Former State Representative Joe Saunders returns to Equality Florida as Senior Political Director

By : Jeremy Williams
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Florida’s largest LGBTQ civil rights organization, Equality Florida announced Aug. 9 that former State Representative Joe Saunders would be rejoining the staff as the new Senior Political Director.

Saunders previously held the position of Field Director with Equality Florida for nearly a decade before running for, and winning, a seat in the Florida House of Representatives in 2012. Saunders, along with Miami Beach’s David Richardson, became the first openly gay Floridians elected to the legislature.

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State Representative David Richardson declares victory against conversion therapy in south Florida House district

By : Billy Manes
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Tallahassee – Gay state Rep. David Richardson took a stance early in this legislative session against so-called conversion therapy, the anti-LGBTQ means of “correcting” behaviors of the gay community. House Bill 273 presents a strong statement against the psychological manipulation of LGBTQ youth by therapists, arguing that conversion therapy – which can often include electric-shock therapy – must not be used on minors. In 2015, President Barack Obama made it clear that the nation, under his administration, would not accept “reparative” therapy, due to its destructive effects on patients.

“We share your concern about its potentially devastating effects on the lives of transgender as well as gay, lesbian, bisexual and queer youth,” his department said in a statement. “As part of our dedication to protecting America’s youth, this administration supports efforts to ban the use of conversion therapy for minors.”

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Gay Maine congressman: coming out was good, ready to get back to work

By : Wire Report
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Portland, Maine (AP) – When the intensely private Rep. Mike Michaud laid bare his private life and announced he’s gay, one openly gay congressman joked that the Maine Democrat had never registered on his “gaydar.”

As he prepares to return to Capitol Hill this week as the seventh openly gay member of the U.S. House, Michaud said the decision to come out last week was a positive experience that drew support from fellow congressmen and hundreds of constituents, even if it was political nastiness that prompted his announcement.

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State Rep. issues non-apology for disparaging statement about gay parents

By : Staff Report
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Rep. Dennis Baxley

Ocala – Weeks after he made a disparaging statement about same-sex parents in Florida, Rep. Dennis Baxley (R-Ocala) met with Equality Florida’s Nadine Smith and issued a public apology – that wasn’t really an apology – for his remarks.

The comments were made on Oct. 8 when Baxley addressed a meeting of the House K-12 subcommittee. Baxley was describing a conversation he had with a teacher about the challenges of the classroom.

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