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04/19/2007


Key West's Island House Resort Put Up For Sale

One of the longest operating gay resorts in the world, the Island House in Key West is now being put up for sale by owner Jon Allen who bought the resort (open since 1976) with partner Martin Kay in 1999. The couple invested more than $2 million in the refurbishment of the resort, but Kay passed away in 2013. Allen, for his part, still believes that the House will flourish under new management.

IslandHouse_KeyWestMetroWeekly reports:

"I think I can say without boast that we created at Island House a unique place, a safe and happy space for thousands of gay men to meet, to eat and drink, to make merry. I’m proud of that, but more important in this context, Island House is successful and profitable operation. I’m confident that its new owner will operate it as a gay men’s resort. It has higher ADR’s and occupancy than any comparable property in Old Town. There’s no good reason to change its model. It’s a success," wrote Allen.

Steve Smith, outreach director for the Key West Business Guild and a friend to Allen and Kay from the time they purchased the Island House, said, "[Jon and Martin's] purchase and renovation of the Island House was a major undertaking and the end result shows through its loyal repeat guests and their dedicated employees."

Top ratings don't hurt either; the clothing-optional resort was called the "best gay resort in the world" by outtraveler.com, and its amenities, including a pool, hot tub, tanning deck, spa, and cafe/bar all help create a top notch experience. For now the resort will continue to operate as usual. 

Image via MetroWeekly.


Freedom to Marry Launching $1 million Campaign to Build Southern Support for Gay Marriage: VIDEO

Screen Shot 2014-02-23 at 11.11.42 AM

At a press conference on Monday, Freedom to Marry is expected to announce a new $1 million television ad campaign in Southern states in the hopes of swaying public opinion and the judges who will decide the fate of state bans on gay unions. As it stands, there are about two dozen lawsuits challenging bans on gay marriage that are pending before state and federal courts in Southern states. The Washington Post reports:

“Freedom to Marry’s national strategy has always been to build a critical mass of states and support to create the climate for the Supreme Court to bring the country to national resolution. We don’t have to win within every state, but we have to win enough states,” said Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry

Screen Shot 2014-02-23 at 11.13.09 AMAtlanta Mayor Kasim Reed will join the group at its Monday press conference. The group will also try to tie same-sex marriage to the civil rights movement, by featuring Rep. John Lewis [right], the longtime Georgia Democrat who ran the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, in a testimonial.

“I see the right to marriage as a civil rights issue. You cannot have rights for one segment of the population and one group of people and not for everybody,” Lewis says in the video.

Watch Lewis' video for the new campaign, AFTER THE JUMP...

Co-chairs of the new initiative will include Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Reps. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), as well as Mark McKinnon, a former senior adviser to George W. Bush and Lance Bass, the ‘N Sync singer.

Continue reading "Freedom to Marry Launching $1 million Campaign to Build Southern Support for Gay Marriage: VIDEO" »


Dear Abby to Bigot: Gay People Are 'Born That Way'

History repeats itself, and as the saying goes, those who don't learn from it are doomed to repeat it.

PhilipsEchoing the famous 1979 letter in which Abby told a writer who took issue with the same-sex "weirdos" in their neighborhood that they "could move," a couple in Tampa, Florida moved into a new neighborhood and took issue with the two same-sex couples in the local social circle.

Despite being welcomed by everyone, when it was time for the new couple to host a gathering they deliberately excluded the same-sex couples, citing not wanting to compromise their "values" (of which "love thy neighbor as thyself" is evidently not one), and are now perplexed by the sudden shunning they are experiencing from the rest of the community. 

Abby took the time to set them straight, so to speak, starting with the direct statement, 

[R]egardless of what you were told in your previous community, a person's sexual orientation isn't a "lifestyle choice." Gay people don't choose to be gay; they are born that way. They can't change being gay any more than you can change being heterosexual.

While never being cruel, Abby takes them to task and lets them know that they have a golden opportunity here and not to blow it.


FL School Decides Against Expelling Student Who Defended Gay Student From Attacker: VIDEO

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Mark Betterson, a student at East Lee County High School in Lehigh Acres, Florida who was suspended after trying to stop another student from beating a gay student, has now been allowed to return to school. The news came after Betterson attended a punishment hearing Monday morning, NBC2 reports:

Betterson says he got into the fight with another student after that student hit another kid for being gay, and he says -- given the choice -- he would defend the victim again. 

"Bullying isn't called for, and everyone should be respected for what they want to be and what they want to do," Betterson said.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "FL School Decides Against Expelling Student Who Defended Gay Student From Attacker: VIDEO" »


Former FL State Rep Ana Rivas Logan Leaving Republican Party Over Its ‘Extremist’ Positions

Another former Florida GOP lawmaker is switching to the Democratic Party.

Rep. Ana Rivas Logan, like former Gov. Charlie Crist, says she is leaving the GOP because the party has become radicalized by the far right-wing. The Huffington Post reports:

Ana Rivas Logan"The GOP of today is not the party I joined; it's not the party of my parents," Rivas Logan said in a statement. "It's a party that has been radicalized and held hostage by a group of extremists. It's a party that attacks women and minorities -- and one that asked me, and my former Hispanic Republican colleagues in the Florida legislature, to turn on their own people by supporting extreme anti-immigrant policies. It's a party I was no longer proud to be a part of."

Rivas Logan served on the Miami-Dade County school board before heading to Tallahassee in 2010. She lost a nasty re-election primary in 2012 after redistricting shuffled her into the same district as another incumbent Republican. Miami-Dade GOP chair Nelson Diaz suggested her switch was motivated by a desire to regain office.

Crist tweeted his support for Rivas Logan's switch, "Bienvenida @anarivaslogan to the Democratic Party! Glad you are here my friend."


Florida High School Student Suspended for Defending Gay Student from Attacker: VIDEO

Betterson

Mark Betterson, a student at East Lee County High School in Lehigh Acres, Florida, was suspended for 10 days after trying to stop another student from beating a gay student, WFTX reports:

Mark Betterson says he realized he had to do something when he saw a fellow student throw milk in another's face, use gay slurs, and then start to hit him. James Griffin, 18, is charged with battery. His alleged victim, 18-year-old Jonathan Colon, who is openly gay, walked away with bruises on his head. Many who saw the fight say it could have been worse if Betterson didn't step in.

Said Betterson: Johnathan was just going to stand there and get beat up. And if I didn't jump into it, it would have gotten serious. I was just trying to break up the whole thing because it's jst not fair for somebody to get beat up for something that he is."

Watch (warning: autoplay), AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Florida High School Student Suspended for Defending Gay Student from Attacker: VIDEO" »


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