Friday, October 05, 2007

GLBT DIGEST October 5, 2007

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Rising star pledges Tories to gay rights

4th October 2007 19:40
Tony Grew

A meeting of gay Tories at the party's conference in Blackpool this weekdiscussed gay hate crime legislation, the battle against homophobia inschools, sport and internationally, and "fingering" Gordon Brown on his gayrights voting record.

More than fifty delegates and party activists attended the fringe event,organised by gay equality organisation Stonewall.

Shadow Justice Minister Nick Herbert, a rising Conservative star, addressedthe meeting and defended the party over the fact that more than twice asmany of its MPs voted against the Sexual Orientation Regulations as voted infavour of them.

Mr Herbert was promoted to Shadow Cabinet by David Cameron in July, justover two years after entering Parliament as the first out gay man elected asa Conservative MP.

He was grilled by panel chairman Andrew Pierce, deputy editor of TheTelegraph, who also questioned the Tory attitude towards a proposed newhomophobic hate crime law.

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Room under the rainbow?

Some residents of a gay-oriented retirement community have worries thatadding too many straight neighbors might reopen the closet door.

By David Colker
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
October 5, 2007


The first generation of openly gay Americans chalked up a lot of firsts -- agay-rights march in Washington, openly gay politicians in national officeand out-of-the-closet actors on sitcoms.

And now, this generation will be the first to have, just in time for itstwilight years, gay senior condo communities. It's an extension of the gayghetto, this time with walkers.

But at RainbowVision, a development that opened last year on the edge ofthis high-desert city, a there-goes-the-neighborhood cloud has appeared.Some residents fear that their community could be overrun by an outsideelement -- straight people.

"It does not matter how friendly they are," said Roger Bergstrom, 77, whoshares a condo at RainbowVision with his longtime partner, Barry Baltzley,57.

Bergstrom spent nearly 30 years as a high school English and speech teacherin the Washington area. During that time, he had to be closeted at work.

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Craig Poses Dilemma for GOP Colleagues

Associated Press Writer
8:39 AM EDT, October 5, 2007


Facing untimely resignations, an unpopular war and a troubling 2008 electionlandscape, Senate Republicans didn't need another headache this week.

But they got one anyway when Sen. Larry Craig vowed Thursday to serve outthe last 15 months of his term, despite a court ruling that left intact hisguilty plea in a sex sting operation.

The Idaho Republican's decision gives his GOP colleagues two unpleasantchoices. They can resume pressuring him to leave, and risk being seen asdisloyal politicians who go harder on alleged homosexual misdeeds than onheterosexual wrongdoings.

Or they can basically ignore him for months, and endure more TV comics'taunts about a conservative senator convicted in a case involving publicbathroom stalls.

Judging from comments in the first hours after Craig's announcement,Republican senators were unsure exactly where to land. Outrightconfrontation with Craig, however, seems unlikely.

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FDA drug proposal would bypass the doctor

The agency is floating the idea of letting patients get certain routinemedications just by consulting with a pharmacist. Physicians, of course, arewary.
By Daniel Costello
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
October 5, 2007

Physicians may be losing their lock on Americans' medicine cabinets.

For years, consumers have had two options at the drugstore. They couldeither show up with a doctor's prescription or settle for less powerfulmedications sold over the counter.

Now the Food and Drug Administration is considering creating a differentoption, a class of medicines dubbed behind-the-counter drugs. It would letconsumers purchase routine medicines that could include birth control pills,cholesterol drugs and migraine medicine without a prescription -- as long asthey discuss it with a pharmacist first.

Pharmacists and drug companies like the idea; doctors think it's dangerous.If approved, the drug classification could go into effect as early as nextyear.

"We believe having certain drugs behind the counter but available only aftera consultation with a pharmacist could significantly increase patientaccess," said Ilisa Bernstein, the FDA's director of pharmacy affairs.

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GOP Group Targets Romney in New TV Ad

Associated Press Writer
Oct 4, 5:39 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A Republican organization that advocates gay rights istargeting GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney in an ad campaign, seekingto undercut his support among social conservatives by highlighting his paststatements in support of abortion rights.

Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, has spent months courting socialconservatives in key primary states, trying to erase doubts about hisprevious moderate stands.

