Florida Hub

Florida Recognizes First Same-Sex Couple As ACLU Asks Judge to End State's Gay Marriage Ban

Back in August, U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle became the first federal judge to strike down Florida's gay marriage ban when he ordered the state to issue a new death certificate for Carol Goldwasser, naming Arlene Goldberg - her partner for 47 years - as her wife. 

FloridaOn Wednesday, Goldberg recieved Goldwasser's newly issued death certificate, making her and her late spouse the first gay couple to have their marriage recognized in the Sunshine State, Broward Palm Beach New Times reports:

"It's hard to put into words how meaningful this is to me," said Goldberg in a public statement. "For 47 years, Carol and I made our lives together, all the while being treated like strangers in the eyes of the law in Florida. It's bittersweet that Carol isn't here to share this joy with me, but for the first time in 47 years, our marriage was respected. Our relationship and commitment to each other is finally recognized." 

Meanwhile, the ACLU of Florida has asked Hinkle to lift the stay on his ruling - a stay which covered all aspects of the federal case except Goldwasser's death certificate.  Attorney General Pam Bondi, backed by Governor Rick Scott, is continuing to defend the state's gay marriage ban. 

Said Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida:

"The governor could end this today if he wanted to. Don't put all this on Bondi. It's time the governor recognize the message that the U.S. Supreme Court has sent. It's over. If Scott Walker can make that decision, so can Rick Scott."

Hillsborough County, Florida Extends Non-Discrimination Protections To LGBT Citizens - VIDEO

Kevin beckner

Florida’s Hillsborough County Commission voted Wednesday to extend its Human Rights Ordinance to protect LGBT citizens, reports The Tampa Tribune.

The ordinance prohibits discrimination in employment, public accommodations, real estate transactions and county contracting and procurement.

The unanimous 7-0 vote reverses a 1995 decision that removed gay people from the county’s protection ordinance.

Several speakers at the commission meeting opposed extending protections to LGBT citizens. One speaker referred to homosexality as a “disfunction” and suggested that to extend protections would lead to special rights for pedophiles.

The vote was a victory for Kevin Beckner, the county's first out gay commissioner, who had assembled a business coalition in support of the amended ordinance, making it easier for some of the more-conservative commissioners to vote yes.

Members of the coalition argued that a more inclusive and diverse community is also more prosperous and attractive to highly trained workers.

Terry Wolfe, a resident who spoke in favor of the ordinance, said that the vote “goes a long way toward creating a climate of equality” in the county.

Watch a report on the leadup to the vote, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Hillsborough County, Florida Extends Non-Discrimination Protections To LGBT Citizens - VIDEO" »

Disgusting Wingnut Bryan Fischer Links Bestiality Conviction With Homosexuality


Vile wingnut rent-a-voice Bryan Fischer has taken to Twitter to link bestiality with homosexuality, according to Good As You.

Fischer is head of anti-gay listed hate group American Family Association, a pitiful organization which recently claimed the reason gay people are gay is because they suffered sexual abuse and are broken individuals

Responding to a story on USA Today about a Florida man who has been jailed for five years for raping his 8-month-old pitbull puppy, Fischer tweeted:

"How long before an attorney defends a guy like this on grounds it's his orientation, he was born this way?"

The response to Fischer’s disgusting tweet? Gratifyingly angry...


Florida AG Pam Bondi Appeals Broward County Decision Striking Down Gay Marriage Ban

6a00d8341c730253ef01b7c6d563e9970b-200wiFlorida's Attorney General Pam Bondi has filed a motion appealing Broward County Judge Dale Cohen's ruling that struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage. Judge Cohen stayed his ruling for 30 days, allowing the state time to appeal before his ruling would take effect. If the state did not appeal, same-sex marriages were said to be allowed to commence in Florida's second-most populous county. However, Judge Cohen later vacated his ruling upon learning that Bondi's office was not properly notified of his decision. According to Bondi's motion, the state is stepping in to "defend state law, ensure further review if necessary, and promote an orderly resolution of the legal issues presented." Bondi previously stated that she wanted the U.S. Supreme Court to have the ultimate say on Florida's marriage ban. Florida's new motion suggests the issue will likely be decided by the high court while at the same time asserting the state's interest in upholding its discriminatory ban: 

The challenges to Florida’s marriage laws turn on the same question: Whether the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution requires a state to recognize same-sex marriage. The United States Supreme Court has the final word on federal constitutional questions, and it is likely to resolve this question definitively in the near future. Until then, the State of Florida has an interest in defending its laws against challenges asserted by the petitioner here.

