Italian Senate approves bill to allow civil unions

By : Wire Report
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ROME (AP) – Italy’s Senate voted Feb. 25 to grant legal recognition to civil unions, as the last holdout in Western Europe took a compromise step to give some rights to gay couples after a bitter, years-long debate.

Premier Matteo Renzi described the passage of the bill Thursday as “historic.” But gay and lesbian groups denounced the watered-down legislation as a betrayal because Renzi’s Democratic Party sacrificed a provision to allow gay adoption in order to ensure passage.

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Jacksonville Councilman plans to withdraw LGBT-friendly Human Rights Ordinance

By : Jamie Hyman
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Looks like it’s game over for adding LGBT protections to Jacksonville’s Human Rights Ordinance.

Councilman Tommy Hazouri, who introduced the proposal, released a statement announcing he plans to withdraw the bill at this week’s council meeting. Read Hazouri’s full statement after the jump: 

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Spring Arts Guide 2016

By : Jake Stevens
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spring arts guide 2016

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The spring time is no better time to feed your need for the arts! Say hello to our comprehensive (and unfathomably radiant!) annual Spring Arts Guide.

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Nebraska judge strikes down state’s same-sex marriage ban

By : Wire Report
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Omaha (AP) – A federal judge has issued a permanent injunction striking down Nebraska’s now-negated constitutional ban on gay marriage and civil unions.

The injunction, issued FEb. 4, was largely a formality because of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in late June that legalized gay marriage nationwide. The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also struck down Nebraska’s ban following the high court’s ruling.

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Man faces prison time for tweeting anti-gay death threat

By : Wire Report
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Paris (AP) – A Frenchman faces prison time for tweets containing an anti-gay death threat and public insults targeting a Paris city official.

Tarek Laboun, a 31 year-old engineer, is accused of posting the tweets targeting Jean-Luc Romero, an openly gay deputy mayor and AIDS activist when Romero was married in 2013. Thursday’s trial turns on issues of free speech limits online.

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Top Democrat in Indiana House says gay rights debate is far from over

By : Wire Report
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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – The top Democrat in the Indiana House is vowing the gay rights debate isn’t over during the legislative session, even though an anti-discrimination bill was abandoned this week in the Republican-dominated Senate.

House Minority Leader Scott Pelath said Thursday that Democrats will use committee meetings and floor debate to force discussions about civil rights protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

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Alabama chief justice says marriage equality ban still in place

By : Wire Report
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Montgomery (AP) – Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore says state probate judges remain under a court order to refuse marriage licenses to gay couples even though a US. Supreme Court decision effectively legalized same-sex marriage more than six months ago.

The outspoken chief justice, who previously tried to block gay marriage from coming to the Deep South state, issued an administrative order saying the Alabama Supreme Court never lifted a March directive to probate judges to refuse licenses to gay couples.

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Life in prison for Texas man accused of murdering transgender woman

By : Wire Report
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Tyler, Texas (AP) – A 21-year-old East Texas man has been sentenced to life in prison for the killing of a transgender woman.

Smith County prosecutor Jacob Putman told the Lufkin Daily News that the evidence implicating Carlton Champion Jr. included Champion’s DNA being found in a car belonging to Ty Underwood.

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Trash 2 Trends Recycled Fashion Show Preview

By : Jamie Hyman
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Those who attended the Orlando Museum of Art’s First Thursday event for December were in for a treat – they got a sneak preview of the upcoming Trash 2 Trends Recycled Fashion Show, where designers create looks from materials that were headed to the landfill or recycling bin.

The 2016 event will be Feb. 6 at SeaWorld’s Ports of Call. A panel of judges will choose the winners from among 30 designers, and the show is hosted by comedian Doug Ba’aser and Orlando Sentinel columnist Scott Maxwell. 2016 is the third annual Trash 2 Trends and the event benefits Keep Orlando Beautiful. 

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Wisconsin Republicans push bill restricting transgender students

By : Wire Report
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MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Republicans pushed Nov. 19 for Wisconsin to become the first state in the nation to prohibit transgender public school students from using a bathroom or locker room assigned to the gender with which they identify.

Opponents, including students who stood and sat on the floor in a packed hearing room, argued the proposal is a violation of federal Civil Rights law. The soonest that the state’s GOP-controlled Legislature could act on the bill is January, and it’s unclear whether the measure has enough support to pass.

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Viewpoint: The Other Side of Life, Fantasies

By : Jason Leclerc
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JasonLeclerk

Jason Leclerc

Full disclosure:
1. I’ve been a contributor to the Jeb Bush campaign for president since before he announced. Since 2000 – when he was in his political prime – I have hopefully chomped at my Republican bit for his turn in the White House.

2. I’m a lifelong Miami Dolphins fan.

3. I have had dreams about Rob Gronkowski that have nothing to do with football.

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St. Pete has a new gay watering hole

By : Aaron Drake
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St. Pete has a new face in town. From the looks of it, she’s sassy, wacky and eager for her guests to enjoy a night out. Punky’s Bar & Grill, 3063 Central Ave. at 31st St. N, is the city’s newest gay bar, set for a soft opening before Thanksgiving and a larger celebration in December.

“We’re excited to be in the Grand Central District,” says co-owner Brian Longstreth, owner of Gay St. Pete House and a longtime activist in St. Pete’s LGBT community. “In addition to several bars and restaurants, there are realtors, CPAs, attorneys, home décor, antiques – it’s still one of the largest concentrations of LGBT-owned businesses in the country.” He joins co-owners Lynn Deibert and John Burt, who are also local residents and proud members of the LGBT community, in starting Punky’s. The 3,200-square-foot, 150-person maximum capacity establishment was formerly home to Jimbo’s Joint.

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