But in a 30-second television ad that will air in Iowa and on nationalcable, the Log Cabin Republicans use clips from a debate during Romney'sunsuccessful 1994 campaign for U.S. Senate from Massachusetts to portray himas an enemy of religious conservatives.

"For years he's fought conservatives and religious extremists," an announcerdeclares.

On the screen, Romney, 13 years younger, is shown in the midst of a debatewith Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, whom he was seeking to unseat.

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Rita Cosby vows to publish gay Stern porn videos amid $60 million defamationsuit

Atlanta - (Ass Mess): Veteran TV news anchor and ex-MSNBC seniorcorrespondent Rita Cosby has vowed to publish gay porn videos in support ofher book that claims Anna Nicole Smith's ex-partner and lawyer Howard KStern and Larry Birkhead, father of her daughter Dammielynn Hope MarshallBirkhead, had a gay fling.

The move follows Stern's $60 million defamation suit against Cosby and herpublishers Hachette Book Group USA Inc which was filed in federal court inNew York this week.

Cosby's book "Blonde Gay Ambition: The Untold Story Behind Anna NicoleSmith's Death" is a hard-hitting expose of an alleged plot by the two men tomilk the potential $500 million legacy that Anna Nicole Smith was fightingto receive following the death of her billionaire oilman husband J HowardMarshall III.

Her attorneys were in bullish mood today as their client claimed theincriminating videos are undisputable proof that the two men conspired topursue the peroxide former Playboy centerfold for over two years in a bid tocream off some of the disputed legacy.

Stern meanwhile is suing on libel grounds about Cosby's accusations of'criminal lewd acts, homosexual acts, perverted acts, illegal possession anduse of cocaine and crystal-meth, conspiracy to commit murder and kidnappingfor ransom' - according to papers filed before the court.

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Middle East News
Two Saudis to receive 7,000 lashes for committing "homosexual acts"

Oct 4, 2007, 13:31 GMT

Riyadh - Two Saudi men were to receive 7,000 lashes each for committing'homosexual acts,' Saudi Okaz newspaper reported Thursday.

Saudi authorities started executing the court order Tuesday, which had beendivided into separate phases, the report added.

Another Saudi man, meanwhile, was to receive 470 lashes separately for doingdrugs and resisting the security forces.

The Saudi judiciary system is based on the strict principles of Islamicsharia law.


Gay and lesbian film festival forges connections

The 11-day event, in its 18th year, kicks off in Tampa Thursday.
By Steve Persall, Times Film Critic
Published October 4, 2007

18th annual Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival

Thursday through Oct. 14, chiefly at Tampa Theatre, with weekday screeningsstarting Monday at Muvico Baywalk 20 in St. Petersburg. Single film ticketsare $9 or $7 for students, available at the door. Ticket packages range from$46 for six films ($40 for students) to $500 for the all-access SimplyFabulous pass. Party tickets are $15 for Oct. 12 and 13, and $50 forFriday's festival gala. Visit the festival Web site at orcall (813) 879-4220 for information and ordering.

- - -

Over 18 years, the Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival changedleadership several times because, frankly, staging an event of thismagnitude can wear out anyone.

One thing that hasn't changed is the festival's purpose, says first-yearprogrammer Roberta Munroe, a Los Angeles filmmaker whose art, organizationalskills and jury tastes have taken her from Sundance to Cannes.

"There is no better way to bring the community together, acrossrace/religion/class/age and gender lines, than to provide a diverseselection of some of the best queer film available," Munroe said in ane-mail from her California home.

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How far will Democrats go on gay rights?

House likely to pass job protections, but omit transgender people
By Tom Curry
National affairs writer
Updated: 11:56 a.m. ET Oct 4, 2007

WASHINGTON - The gay rights movement has come a long way since 1970 whenVice President Spiro Agnew attacked a liberal Republican critic of the Nixon Administration.

Agnew called Sen. Charles Goodell of New York "the Christine Jorgensen ofthe Republican Party."

Pundits found Agnew's sneering reference to the well-known 1950s transsexualclever, even if a bit harsh.

Today members of Congress aren't making such people the butt of jokes; they'redebating whether they should have protection under federal law.

Many Americans know and work with a gay or lesbian person, but how many havea nodding acquaintance with a transgender person?

