Tuesday, July 22, 2014

No Same Sex Marriage In Key West Today

Garcia refused to allow gay couples to marry on Monday, citing an appeal by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. The AP reports:

Garcia initially ruled marriage licenses could be issued in Monroe County beginning Tuesday to gay couples. But that was blocked by an automatic stay triggered when Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi immediately filed notice that the state will appeal.

Bondi's office filed papers later Monday urging Garcia to keep the stay in place and preserve the status quo until all appeals are sorted out and Garcia agreed. That means no gay marriages can take place while Garcia's original ruling is reviewed by the Miami-based 3rd District Court of Appeal, which could take weeks or months to issue a decision.
The judge who last week handed down a landmark decision, declaring Florida's ban on gay marriage unconstitutional, today refused to lift a stay, meaning no same-sex couples will get married today in Florida.

Circuit Judge Luis Garcia wrote that other courts have left stays in place on the same issue while appeals run their course, and that should happen in this case, too.

Yesterday the two Key West men who last week convinced Garcia to lift the ban filed paperwork, asking him to let the same-sex weddings begin today.

Please  click on the graphic to the right and ask Pam Boni to Stop her appeal 
The judge’s original  ruling is available here:http://freemarry.3cdn.net/112670b9c77c0c6fe0_4em6bqjl2.pdf

Monday, July 21, 2014

Obama signs executive order barring federal discrimination against GLBT people

President Barack Obama signed an executive order on Monday barring federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
The order did not include new exemptions for religious organizations, a move that was welcomed by gay rights activists.

For a long time the White House has resisted issuing such an executive order, preferring instead to push

for legislation in Congress that would ban discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in workplaces nationwide.
But that legislation stalled in Congress, and advocates pressed Obama to take action to bar such discrimination among federal contractors, who make up about a fifth of the U.S. work force.

“Many of you have worked for a long time to see this day coming. You organized, you spoke up, you signed petitions, you sent letters – I know because I got a lot of them,” Obama said to laughter from a crowd of advocates at the White House.
“And now, thanks to your passionate advocacy and the irrefutable rightness of your cause, our government – of the people, by the people, and for the people – will become just a little bit fairer.”
In the 1960s, President Lyndon Johnson signed an order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating “against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” Obama’s executive order added sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected categories.
Obama urged participants to continue working for anti-discrimination legislation that would apply to all employers.
“Congress has spent 40 years – four decades – considering legislation that would help solve the problem. That’s a long time,” he said.
“But I’m going to do what I can, with the authority I have, to act. The rest of you, of course, need to keep putting pressure on Congress to pass federal legislation that resolves this problem once and for all.”

Friday, July 18, 2014

Democrat Charile Christ Picks Annette Taddeo As his Running Mate

Democrat Charlie Crist has picked former congressional candidate and Miami-Dade County Democratic Party chairwoman Annette Taddeo-Goldstein as his running mate.
Former Gov. Crist made the announcement Thursday in Miami.               

Taddeo-Goldstein was born in Colombia to an American father and Colombian mother, and spent the first 17 years of her life in the South American country.
The pick comes less than six weeks ahead of Florida's Democratic primary and will help shore up support among the party faithful. Crist is facing former Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich.
Political analyst Ana Cruz said Crist's pick will certainly help in the primary.
"This is a woman that understands what it's like to make ends meet, to live on minium wage, and as a small business owner to make payroll," said Cruz. "That’s what a lot of Floridians are going through as we speak. Charlie Christs’ decision in Annette is a real connection for a lot of people."
Taddeo-Goldstein is also a vice chairman of the Florida Democratic Party and is on the Democratic National Committee's executive committee.
"I want to ensure everyone in Florida has a fair shot to do the same thing," said Taddeo-Goldstein on Thursday. "Unfortunately right now, too many people across florida are feeling left out and left behind.
"We have a governor right now who looks out for those at the top. We need someone who will fight for a higher minimum wage, and for equal pay for women"

Meanwhile, Senator Nan Rich issued the following statement regarding Crist’s selection of his running mate.
"Because he’s been a life-long Republican, Charlie Crist might be excused for not knowing that Democrats typically don’t choose a running mate until they win the nomination.

What can’t be excused is his refusal to engage in the democratic process in a serious way. Crist’s record is in stark contrast to the values of the Democratic Party. He is anti-choice, has consistently opposed equality for the LGBT community, expanded private school vouchers, given the NRA a blank check, and appointed some of the most right-wing judges in Florida. More than 89% of Florida Democrats want a gubernatorial primary debate to discuss these issues.

Today Crist answered a question few voters are interested in. It is well past time for him to commit to debates and answer the questions voters do care about."
Information from News 13  was used in this report.

Read More About  Annette Taddeo-Goldstein

What does Key West's gay marriage ruling mean?

