Suspect reports shots fired after robbing, stabbing man

By : wire report
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ABOVE: Victor Morel, photo courtesy Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office via WPTV.

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. (AP) | A suspect called police officers to report that a man he had robbed and stabbed was shooting at him as he got away, according to authorities in Florida.

Boynton Beach police officers said Victor Morel called them Saturday night to report that someone had shot at him twice.

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Fifth Third Bank reverses decision, will continue to donate to school voucher program

By : Samantha Neely
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ORLANDO | Fifth Third Bank has decided to reverse their original decision to pull out of Florida’s school program after it was reported that the money goes back to private schools that discriminate against LGBTQ students and employees.  

The financial institution released a statement on Feb. 7 saying that after conducting a comprehensive review of the program, they decided that they could “continue to support it, while adhering to our core values.” 

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More companies pull funding from Florida school voucher program due to anti-LGBTQ policies

By : Samantha Neely
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ABOVE: Wyndham Destinations (pictured) joins Fifth Third Bank and Wells Fargo in stopping funding to Florida school voucher program due to anti_LGBTQ policies. (Photo from Wyndham’s Facebook)

Wells Fargo and Wyndham Destinations are the next major companies to announce they will no longer to be donating to Florida’s school voucher program as long as it continues to discriminate against LGBTQ students and employees. 

The two companies joined Fifth Third Bank, who earlier this week announced their withdraw from the program after state Reps. Carlos Guillermo Smith and Anna Eskamani called the company out on social media. The financial company responded to Smith in a pair of tweets, saying they stood with LGBTQ kids and would no longer be contributing until more inclusive policies were made.  

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Reps. Carlos Guillermo Smith and Anna V. Eskamani praise Fifth Third Bank for standing with LGBTQ students, employees

By : Samantha Neely
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ABOVE: Reps. Carlos Guillermo Smith and Anna V. Eskamani at the Florida State Capitol Building in Tallahassee Jan. 23. (Photo from Rep. Smith’s Facebook page)

Fifth Third Bank announced on Jan. 28 that they will no longer be donating to Florida’s voucher system if it continues to support voucher schools that discriminate against LGBTQ students and employees 

Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith and Rep. Anna V. Eskamani called the bank out on social media for funding anti-LGBTQ, with Smith tweeting, “Marching in @OrlandoPride while also funding anti-LGBTQ schools is NOT okay!” 

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Anti-LGBTQ bill attacking local employment protections advances in Florida House

By : Jeremy Williams
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ABOVE: State Rep. Bob Rommel’s HB 305 looks to strip local LGBTQ employment protections. (Photo from Rommel’s Facebook)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. | A bill looking to remove local LGBTQ protections in employment across the state cleared a hurdle Jan. 28 as the Florida House Subcommittee on Local, Federal and Veterans Affairs voted down party lines to move State Rep. Bob Rommel’s HB 305 to its final committee.

By a vote of 10-5, the committee advanced the “Preemptions of Conditions of Employment” bill, which would repeal protections that currently protect nearly 60% of the state’s population from employers discriminating against a person based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

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Former LGBT+ Center Orlando ED Terry DeCarlo passes away

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Terry DeCarlo, the former executive director of the LGBT+ Center in Orlando who headed The Center in the aftermath of the Pulse tragedy, passed away after battling Stage 4 neck and face cancer. He was 56 years old.

DeCarlo’s husband, Bill Huelsman posted the news to DeCarlo’s Facebook page Jan. 28.

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Pam Bondi named as part of Trump’s impeachment legal team

By : Samantha Neely
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Pam Bondi was named Jan. 17 as a part of  President Donald Trump’s legal team for his upcoming impeachment trial.   

Bondi will join the likes of former law professor and O.J. Simpson attorney Alan Dershowitz and Ken Starr, the former independent counsel whose investigation of former President Bill Clinton led to his impeachment, according to an anonymous source with the Associated Press. 

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First week of the Florida legislative session and Republican lawmakers introduce 4 anti-LGBTQ bills

By : Samantha Neely
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Hours before the 2020 legislative deadline, seven Florida Republican lawmakers submitted four anti-LGBTQ bills on Jan. 13.  

The lawmakers, which include Rep. Anthony Sabatini, Sen. Dennis Baxley, Rep. Byron Donalds, Rep. Michael Grant, Sen. Joe Gruters, Rep. Bob Rommel and Sen. Keith Perry, all came together to introduce the bills that each included a companion bill in the House and Senate.  

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‘Ugly Betty’ co-creator Silvio Horta dies in Miami at 45

By : Wire Report
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ABOVE: Silvio Horta in 2017. (Photo from Horta’s Facebook)

MIAMI (AP) – Award-winning producer Silvio Horta, who was acclaimed for creating the hit series “Ugly Betty,” has died. He was 45.

Investigators believe Horta died by suicide at a Miami hotel Jan. 7, the Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner said Jan. 8.

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2019 was a year for the LGBTQ record books

By : Jeremy Williams & Ryan Williams-Jent
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Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? Of course not! That’s why after a historical 365 days, Watermark has assembled our annual year in review.

2019 was a landmark year for us here at Watermark. In August, we proudly celebrated 25 years of serving Central Florida and Tampa Bay’s ever-expanding LGBTQ communities.

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For Florida, 2010s became a decade of mass shootings

By : Wire Report
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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) | For Florida, the 2010s were a decade of high-profile mass shootings: at a nightclub, a high school, an airport and a naval base — plus two headline-grabbing murder trials that ended in acquittals.

Florida passed New York to become the nation’s third-most populous state. Meanwhile, in politics, Rick Scott began 2010 as a near-unknown, was elected governor 11 months later and eventually defeated U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson. That ended one of Florida’s longest political careers. Donald Trump smothered the 2016 presidential aspirations of former Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio. Trump took the White House and then became a Florida resident.

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Greater Fort Lauderdale to host inaugural Pride of the Americas

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: Pride Fort Lauderdale’s Pride of the Americas team marches at WorldPride. Photo via Pride Fort Lauderdale’s Facebook page.

Fort Lauderdale, Fla. | The Greater Fort Lauderdale area will host the inaugural Pride of the Americas on April 21-26, 2020, organizers have shared.

Pride of the Americas will be presented by Pride Fort Lauderdale, the oldest Pride celebration in the state of Florida. The organization began in 1977 from protests after a successful public referendum to overturn a gay rights ordinance in Miami-Dade County.

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