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FIU class attracts both gay and straight students

Gay course sparks dialogue by linking history, current events
Thursday, October 04, 2007

When Florida International University professor Oscar Loynaz showed the film"Behind Closed Doors" to his class Monday night, the bleak documentary abouta homophobic witch hunt in Florida perpetrated by a vindictive board calledthe Johns Committee did not seem to spark a big reaction from his students.

Loynaz asked his students who are enrolled in a class called Gay and Lesbianin the USA, whether they thought such a repressive government-run initiativecould happen today. No barrage of hands flew up. In fact, there didn't seemto be much of a response. It could be that the class was reluctant orcrashing from too much caffeine or sugar. Or perhaps the response could meanthat they all agreed with the young woman with a pink stripe in her hair whowas the only student to answer Loynaz's question.

"I don't think that it's possible now," she said aloud.

Her answer could be interpreted as proof that the gay movement has madestrides in the 50 years since the John's Committee attempted to smoke outgays and lesbians from Florida's academic institutions, courthouses and busstations.

After all, the 30 students in Loynaz's class represent the post-"Will andGrace" generation. They grew up watching celebrities such as Ellen DeGenerescome out of the closet. They see same-sex kisses on TV and on campus everyday. For many, it's no big deal.

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Film focuses on clash between religion and gays

Documentary looks at how Christian families react to a gay child
Oct. 04, 2007

CAN THE LOVE BETWEEN TWO people ever be an abomination? Is the chasmseparating gay people and conservative Christians too wide to cross? Is theBible an excuse to hate? These are just a few of the questions explored in"For the Bible Tells Me So," a new film to be screened at Cinema Paradiso nWednesday, Oct. 10, at 6 p.m. The film will be followed by a paneldiscussion at 7:45 p.m. with Rev. Durrell Watkins of the Sunshine CathedralMCC, Rabbi Harold F. Caminker of Etz Chaim and Executive Producer BobGreenbaum.

Through the experiences of five normal, Christian American families -including those of former House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt andEpiscopalian Bishop Gene Robinson - the film explores how insightful peopleof faith handle the realization of having a gay child.

The documentary was an official selection of the Sundance Film Festival andwon the audience award at the Seattle International Film Festival. The HumanRights Campaign's Religion and Faith Panel will sponsor the paneldiscussion.

For more information, go to The film will bescreened at Cinema Paradiso, 503 SE 6th Street in Fort Lauderdale throughOct. 14. For tickets, go to


Award-winning author at Stonewall

Award-winning author Richard McCann will discuss and sign his book "Motherof Sorrows" at the Stonewall Library & Archives on Thursday, Oct. 11, at 7p.m.

"Mother of Sorrows" presents 10 interwoven stories of an American family.Michael Cunningham, author of "The Hours," describes "Mother of Sorrows" as"almost unbearably beautiful." "O," the Oprah Magazine praised the book as"exquisitely written.. As evocative as fading photographs, these are movingstories of betrayal and loss." McCann's work has appeared in severalmagazines, including "Esquire," as well as in numerous anthologies,including "The Penguin Book of Gay Short Stories."

McCann has received grants and awards for his poetry and prose from theGuggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the FulbrightFoundation, Yaddo and several others. He grew up in Maryland and has livedin several countries, including Sweden, Spain and Germany. He currentlyresides in Washington, D.C., where he teaches in the MFA program in creativewriting at American University. He also serves on the board of directors ofthe PEN Faulkner Foundation.

This program is sponsored by Stonewall Library & Archives and is supportedby a generous grant from Comcast. For more information, call 954-763-8565 orgo to


Mother of hit-and-run victim hires private investigator

Oct. 04, 2007

The mother of a gay bartender who was severely injured in a hit-and-runincident on 4th Avenue in Fort Lauderdale has hired a private investigatorto look into her son's case because, she said, she has been frustrated indealing with the Fort Lauderdale Police Department.

Thomas Davis, 32, a bartender at Ramrod bar, was struck by a white car as hecrossed the street to go to work at about 10:15 p.m. on Sept. 18. As ofpress time, Davis remained in the intensive care unit of Broward GeneralHospital suffering from a broken leg, head injuries, a lacerated liver andbruised lungs. Marcus Hopkins, a witness who was working security outsideRamrod the night of the incident, said the car appeared to speed up, swerveand hit Davis intentionally.