[h/t Joe.My.God]

Broward County, Florida May Start Issuing Gay Marriage Licenses Next Week After Appeal Deadline Passes

FloridaA Broward County, Florida clerk is contemplating whether to start issuing marriage license to same-sex couples starting next week following the passing of an appeal deadline in a case overturning the state's gay marriage ban, Equality Florida reports:

On August 4, Broward County Judge Cohen ruled Florida's ban on marriage for same-sex couples unconstitutional - and included the state must recognize legal out of state marriages. 

The judge stayed the ruling allowing for a 30-day appeal period. But as of Thursday, the deadline has passed and no appeal was made to the ruling. 

The case involved a woman from Lake Worth, Heather Brassner, who was seeking a divorce from her estranged partner. The couple had a civil union in Vermont back in 2002. 

The Miami Herald adds:

Screen Shot 2014-09-06 at 5.02.02 PM“Now we know the state isn’t appealing and we will have the first valid same-sex divorce in Florida,” said Coral Springs attorney Nancy Brodzki, who represents art dealer Heather Brassner in her divorce from Megan Lade. A hearing in the case, before Broward Circuit Judge Dale Cohen, is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Wednesday for the divorce to become final.

“That very much leaves open the question as to whether the clerk of courts, on his own, will take it upon himself to say a judge in this circuit has [declared the ban] invalid and I will now issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples,” Brodzki said.

Broward County Clerk Howard Forman [pictured] said he expects to decide by early next week.

“I’m researching it as quickly as I can. We’ve been researching it for months,” Forman said Thursday evening. “Florida’s changing a lot and we’re vetting the issue as hard as we can.”

Joe.my.god adds "With 1.7M residents, Broward is Florida's second-most populous county and includes the state's highest concentrations of gay residents in Fort Lauderdale, Wilton Manors, and Oakland Park"

And although Attorney General Pam Bondi didn't appeal this case, she did file a notice of an appeal in federal court on Thursday challenging a separate ruling striking down the state's gay marriage ban. 

New Campaign Urges Florida Gov. Rick Scott Not To Appeal Ruling Striking Down Gay Marriage Ban: VIDEO


Equality Florida has announced the creation of a new social media campaign intended to stop Florida Governor Rick Scott from appealing a decision that struck down the Sunshine State's ban on same-sex marriage. The campaign calls on the public to upload personal messages of support for marriage equality.

From Equality Florida:

6a00d8341c730253ef01b7c6d05d1d970b-200wiJudge Hinkle has stated that Attorney General Pam Bondi cannot appeal the decision. Then who can appeal? Craig J. Nichols, Florida’s Secretary of Management Services; John H. Armstrong, Florida’s Surgeon General; and Harold Bazzel, Washington County Clerk of Court. Two of the three take orders from Governor Scott and will likely appeal the decision if he tells them to do so.

We need to send the message loud and clear: "Governor Scott, DO NOT appeal the marriage decision."

This is where you help! Make a video telling Governor Scott not to appeal the marriage decision and post it to Facebook/Twitter/Youtube - and use the hashtag #MarriageNow.

Judge Hinkle's decision striking down the marriage ban was one in a succession of rulings out of Florida on same-sex marriage, none of which ruled in favor of the state. Meanwhile, Florida's Attorney General Pam Bondi has been adamant that she intends on enforcing and defending the ban. 

Former Florida Governor Charlie Crist has also called on Governor Scott to end his enforcement of the same-sex marriage ban. If Scott does not appeal Judge Hinkle's decision by September 21, the ban will become null and void. 

Watch a sample #MarriageNow video, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "New Campaign Urges Florida Gov. Rick Scott Not To Appeal Ruling Striking Down Gay Marriage Ban: VIDEO" »


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