2020 hopefuls commit to equality ahead of Florida’s primary

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: “DEMZ” featuring Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden by Chad Mize.

It’s been more than three years since Donald Trump assumed the presidency of the United States, succeeding LGBTQ ally Barack Obama to become the nation’s 45th commander in chief. It’s been longer still since he became the first Republican to acknowledge the LGBTQ community from the podium of the Republican National Convention. On June 21, 2016, he vowed to protect LGBTQ citizens from “violence and oppression” while accepting his party’s nomination.

The promise drew the immediate ire of journalist Tony Schwartz, the ghostwriter who was credited as the co-author of “The Art of the Deal,” Trump’s bestselling biography. Schwartz shadowed and studied the real estate developer for nearly two years to write the 1987 memoir for him, which he says today he would name “The Sociopath.”

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2020 Presidential Preference Primary Election Guide

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: “DEMZ” featuring Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden by Chad Mize.

Ahead of Florida’s presidential preference primary March 17, Watermark contacted each presidential campaign that will appear on the statewide ballot to ask nine yes (Y) or no (N) questions and one open-ended question pertaining to LGBTQ equality.

Below, you’ll find their abbreviated answers of the remaining candidates, compiled via each campaign’s direct response or the websites of Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

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Bloomberg pummeled, lackluster in response in bloody Democratic debate

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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ABOVE: Michael Bloomberg faced the wrath of Democratic candidates in a bloody Democratic debate. (Photo by NBC News; used with permission)

With Michael Bloomberg ascending in the polls, fellow candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination pummeled during him — and in some cases each other — in a bloody debate Feb. 19.

Across the stage in Las Vegas, candidates seeking to thwart Bloomberg hammered him on the “stop-and-frisk” policy, allegations of sexual misconduct and discrimination and being a billionaire seeking to buy the presidency. In response, Bloomberg delivered responses that were cerebral at best, but largely seemed disengaged and lacked a presence on stage.

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02.20.2020 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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I’m not a SWIFTIE. That’s to say I’m not a fan of Taylor Swift’s music. In fact, I had to ask Google what her fans are called because I know so little about her. No offense to her or to her fans, it’s just not my bag and simply subjective. Also, consider the source: my favorite music is Air Supply.

Having said all of that, I can’t keep Taylor Swift out of my mind lately. “You need to calm down” has become the voice inside my head. This usually happens while I’m driving, and I drive a lot. I’ll be heading down I-4 at a nice 79 mph pace when a car driving at least 100 mph swerves around me. Suddenly I find myself snapping my fingers and singing, “You need to calm down! You’re driving too loud!” Sometimes Swift’s lyrics come to mind when my dog is yelling at me or when I’m overwhelmed with work vs. volunteering, but mostly I think “You need to calm down!” when I’m on Facebook reading political opinions.

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Buttigieg becomes 1st openly gay candidate to earn presidential delegates

By : Wire Report
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ABOVE: Pete Buttigieg in Iowa. (Photo from Buttigieg’s Facebook)

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) | The Iowa Democratic Party released partial results of its kickoff presidential caucus after a daylong delay Feb. 4 showing former Midwestern mayor Pete Buttigieg with a slight lead over progressive Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the opening contest of the party’s 2020 primary season.

The results followed 24 hours of chaos as technical problems marred the complicated caucus process, forcing state officials to apologize and raising questions about Iowa’s traditional place atop the presidential primary calendar.

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Buttigieg endorsed by major California, Nevada LGBTQ group

By : Wire Report
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Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg has won the backing of Equality California, one of the nation’s largest LGBTQ membership organizations, and its Nevada partner organization, an endorsement that could give him a boost in critical Western primaries.

While Buttigieg is the only openly gay candidate in the race, his endorsement by the organizations wasn’t a lock. Every candidate was asked to fill out a questionnaire, and the endorsement committee also considered supporting Elizabeth Warren or Tom Steyer, the only Californian still in the race. But Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, impressed the committee with his detailed policies for protecting LGBTQ youth in schools and ending the HIV epidemic by 2030.

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Warren pledges a Cabinet half-filled with women and non-binary people

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Sen. Elizabeth Warren, photo via Warren’s Facebook page.

With weeks remaining before the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 3, Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren has come out with a pledge to fill half of her Cabinet as president with women and non-binary people.

Warren made the pledge within a Medium post on Tuesday titled, “Restoring Integrity & Competence to Government After Trump,” which says Trump will “leave behind a government that has been infected by corruption and incompetence” upon his presumed exit from the White House after the 2020 election and outlines her plans.

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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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11.14.19 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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Progress, not perfection: One of the many mantras for those in a 12-step program. The idea is that no one is perfect; therefore striving for or searching for perfection is futile. One should simply try to do the next right thing, work toward being better one day at a time. It sounds nice on paper, but putting it in practice is much more difficult. It takes tools and time to train your brain to think this way.

I can’t say if this is the way things have always been or if I am just opening my eyes to it in the wake of information overload, but our society seems too preoccupied with perfection — giving way to an all or nothing culture.

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Klobuchar: Woman with Buttigieg’s record would miss debate

By : Wire Report
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ABOVE: Sen. Amy Klobuchar speaks with Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union.” (Screenshot from CNN)

CHICAGO (AP) | The 2020 Democratic presidential primary campaign drew a record six female candidates to the field. But with just less than three months until voting starts, only one has risen to the top tier.

Is it sexism or just politics?

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Mayors for Pete: Buttigieg hunts for support in city halls

By : wire report
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ABOVE: Mayor Pete Buttigieg, photo via Buttigieg’s Facebook.

WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) | As Pete Buttigieg works to prove the leader of a city of roughly 100,000 people is ready to assume the American presidency, he’s relying on help from politicians who would know best: his fellow mayors.

The South Bend, Indiana, mayor has amassed a network of roughly 60 “Mayors for Pete,” a collection of local leaders pushing for his underdog bid. The group includes mayors from former industrial cities, thriving metros and tiny towns of just a few thousand people. It includes the mayor of Dayton, Ohio, a Rust Belt city like the one Buttigieg leads, and the mayor of West Sacramento, California, a rising progressive leader. About a third are from swing states Democrats need to win to take the White House. But just three are from the early voting states Buttigieg needs to win to become Democrats’ presidential nominee.

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Pete Buttigieg surges in new Iowa poll

By : Wire & Staff Reports
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WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) | John McAnear, a 77-year-old Air Force veteran, stood in an audience of hundreds in suburban Des Moines with an oxygen tank at his side, wheezing as he implored Pete Buttigieg to protect the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The Democratic presidential hopeful offered a respectful, if perfunctory, “thank you for serving” and skipped any attempt to bond over their mutual military service. Instead, Buttigieg offered a list of proposals to fix the VA.

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