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04/19/2007


Obama Nominates Second Gay Black Judge to Federal Bench

More than a year ago, Obama nominated Judge William Thomas to the Federal District Cour for the Southern District of Florida. Thomas would have been the first gay black judge on the federal bench had it not been for Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) who succeeded in blocking the Thomas nomination for political reasons.

GaylesNow, Obama has nominated a second out gay African-American judge to the federal bench.

Gayles' background, via the White House:

Judge Darrin P. Gayles has served as a Circuit Judge in the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida since 2011.  From 2004 to 2011, he was a County Judge in the same Circuit.  From 1999 to 2004, Judge Gayles served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and from 1997 to 1999, he served as an Assistant District Counsel at the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service.  Judge Gayles began his legal career as an Assistant State Attorney in the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office from 1993 to 1997.  Judge Gayles received his J.D. in 1993 from George Washington University Law School and his B.A. in 1990 from Howard University. 

Gayles was endored by the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund for his reelection in 2012, according to MetroWeekly.

They write:

If confirmed, Gayles, much like Thomas before him, would become the first out black man in the nation's history to serve on the federal bench. He would also be the second out African-American to serve as a federal judge. The first, Deborah Batts, was appointed to the District Court for the Southern District of New York by President Bill Clinton in 1994. Gayles was nominated today along with three other Florida judges to serve on U.S. District Courts.

Rubio does not take issue with any in the latest round of nominees, according to a statement.


Florida Teen Allegedly Suspended for Performing in Sean Cody Film Allowed Back to School: VIDEO

Maruchi

Robert Marucci, an 18-year-old Florida teen, will be allowed back to school, officials said, after students protested his dismissal, which was allegedly for his participation in a Sean Cody film.

MarucciEarlier this week, a Redditor on the subreddit GayBros posted about Marucci:

He got severely bullied and, instead of helping him, the school will not let him graduate due to him causing a "campus disturbance". They suspended him for 10 days, which leads to an automatic FA (failure from absences). Several students planned to protest by wearing support shirts, making posters, and skipping a class. The principle is threatening to automatically expel any student who joins in.

I am still very closeted, and it hurts to hear friends and family think this guy is a sick and disturbed person...

Marucci said he turned to making gay adult films in order to help pay his family's bills.

Marucci's mother spoke with Local 6 News: "She (Dr. Sullivan) flat out told me that my son was expelled not just suspended, he was expelled due to his explicit, adult, lifestyle career."

The school will not say why Marucci was suspended but after the student's dismissal and protests by fellow students (who say the school threatened them as well) began making national headlines, he has been allowed back.

Said the school district's spokesperson: "In this particular case, we had an investigation, which is now complete, and the student is welcomed to come back to talk to Dr. Sullivan about his educational options."

Watch the Local 6 report, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Florida Teen Allegedly Suspended for Performing in Sean Cody Film Allowed Back to School: VIDEO" »


Six Couples File Suit Challenging Florida's Gay Marriage Ban

Six same-sex couples and Equality Florida Institute filed a lawsuit today in Miami challenging the state's ban on same-sex marriage, NCLR reports:

FloridaThe couples are from Miami and the surrounding area. Four of the couples are raising children, and another couple has an adult child and two grandchildren. The couples are: Catherina Pareto and Karla Arguello; Dr. Juan Carlos Rodriguez and David Price; Vanessa and Melanie Alenier; Todd and Jeff Delmay; Summer Greene and Pamela Faerber; and Don Price Johnston and Jorge Isaias Diaz. They are represented by the law firm Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, attorney Elizabeth F. Schwartz, attorney Mary B. Meeks, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR).

Said Equality Florida Institute Chief Executive Officer Nadine Smith: “Today the majority of Floridians stand with us as we take this historic step toward marriage equality in the Sunshine State. These couples have been embraced by their families and communities, but every day, Florida laws are denying them the protections and dignity that every family deserves. These harmful laws are outdated and out of step. It is time for all families in our state to have full equality under the law.”

NCLR has more information on the plaintiffs at its website.


Florida Supermarket Publix Fined $100K For Firing Gay Employee

Publix

The Miami New Times had been receiving multiple complaints over alleged anti-gay attitudes and unofficial policies of supermarket chain Publix, but those complaints received a boost in credibility after the Broward County Human Rights Board found one store guilty of discrimination against a gay former employee and ordered the store to pay him $98,408.

