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Gay Florida Couple Wins Battle To Have Son Baptized At Episcopal Church: VIDEO


After a week of national outcry, an Episcopal church in Florida has decided to baptize a same-sex couple's baby after initially canceling the ceremony. 

The controversy began last Saturday, when Rich McCaffrey (above with his husband, Eric) reported on Facebook that the Episcopal Cathedral Church of St. Luke in Orlando had canceled their son's baptism because some members of the congregation objected: 

JackWe chose Sunday, April 19 for the baptism. We attended Sunday services and recommended classes, becoming more familiar and pleased with our choice. We invited friends and family, both local and from out of town, and we looked forward to celebrating with Jack on what was to be an important day. On Thursday, April 16 we received a message from Dean Clark asking us to contact him regarding “a development” concerning the baptism. With relatives in the room, I called and what I heard still creates a lump in my throat. The Dean shared there were members of the congregation who opposed Jack’s baptism and although he hoped to resolve the conflict, he was not yet able to (the Bishop of Central Florida, Greg Brewer, was also involved). After probing further the Dean said “the issue is with you and Eric being the first two men who will baptize their child at the Cathedral.” He offered his apologies and further explained this was a bigger deal because of the exposure that comes along with the baptism taking place at the Cathedral. In essence “this is not no forever, just not now.” Three days before our son was to be baptized he was turned away. At that moment, he was unwelcomed by the church, and denied his rite to be recognized as a Christian. I was speechless, angry, and heartbroken.

McCaffrey's post was shared more than 1,000 times and garnered national media attention. An online petition calling for the church to baptize Jack reached almost 25,000 signatures.  

The outcry prompted Brewer, the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida, to reach out to the couple. And McCaffrey reported Friday that Brewer had agreed to allow Jack to be baptized in the church: 

Bishop Brewer extended an invitation to meet with us and we had the opportunity to speak with him yesterday evening. We spoke frankly and openly about the chain of events. ... He genuinely wanted to learn about us and expressed his apologies for how it had been handled. Most importantly, he was clear he is supportive of Eric and I, two dads, baptizing our son at the Cathedral and offered to be a part of it. 

We are appreciative and are looking forward to the baptism to take place this summer. At the same time we know on many fronts there is healing to be done which will take time. ...

I close with one more lesson for Jack – Aspire to live your life with grace and forgiveness. You will be better for it.

Change is seldom easy. I thank each of you for listening to us, supporting us, and engaging in the conversation.

Watch a report from WFTV.com, AFTER THE JUMP ...

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Orlando Man Attacked by Group for Being Gay: VIDEO


An attack on an Orlando man last month which was captured on a cell phone as it happened was motivated by the man's sexual orientation, according to police.

WFTV reports:

The victim, who doesn't want to be identified, said he was jumped by about 10 people and now fears for his and his family's safety.

He believes the beat-down stemmed from a fight at the Callahan Community Center, in Parramore, and that the group was looking to settle the score with anyone in the neighborhood who happened to be gay.

The video shows the mob of teens ambushing the victim while screaming statements about his sexual orientation. He's seen on the ground being punched and slammed with chairs before managing to break away.

A 14- and 16- year old have been identified as two of the attackers and police are working to identify the others.

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

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Watch LIVE Now: Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer Marries 45 Gay Couples at City Hall

(mark schlueb twitter)

As gay couples begin marrying across the state of Florida, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer is officiating a mass same-sex wedding at City Hall which you can watch live at 9 am ET.


Continue reading " Watch LIVE Now: Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer Marries 45 Gay Couples at City Hall" »

Record Breaking Coaster Will Soar To New Heights In Orlando: VIDEO

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A record-setting roller coaster is set to be built in Orlando, reaching a height of 570 feet. The announcement comes from the developers of Skyplex, a mall/entertainment complex set to start construction in 2015 with completion in 2017. The Skyscraper coaster will circle up the sides of the tower in a corkscrew pattern and then wind its way down in a ride filled with twists, turns, and gasp-inducing views. 

"Skyscraper will not only take riders higher than ever before, but also introduce one thrill right after the next – there’s no ‘down time’ on this four-minute coaster experience,” said Michael Kitchen, president of US Thrill Rides in a report in today's Orlando Sentinel. “It is an absolute cutting-edge engineering marvel that will deliver pure adrenaline unlike any roller coaster in the world today.”

Despite the world record height, coaster purists might quibble that the ride does not drop riders 500 plus feet straight down or break any speed records like other hypercoaters that have popped up in the amusement "arms race". But given the stunning views seen in a new POV video released by the developers today, it does not look like a ride for the faint of heart. For those seeking the view without the heart attack, there is also an elevator that will take less-adventurous folks to a viewing platform at 535 feet.

You can watch the full hair-raising ride AFTER THE JUMP...

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Florida Gay Resort Parliament House Faces Closure On 40th Anniversary: VIDEO


Florida gay resort and entertainment complex Parliament House is facing closure, reports the Orlando Sentinel.

Approaching its 40th anniversary, Parliament House filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week.

The property includes a 112-room hotel, seven bars, a swimming pool and an entertainment complex with dance floor and outdoor stage.

According to bankruptcy attorney Scott Shuker, the Orlando complex has been locked into a foreclosure and refinancing batter since it defaulted on loans during the recession in 2009.

Parliament House last went into receivership and faced foreclosure in 2010.

Watch drag queen Nina Flowers at Parliament House last May, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Orlando City Council Files Brief In Support Of Same-Sex Marriage

FloridaIn a 5-2 vote yesterday, the Orlando City Council decided to file a brief in support of same-sex marriage, and in favor of overturning a 2008 ban. The brief argues that marriage equality will provide for a safer and more humane living environment as well as encourage higher levels of job recruitment and tourism in the state of Florida. Currently, attorney general Pam Bondi has vowed to argue against same-sex marriage in several lawsuits (including one filed by six couples in January) but this brief (along with one filed by Miami Beach) is the first to be submitted by a city in Florida and indicates that Bondi has a tougher fight on her hands.

The Orlando Sentinel reports:

Though the city is not party to any of the cases now pending in state and federal courts, Mayor Buddy Dyer sought permission from the City Council on Monday to file a friend-of-the-court brief arguing in favor of same-sex marriage.

The council approved that request in a 5-2 vote. Commissioners Jim Gray and Tony Ortiz, the council's two Republicans, voted no. Gray said it's an issue that doesn't belong before the City Council. Ortiz said his east Orlando district is "very conservative."

BuddyDyerSeveral of the council members articulated quite eloquently the need for same-sex marriage in Orlando (which approved a domestic partnership registry in 2011 and banned workplace and housing discrimination in 2008), and in the state of Florida.

"It's so important to be able to love the person of your choice and have that respected by your state and federal governments," [openly gay commissioner Patty Sheehan] said. "Anybody who stands for discrimination can't just say they have gay friends. … Equality is for everyone, not just who you decide to be friends with."

Dyer (left) argued that being seen as an inclusive city helps with economic development and tourism.

"If you're a city that promotes inclusion and fairness and equality, then you're more likely to attract this generation of knowledge workers who are going to make our city successful in the future," Dyer said. "If you are seen as a city that promotes diversity, you are head and shoulders above those that do not."

Dyer has continually been supportive of equal rights for the LGBT community, and would like to see Orlando as a beacon of progress in the state of Florida.


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