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Florida Legislature Votes to Strike Language Banning Gay Adoption from State Laws: VIDEO


The Florida Senate voted today to strike language banning gay adoption from its laws in an acknowledgement of the court ruling five years ago declaring the state's gay adoption ban unconstitutional, Equality Florida reports, via press release:

In a bipartisan vote, the Florida Senate on Tuesday gave final approval to a bill designed to help more foster children find permanent homes. The bill also removes an outdated and unconstitutional ban on gays and lesbians adopting children.

Former Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Destin, spoke eloquently in urging his colleagues not to be swayed by objections that the measure might go against the religious principles of some private, taxpayer-supported adoption agencies.

Gaetz, a Lutheran, noted that his denomination placed 183 children in adoptive homes last year and did not discriminate against gay or lesbian parents. That’s “more than three times as many” as the Baptist and Catholic agencies that say they do not want to place children in gay or lesbian homes, he said.

“So I ask you today to follow the law. Follow the law that says we don’t discriminate. Follow the law that says we’re going to give these (children waiting for adoption) the best chance we can.”

 Watch Gaetz's speech arguing for removal of anti-gay adoption language, AFTER THE JUMP...

The Florida House voted to strike the language in March. The bill now goes to Florida Governor Rick Scott.

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Florida Teen Arrested For Hacking School Computer To Play Gay Prank On Teacher: VIDEO


An eighth grade student in Florida has been charged with a felony after changing the background image on a teacher’s computer to one showing two men kissing, reports the Tampa Bay Times.

The Pasco County Sheriff's Office has charged Paul R. Smith Middle School student Domanik Green with an offense against a computer system and unauthorized access.

SheriffAccording to Sheriff Chris Nocco (right), one of the computers Green accessed had encrypted 2014 FCAT questions stored on it. The 14-year-old did not access those files, but Nocco warned ominously although this was “just a teenage prank, who knows what this teenager might have done.”

However, Green - who had previously received a three-day suspension for accessing the system inappropriately - said that students would often log into the administrative account to screen-share with their friends. He explained that many students were able to access administrator accounts because the password is a teacher's last name.

Spokeswoman Linda Cobbe said the school district is now in the process of changing the network password.

Green received a 10-day suspension from school and will likely be granted pretrial intervention by a judge.

Watch a report, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Florida House Passes Bill Allowing Private Adoption Agencies to Discriminate Against Gay Couples


By a 75-38 vote today, the Florida House voted for a "conscience protection" bill allowing private adoption agencies to refuse placement of children with same-sex couples, the Tallahassee Democrat reports:

Proponents said the measure by Rep. Jason Brodeur, R-Sanford, would prevent some adoption agencies from halting services because of moral convictions against gay marriage. Opponents, mostly Democrats, argued that the bill (HB 7111) amounted to state-sanctioned discrimination against gays.

The bill does not specifically mention gays. It permits agencies with written codes of ethics to refuse adoptions sought by parents whose lifestyles are at odds with the agency.

RichardsonRep. David Richardson (right), D-Miami Beach, told the House about feeling fear as a boy in 1977, seeing Anita Bryant conducting her notorious campaign to repeal a Miami-Dade County gay-rights ordinance. He said 36 states now recognize same-sex marriage and predicted that the issue will be resolved nationwide in a Supreme Court ruling next summer.

“This fight is over,” Richardson told the GOP majority. “Your fight is not with me. Your fight is not with the Democratic Party. Your fight is not with the gay community.

“Your fight is among yourselves because certain factions in the Republican Party are not going to yield to what is happening in society.”

The AP adds:

The bill now goes to the Senate, which rejected similar language Wednesday in a separate adoption bill. That bill, already approved by the House, strips the gay adoption ban from state law to comply with a five-year-old court decision saying it was unconstitutional.

Orlando Man Attacked by Group for Being Gay: VIDEO


An attack on an Orlando man last month which was captured on a cell phone as it happened was motivated by the man's sexual orientation, according to police.

WFTV reports:

The victim, who doesn't want to be identified, said he was jumped by about 10 people and now fears for his and his family's safety.

He believes the beat-down stemmed from a fight at the Callahan Community Center, in Parramore, and that the group was looking to settle the score with anyone in the neighborhood who happened to be gay.

The video shows the mob of teens ambushing the victim while screaming statements about his sexual orientation. He's seen on the ground being punched and slammed with chairs before managing to break away.

A 14- and 16- year old have been identified as two of the attackers and police are working to identify the others.

Watch WFTV's report, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Florida Bakery Receives Death Threats After Refusing to Bake Anti-gay Cake for Televangelist Troll: VIDEO


A Longwood, Florida bakery owner said she is receiving death threats and losing business after refusing to bake a cake with an anti-gay message.

