Watermark Wednesday – September Social

By : Danny Garcia
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Meet and mingle with the Watermark team, LGBTQ+ professionals and allies at the brand new G St. Pete.
During this event we will host a raffle drawing, so bring plenty of cash! All ticket sales will go directly to Suncoast Softball League! Your first drink is FREE and light bites will be provided.

Nebraska bill to prevent anti-gay child placement agencies from losing state funding

By : Wire Report
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Lincoln, Neb. (AP) – A bill introduced in the Nebraska Legislature would prevent child placement agencies that refuse to license gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender foster parents on religious principle from losing state funding.

Lawmakers heard testimony Wednesday from Christian agencies that say they might be forced to choose between their religious beliefs and state funding after a Nebraska judge struck down the state’s ban on same-sex foster parents last year.

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Gov. Pence of Indiana keeps mum on stance on anti-discrimination bill

By : Wire Report
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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Indiana Gov. Mike Pence isn’t saying whether he would have signed the state Senate’s failed proposal for extending antidiscrimination protections for lesbian, gay and bisexual people.

Pence declined to say Wednesday what he would do if the bill had made it to his desk.

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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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Nebraska’s defunct same-sex marriage ban could go before voters

By : Wire Report
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Lincoln, Neb. (AP) – Nebraska’s defunct same-sex marriage ban could once again go before voters under a measure in the Legislature that seeks to remove it from the state constitution.

The proposal triggered several heated exchanges Jan. 27 during a legislative hearing, with one senator predicting that voters are too “bigoted” to strike the ban even though it’s no longer enforceable.

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Anti-gay law costs Indiana $60 million

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Indianapolis (AP) – Indiana may have lost as much as $60 million in hotel profits, tax revenue and other economic benefits when a dozen groups decided against hosting conventions in Indianapolis last year due at least in part to the controversy surrounding the state’s religious objections law.

A document prepared by the tourism group Visit Indy shows that the 12 out-of-state groups were surveyed and all said that the state’s controversial law played a role in their decision to hold their events elsewhere. The document was obtained by The Associated Press ahead of its formal release Jan. 26.

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Tennessee representative says anti-gay bill worth $8.5 billion loss

By : Wire Report
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Nashville (AP) – The Tennessee lawmaker whose bill would bar the state from following the U.S. Supreme Court’s gay marriage ruling says he is undeterred by a projected loss of $8.5 billion in federal funds if the proposal becomes law.

State Rep. Mark Pody said at a state Capitol rally Jan. 21 that the proposal he has dubbed the “Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act” is worth any cost – and the Republican from the Nashville suburb of Lebanon disputed the estimated loss of federal funds.

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Alabama chief justice says marriage equality ban still in place

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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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Orlando gay organizations add groups

By : Jamie Hyman
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Two Central Florida LGBT organizations are offering new groups to benefit the community they serve.

Older, Wiser, Learning (OWL), a program for older LGBTs run out of the GLBT Center, now offers a weekly “Lady Hoots,” a forum for women to discuss issues and topics they face in their daily lives.

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NCAA joins coalition in support of LGBT rights in Indiana

By : Wire Report
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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – The NCAA has thrown its considerable heft behind efforts to get Indiana lawmakers to add LGBT civil rights protections into state law, announcing Dec. 16 that it joined a coalition of businesses that is pushing for the change.

“The NCAA national office in Indianapolis supports making Indiana a welcoming and inclusive place for people to work, live and enjoy,” Bernard Franklin, NCAA chief inclusion officer, said in a statement. He added that the NCAA was “proud” to join the group Indiana Competes to help “establish fair and equitable policies for all.”

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Same-sex couples challenge North Carolina religious exemption law

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Charlotte, N.C. (AP) – Three couples file a lawsuit challenging North Carolina’s law allowing officials to refuse to perform gay marriages based on their religious beliefs. Their attorney says the state is violating the First Amendment and using taxpayer money to advance a religious point of view, and they want to strike down the law – one of only two in the country.

The law was pushed by Republicans and passed in June over the veto of GOP Gov. Pat McCrory. Under the law, local magistrates, who can preside over marriages, and some register of deeds officials, who issue licenses, can opt out of performing marriages if they have a “sincerely held religious objection.”

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Arkansas updates birth certificates for some same-sex couples

By : Wire
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Little Rock (AP) – The Arkansas Health Department has decided to issue amended birth certificates for children of same-sex couples who can prove they were married before the child was born, an agency spokeswoman confirmed Dec. 7.

The department reviewed an order from Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Tim Fox and decided to amend those specific birth certificates starting last Friday, department spokeswoman Meg Mirivel said. As of Monday morning, Mirivel said “a few” couples had applied for the amended certificates.

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