Davis' mother, Sue Davis, said she hired Waldman Investigations to look intothe case because she was frustrated with the Fort Lauderdale police notkeeping her in the loop or providing her with updates.

"I called three or four times, and they never returned my calls," Davissaid. "I just don't hear from [traffic investigator Jill Hirsch]." She saidHirsch only called her back after the private investigator called her.

"She said she was going to get Crime Stoppers involved, but I haven't heardanything," she said.

Hirsch did not return a call from the Express by press time.

Police are looking for a small, white vehicle, possibly a Toyota Corolla,with damage on the right front side and a broken right-side mirror.

"His friends are doing more than the police," Davis said. "They've beencalling auto body shops."

Tom Scog, owner of Tropixxx, a gay video store next to the Ramrod, saidpeople drive by the bar and yell anti-gay slurs out the window. He said hewas called a "faggot" in front of his store, and the security people atRamrod have had eggs tossed at them. He said the incidents have been goingon throughout the eight years that he has owned the video store. He said heha told police about the incidents, but was told they couldn't do anythingabout them.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call Jill Hirsch,traffic homicide investigator at 954-828-5753 or Waldman Investigations at215-464-8748.


Dolphin Dems to celebrate 25th anniversary with awards dinner

Oct. 04, 2007

Local leaders and elected officials will be recognized Saturday, Oct. 6, atthe Dolphin Democrats' 25th anniversary dinner.

The organization, the longest running GLBT democratic club in Florida, hasbeen on the forefront of gay democratic politics in Broward. In the pastyear, the group has led discussion and actions regarding the federalEmployment Non- Discrimination Act, amending county and municipal equalrights ordinances to include transgender rights, advocating for equalmarriage rights and more.

The club will honor several leaders with awards. Openly gay Broward CountyCommissioner Ken Keechl will be named Dolphin of the Year. U.S. Rep. RonKlein will get the Trailblazer of the Year award. Columnist and televisionand radio personality Jim DeFede will get the club's Media Personalityaward. Broward County Human Rights Board member and BSO community liaisonAdriane Reesey will be named Humanitarian of the Year.

There will be a silent auction as well as a pre-dinner cocktail hour. Theblacktie- optional dinner is the club's major fund-raiser that benefits theDolphin Democrats' Get Out the Vote Center and Voter Outreach.

The event begins at 6 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six, 2301 SE 17St. in Fort Lauderdale. For information, call 954-564-9429 or visitwww.dolphindems. org.


Advocates seek to raise awareness about lesbian breast cancer issues

Insensitivity of medical workers, lack of insurance blamed for increasedrisk
Oct. 04, 2007

Discrimination is one of the factors keeping lesbians and bisexual womenfrom getting the best medical care and detecting breast cancer at an earlystage, according to women's health care advocates. In fact, theinsensitivity of some medical workers is identified as one of the mainreasons why lesbians are considered at higher risk than straight women forbeing diagnosed with breast cancer.

Andrea Densham, interim executive director of the Mautner Project, one ofthe leading lesbian health organizations in the nation, said lesbians oftenreport experiencing subtle and not-so-subtle prejudice when they disclosetheir sexuality to medical professionals.

"Discrimination reduces the number of lesbians who get annual screenings,"Densham said. "Women have told us about providers saying, 'We're sorry you'rea lesbian' and getting materials about changing their sexuality."

As part of the observance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the MautnerProject will join the Aqua Foundation for Women's Lesbian Health Project ina forum on Oct. 19 that will focus on educating medical professionals aboutspecific issues affecting lesbians. The forum, titled "Removing theBarriers," will take place at the Sunshine Cathedral in Fort Lauderdale.

"The most important thing for doctors to know is that we are women and thatwe have experienced discrimination," Densham said. "It's important fordoctors and nurses to create an environment where there is trust and respectso that lesbians and bisexual women can feel comfortable sharinginformation."

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Not your grandma's Tupperware party

World-famous container queen Dixie Longate to host fund-raiser
Oct. 04, 2007

When most local organizations hold a fund-raiser, members find themselveswashing cars, selling shots in the bars or conducting a raffle. TheHammerheads, South Florida's champion swim team, are throwing a party - aTupperware party. On Thursday, Oct. 11, the Hammerheads will welcome DixieLongate, Tupperware's longtime leading salesperson, to Fort Lauderdale for afund-raising Tupperware party at Religious Science Fort Lauderdale in WiltonManors.

