Anti-gay legislation moves through state, equality bills sit in committee

By : Jeremy Williams
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Tallahassee – Florida’s Legislature has been busy this year pushing through several anti-gay and discriminatory bills masked in the argument that they are to protect women and children.

The “Single-Sex Public Facilities” bill was introduced in the Florida House on Feb. 4 and would prohibit transgender individuals from using public facilities that align with their gender identities. While the bill does not use the word “transgender,” opponents of the bills say its sole purpose is targeting the transgender community.

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Florida Supreme Court asked to interpret HIV prevention law

By : Wire Report
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Tallahassee (AP) – What does “sexual intercourse” mean in Florida?

The state’s Supreme Court justices are pondering the question in a case that threatens to weaken a 1986 law requiring HIV-positive people to reveal their infection before having “sexual intercourse.” A defense lawyer told the court Wednesday that Florida’s laws have always used the term to describe traditional sex between a man and a woman, and not any other sexual activity by either gender.

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Anti-gay groups continue to fight marriage equality lawsuits

By : Staff Report
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Tallahassee – The Liberty Counsel has filed two more motions to intervene in Florida lawsuits fighting for marriage equality.

The motions are filed on behalf of Florida Family Action, a group that pushed for the passage of Amendment 2 which is Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage. They’re attempting to intervene in the case of Grimley v. Scott, a lawsuit filed by eight Florida same-sex couples legally married elsewhere who are fighting to have their marriages recognized in Florida, and Brenner v. Scott, filed on behalf of a couple who got married in Canada, now live in Tallahassee, and want Florida to recognize their marriage.

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Missing FSU student’s death appears to be an accident

By : Staff Report
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RyanUhreAbstr Tallahassee- A preliminary autopsy report shows the death of Florida State University student Ryan Uhre appears to have been accidental and he may have fallen from the second story of the building where his body was found.

Uhre’s body was found on Feb. 18 in a building on College Avenue in downtown Tallahassee. He had been missing for more than two weeks, after he was last seen leaving a Tallahassee on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 2.

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Top employers endorse LGBT workforce protections

By : Staff Report
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Tallahassee- Nearly a dozen of Florida’s top employers are joining forces to push for the passage of a statewide LGBT non-discrimination bill.

On Jan. 13, they launched the Florida Business Coalition for a Competitive Workforce to endorse the Florida Competitive Workforce Act (HB 239/SB 348), which is co-sponsored by Rep. Joe Saunders (D-Orlando) and Rep. Holly Raschein (R-Key Largo) in the Florida House of Representatives and sponsored by Sen. Joe Abruzzo (D-Wellington) in the Senate.

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Florida sees a bump in hate crimes

By : Staff Report
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Tallahassee – Hate crimes are on the rise in the Sunshine State.

According to a report released by the Florida Attorney General, hate crimes increased 22.3% in 2012, totalling 170 for the year. More than half of the crimes were motivated by race, but anti-gay attacks are the second most common type of hate crime, accounting for 28.8 percent.

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Statewide domestic partner registry filed

By : Staff Report
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Tallahassee- State Rep. Linda Stewart (D-Orlando) has filed HB 439, which approved, would create a domestic partner registry for the state of Florida.

The Florida Families Act “authorizes clerk of circuit court to collect filing fee for domestic partner registrations; establishes requirements for domestic partnership; provides that act does not preempt authority of county or municipality to enact domestic partnership ordinance unless in conflict with act,” according to the text of the bill.

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Pensacola approves domestic partner registry 8-1

By : Susan Clary
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Pensacola – In a historic vote, the Pensacola City Council approved a domestic partnership registry at its Dec. 12 meeting. It is the first city west of Tallahassee to pass an ordinance, offering cohabiting, unmarried couples both gay and straight to register as domestic partner for a small fee.

The ordinance, sponsored by Councilman Larry Johnson, will give registered couples a number of small, but important rights. Those include: the ability to make medical and funeral decisions for each other, visit one another in the hospital or prison and participate in the education of mutual children. Registered domestic partners will be automatically notified in case of an emergency.

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