Mark’s List founder killed after first leg of SMARTride charity event

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Marathon – Gay activist and founder of the gay travel and entertainment website JumpOnMarksList.com, Mark Haines, of Fort Lauderdale died Nov. 14 after he was struck by a pickup truck and two other vehicles on U.S. 1 in the Florida Keys near Marathon. He was 54.

Haines had just completed the first leg of the SMART Ride, a two-day, 165-mile bike ride from Miami to Key West that raises money for organizations working with those affected by HIV/AIDS.

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Attempt to lift stay on gay marriage in Monroe County DENIED

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MIAMI (AP) – Gay couples in the Florida Keys remain unable to legally marry after a state appeals court declined to intervene in their case.

The Miami-based 3rd District Court of Appeal refused to invalidate a Monroe County judge’s decision temporarily preventing a wedding for Aaron Huntsman and William Lee Jones and other gay couples.

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Keys couple takes marriage equality fight to state appeals court

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Miami, FL (AP) – Attorneys for a Florida Keys gay couple have turned to a state appeals court to lift a judge’s order blocking them from getting married.

The Miami-based 3rd District Court of Appeal was asked July 23 to overturn a Monroe County judge’s decision earlier this week preventing a wedding for Aaron Huntsman and William Lee Jones and other gay couples.

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Judge rules Florida marriage ban unconstitutional

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UPDATE! Florida attorney general Pam Bondi has appealed the Judge Luis Garcia’s decision to overturn the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

“With many similar cases pending throughout the entire country, finality on this constitutional issue must come from the U.S. Supreme Court,” reads a statement Bondi’s office released quickly after the ruling. 

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Key West judge resigns after Manhunt profile leaked

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KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) – A judge in the Florida Keys said his decision to retire early came after an “inappropriate invasion of my privacy.”

Judge David Audlin announced in April that he was retiring with four years left on his term. May 9 was the Monroe County chief circuit judge’s last day.

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Key West landfill gets some LGBT color

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KWflag_315633448.jpgTwo Key West men and a dozen volunteers prepared for PrideFest by painting a massive rainbow flag on the grass-covered “Mount Trashmore,” a dormant landfill that is the highest and most visible landmass in the Florida Keys.

The flag measures approximately 125 feet by 60 feet. Landscaper John Mumford and artist Rick Worth spearheaded the project.

“I thought this would be a great way to get people into the spirit of PrideFest and promote the PrideFest events,” said Mumford, who serves on the board of the Key West Business Guild that is organizing the festival.

Mumford estimated the painting project required 87 gallons of paint in red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. The cost of paint and supplies was underwritten by a group of local businesses and individuals.

PrideFest events in Key West, set for June 9-13, include a “Broadway Cares” concert, champagne sunset sailing excursions, dances, parties and a grand parade.

Florida mourns two LGBT activists

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South Florida LGBTs are mourning the loss of two LGBT activists. Henry Woods was a leader in the Florida LGBT Democratic Caucus, the Key West Lambda Democrats and an adjunct political science professor at Florida Keys Community College. Woods, 58, slipped into a coma on Christmas Eve after suffering a severe aneurysm. According to the Key West Keynoter, Woods was a 10-year Key West resident who also ran Woods Consulting, which takes on public relations, grant writing and other responsibilities for local groups including AIDS Help.

Denise King, mother of murdered gay teenager Simmie Williams, Jr., died suddenly on New Years Eve after collapsing in her Fort Lauderdale apartment two hours before midnight. King’s 17-year old openly gay African-American son was murdered on Sistrunk Blvd. on Feb. 22, 2008. Following his death, King became a spokeswoman against intolerance. Police are still looking for her son’s killer.