Saturday, November 22, 2008

FLORIDA DIGEST November 22, 2008

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Ft. Lauderdale: Transgender Day of Remembramce - Today!
Date: Saturday November 22, 2008
Time: 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Location: Sunshine Cathedral
Notes: On Saturday November 22, Ft Lauderdale's Transgender community, with family, friends and allies, will gather at the MCC Sunshine Cathedral to remember and honor transgender victims of violence. The 10th Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance observance starts in the Chapel of the MCC Sunshine Cathedral, 1480 SW 9th Avenue, Ft Lauderdale, FL Saturday November 22, at 6:30 pm. The program includes invited speakers followed by a candlelight vigil. A reception will follow immediately in the Cathedral courtyard. Ft Lauderdale's Transgender, Lesbian, Gay & Bi Community extends a warm welcome to all who would like to attend this important event to memorialize our dead and underscore the seriousness of the suffering of our communities. There is no charge for this event.

Domestic Partnership Benefits? They are after those too.
We knew it was coming. It was only a matter of time until the backers of Florida's Amendment 2 proved exactly how dishonest they were during their lie-filled campaign and went after domestic partnership benefits in Florida- despite saying it would have "no effect on benefits" and it was "only about one thing- marriage."

Sunshine Cathedral - Ft. Lauderdale
Pastor Durrell Watkins to perform Mass Wedding on November 30th
On Sunday, November 30th, Sunshine Cathedral will offer a "Mass Wedding" ceremony in protest of Amendment 2. If you and your life-partner (regardless of your genders and whether or not you have had a union or marriage ceremony before) would like to be part of this event, simply stand with us on the front lawn at 11:30 am on Sunday, November 30th (the first day of Advent, the beginning of the Christian year). During our "Mass Wedding" ceremony, we will affirm the dignity of all people and the holiness of mutual affection. The Senior Pastor will then confer the Rite of Blessing on all couples in attendance. All couples, gay, lesbian, and straight who believe in marriage equality are invited to participate. Those who wish to have a certificate commemorating the Rite of Blessing can register for the ceremony by clicking here. There will be a $5 administrative fee for those who wish to obtain a certificate. Certificates will be mailed to those who register; however, one need not register or ask for a certificate in order to participate in the Mass Wedding ceremony. Finally, it should be noted that this ceremony does not confer the legal rights of matrimony or civil union; but it will send a clear message to the world that at least one church recognizes the sanctity of love and commitment regardless of the genders involved. Please join us on the front lawn with your significant other on Sunday, November 30th, as we demonstrate our commitment to justice and equality for all.

Florida GLBT Democrats
Some Big Wins, and a Really Big Loss
by Stephen Gaskill
First, the good news. Florida's GLBT community made tremendous strides on November 4, despite some high profile losses. Openly-gay candidates won countywide races in two counties, and one town regained its majority-gay Commission.
Hillsborough County voters elected Kevin Beckner to the County Commission, ousting incumbent Brian Blair. A 37-year-old financial planner and former police officer, Beckner won a convincing victory, defeating Blair by 10 percentage points. The Hillsborough County Commission has a history of taking anti-GLBT positions, and just a few years ago voted to bar the County from recognizing Gay Pride activities. (The resulting flap helped catapult then-Commissioner Kathy Castor into Congress in 2006.) In endorsing Beckner, the Tampa Tribune said of Blair, "He chose to focus on trivial issues and inflame cultural wars over religion and sexuality.(he) used his commission pulpit to denigrate gaysand non-Christians." Elected countywide, Beckner brings a much needed change in tone to Hillsborough County.
Monroe County voters overwhelmingly elected Heather Carruthers to an open seat on the County Commission. Carruthers trounced architect Carlos Rojas by more than 30 percentage points in a countywide election. Owner of Pearl's, a popular women's guesthouse in Key West, Carruthers is an instrumental member of Fair Insurance Rates for Monroe (FIRM), which helped lower windstorm insurance rates in the Keys.
In Wilton Manors, the gay mecca that abuts the gay mecca of Fort Lauderdale, longtime commissioner Gary Resnick was elected mayor. Resnick defeated the incumbent, Scott Newton, whose gay-friendly reputation was marred among Broward County's GLBT leaders when he ran a nasty and some say homophobic campaign against Mark LaFontaine when both were competing in the August primary for a State Legislature seat. Both were defeated by a third candidate, which allowed Newton to run for the mayoral post in the November contest. Wilton Manors voters also elected Justin Flippen and Tom Green to the Commission, meaning three of the five seats in that town are held by openly-gay representatives. When Resnick becomes mayor his Commission seat will open, and potential candidates are lining up to run. Look for more GLBT candidates and a possible return attempt by Newton.
Now for the bad news. Florida voters passed Amendment 2, the so-called "gay marriage ban" which in reality could strip away rights, benefits and protections from any unmarried couple in Florida, whether gay or straight.
Constitutional amendments in Florida require 60 percent of the vote to pass, and Amendment 2 earned 62 percent of the vote - a narrow win for the proponents, but a crushing blow to those of us who think the Constitution should be used to expand rights, not take them away.Amendment 2 purported to limit marriage to "one man and one woman," but the ballot language included a provision banning the "substantial equivalent" of marriage - something which has no definition in the law. John Stemberger of Florida4Marriage, the initiative's sponsor, said the amendment was necessary to keep infamous "activist judges" from changing the definition of marriage, but it will be precisely one of those judges that will rule on what the "substantial equivalent" of marriage actually means when a legal challenge arises.
Stemberger claimed throughout the campaign that his organization has no intention of challenging domestic partner benefits. However, his allies have a track record of making the same claims during a campaign and disregarding those promises once the amendment is on the books - as public employees in Michigan found out. They lost health benefits because of a similarly-worded amendment in that state. Howard Simon, Florida ACLU executive director, is skeptical of Stemberger's claims, yet admits that opponents of Amendment 2 must remain in a defensive posture. Until benefits are challenged, the implications of its language remain a mystery. Should benefits be pulled because of Amendment 2, the ACLU will become their main defender. With two fulltime attorneys focused on GLBT issues in Florida, from marriage to adoption, the ACLU is among the GLBT community's strongest allies in protecting and expanding our rights. Florida made history on Election Day 2008, both good and bad. Here's hoping our community's newly elected leaders do us proud -- and along the way help raise awareness and educate our fellow Floridians that regardless of exclusionary and discriminatory measures, we are ALL equal under the laws of the land.