Within moments of the court's decision, AG Biondi and Gov Scott had filed a notice of intent to appeal. This was expected and is part of the process. Sadly, as part of the appeal, the 3rd District Court of Appeals has issued a stay on the order to issue marriage licenses in Monroe County.

Watch this space.

How does Attorney General Pam Bondi's appeal affect the ruling?
"The appeal automatically stays the decision, unless the judge lifts the stay," said Elizabeth Schwartz, the attorney in a Miami-Dade case where six same-sex couples are suing for the right to marry. "If the court decides to lift the stay, then yes, you can go and get married in Monroe County regardless of where you live."

If same-sex couples legally marry in Monroe County, are the marriages recognized by the rest of the state and the federal government?
"You'll be married, but you won't have all of the benefits that straight married couples have," said Rand Hoch, founder of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council. "The state of Florida won't recognize it. The U.S. government will recognize it for almost everything with the exception of Social Security spousal benefits and Veterans Administration spousal benefits."

Can same-sex couples from out of state marry in Monroe County?
"Someone from out of state could come to Florida, as far as I'm interpreting it, and could marry in the Keys," said George Castrataro, a Fort Lauderdale attorney suing Florida Atlantic University to force Florida to recognize same-sex marriages performed in states where they are legal. "When they go home, if their state doesn't recognize the marriages of other states, it would be pointless…or at least not valuable right now."

If same-sex couples get married in Monroe County, and the ruling is later overturned, do those marriages remain valid?
"There's no rule that binds everyone," Hoch said. "There's going to be a lot of confusion…Most likely the judge would say, 'If you were married, you're still married.' But there would be no more marriages."
"That has happened in a number of states where the floodgates got opened for a brief moment in time, then stopped," Castrataro said. "I've never known a state to have the ability to revoke a marriage that was entered into lawfully."
"If it were me, I would wait until the issue is settled and not be in some sort of legal limbo," Schwartz said.

What's next?
"There's about seven other lawsuits pending in Florida right now. So far, every judge that has looked at these – whether state or federal – has said this is discrimination," Hoch said. "As these cases move forward, ultimately there's going to be a ruling to bring marriage equality to Florida."
"I think there's going to be a culmination of legal opinions, that will not only make marriage itself a right that all Floridians can enter into, but it would also require Florida to recognize marriages from other states," Castrataro said.
"We're off to the appellate races and the conversation continues there," Schwartz said. "We've had an unbroken string of favorable opinions on marriage equality; it's certainly disappointing that our attorney general would continue to put resources behind what is a failing argument."

Wasserman Schultz Statement on Fla. Judge Overturning Ban on Same-Sex Marriage

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) issued the following statement today after a Monroe County judge overturned Florida's ban on same-sex marriage:

"Judge Luis Garcia took a bold and historic step today by declaring Florida's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Even in the face of Attorney General Bondi's statement that she will appeal the decision, I believe in my heart of hearts that this is the beginning of the end of discrimination based on who you love in our state.

"There can be no denying the national march toward full marriage equality and Florida is overdue in finally falling in step with ensuring equal treatment under the law. Judge Garcia has taken the movement for marriage equality to the next step, and I know I speak for millions of Floridians when I say that I cannot wait to celebrate the day when marriage is just marriage, and love is just love, in our great state."

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Decision Day Gatherings

We expect a ruling any day on the marriage lawsuits currently in the Florida Courts. 

It will be a day of celebration and we want you to join us for a gathering on the "day of decision!"
Gatherings are being planned all across the state. We will have details on times and locations soon.
Let us know if you'd like to attend by filling out the form below!  
We'll get more information on this page as soon as possible! 
Victory is within our grasp!
Broward County:
The Pride Center at Equality Park
2040 North Dixie Highway
Wilton Manors, FL 33305
6pm on Day of Decision
Fort Myers:
Unitarian Universalist Church
13411 Shire Ln
Fort Myers, FL 33912
6pm on Day of Decision
United Church of Gainesville
1624 NW 5th Ave
Gainesville, FL 32603
6pm on Day of Decision
Greater Orlando/Central Florida:
The Hammered Lamb
1235 N. Orange Ave
Orlando, FL 32804
6pm on Day of Decision
Blue Fish
3551 St Johns Ave
Jacksonville, FL 32205  
6pm on Day of Decision
Key West:
Aqua Nightclub
711 Duval St.
Key West, FL 33040
6pm on Day of Decision
Miami Beach LGBT Visitors Center
1130 Washington Ave. - 1st Floor
Miami Beach, FL 33139
6pm on Day of Decision
Celebration MCC
3400 Radio Road, Unit 107
Naples, FL 34104
6pm on Day of Decision
Marina Jack's,
2 Marina Plaza
Sarasota, FL 34236
6pm on Day of Decision
St. Petersburg:
King of Peace Metropolitan Community Church
3150 5th Ave N.
St Petersburg, FL 33713
6:30pm on Day of Decision
On the front steps of the Historic Florida Capitol
400 S Monroe St, Tallahassee, FL 32399
6pm on the day of decision
Drinks and socializing immediately following at Versi Lounge
215 W. College Ave, Tallahassee, FL 32399
Unity Church of Tampa
3302 W. Horatio St, Tampa, FL 33609
6pm on Day of Decision
Upper Keys:
Casa Mar Village by Fresh Press Cafe
MM 81 Oceanside,
Tavernier, FL
6pm on Day of Decision
West Palm Beach:
Palm Beach County Courthouse
205 North Dixie Highway
West Palm Beach, FL 33401
4:30pm-6:00pm on Day of Decision

