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Fort Lauderdale Approves Resolution Urging State Leaders to Legalize Gay Marriage

 Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale's city commissioners approved a resolution Tuesday night urging state leaders to take action to legalize same-sex marriage, the New Times reports:

The measure, sponsored by openly gay Commissioner Dean Trantalis, is nonbinding, and asks Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature to make gay marriage in Florida legal.

SeilerAs they had indicated before the vote, Mayor Jack Seiler (pictured) and Vice Mayor Romney Rogers opposed the resolution.

But it passed in a 3-2 vote, with Commissioners Trantalis, Bobby DuBose and Bruce Roberts supporting it.

The statement did not appear likely to pass just hours before last night's meeting, NBC Miami reports:

"I got calls today from California, Colorado, New York, New Jersey, Orlando, all wanting to know if our chamber was going to step up and step up to the plate," Chad Thilborger, the chair for the Gay and Lesbian Business Exchange said.

Supporters’ biggest fear if the resolution failed was the economic impact. According to the Convention & Visitors Bureau, there are currently 150 LGBT owned businesses in Broward County. Last year there were 1.2 million visitors who spent $1.4 billion dollars, most of that in Fort Lauderdale.

“My fear from an economic impact point of view would have been a Florida boycott with tourism as well as with businesses," Thilborger said. Of the more than 40 speakers, two were against the resolution primarily for religious reasons.

Watch NBC Miami's report, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Fort Lauderdale Approves Resolution Urging State Leaders to Legalize Gay Marriage" »


Wednesday Speed Read: Houston, Rick Perry, Florida, California Primaries

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

NounequalrightsINFLAMMATORY PETITION LAUNCHED:

A “No Unequal Rights Coalition” launched a website Tuesday to circulate petitions in hopes of putting a referendum on Houston’s November ballot to repeal the city’s new non-discrimination ordinance. The top of the petition states, in bold type, “Biological males ARE IN FACT allowed to enter women’s restrooms in Houston under Mayor Annise Parker’s ‘Equal Rights Ordinance’, thereby threatening the physical and emotional safety of our women and children. Her ERO (sic) creates Unequal Rights for a tiny group of people by taking away rights of safety and privacy for the vast majority of our women and children!” The website notes that the group has until June 27 to collect at least 17,000 signatures. If it obtains enough signatures, the issue goes back to the Houston City Council, which can either repeal the ordinance or place the issue on the November ballot.

WhiteCHURCH WARNS OF PREDATORS AND PEDOPHILES:

In a June 2 letter to his congregation, Laurence White, who obtained his doctorate from Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, warns that the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance “would (literally) open the door to sexual predators, pedophiles, and rapists to gain easy access to their desired victims with legal sanction.”

PerryPARKER AND PERRY UNITE?

Texas Governor Rick Perry and Houston Mayor Annise Parker held a joint press conference Tuesday to announce a statewide campaign to educate the public about human trafficking. The campaign calls for public services messages on taxicabs, public buses, billboards, and radio and television, encouraging people to call in reports of suspicious activity. According to the mayor’s office, Texas accounts for the second highest number of reports of human trafficking (following California) and Houston the highest number in Texas.

FloridaFLORIDA JUDGE DENIES INTERVENORS:

A Florida circuit court judge in Miami on Tuesday denied a request by three anti-gay groups to intervene in a lawsuit testing that state’s ban on same-sex couples marrying. In Pareto v. Ruvin, Judge Sarah Zabel said the groups, which helped pass the ban, “will not be directly and immediately affected if others enter into a same-sex marriage or are prevented from entering into a same-sex marriage.” The judge said the groups could file a friend-of-the-court brief in the case, which is scheduled for a hearing on July 2.

E J_perezARLY RETURNS IN CALIFORNIA:

Openly gay candidates seemed to be doing very well in the early returns of yesterday’s elections in California. Three openly gay state Assembly candidates appeared to handily win their Democratic primary races Tuesday: Incumbent Toni Atkins, who just took over the gavel as the Assembly’s first openly lesbian speaker, and Richard Gordon of Sunnyvale each had 59 percent of the vote soon after the polls closed; newcomer Evan Low had 40 percent (update: wins) in San Jose. Bonnie Dumanis appears to have won her race for San Diego District Attorney with 55 percent of the vote. Kevin Beiser was holding 68 percent (update: wins) in his race for a San Diego Unified School District seat. Jill Ravitch won 69 percent of the vote in her run to be Sonoma County District Attorney. Ken Yeager was uncontested in his race for a seat on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. The question marks at deadline were the first openly gay Speaker of the California Assembly, John Perez (pictured), in a very tight race in his bid to run for State Controller, and Sheila Kuehl is leading the field for a highly contested seat on the Los Angeles County Board. Former West Hollywood Councilman John Duran appears to be trailing in third in that race.

© 2014 Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


Florida Judge Denies Anti-Gay Groups' Motion to Intervene in Marriage Lawsuit

Circuit Court Judge Sarah Zabel denied a motion by three anti-gay groups to intervente in the lawsuit challenging Florida's ban on gay marriage, Equality Florida reports:

FloridaThe groups include Florida Family Action, Inc. (FFAI), Florida Democratic League Inc. (FDL) and People United to Lead the Struggle for Equality, Inc. (PULSE)—groups that support the discriminatory marriage laws at issue in the case.

