Microsoft to reassess PAC money for anti-LGBTQ lawmakers

By : Lou Chibbaro Jr. OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Microsoft last week became the first of 49 LGBTQ supportive corporations identified by a new LGBTQ group as collectively contributing millions of dollars through their Political Action Committees to members of Congress with the “worst of the worst” anti-LGBTQ records, to consider halting those contributions.

The new group, Zero for Zeros, identifies itself as a campaign aimed at persuading the nation’s most prominent and well-known pro-LGBTQ corporations to stop a seemingly contradictory practice of giving PAC money to the re-election campaigns of members of Congress who oppose and undermine the LGBTQ supportive policies that corporations like Microsoft say they support.

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Leaders behind LGBTQ measure shut political action committee

By : Wire report
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BOISE, Idaho (AP) | A group that has long pushed for Idaho lawmakers to pass legislation to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from employment and housing discrimination has shuttered its political action committee.

The PAC was terminated in June because organizers are currently working to broaden the group’s platform and change the name, said Chelsea Gaona-Lincoln, the chair of Idaho’s Add the Words.

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Pride Fund re-endorses U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy

By : Layla Ferris
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ORLANDO | Pride Fund to End Gun Violence announced its re-endorsement of U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Winter Park, July 12.

Murphy has served Florida’s 7th Congressional District since her 2016 election in which she beat 12-term Republican incumbent John Mica. Murphy’s district covers all of Seminole County and a portion of northern Orange County, which includes Winter Park and most of downtown Orlando.

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Jonathan Tasini, Bernie Sanders author, visits Florida

By : Scottie Campbell
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Jonathan TasiniSarasota – Jonathan Tasini, author of The Essential Bernie Sanders and his Vision for America, spoke at Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center on Jan. 9. The event was one of five Florida stops with an engagement in Melbourne that evening, and three in Miami the following day. A predominantly caucasian audience of approximately 100 attended the Fogartyville event; attendees ranged from teens to senior citizens but skewed elderly, including one gentleman who turned 103 that week.

Endorsed by Sanders, Tasini’s book breaks down the presidential candidate’s policies in an easy to read format to layout talking points for supporters or introduce voters to Sanders. Tasini meticulously patchworked excerpts from Sander’s speeches and press release statements to create the slim, accessible book. He wrote the book in the 20 days following Sanders’ Presidential bid announcement in May 2015.

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Watermark’s Voter’s Guide for 2015 General Elections

By : Watermark Staff
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Today is election day in certain districts throughout Central Florida, Tampa, St. Pete, and the rest of the country.

Get out and make your vote count by knowing who you are voting for and what they stand for.

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Screened Out – Pixels

By : Stephen Miller
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Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Josh Gad, Peter Dinklage, Michelle Monaghan

Pixels recalls a trip to the video arcade, where a kid could blow through a whole week’s allowance for some mindless fun. Part teenaged actioner, part adult nostalgia trip, Pixels is a frivolous, fun waste of time and money.

This flick is a surprising success for Sandler’s production company, Happy Gilmore. More than that, everyone involved knows it’s just a silly distraction, without a crass comment anywhere, built merely to entertain – just like the great 80s icons it highlights.

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Rick Santorum announces second White House run

By : Wire Report
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CABOT, Pa. (AP) – Conservative culture warrior Rick Santorum launched a 2016 White House bid on May 27, vowing to fight for working-class Americans in a new election season that will test his influence, and focus on social issues, in a changing Republican Party.

The former Pennsylvania senator may have exceeded his own expectations by scoring a second-place finish in the race for the Republican presidential nomination four years ago. Yet as he enters a more powerful and diverse 2016 field, he may struggle even to qualify for the debate stage in his second run.

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Equality Florida passes on Jacksonville gay candidate

By : Daniela Costa
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Jacksonville – When Equality Florida’s Action PAC released its list of recommendations on candidates running for office in Jacksonville there was one noticeable exception—openly gay candidate James Eddy.

A striking omission that Eddy, who is running for the District 7 Council seat, considers a “diss” after helping Equality Florida with its events and initiatives. His position is clear.