The Express caught up with Dixie, and she warned us not to expect the stodgyTupperware party your mother might have attended:

Express: How did you get into Tupperware sales?
Dixie: I had gotten out of prison and my parole officer said I needed a jobto get my kids back. It was such a hassle to have to take them back..Anyway, she suggested I do something where I could control my schedule andbe my own boss. I did my first party and made money right out of the gate. Igot free drinks at the party, too, and that sort of roped me in. Within oneyear, I was the number one selling Tupperware lady in the U.S. It sort ofthrew me for a loop, and I just kept going. I never thought I'd be doing itfor six years.

I understand your Tupperware parties are pretty unconventional.
It's hard to describe it. Everybody always uses the tag phrase, "It ain'tlike your momma's Tupperware party," but it is like your momma's - exceptshe wasn't a whore and didn't drink that much. For me, it's not so much theTupperware that makes the party, it's the party itself. Tupperware partieshave been around for some 60 odd years, but it's about me making sureeveryone has a great time. There's nothing like me and a bunch of bowls andpeople drinking. It's a good time.

Tupperware is a large global corporation. How does the company feel aboutyour unconventional parties?
Actually, you'd be surprised. They've been very supportive. What Tupperware
is trying to do is to make the party more interesting and get it out of thatold, "grandmothery" perspective. They're looking for someone who breaks themold and gives it that spin. That's me!

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HRC board does not support non-trans inclusive ENDA

But it won't 'encourage' defeat of sexual orientation-only bill
Oct. 04, 2007

The board of directors of the Human Rights Campaign,the nation's largest gayrights group, voted Monday to reaffirm the group's decision not to supportthe Employment Non- Discrimination Act, or ENDA, without language protectingtransgender persons from job discrimination.

But in a statement released Tuesday, HRC President Joe Solmonese said thegroup would not ask members of Congress to vote against a "sexualorientation only" version of ENDA if House Democratic leaders move itforward this month, as expected.

"Since 2004, HRC has had in place a policy that supports only a fullyinclusive version of ENDA, and the board of directors voted to reaffirm thatposition,"Solmonese said."Therefore, we are not able to support, nor will weencourage members of Congress to vote against, the newly introduced sexualorientation only bill."

Solmonese was referring to a decision last week by gay U.S. Rep. BarneyFrank (D-Mass.) to introduce two new versions of ENDA. One includesprotections against employment discrimination based only on sexualorientation, which covers gays and bisexuals. The other bill calls forbanning job discrimination based on gender identity, a term that coverstransgender persons.

Frank and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (DCalif.) said they proposed thetwo-bill strategy after determining Democrats could not line up enoughsupport to pass a transinclusive ENDA. Frank said he would arrange for aquick hearing on the transgender bill but it would not come up for a voteany time soon because it lacks the support it needs to pass.The sexualorientation version was to come up for a vote this month.

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Rudy Leads GOP In Money

by The Associated Press
Posted: October 5, 2007 - 9:00 am ET

(Washington) Front-running Republicans Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romneyoutpaced the rest of the GOP presidential field in summer campaignfundraising, but newcomer Fred Thompson was hot on their heels.

Giuliani raised more than $11 million for the presidential race in theJuly-September quarter, $10.5 million of it available for the primaries.Romney raised $10 million and tapped his personal fortune to pump in anadditional $8.5 million.

Thompson, the former Tennessee senator and "Law & Order" television actor,raised $9.3 million in the quarter. He joined the GOP campaign only lastmonth but had been raising money throughout the three-month period.

Giuliani's income left him with $16 million cash on hand, aides saidThursday. Of that, about $12 million is available for the primaries. Romneyhad $9 million on hand to compete for the Republican nomination. Thompsonhad $7 million in the bank. All of Romney's and Thompson's money isavailable for the primaries.

Romney's personal contribution nearly matched the amount he had invested inhis campaign for the first six months of the year. Overall, Romney, a formerventure capitalist and Massachusetts governor, has dipped into his personalwealth for nearly $17.5 million.


Obama Hoping For Iowa Breakthrough

by The Associated Press
Posted: October 5, 2007 - 9:00 am ET

(Washington) Barack Obama's hopes for the Democratic nomination hinge ongetting hundreds of thousands of new voters fired up enough to actually turnout - and on spending a good chunk of his $80 million at the very end of afront-loaded campaign.