Denying their request to be parties in the case, Judge Zabel found that these groups did not have a concrete legal interest in the case because they “will not be directly and immediately affected if others enter into a same-sex marriage, or are prevented from entering into a same-sex marriage.”

The court also noted that the “validity of their own marriages will not be affected,” adding that if these groups could enter the case as parties simply because they have strong beliefs about the issues in the case, “so would anyone who has a strongly held belief regarding the constitutionality of the Amendment and statutes at issue in this suit.”

“Today Judge Zabel reached the proper conclusion in denying extremists seeking a platform for their anti-gay rhetoric the right to intervene in this case,” said Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida Institute, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. “This lawsuit is about fundamental, constitutionally protected rights that are violated by a measure that does real harm to our families. We look forward to the day when Florida joins the 19 other states and the District of Columbia, where judges have come to the conclusion that such a ban is indefensible.”

You can read the judge's order here.


Florida AG Pam Bondi Takes Exception to Anger Over Marriage Brief: 'I'm Simply Doing My Job'

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who last week asked a federal judge to throw out a lawsuit against the state on behalf of eight gay couples seeking recognition of their marriages, saying it would "impose significant public harm" and damage the institution's real purpose (children having mothers and fathers), released a statement today taking exception to those who are angry about it.

Writes Bondi, in part: Bondi

“In 2008, Florida voters amended their state constitution to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. In response to a recent challenge to this provision, and in keeping with my sworn duty to uphold the laws of the land, my office recently filed a legal brief defending the voters' decision.

“The fundamental argument of our brief is that the voters had the right to adopt this definition of marriage, just as they have the right in the future to change their minds and afford legal recognition to same sex marriage, should they so choose.

“Defending the wishes of the voters who enacted Florida's marriage amendment necessarily requires me to make good faith legal arguments. In presenting those arguments, my office understands and respects that there are many who profoundly disagree with the voters' decision. But anything less than the best defense of our voters' policy preferences would disenfranchise the electorate, undermine the judicial process, and cast aside the professional responsibility that guides me every day as Attorney General.

The subject of same sex marriage is understandably a matter of intense personal concern and sensitivity for Floridians on all sides of the debate. While defending this constitutional amendment, we have remained respectful and showed consideration for those with differing viewpoints—acknowledging in the introduction that this issue is one with ‘good people on all sides.’

“Therefore, I take exception to those who have sought to manipulate our brief, trying to make it something it is not. The brief does not argue for or against same sex marriage as a matter of policy, wisdom, or fairness. Those decisions are for the voters of each state, not for lawyers or courts. It is my duty to protect Florida from the “harm” of a federal injunction overriding the will of Florida voters.

“Some states recognize same-sex marriage, and some states do not. As the brief explains on pages two and three:

‘This case is not about which policy choice is better or worse. And this case is not about whether the debate should continue (which it surely will). This case is about whether states can make their own determinations.

Bondi adds:

“Our brief makes the case in defense of Florida's marriage amendment with great respect for the plaintiffs and those whom they represent. Any suggestions to the contrary are not only wrong, but hurtful, designed to inflame, and insulting to everyone involved. When I defend the voters' decisions with professionalism and civility, I'm simply doing my job because my job is not to write the law, but to defend it.”


Janet Porter Warns Families of ‘Public Displays of Perversion’ at Disney World's ‘Gay Days’ - AUDIO

Janet porter

Wingnut Janet Porter, who in the past has warned that homosexuality is more dangerous to your health than smoking, is urging families to leave Disney World out of any vacation plans next week – fearing that children may be exposed to “public displays of perversion” at the park’s upcoming ‘Gay Days’

Gay daysListen to Porter’s warning, AFTER THE JUMP

The Florida Family Association hate group is also planning on flying its annual Gay Day ‘Warning’ banner across the park next week - which increasingly just seems like free publicity for the inclusive, celebratory event.

[via Right Wing Watch]

Continue reading "Janet Porter Warns Families of ‘Public Displays of Perversion’ at Disney World's ‘Gay Days’ - AUDIO" »


Florida AG Pam Bondi: Gay Marriage Would ‘Impose Significant Public Harm’ on the State

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (R) is asking a federal judge to throw out a lawsuit against the state of Florida on behalf of eight same-sex couples seeking recognition of their out-of-state marriages – with Bondi writing in court documents that recognizing the marriages would “impose significant public harm.”

The AP reports:

Pam bondiBondi's office also argues that the state has a legitimate interest in defining marriage as between a man and woman. Florida first banned same-sex marriages nearly two decades ago and voters reinforced that ban when they passed a constitutional amendment in 2008.

"Florida's marriage laws, then, have a close, direct, and rational relationship to society's legitimate interest in increasing the likelihood that children will be born to and raised by the mothers and fathers who produced them in stable and enduring family units," Bondi's office said in court documents.

The state's legal position also notes that there would be significant financial and logistical problems for the state's pension and health insurance programs if same-sex marriages were recognized.


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