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NOM fined $50K, ordered to reveal donors

By : Wire Report
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Augusta (AP) – Maine’s ethics panel fined a national anti-gay marriage group more than $50,000 on Wednesday and ordered it to reveal the donors who backed its efforts to repeal the state’s gay marriage law.

The Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices found that the National Organization for Marriage violated campaign finance laws by failing to properly register as a ballot question committee and file financial reports in the 2009 referendum that struck down gay marriage. Same-sex unions were legalized by voters in 2012.

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San Diego PAC fined for ethics violations

By : Wire Report
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San Diego (AP) – A political action committee formed by opponents of a former San Diego city councilman has been fined $7,500 for violating campaign disclosure laws.

Conservatives for Gay Rights Supporting Carl DeMaio made calls and distributed leaflets stating that DeMaio is gay. The leaflets showed him standing near a man dressed in drag.

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Top Republican donors push for marriage equality

By : Wire Report
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A national group of prominent GOP donors that supports gay marriage is pouring new money into lobbying efforts to get Republican lawmakers to vote to make it legal.

American Unity PAC was formed last year to lend financial support to Republicans who bucked the party’s longstanding opposition to gay marriage. Its founders are launching a new lobbying organization, American Unity Fund, and already have spent more than $250,000 in Minnesota, where the Legislature could vote on the issue as early as next week.

The group has spent $500,000 on lobbying since last month, including efforts in Rhode Island, Delaware, Indiana, West Virginia and Utah.

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Crist endorses LGBT rights

By : AnitaHeading
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CristEndorsesAbstr_592002319.jpgCharlie Crist, current Florida governor and Independent candidate for U.S .Senate, has released a 10-point endorsement for LGBT rights. This move is in direct contrast with Crist’s previous statements as a Republican, where he campaigned on promises to preserve “traditional” values.

Crist’s endorsements include civil unions with the full range of legal protections enjoyed by heterosexual married couples, gay adoption, domestic partner benefits, appropriations for HIV/AIDS programs and the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

His campaign team approached Equality Florida, the state’s largest LGBT civil rights organization, for assistance in drafting the statement.

Equality Florida’s public policy director, Mallory Wells, said the group’s assistance should not be interpreted as support for Crist in his campaign.

“Equality Florida has not made an endorsement in the U.S. Senate Race,” Wells said. “Our PAC [Political Action Committee] does not allow federal endorsements.”

Crist’s opponent, Democratic nominee Kendrick Meek, said Crist’s endorsements are “too little, too late.”

In a media release, Meek’s campaign manager, Abe Dyk, asked: “Can anyone believe anything Charlie Crist says anymore? It’s obvious Charlie Crist is willing to say anything. The only thing Charlie Crist says today that you can believe tomorrow is that he wants to be elected.

The only thing we know about Charlie Crist’s track record is that he is a lifelong conservative Republican who has fought against every Democratic value. The governor’s charade trying to hide his lifelong conservative record just to get elected is an insult to every Floridian.”

The release also outlined Crist’s long record of working against LGBT rights, including taking a stand against the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and coming out in favor of Amendment 2, which bans same-sex marriage in Florida.

In 2006, Crist sent out campaign mailings denouncing Jim Davis, his opponent for governor at the time, for supporting gay adoption. The mailings also promised Crist “defends marriage and protects traditional values.”

“A lot of people have a lot of opinions and it’s true that Charlie Crist has gone on record against gay adoption before,” said Wells. “I think what’s important here is that we want people to evolve on LGBT issues and support our issues. I think it’s great that [Crist] decided he was wrong and now wants to support us.”

On Sept. 14, Crist followed up his LGBT issues endorsements by talking to a reporter about ways to reverse Florida’s ban on gay adoption.

He said he’d consider reviewing the lawsuit where the state is defending the ban, and the case of Martin Gill, foster parent to two brothers who wishes to adopt them. In 2008, Judge Cindy Lederman ruled that the ban is unconstitutional and the state has been taking up the opposing fight ever since. Crist said standpoint should be reviewed.

“I think that most who follow the judiciary recognize that what’s in the ‘best interest of the child’ is what should be paramount in these kinds of decisions,” he said. “That’s what I believe and I think that’s what will be the best for them.”