ArtsUnited Events Calendar
Thru November Laura Hardesty photos at Storks, 2505 NE 15th Ave Wilton Manors. Free

-November 20, 8pm
Arts NightOUT with "1000 Homosexuals" at the Arscht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd. Miami. Tickets $35 at:

-November 25, 6pm
Through the Eyes of Love Opening Reception at The Galleria at Fort Lauderdale, 2414 East Sunrise Blvd. Free

-"Koi Lily Pond" by Hildana Ciser
Thru December Hildana Ciser paintings at Storks, 2505 NE 15th Ave, Wilton Manors, Free

-December 1, 3-7pm
World AIDS Day
Afternoon of Hope, 3pm Evening of Rememberance and Candlelight Vigil, 5-7pm
Huizenga Park, at Las Olas & Andrews Avenue in Fort Lauderdale.

-"Red Ribbon" by Dennis Dean
December 6, 2008
Ribbons for the Children, Red Tie Gala at Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale for The Children's Diagnostic & Treatment Center. Tickets $25 RSVP at 954.728.1088
Save the Dates!

-February 7-21, 2009
ArtExplosion '09, Lea Delaria, Scott Ryan & musical guest Levi Kreis. Finale Tickets available for ArtsUnited members for $36/24 with password ARTSUNITED at:

-April 24-25, 2009,
Gay and Lesbian Literary Arts Festival, features two days of workshops, master classes, seminars and presentations by some of the biggest names in GLBT Literature.

-Around Town Member Exhibits & Shows
Now thru March 23 Coming of Age, American Art 1850s-1950s at the Museum of Art Fort Lauder- dale, explores the most formative century in American Art and includes work by gay artists Marsden Hartley, Josef Albers and Goergia O'Keefe just to name a few. While you're there, be sure to see the exhibit Picasso/Luna.

-November 21, 7-10pm
ArtWalk, the Wilton Drive monthly tradition continues its third season. The Precise Agency, 2376 Wilton Drive, presents a solo exhibition of the art of Julio Green, 78 Degrees Spa features Sylvester Q at 2153 Wilton Drive, and several artists including Keith Clark and Alfred Phillips, are exhibited at ArtExpressions Gallery, 1438 NE 26th Street.

-November 22, 7:30pm
Hot Hollywood Glam at Art and Culture Center of Hollywood, is a Red Carpet event with silent and live auction, and fashion show to benefit the Center, 1650 Harrison Street, Hollywood.
Tickets are $85 at:

-December 2, 7-9pm
"Guided by Principles"
Artist Reception at Creek 28 features Jeremiah Jenner among the juried work exhibited during Art Basel at 2727 Indian Creek Drive, Miami.

-December 6, 7pm
"Artists We Love" artists reception for group exhibit features Carlos Cesar Alves, Wynwood Fine Arts Gallery, 2750 NW 3rd Ave, Miami. Exhibit runs Dec. 4-8.

-Do you have an exhibit or show you want to tell other AU members about?
On space available basis.


-Broward County Humane Society is seeking a professional in the area of video production to make an HR training video. Anyone with professional experience in this area or if you know of a professional who may be interested in donating some time to make a training video, please contact Agnes Storrings, Human Resources Generalist at (954) 266-6852 or by e-mail at


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