Monday, July 14, 2014

Young Voters Moving Left

Of those registered to vote, 76 percent of millennials say they plan to vote in the 2014 midterm elections. Fifty-three percent of registered millennials tell conservative pollsters Reason-Rupe they plan to vote for the Democratic congressional candidate in their district this November, while 29 percent intend to vote for the Republican

According to Conservative pollsters Reason-Rupe, 39 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds surveyed said they would vote for Clinton, For the GOP, Rep. Paul Ryan was the first pick, chosen by 6 percent of those polled. 

Things look better for Democrats in 2016, however. When asked to select their top choice for president in 2016, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was the top choice of 39 percent of registered millennial votersthe top Republican, Rep. Paul Ryan (6 percent). Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Sen. Rand Paul were each the top choice of 5 percent of registered millennial voters.


Friday, July 11, 2014

A Florida Circut Court has struck down the state's congressional map

A Florida Circut County Court has struck down the state's congressional map and ordered a redrawing of district lines.
Judge Terry lewis
Judge Terry Lewis

In his 41-page ruling issued Thursday evening, Judge Terry Lewis writes that the map drawn by the GOP-controlled legislature for the 2012 elections violated the state constitution's Fair Districts Amendments, specifically in regard to the Rep. Corrine Brown's (D) Jacksonville-based 5th District and Rep. Daniel Webster's (R) Orlando-area 10th District.
Passed by voters in 2010, the amendment prohibited state legislators from drawing new congressional lines to benefit one party or to protect incumbents. Democrats charged that GOP state legislators disregarded those new rules when drawing the new map after Florida picked up two additional districts in reapportionment.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Gay marriage hearing in the Florida Keys

William Lee Jones and Aaron Huntsman 

William Lee Jones and Aaron Huntsman have their day in court over Florida's gay marriage ban on July 7, 2014.

Read More at the Miami Herald 

Read more here: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/gaysouthflorida/2014/07/video-gay-marriage-hearing-in-the-florida-keys.html#storylink=cpy

Gov. Rick Scott Caught Lying About All Aboard Florida

Rick Scott doubled down on his untruths about All Aboard Florida — and refused to even discuss the scandal surrounding his chief of staff’s latest scandal.
Hollingsworth used his connections as the governor’s most trusted advisor to kill High Speed Rail and line up a taxpayer-funded sweetheart deal for his former employer — and Rick Scott approved of his employee’s duplicity and supported the mega-deal.  
Q: Governor, considering the recent story about All Aboard Florida, can you tell us how big a role Adam Hollingsworth played in paving the way for All Aboard Florida?
Scott: So, All Aboard Florida is 100% private venture. It’s a private company. What was important to me is that we extended the time frame for anybody that wanted to ask questions, the public comment period, that’s what I expect.  
Q: But they are apparently going to seek $44 million in state grants.
Scott: The All Aboard project is 100% privately funded.
 The state has already committed over $200 million to projects connected to All Aboard Florida, and the “100% private venture” will seek an additional $44 million from taxpayers. 

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Bill Clinton Rally's Florida Democrats

