attack as bias-motivated. Charleston police say Price used slurs about the woman’s gender identity before punching her early one morning last month.

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Gay-friendly Apple weighs North Carolina despite LGBTQ laws

By : wire report
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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Gay-rights advocates are divided on whether to cheer or bemoan a potential marriage between the state of North Carolina and one of the global corporations most friendly to LGBTQ workers and causes.

Feelings remain raw over North Carolina’s so-called bathroom bill, which prompted a boycott campaign. Many advocates remain frustrated that a legislative compromise that put an end to the controversy still allows discrimination against them.

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Anchorage voters first in the nation to reject anti-trans bathroom bill

By : wire report
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Voters in Alaska’s largest city are on track to becoming the first in the U.S. to defeat a so-called bathroom bill in a referendum that asked them to require people using public bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender at birth.

The initiative asked Anchorage’s voters to repeal an ordinance passed in 2015 that prevented discrimination based on sexual orientation and added a clause that would have prevented transgender people from using bathrooms and locker rooms corresponding to their gender identities.

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Gay-friendly church in North Carolina suffers more vandalism

By : wire report
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A gay-friendly church in North Carolina’s largest city has been vandalized again.

Media outlets reported that officials with Wedgewood Church in Charlotte said the front doors were spray-painted with a misspelled, derogatory phrase late Tuesday or early Wednesday.

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Lawsuit: Sam’s Club discriminated against transgender worker

By : wire report
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A transgender woman said in a lawsuit Wednesday that she was called “it” and “thing” by co-workers and then wrongfully fired from a North Carolina Sam’s Club store after repeatedly complaining about harassment.

The federal lawsuit by Charlene Bost seeks unspecified monetary damages and asks the court to order the big box retailer to train employees to prevent future harassment of transgender workers. It says Bost was wrongfully fired in 2015 from the Kannapolis store in retaliation for her complaints.

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North Carolina deal would expand transgender protections

By : Wire Report
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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s governor launched a two-part strategy Wednesday that could end protracted litigation over the state’s so-called bathroom bill and its replacement, while expanding LGBT protections lawmakers aren’t inclined to endorse.

Plaintiffs who had sued the state claiming discrimination asked a judge to approve a settlement with the governor that would ensure transgender people can use restrooms corresponding to their gender identity in facilities run by executive branch agencies that oversee the environment, transportation and Medicaid, among others.

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Charlotte mayor unexpectedly loses Democratic primary

By : Wire Report
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – The two protagonists in the battle over LGBT rights in North Carolina are now out of the political picture after a surprise in a mayoral primary Sept. 12.

Charlotte Mayor Pro Tempore Vi Lyles captured the Democratic primary, defeating Mayor Jennifer Roberts with 46 percent of the vote. Roberts got 36 percent of the vote, with State Sen. Joel Ford finishing third at 15 percent.

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Effects of ‘bathroom bill’ linger in North Carolina

By : Wire Report
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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The law that replaced North Carolina’s notorious “bathroom bill” sports a new look but maintains LGBT discrimination and prevents transgender people from using restrooms matching their gender identity, according to a lawsuit July 21.

The lawsuit renews a high-profile legal battle that has thrust North Carolina into the center of the national debate over LGBT rights. The state took the “bathroom bill” off the books in late March after a yearlong backlash that hurt North Carolina’s reputation and caused businesses and sports leagues to back out of lucrative events and projects.

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Appeals court rejects challenge to same-sex marriage recusal law

By : Wire Report
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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A federal appeals court has rejected a challenge to a North Carolina law that allows magistrates to refuse to perform same-sex marriages.

The Richmond-based 4th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling June 28 that three couples who sued to overturn the law lack standing to challenge the law’s use of taxpayer funds.

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