Italian Prime Minister ready to push civil union legislation

By : Wire Report
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ROME (AP) – Italian Premier Matteo Renzi is considering resorting to a risky confidence vote in the Senate to ensure the passage of a bill allowing civil unions, but not marriage, for gay couples.

He told his Democratic Party members he is `’ready” to use the tactic on the bill if needed.

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Why your vote for President matters more than ever

By : Wire Report
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Washington (AP) – The presidential election just got real.

The unexpected death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia – and the immediate declaration from Republicans that the next president should nominate his replacement – adds even more weight to the decision voters will make in November’s general election.

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Puerto Rican nominee would be first openly gay chief justice in the United States

By : Wire Report
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San Juan (AP) – Puerto Rican judge Maite Oronoz Rodriguez has been nominated to head the U.S. territory’s Supreme Court as the first openly gay chief justice in the United States.

Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla announced the nomination Feb. 12 calling it a “new time” for Puerto Rico’s judicial branch. At 39, Oronoz Rodriguez is also the youngest member of the Puerto Rico Supreme Court.

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Equality Florida celebrates LGBT victories with the Tampa Gala as they look at dangerous road ahead in Tallahassee

By : Jeremy Williams
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Equality Florida looks to celebrate with 600 of their closest friends at the 10th Annual Tampa Gala at the TPepin’s Hospitality Centre Feb. 20.

“[The Tampa Gala] is one of 14 galas that Equality Florida hosts throughout the year,” says Mark Puskarich, Equality Florida’s Tampa Development Officer and Corporate Gift Manager. “These are times that we take to celebrate the progress made in LGBT equality and take a look at what’s on the horizon for the community.”

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Palm Bay Council rejects addition of LGBT-protections to HRO

By : Jamie Hyman
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In a 4-1 vote that didn’t happen until about 1:30 a.m., the Palm Bay City Council rejected a proposal that would have added LGBT protections to the city’s existing human rights ordinance.

Councilwoman Michele Paccione proposed adding the protections, which turned out to be extremely controversial. More than 500 people attended the meeting, and according to Space Coast Pride president Lexi Wright, there was a line of people snaking around the corner of the building and into the parking lot hoping to get in. The considerable overflow watched the meeting from outside in the courtyard. After about 45 minutes of regular business, the discussion began and lasted nearly six hours.

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As LGBT acceptance grows, Italians struggle to redefine family

By : Wire Report
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Rome (AP) – In Italy, family is considered so sacred that marriage is lauded in the Constitution. But what kind of family?

That has become a bitterly divisive question in a nation where the Vatican packs considerable political weight and where gays have grown impatient as other traditionally Catholic European countries have either allowed same-sex couples to marry or legally recognized their civil unions.

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LGBT anti-discrimination laws still stalling in Missouri

By : Wire Report
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Jefferson City, Mo. (AP) – Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon used his final State of the State address to implore lawmakers to bar discrimination against LGBT people, but leaders in the Republican-dominated Legislature say that’s unlikely to happen before Nixon leaves office.

It appears more likely that lawmakers will strengthen Missouri’s religious objections laws, which protect people’s right to act in accordance with their religious beliefs, even if that means discriminating against non-protected groups such as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

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Watermark’s 2016 Florida Legislative Tracker

By : Watermark Staff
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I’m just a bill, yes I’m only a bill, and I might just get poked with Rick Scott’s quill!

That’s right boys and girls, it’s that time of year again when Florida’s Congress will get together in Tallahassee to yell and scream and try to get some legislating done.

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Attacks on LGBT, reproductive rights cannot be separated

By : Carlos Smith
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Carlos Smith

Carlos Smith

The nature of reproductive freedom in America – and the movement that secured it – has always been about much more than a woman’s right to make her own personal medical decisions. It encompasses the broader right of all individuals to live their private lives free from intrusion or judgment by government and politicians. It’s a broader advocacy of sexual life free from reproductive function. That’s why support for reproductive rights and support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality go hand in hand.

It should shock no one that many of the same politicians seeking to control women’s bodies are also the ones trying to turn back the clock on LGBT equality. For decades, the usual right-wing agendas and organizations that have fought to limit and restrict reproductive choice, have also fought to pass laws that impose traditional definitions of gender, sexuality, family and marriage onto others. In Florida, these familiar intrusions into our private lives are about to be renewed. That’s why pro-choice and pro-equality coalitions must work together to stop our opponents from rolling back our progress.

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Screened Out – Mustang

By : Stephen Miller
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Günes Sensoy, Ayberk Pekcan, Suzanne Marrot

Sweet, poetic Mustang has been called the Turkish Virgin Suicides, and there’s good reason. They’re both female-directed movies about exactly five sisters locked up by their oppressive guardians. In both stories, female sexual awakening is seen as evil.

However, foreign-language Mustang has some differences: a real sense of time and place and a level of compassion. Its Turkish setting – along with the sexual politic, the pro-feminist critique, and the subtle religious despotism – is both beguiling and infuriating. The sisters support each other, come to sexual fruition, and individually negotiate their confinement; they are the real draw here.

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HRC predicts anti-LGBT bills for Florida in 2016

By : Jamie Hyman
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Tallahassee – The Human Rights Campaign predicts anti-LGBT legislation will be introduced in Florida during the 2016 state legislative session, which begins on Jan. 12. It’s part of the HRC’s preview 2016, a report released Jan. 8 on both pro-equality and anti-LGBT legislation at the state and local levels.

It’s a safe call for Florida, as two anti-gay bills have already been introduced. The Pastor Protection bill, filed by Rep. Scott Plakon, R-Longwood, in August, purports to protect religious leaders from being forced to conduct same-sex weddings. The bill is unnecessary because religious leaders are already free from being forced to perform any sort of wedding ceremony at all that doesn’t align with their faith or personal convictions. HB 43 moved through the Civil Justice subcommittee and is now at the Judiciary Committee. A companion bill filed in the Florida Senate has not advanced.

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First LGBT private school set to open in Atlanta

By : Wire Report
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Atlanta (AP) – A first-of-its-kind private school in Georgia aimed at attracting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth and teachers is being established in Atlanta for students who feel bullied or not accepted in traditional schools.

Pride School Atlanta is a k-12 institution designed to be an alternative for LGBT students, though the school is open to any student who believes they’re not getting the support they need for “being different,” says Pride School founder Christian Zsilavetz.

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