Concentrate on expanding Medicaid, raising the minimum wage and getting Democrats elected in 2014.
That was former President Bill Clinton’s rally cry to Florida Democrats on Saturday night at the Florida Democratic Party’s Leadership Blue Gala in Hollywood.
The annual fundraising dinner, formerly known as the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, gave Democrats across the state a chance to meet candidates and gear up for the November elections.
“Folks, we have to concentrate,” Clinton said. “We have the issues. We have the candidates. We have to concentrate on the message and the mechanics.”
Clinton spoke for more than 40 minutes, touching on issues important to his Democratic base. The former president, who campaigned heavily in Florida in the final days of the 2012 presidential election, focused on health care, raising the minimum wage and improving the economy — in and out of Florida.
And while he refrained from mentioning the state’s Republican leadership by name, Clinton told supporters it’s important for Floridians to get out to the polls and elect Democrats come November.
“You can say all you want, you can have all the good positions in the world, you can have great candidates, but if we’re going to preserve democracy, real democracy, we’ve got to just show up,” Clinton said.
Clinton said there are 130 million people who “will vote in every presidential election,” but 50
million of those are not “faithful in voting in nonpresidential years.”
Those votes, he said, are disproportionately Democrats. Turning out in November, he said, could mean a Democrat in the Florida governor’s mansion.
“If you believe Florida is the state of the future, if you believe what I told you about what you can do for you own people, for the American people … then go out there and explain,” he said. “Explain, explain and figure out how to physically get people to the polls.”
While Clinton didn’t mention Republican Gov. Rick Scott of Naples by name, other top Democrats from across the state did. In a recorded message to the more than 1,500 people in attendance, Florida Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson said it was time to send Scott back to Naples — eliciting boos from a contingent of Collier County Democrats in the ballroom.
“Florida deserves better, everyone in this room deserves better,” said Allison Tant, chairwoman of the Florida Democratic Party.
Tant said the gubernatorial race is a top priority for Democrats in 2014, and said the state plans to build the “largest field plan” the state party has ever seen.
“We will not be outworked. We will not be out-organized. We will make that last phone call. We will knock on that last door,” she said. “And in November, we will win. Rick Scott will be a one-term governor.”
Tant said the event raised more than $1.1 million. While this year’s event was expected to rally Democrats in advance of the November election, candidates were not the focus of the two-hour dinner Saturday evening.
However, Tant said, candidates had the chance to meet with clubs and caucuses throughout the day on Saturday.
“We have so much at stake,” said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fort Lauderdale, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee. “Florida voters have a clear choice. We have to decide whether or not to choose to move Florida forward or more of the same. The bottom line is Florida cannot afford another four years of Rick Scott.”

Thursday, July 03, 2014


Following the July 2nd hearing on a motion to overturn Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage, Eladio Jose Armesto, Chairman of the Florida Democracy League, and a leading opponent of marriage equality, made outrageous statements to reporters gathered on the steps of the courthouse. 
In reference to the 2008 constitutional ban, Armesto stated that if Judge Sarah Zabel ruled to overturn the amendment…Eladio graphic 
“Her judgment would be null and void. No one can rule against the constitution. She would be doing no more or no less than the Ku Klux Klan did in the early part of the last century, where they hanged people for going out to vote. The people of Florida have voted. The judge is able to respect that vote, uphold the rule of law and uphold the constitution.

This is nothing more than a judicial lynching of the people of Florida. This is a mockery of justice, it’s a travesty. The judge should have thrown this lawsuit out because it violates her authority, her dignity, and her integrity as a member of the judiciary.”

(Reporter asks how he thinks the judge will rule)

“I do not know what she is going to do. I do hope that she will uphold her oath of office, otherwise she will be in great trouble.

Statement by Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida Institute, (Equality Florida Institute is a plaintiff in the marriage equality lawsuit, along with six same-sex couples seeking the right to marry).

“These comments are outrageous under any circumstance. They are particularly despicable on the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. 

“We are confident that the judge will not be intimidated by these vague threats, but will rule according to the law, just as 22 judges across the country have done in finding such bans unconstitutional.”

Statement by Christopher L. Smith, Democratic Leader, Florida Senate (D-Ft. Lauderdale)

“I am deeply disturbed by the comments made in an apparent attempted intimidation of the judiciary. They have no place in our community or our judicial system. This is unacceptable on any day, but the fact that such hateful words and misguided analogy were spoken on the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act is the most troubling.

I encourage all Floridians to embrace equality for all Americans, especially our LGBT brothers and sisters who are waging a battle against those who seek to relegate them to second-class status.  I am confident that Judge Zabel will rule according to the letter of the law.”

Statement by Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), Senior Member of the House Rules Committee, Ranking Democratic Member of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, and Co-Chairman of the Florida  Delegation.

“Dr.  Armesto’s comments are inexcusable and completely outrageous.  Furthermore, his  words are particularly offensive given that he made them on the 50th anniversary of the Civil  Rights Act.

“We must not let the pages of history turn backwards on equality for all Americans.  Following the historic Supreme Court rulings in the cases of United States v. Windsor and Hollingsworth v. Perry last year, more states than ever before, as well as the District of Columbia, now recognize the equal rights of committed gay and lesbian couples.  It is high time that we afford all individuals the same rights, benefits and protections, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

“While we continue to face ongoing challenges to equal rights for all Americans, let us be emboldened in our efforts, knowing that discrimination, bigotry and hate have no place in our country's laws.

Armesto-Staver-Stemberger2 2
Photo Credit:  Brett Hufziger / bhuf.com