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Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros Lehtinen and Transgender Son Speak Out in CBS Miami Interview: VIDEO

Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL.) disclosed in an interview with CBS Miami last night that her views have changed on LGBT people after coming to terms with her transgender son's transition Mediaite reports.

Watch Ros-Lehtinen and her son's interview with CBS Miami, AFTER THE JUMP...

RoslehtinenHer son Rodrigo, born Amanda, started the transition process in 2007, and he officially went public with his identity in the interview that aired last night. Ros-Lehtinen is 100 percent supportive of her son's decision.

Said Ros-Lehtinen:

“As parents we wanted to make sure Rigo understood we were totally fine with it. We wanted to make sure he was safe. Our society is sometimes not inviting and not caring enough and there is no mystery that LGBT kids when they are younger are bullied."

Rep. Ros-Lehtinen originally voted for the Defense of Marriage Act back in 1996, but she is the only Republican to vote for its repeal. Although Rodrigo's mother is a part of a political party that aims to derail LGBT rights, Lehtinen's son loves her dearly.

Rodrigo

Said Rodrigo:

“I think she’s genuinely a good person, she may be Republican and I may not be, but she cares about people enough and the tide of history is going so much in that direction.”

Rep. Ros-Lehtinen also gave advice on how parents should react to their children coming out to them. Fortunately, none of her suggestions included conversion therapy as a solution, which some members of her party support.

Said Ros-Lehtinen:

“Don’t freak out, stay calm and don’t be afraid. Love your child because that person is your child whether it’s the person you wanted him or her to be or not. That’s my advice to parents, never, never reject your child. That’s unconditional love no matter what.”

Watch Ros-Lehtinen and her son's interview with CBS Miami, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros Lehtinen and Transgender Son Speak Out in CBS Miami Interview: VIDEO" »


Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi Appeals Gay Marriage Ruling to Eleventh Circuit Court

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has filed an appeal with the Eleventh Circuit asking the court to take up Judge Robert Hinkle's August ruling overturning the state's ban on same-sex marriage. 

BondiLast week, Hinkle announced he would not lift the stay on his ruling before it is set to expire on January 5. The Eleventh Circuit also has jurisdiction over Alabama and Georgia - neither of which have marriage equailty yet. 

Here's an excerpt from Bondi's appeal:

Because no fundamental right is at issue, and because there is no other basis fro applying heightened scrutiny, only rational basis applies. Florida's laws satisfy this deferential standard. Florida's laws therefore do not violate the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. Nor do they violate the right to travel, the Establishment Clause, or a right to intimate association. 

Read the full appeal below via Equality Case Files


Florida DMV Threatens To Revoke Gay Couple's Driver Licenses If They Don't Change Names - VIDEO

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The state of Florida is threatening to revoke a same-sex couple's driver licenses because they obtained them using an out-of-state marriage certificate.

Daniel [left] and Scott Wall-Desousa, of Palm Bay, Florida, have been together for 10 years and were married in New York City. 

Earlier this year, both men attempted to get their hyphenated, married name — which appears on their Social Security cards — on their Florida driver licenses.

Daniel Wall-Desousa had no trouble, but Scott was rejected at a different DMV office — based on Florida's constitutional amendment prohibiting recognition of same-sex marriages from out of state, according to a report from WFTV Channel 9.

After an extended back-and-forth with state officials, Scott went to a different DMV office and was able to obtain a license with his married name. The couple then appeared on WFTV, which reported they were one of the first couples in Florida to change their name thorugh an out-of-state same-sex marriage.

However, state officials apparently took notice, and within days of the report airing, the Wall-Desousas received a letter saying their driver licenses will be revoked unless they obtain new ones in their previous names, WFTV reports.

"It informs me and notifies me that my driving privileges will be canceled indefinitely as of Nov. 22," Daniel Wall-Desousa said of the letter.

The couple now says they intend to file a lawsuit. Several state and federal judges in Florida have struck down the state's marriage amendment as unconsitutinal, but those decisions have been stayed pending appeals by Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi.

In Texas earlier this year, a woman was similarly denied a driver license when she tried to obtain one using an out-of-state same-sex marriage certificate. But the woman, Connie Wilson, was later able to obatin a license with her married name using a US passport. 

No word on whether Texas plans to try to revoke Wilson's license.

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

Continue reading "Florida DMV Threatens To Revoke Gay Couple's Driver Licenses If They Don't Change Names - VIDEO " »


WATCH: Massive Hammerhead Shark Stalks Kayakers for 2 Miles Off South Florida Coast

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In an impressive display of not freaking out and/or becoming paralyzed by fear, Palm Beach kayakers Mark Naumovitz and Brian Nelli managed to catch this incredible (read: terrifying) footage of a 13-foot hammerhead shark stalking their boats for two whole miles off the South Florida coast. 

Nelli also spoke with local CBS station WPEC about the close encounter with the unexpected visitor:

"We figured he was more inquisitive to see what we were...he gave us a few bumps to check us out."

Check out the footage and interview, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Continue reading "WATCH: Massive Hammerhead Shark Stalks Kayakers for 2 Miles Off South Florida Coast" »


Federal Judge Won't Lift Stay On Ruling That Struck Down Florida's Gay Marriage Ban

6a00d8341c730253ef01b8d062de3d970c-800wiIn August, Judge Robert Hinkle became the first federal judge to rule Flordia's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. However, Hinkle also issued a stay of his ruling, preventing it from going into effect. Judge Hinkle has today announced that he will not lift his stay before it is set to expire on January 5. The AP reports:

Attorney General Pam Bondi is seeking a review of the decision by the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Gay marriage proponents had asked Hinkle to lift the stay, which would have allowed gay marriages to begin despite the appeal.

"This would leave the 11th Circuit insufficient time to make a considered judgment on whether the stay should remain in place and thus would be inconsistent with the public interest in implementing just once the constitutional decision on same-sex marriage in Florida," Hinkle wrote. [...]

Hinkle also denied Bondi's request to leave the stay in place as long as the 11th Circuit is considering Florida's appeal, setting instead the January deadline. The judge said that would mean unnecessary delay, especially considering "the unbroken line of circuit decisions striking down bans on same-sex marriage."

"No circuit that has decided the same-sex marriage issue on the merits has stayed its ruling," the judge added.


Rick Scott Defeats Charlie Crist in Florida Gubernatorial Race

6a00d8341c730253ef0147e1c6faeb970b-800wiFormer Republican Governor Charlie Crist, who was seeking Florida's top office again, this time as a Democrat, lost to incumbent Republican Rick Scott yesterday. The New York Times reports: 

Despite Mr. Scott’s lack of popularity among voters, his victory was a testament, in large part, to an aggressive campaign that highlighted Florida’s economic turnaround during his tenure while also pummeling Mr. Crist with negative advertisements.

His win, although slight, came with the Florida Republican establishment’s full support, something he did not enjoy in 2010 when he beat out Bill McCollum, the party favorite, in the primary.

Still, Mr. Scott failed to capture a majority of voters, which may complicate his efforts to lead a politically mixed state in his second term.

Mr. Crist was unable to overcome months of attack ads, which constantly referred to him as a “flip-flopper” for switching his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat.

Scott's victory means that the fate of gay marriage in the Sunshine State continues to be uncertain, as Scott has made it clear he intends to leave the question of how to handle legal challenges to state Attorney General Pam Bondi, who for her part has been adamant about defending the ban. Scott has meanwhile been unswayed by calls (including one made by Crist) for him to stop defending the anti-equality law that voters passed in 2008. 

Though now a proponent of marriage equality, in 2006 Crist signed a petition supporting a state-wide constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. 


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