St. Petersburg swears in Kriseman, first female-majority City Council

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | City officials and an engaged constituency lined the halls and streets of St. Petersburg’s City Hall Jan. 2 for the official Swearing-In Ceremony of Mayor Rick Kriseman and the City Council.

The ceremony began just after 11 a.m. in the council chambers of City Hall, where new and re-elected members of City Council vowed to serve St. Petersburg. Council Members Brandi Gabbard, Gina Driscoll, Darden Rice and Amy Foster were each sworn into the council, creating St. Petersburg history in the process.

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Appeals court reviews Louisiana governor’s LGBT-rights order

By : Wire Report
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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) – Lawyers for Louisiana’s Democratic governor and Republican attorney general went back to court Tuesday to argue the constitutionality of an order aimed at protecting LGBT rights in state government.

Gov. John Bel Edwards is hoping an appeals court will reinstate his executive order banning discrimination in government and state contracts based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Edwards says a lower court judge erred in deciding he overstepped his legal authority.

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Texas anti-transgender bathroom bill dies

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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The Texas House of Representatives adjourned on Tuesday without voting a bill that would limit transgender people from using bathrooms consistent with their gender identity.

Senate Bill 3 would have prohibited schools from allowing trans students from using bathrooms and locker rooms that are consistent with their gender identity. Critics also pointed out SB 3 would have undermined trans-inclusive nondiscrimination measures as they relate to access to bathrooms, locker rooms and athletic activities.

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British lawmaker defends anti-gay comments

By : Bunmi Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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A British Nigerian lawmaker defended her anti-gay comments that sparked a major backlash.

Harrow City Councilor Chika Amadi has been neck-deep in controversy after making the comments on Facebook and Twitter in which she described Toronto Pride marchers as “pedophiles.” She resigned from the UK Labor Party earlier this month after it suspended her.

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Dem AZ Rep. Sinema ‘seriously considering’ Senate challenge

By : Wire Report
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema said Friday she is “seriously considering” a run for the Arizona Senate seat held by Republican Jeff Flake.

The three-term congresswoman said she’s heard from many in her state encouraging her to run. Flake narrowly won his first term in 2012 and is among the very few GOP incumbents who might be vulnerable in next year’s midterm elections in a Senate map that favors Republicans.

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House to vote on barring transgender health care in U.S. military

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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The U.S. House is set to vote Thursday on an amendment that would bar transgender people from receiving transition-related health care, such as gender reassignment surgery.

The amendment, submitted by Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), would deny funds to Defense Department for providing medical treatment — other than mental health therapy — related to gender transition under the health system for service members. That would mean transition-related care like hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery would be off limits to transgender troops.

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Perez cites history of LGBT support in run for DNC chair

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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After high-level service in the Obama administration that included fighting for LGBT rights at both the Labor and Justice Departments, Tom Perez is looking to become the next Democratic National Committee chair.

In an interview Friday with the Washington Blade, Perez said in a crowded field of contenders his history of support for LGBT rights makes him the best candidate for the LGBT community.

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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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10.20.16 Editor’s Desk

By : Billy Manes
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Billy Manes

It’s always with a sense of consternation that we face down these weeks leading up to the November political sweepstakes, especially in presidential-election years.

The white noise can overpower the progressiveness and inspiration that leadership is meant to ignite; the television advertisements find their way to the nearest drain to see just how low they can go before the gutter becomes the wall; the erosion of trust becomes its own beast, as conspiracy theorists draft their narratives as a means of leveraging their distaste with nearly everything. Meanwhile, pies meet skies in overstated narratives of importance, polls slip into their margins of error and apathy, inevitably, reigns supreme. It’s an ugly story and it always has been. It’s also the key to the core of our nation, and should be treated as such: with respect and the sense of duty that public service requires.

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Tampa Bay’s Overheard: burger flippin’ and mud slingin’

By : Anonymous
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Proud Mary’s wheels are turnin’

After a summer of teasing from Mary letting the St. Pete area know that a new Hamburger Mary’s would be moving into the neighborhood, it finally happened. Hamburger Mary’s—or as this location is known, Sunshine City Mary’s—is opened for business. If the first few weeks are any indication, that business won’t be slowing down anytime soon.

The doors opened Aug. 25 and the guests started coming; including a “welcome to the neighborhood” greeting from Punky’s Brian Longstreth. Sunshine City Mary’s is located across from Tyrone Square Mall in the old Hooters building. Anyone who has been to any of the Hamburger Mary’s locations across the country, or one of the other two Bay Area locations, knows that a trip to Mary’s isn’t just about the food (don’t get us wrong, the food is reason enough to go), it’s the show that goes with it.

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Rubio, Murphy win party Senate nominations; face-off in general election

By : Wire Report
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – Republican Sen. Marco Rubio’s presidential aspirations and insistence that he was done with the Senate didn’t hurt him with GOP voters, now it’s time to see if the rest of Florida will be as forgiving as he seeks a second term.

Rubio easily won the Republican nomination to retain his seat and will be challenged by Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, who defeated Congressman Alan Grayson in the Senate primary Aug. 30. It’s a race Democrats are targeting in an effort to regain a majority in the Senate, and their hope is that Rubio’s presidential ambitions have dulled the shine he had with Florida voters.

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Speaker Ryan changes House rules after pro-LGBT amendment tanks energy bill

By : Wire Report
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Washington (AP) – House Speaker Paul Ryan, who’s in charge of the GOP-run House, is cracking down on Democrats’ ability to win floor votes on hotly contested issues such as LGBT rights.

With his move on June 8, Ryan is turning his back on a promise that he would safeguard lawmakers’ rights to take on a range of contentious issues when the House debated annual spending bills.

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