Other candidates - usually trailing, like Obama - have tried similar plansin the past and failed. But none of them had nearly the money Obama has. Andthe scheduling conditions of the 2008 campaign have never existed before.

Obama's plan is all about the Iowa caucuses.

His wife said recently, "If Barack doesn't win Iowa, it is just a dream."And his advisers agree that it will be nearly impossible to stop HillaryRodham Clinton from steamrolling to the nomination if she wins in Iowa,although some still argue he could remain in the race if he comes in a closesecond.

They see hope in the fact that although she is surging ahead elsewhere inthe country, Iowa remains a tight race between Clinton, Obama and 2004 vicepresidential nominee John Edwards.

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Gay World Cup Scores a Victory

by Jeannette Neumann, special to

BUENOS AIRES - "I thought gay people didn't know how to play soccer," said13-year old Argentine Fabrizio De Prinzio as he stood with a handful ofadolescent classmates and two teachers as they cheered on the San FranciscoSpikes during the 10 th annual International Gay and Lesbian FootballAssociation World Soccer Championships.

The Spikes were one of a record-number of 28 teams from around the worldthat competed in the amateur gay soccer world cup, which ended Saturday inBuenos Aires after victory was handed to Argentina's Dogos SN team followingan exciting game against last year's champions Stonewall from England.

The 2007 championship was the first international gay sporting event to beheld in South America and were seen by officials as an important step in theInternational Gay and Lesbian Football Association's (IGFLA) goal ofcontinuing to connect gay communities around the world through the love ofthe sport.

"We wanted to make this an outreach tournament and we decided that LatinAmerica was one of the target markets for us," said Phil Sheats, 37,director of marketing and public relations for IGFLA.

Besides one blip-on-the-radar appearance in the 2000 championships in Colon,Germany, no South American teams have ever participated. This year's games,however, saw four teams from host-country Argentina, one from Chile, onefrom Uruguay and one from Mexico. The majority of the 500-plus players werefrom the United States and England.

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Palm Beach May Add Transgender Rights to Discrimination Laws
October 05, 2007

The Palm Beach County, Fla., legislature, on a vote of 6-1, approved ameasure Tuesday that would specifically protect the rights of transgenderpeople, according to a report on the Web site Out in Miami. The "yes" votewas split between three Democrats and three Republicans, while anotherDemocrat voted against it.

The county board of commissioners must vote on the legislation twice morebefore the law can go into effect.

Board vice chair Jeff Koons proposed to alter Palm Beach's Equal EmploymentOrdinance and the Fair Housing Ordinance to prohibit discrimination based ongender identity or expression, the newspaper reports.

The changes were spurred by the recent firing of Largo city manager SteveStanton when it was revealed that he was going to undergo sex-reassignmentsurgery.

"Employers will still be able to enforce reasonable dress and groomingstandards in the workplace after the law takes effect," Rand Hoch, presidentof the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, said in the report. "However,the Equal Employment Ordinance will provide assurances that other aspects ofa person's gender identity and expression cannot be used as the basis foremployment discrimination." (The Advocate)


Florida Senator, Representative Suing DNC

Suit Claims DNC Rules Committee Stripped State Of Delegates
POSTED: 5:51 pm EDT October 4, 2007
UPDATED: 6:04 pm EDT October 4, 2007

Florida's two senior Democrats in Congress are plaintiffs in a lawsuit filedThursday in Tallahassee against the Democratic National Committee (DNC),according to Local 10 senior political reporter Michael Putney.

Sen. Bill Nelson and U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings of Broward claim in the suitthat the DNC Rules Committee unconstitutionally and illegally strippedFlorida of all its delegates to next summer's Democratic nationalconvention.

The DNC punished Florida Democrats because the Legislature, controlled byRepublicans, decided to leap-frog other states and set Jan. 29, 2009 as thedate for the state's presidential primary, Putney reported.

For years, the Florida primary had been held in March. Democrats in theLegislature voiced only half-hearted objections at the time, despitewarnings from the DNC to oppose the measure. They didn't and it passedeasily because members of both parties were tired of Florida primary votersbeing irrelevant in the nominating process, said Putney.

"It's a case of fundamental rights versus party rules," Nelson said at aWashington, D.C., news conference.

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