The story begins in February 2010 when a separate employee was fired for stealing gift cards and money. During an interview with a loss prevention specialist, the employee began alleging wrongdoing on the parts of other employees, one of whom was Richard Glisson who had been a cake decorator for the chain for ten years. He claimed that Glisson had given him a red velvet cake bar, which was in violation of store policy.

When asked about this, Glisson admitted to giving the employee the cake, but pointed out that it was a kind the store no longer sold and thus were unable to sell and also brought up that it was store policy for employees to sample wares to become more familiar with their products and better assist customers.

Publix fired Glisson for his transgression. However, other employees who admitted to similar violations during the investigation were merely given warnings. Glisson brought his complaint to the Broward County Human Rights Board and in 2012 they ruled in his favor, stating:

Though [District Manager David] Thoman testified that his sole reason for terminating Mr. Glisson was for his 'admissions of theft,' when compared to the discipline given to the comparators, the near verbatim wording of Mr. Glisson's Associate Statement, on which Mr. Thomas claims he based his decision to terminate, we are left with only one logical conclusion: that the real motivating factor behind Mr. Glisson's termination was impermissible discrimination based upon his sexual orientation.

Publix is appealing the decision.


Senator Marco Rubio Succeeds in Blocking Gay Black Judge's Nomination to Federal Bench

Earlier this year we reported that Senator Marco Rubio was holding up the confirmation of Judge William Thomas to the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Thomas serves on the Miami Dade Circuit and was nominated more than a year ago.

ThomasIn September, Rubio withdrew his support for the nomination. Rubio said he withdrew his support because of Thomas's actions in two criminal cases, and without Rubio's support the nomination was dead. Florida's other Senator, Bill Nelson, had given his full approval. Supporters of Thomas believed Rubioblocked the nomination for political reasons.

Yesterday, news came that Rubio had succeeded in thwarting Thomas's nomination.

A White House official confirmed for the Washington Blade that Thomas wasn’t resubmitted.

“The nomination of Judge William Thomas was returned by the Senate and Sen. Rubio has made his objection clear, so the president chose not to renominate him,” the official said.

Had Thomas been confirmed by the Senate, he would have been the first openly gay black male to sit on the federal bench. (Deborah Batts, confirmed to the federal bench in 1994 and the first-ever out person to sit on the federal judiciary, is also black.)


Florida's Charlie Crist Apologizes for Anti-Gay Positions, Promises Equality as Governor

Former governor and current Florida gubernatorial candidate and Republican-turned-Democrat Charlie Crist gave an interview this week to Tom Dyer at Watermark Online in which he apologized for anti-gay legislation he has supported in the past and also made some promises for the future.

CristWhen you first ran for governor in 2006, you said that a ban on same-sex marriage was unnecessary, but then you signed a petition to place Amendment 2 [banning same-sex marriage] on the ballot…

…and I’m sorry. I’m sorry I did that. It was a mistake. I was wrong. Please forgive me.

I appreciate that, but I want to make sure I spell this out in full. After you signed the petition you said Amendment 2 wasn’t an issue that moved you, but then you ended up voting for it, saying you believed in it. Just three years ago, when you were running for the Senate as a Republican, you told CNN that you believed that “marriage is a sacred institution between a man and a woman.” And just three years ago, when talking about gay adoption, you expressed a belief that traditional families are best…

Tom… I’m sorry. I’m sorry.

Well again, I appreciate that. But I think it’s important for you to address this. When you look back at the circumstances, one could come to the conclusion that your shifts in opinion were either politically expedient…

They were. They were. And it was wrong. That’s what I’m telling you. And I’m sorry.

Later, Crist made some promises:

What you would do to advance LGBT equality as governor? Rep. Linda Stewart just introduced a bill to create a statewide Domestic Partner Registry. Given the progress made in other states it seems like a small thing, but even that faces many hurdles in the Republican-controlled State Legislature. The Competitive Workforce Act—an employment non-discrimination bill—can’t get out of committee. Marriage Equality seems a long way off, unless through some sort of court action. What can you do?

I want to do all those things. It’s not complicated. It comes down to one word: fairness. Everybody deserves to be treated fairly.

It must be liberating to be able to speak from your heart, instead of through some political calculus…

It’s wonderful! I wish I’d done it 20 years ago! Can’t you feel it?

CharlieCrist.com makes no mention of LGBT equality right now. Will that change?

Absolutely!

It won’t be sort of a subterranean thing that you trot out for appropriate groups?

Do I look like I’m holding back? We’re not underwater with this… we’re riding the wave!

Read more of the interview at Watermark...


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