FeuersteinJoshua Feuerstein, an Arizona-based former televangelist, recorded a video of him calling Cut the Cake bakery and asking if they'd be willing to make a cake that said, "We do not support gay marriage." Owner Sharon Haller refused and hung up on the call, leading Feuerstein to warn:

"We've got to wake up America because soon if somebody preaches against gay marriage - and I love gay people, for me this is nothing against gay people, for me this is about religious freedom - they're going to be ripping pastors out of pulpits, closing churches down because somebody preaches a message out of Scripture that does not agree with the homosexual lifestyle. And next thing you know, they're in jail."

In a Skype interview with local news, Feuerstein also huffed and puffed about how there's an apparent double standard in America today when it comes to the intersection of homosexuality and sweet treats. 

WKMG Local 6 reports:

"I wanted to see if it was actually a double standard; if a gay-friendly bakery and one that advertised themselves as so on pro-LGBT wedding sites would actually bake a cake that went against their principles," said Feuerstein.

Haller said the experiment came at her expense.

"We started getting some hundreds of phone calls and making very nasty and negative gestures towards our business, towards us," said Haller.

HallerHaller (pictured right) said she has been loosing business because people are putting bad reviews online. She has filed a report with the police and is considering taking legal action against Feuerstein for illegally recording their phone call. Feuerstein posted the video on his Facebook page and encouraged his over 1 million followers to call the bakery and "see what discrimination really is." He has since taken the video down. Meanwhile, a GoFundMe account has been set up by Cut the Cake to "supplement our business due to (current day and future) loss of sales."

Watch Feuerstein's original video and a Local 6 report on the story, AFTER THE JUMP...

Back in February, Matt Baume released a fantastic video outlining why there's a big difference between bakeries refusing to sell wedding cakes to gays and bakeries refusing to sell cakes with slurs or hurtful messages. 

Continue reading "Florida Bakery Receives Death Threats After Refusing to Bake Anti-gay Cake for Televangelist Troll: VIDEO" »

Florida Lawmaker Cuts Off 10-Year-Old With Two Dads Testifying In Support Of Gay Adoption: VIDEO


Despite concerns about Indiana-style backlash, a Florida House panel on Thursday approved a bill that would allow adoption agencies to discriminate against gays based on their religious convictions.

The House Judiciary Committee voted 11-4 along party lines to approve the measure, which now proceeds to the full House. However, passage is unlikely because there is no companion in the Senate, according to The Tallahassee Democrat

Rep. Jason Brodeur, R-Sanford, said some of the 82 non-governmental adoption agencies in Florida do not approve of unmarried couples, single parents or gays adopting children. He said his bill (HB 7111) was aimed at protecting their moral objections, while allowing parents seeking an adoption to use other offices – including the state Department of Children and Families – for such placements.

“This legislation is Indiana-style discrimination, plain and simple,” Carlos Gillermo Smith, representing Equality Florida, told the House Judiciary Committee. “The timing here couldn’t be worse. This will be a disaster for Florida at a time when businesses are taking out their actions against states that are promoting anti-gay legislation that is just like this. This threatens Florida’s tourism-based economy.”

The bill was introduced shortly after the House voted to repeal the state's unconstitutional ban on gay adoption. Similar bills have been introduced in other states, including Michigan and Texas.  

Martin-GillNathaniel Gill, 10, whose gay father was the plaintiff in the case that overturned Florida's ban on gay adoption, testified Thursday against the bill. But Nathaniel's testimony was abruptly cut off by the Republican committee chair, who told him he had exceeded the one-minute time limit.  

Nathaniel recalled how he was placed in foster care at four months after his 4-year-old brother went to a neighbor's house to beg for food. 

"I was lucky to be placed with my brother, he was all I had, and he has looked after me since I was born," Nathaniel said. "In the home where DCS placed us we had two dads. We were happy and liked our new home a lot." 

But when Nathaniel was 2, the state planned to separate him from his brother because they said his brother wasn't adoptable. After Nathaniel was cut off during the committee hearing, Equality Florida posted a clip of the full testimony he planned to give. 

"They didn't think anyone would want the two of us," Nathaniel said. "For me that would have been a horrible mistake, but somebody did want the two of us, my two dads. I didn't want to get adopted by myself, I didn't want a new family. My brother and my two dads were the only family I knew. Luckily for me, my dads were very stubborn. They fought the state for four years. They won and beat the law, and that's how we made a forever family." 

Watch the clip of Nathaniel getting cut off, as well as his full testimony, AFTER THE JUMP ...

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