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Orlando Opens Central Florida's First Domestic Partner Registry: VIDEO


Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer was on hand today as the city opened its domestic partner registry, the first for same-sex couples in Central Florida.

KWCH reports:

The registry doesn't carry the legal weight of a marriage, which isn't an option for same-sex couples in Florida. But for some, it felt that way, at least a bit.

"I think it gives us a bond between us, emotionally," said Bob Brings, who with his partner Bill Stevens was one of the first to sign the registry. "It feels good. It might be a piece of paper today, but it symbolizes to me that we are bonded, and we will take care of each other and we will be there till the end."

In all, 25 couples were expected to register on the first day and 93 over the first few days. At 10 a.m., surrounded by a phalanx of news cameras, three couples walked up to the counter in the City Clerk's Office to sign the necessary paperwork...

...Registered couples — gay or straight — are entitled to a handful of rights in certain situations. For a $30 fee, they receive a certificate and two laminated cards, and their names are entered into a government database. Registration allows them to visit one another in the hospital or jail, make health-care decisions for an incapacitated partner and plan a partner's funeral, among other things.

Watch the first gay couples file in, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Orlando Opens Central Florida's First Domestic Partner Registry: VIDEO" »

Orlando City Council Enacts Domestic Partner Registry in Unanimous Vote; is First City in Central Florida to Do So

Orlando's City Council today voted to enact Central Florida's first domestic partner registry, the Sentinel reports:

Orlando"This is an historic event for Orlando, and it is a monumentally important event for our community. It will be the first time in our lives that our families are recognized by our government," said attorney Mary Meeks, who helped push for the registry. "At least here in Orlando, our relationships are recognized as real, and they are valued and they are accepted."

Once the registry opens on Jan. 12, unmarried couples — whether gay or straight — will be able to record their relationship in a government database for a $30 fee.

Registered couples then would have a few of the same rights that married people take for granted: the ability to visit one another in the hospital or jail, to make health care decisions for an incapacitated partner and to make funeral plans.

The registry would apply only to hospitals, funeral homes and other institutions located within the city limits, but couples who live outside the city are free to sign it. Orange County is considering bringing forward similar legislation that would apply countywide.

The registry begins in 30 days.

Filmmaker Vicki Nantz celebrates the vote:

Florida's Orange County Approves LGBT Anti-Discrimination Law

Orange County City Council voted 6-1 to approve an anti-discrimination law covering sexual orientation on Tuesday:

Orange "The vote was notable for its lack of opposition. No residents spoke against it, in stark contrast to the city of Orlando's passage of similar protections in 2002, which attracted fierce debate, religious group antagonism and a close vote. 'It's a completely different world than it was 10 years ago,' said Patrick Howell, a lawyer and activist who lobbied for the new protections in both Orlando and the county. Commissioner Fred Brummer was the only 'no' vote. He said his objections centered on federal housing rules included in the ordinance, which he said could expose property owners to frivolous lawsuits.But Howell and others predicted the ordinance would not unleash a flood of courtroom discrimination claims, and much of its impact would be symbolic. 'A lot of this is about sending the message that Orange County is an inclusive community,' Howell said. 'Everyone's welcome.' The ordinance expands existing bias-protected classes already found in state and federal law, such as religion, race, disability and gender, to include sexual orientation."

Man Attacked By Teen Gang in Orlando Anti-Gay Hate Crime


An Orlando man says he feared for his life after he was attacked by a gang of nine teens in Orlando:

"A-20-year-old man told deputies he was walking in the area of Long and Barbara roads when he was approached by the group. The victim told investigators he was asked whether he was gay before the attack. 'One asked if I was gay, and I said, 'What if I am?'' the unidentified victim said. The victim, who said he is bisexual, didn't want to use his name because he is scared of the people who attacked him. 'The next thing I know, I felt somebody hit me from behind, and then they punched me,' the victim said. The victim said the attackers first asked to use his cell phone and then chased him across a field off Clarcona-Ocoee Road. He said he felt a hand grab his neck. 'I have a busted lip on the inside,' the victim said. Investigators with the Orange County Sheriff's Office said because he was targeted because of his sexual orientation, the case will be investigated as a hate crime."

Watch an interview with the victim here.

Orlando's Parliament House Faces Foreclosure


Orlando's longtime gay resort, The Parliament House, is facing foreclosure:

"The owners of the landmark on Orange Blossom Trail are in court fighting papers filed by Compass Bank. Right now, the business is in receivership which could become foreclosure if owners cannot continue paying on the loan. The hotel has been open in Orlando since the 1960's."

Watch: Orlando Performance Artist Brian Feldman to Marry Random Stranger in Marriage Equality Protest


Orlando Performance artist Brian Feldman plans to marry Hannah Feldman (below), a stranger he chose from three women who showed up to his call for wives on February 8, as a demonstration of the inequalities faced by gays and lesbians who want to marry.

Meet Brian and his three prospective brides, AFTER THE JUMP...

Writes Feldman: "Is this entire project a mockery of marriage? Not at all! It’s completely within the legal rights of Brian and any other heterosexual couple with $123.50 (plus $6 for a standard marriage certificate). Sound absurd? Not nearly absurd as denying the equal right to marry for same-sex couples who truly care about each other; who’ve been in committed, productive and, most importantly, loving relationships for upwards of 20+ years. That, to Brian, and millions of Americans who believe in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality, is truly absurd - to say nothing of a civil injustice."

They plan to marry this Friday at 3 pm at the Orange County Courthouse.

Meet Brian and his three prospective brides, AFTER THE JUMP...


Continue reading "Watch: Orlando Performance Artist Brian Feldman to Marry Random Stranger in Marriage Equality Protest" »


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