Jacksonville wraps HRO community discussions

By : Jamie Hyman
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Jacksonville – The third and final meeting to discuss proposed LGBT protections in Jacksonville is in the books.

Mayor Lenny Curry scheduled the Community Conversations to discuss a human rights ordinance that includes nondiscrimination protections covering sexual orientation and gender identity. Jacksonville is the only major Florida city without protections for sexual orientation and gender identity in the areas of employment, housing, and public accommodations, despite being the Florida metro area with the highest percentage of LGBT residents, according to a report by the Jacksonville Office of General Counsel.

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Man who disrupted Supreme Court marriage equality arguments sentenced

By : Wire Report
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Washington (AP) – A protester who disrupted historic arguments over gay marriage at the U.S. Supreme Court is sentenced to 21 days in jail.

Rives Miller Grogan, 50, of Mansfield, Texas, had previously pleaded guilty to illegally demonstrating inside the court. Lawyers were about 30 minutes into oral arguments April 28 when, during a break in speakers, Grogan yelled that the Bible says gay marriage supporters “could burn in hell for eternity” and that “homosexuality is an abomination to god.” He was removed from the courtroom and arrested.

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Uprisings: Our new quiet terrorism

By : Billy Manes
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There was a day in my life when all new life seemed caught up in the politics of worthlessness, and I remember that day clearly. Having spent the better part of post-adolescence trying to bridge the gap between harmony and hostility, I did not know of the gun scourge, of the hatred, nor of the political machinations put in place to destroy that order and, in its face, murder people for the sake of a headline. Why should I have? I always understood the abortion battle to be one that took place personally, in a home, dangling in the well of a tear, lingering in a personal weight. Bang. And then they shot Dr. Gunn in Pensacola in 1993. And then I was on TV.

Why else would I have driven girlfriends to warzones, walked them through, kept silent and comforted them as if at home. There were actual people who thought their semen to be sacred (men); there were people who thought their excrement in ecstasy to be a thing of genius. I was not one of them. I lived and breathed for my friends; I never asked questions about wherefore and why. If you knew, you knew. You moved forward as briskly as forward allowed. This was not a true story. This was real life.

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Raising the Bar: How LGBT dance clubs and bars respond to history and look to the future

By : Stephen Miller
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Our LGBT bars and nightclubs: throughout history, they’ve served as more than mere entertainment and socialization. They’ve alternately provided protection, community, purpose, a meeting place for political activism, a defining character for subgroups, and even a disseminator of vital cultural and health information. Yet, just like every lasting institution, in order to survive and be relevant, bars and clubs have to change. They can capitalize on what they do well while transforming with the times.

“Let’s face it,” says Steve Watkins, owner of the newly renovated Stonewall Bar Orlando, “social media isn’t going away. It’s a part of the whole experience of going out – heck, of all of life, anymore.”

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Viewpoint: Around the world, Superpower failures

By : Rachel Wilson
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RachelWilson

Rachel Wilson

I’ve spent twenty-five years traveling to Russia. But I’ve never met a gay person there.

Through college, graduate school and work, I’ve roamed across this vast country – one larger than the surface area of Pluto – meeting hundreds of people in varied contexts and in myriad places. I’ve made friends – close ones – but no gay people. Statistics show that of course I’ve met gay people, I just don’t know it.

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Republican bill to extend Indiana LGBT civil rights protections includes religious exemptions

By : Wire Report
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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Senate Republicans released a proposal Nov. 17 that would extend state civil rights protections to LGBT people while also carving out broad exemptions for religious institutions and some small businesses that object to working with gay people.

Ever since controversy erupted last spring over a divisive religious objections law, business groups and other supporters of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights have pushed the Legislature to ban disicimination in housing, employment and public accommodation based on a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Religious conservatives object because they believe it could force Christian businesses owners to violate sincerely held religious beliefs.

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Ukrainian lawmakers approve gay rights bill

By : Wire Report
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KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian lawmakers have approved a bill that bans discrimination of gays, key legislation intended to help pave the way for visa-free travel between Ukraine and the European Union.

The 450-seat parliament on Nov. 12 approved the bill with 234 votes. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko hailed parliament’s action as a “historic” move that brought the nation close to its longtime goal of winning the visa-free regime.

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Catholic bishops at synod call for more welcoming church while rejecting marriage equality and “gender theory”

By : Wire Report
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VATICAN CITY (AP) — Catholic bishops called Oct. 24 for a more welcoming church for cohabitating couples and Catholics who have divorced and civilly remarried, endorsing Pope Francis’ call for a more merciful and less judgmental church.

Bishops from around the world adopted a final document at the end of a divisive, three-week synod that exposed the split in the church between conservatives and progressives over how to better minister to Catholic families today.

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Uprisings: September 24 – October 7

By : Billy Manes
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Once upon a time, it felt like a public duty to witness the beads of sweat lining Richard Nixon’s lips while the glowing complexion of John F. Kennedy burned visible anxiety into said grumble face made for print media and the quotes that come with it. Once upon a time, there was the underlying sense that gentlemen (now women, too!) standing atop a stage in front of tens of millions of people to discuss the fate of our still-young nation was a piece of this, our great democracy, a piece not to be missed. And then 2015 happened: The debates had to be split into kids’ table and grown-ups’ table by dint of polling percentages, and all of American life turned into a reality show based around a pageant based around hate and ignorance based around what the hell life has turned into.

By no means does this column mean to discourage public communication by those who would like their finger on the imaginary red button or desire to have their private lives ravaged by the altitude of overexpression. Heavens, no. We’re all spectators out here. Bring on the dancing horses.

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Central Florida pro sports teams celebrate LGBT Pride

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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October is LGBT History Month, so Orlando City Soccer Club and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are gearing up to celebrate pride with their LGBT fans.

Orlando City Soccer announced that it will be hosting its first LGBT Night on Oct. 3 at the Orlando Citrus Bowl against the Montreal Impact, while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be hosting a LGBT Pride Day for their Oct. 4 game against the Carolina Panthers.

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“Milk” screenwriter directs you to a Coke

By : Staff Report
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Dustin_Lance_Black_at_the_81st_Academy_AwardsDustin Lance Black (pictured), the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Milk, has teamed up with Coca-Cola to create a series of short films about anti-bullying.

The campaign starts with the film, available to see on Coca Cola’s YouTube channel, entitled “El SMS (The Text).” The film, which is roughly eight minutes long, tells the story of two best friends and how one accepts the other when he finds out his friend is gay.

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FL Rep. Scott Plakon files “Pastor Protection Act” despite lack of threat to pastors

By : Billy Manes
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While discussion of the fabled “Pastor Protection Act” has been long in the pipeline – Texas has already passed similar legislation from which Florida is cribbing its bill language – Florida Rep. Scott Plakon, R-Longwood, filed HB 43 on Aug. 10, laying down the proverbial gauntlet for the social conservative battle set to play out in next year’s legislative session. The bill, as expected, seeks to protect churches from litigation should they refuse to “solemnize” same-sex marriages.

Plakon is sticking to his guns on criticism of the bill as being “superfluous” and “unnecessary,” because, at least in his opinion, it’s a protection for all parties involved. There are so many unknowns in modern times, he says.

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