Kicking A Lion

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Posts Tagged ‘florida

Homeowners group allows only married couples to rent

A Central Florida homeowners association covenant prohibits owners from leasing their homes to couples who aren’t married, raising the ire of gay rights advocates and homeowners who can’t locate tenants, reports Local 6 News in Orlando

The development is near the University of Central Florida. The rules were created, in part, to prevent the homes from becoming similar to nearby college apartments.

But abandoned homes are forcing current residents to maintain the properties.

A man who owns a home in the development had to move to Texas for employment reasons is trying renting the house for $1,600 a month, including HOA fees.

“It’s ridiculous,” says Eric Marberg. “I might have to quit my job here and move down to Florida and try to get something going.”

“Whether intended or not, this HOA law discriminates against many types of people,” said Tom Dyer, publisher of The Watermark, an Orlando gay and lesbian magazine. “And what’s most offensive is they’re saying the only kinds of people who can form a cohesive responsible household unit are married heterosexuals. And that discriminates against lots and lots of people.”

Fair or not?

You decide.

Written by kickingalion

December 19, 2008 at 4:34 pm

Sadness On Our Streets

As I continue to compile the list of names of GLBT persons for our sister web-site, The PATH Project (, I ran across this article. 

Sadness On Our Streets

Hundreds attended a vigil for Simmie Williams, Jr. two weeks ago. Simmie was the 17-year old shot to death on Sistrunk Boulevard on February 22nd. The next day, February 23rd, Melbourne Brunner was viciously attacked outside a popular Las Olas restaurant. Brunner said he was beaten by a stranger who walked by his table and targeted him for no other reason than he was gay.

Have South Florida’s former gay-friendly streets become too gay-unfriendly for the gay community? Should we just stay in our homes?

On January 3rd, Alexio Bello’s housekeeper found him stabbed to death inside his Miami apartment which had been ransacked. This was the first murder in Miami for the year 2008. Do our own homes no longer provide a safe haven?

“Things have consistently been this way,” said Scott Hall of the Gay American Heroes Foundation, an organization with a traveling memorial to those who have been killed in anti-gay hate crimes, “but since it’s currently in our backyard, we are more focused on it. There are about 20 formal gay hate-related murders in the country a year. There are actually more, but, because of differing laws in the country, not every one is classified a hate crime.”

Simmie’s vigil took place on Sistrunk Boulevard near a chain link fence where he was found dead. A memorial of candles, stuffed animals and a rainbow flag marked the area. Simmie’s mother, Denise King held a photo of Simmie and wept as community activists were speaking.

“I’m still in shock,” Denise King told me, “it’s like a bad dream. The community needs to pull together to stop the hate. They need to take it to Tallahassee or the Supreme Court. I lost my son because of all this stuff.”

After the vigil, over 100 participants gathered at the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of South Florida and discussed the recent violent attacks on the gay community. The gathering also donated money to help pay Simmie’s funeral expenses. Additional money was donated to Crime Stoppers for a reward leading to the arrest of the murderer(s).

According to Gay American Heroes, anti-gay hate crimes are up nationwide and 2008 is off to a deadly start which averaged one every ten days during the first six weeks of 2008, the most recent being young Simmie’s.

Lawrence King, an openly gay, 15-year-old student in Oxnard, California, was shot in the head by a 14 year-old classmate on February 12 while sitting in class at his junior high school. King was proclaimed brain dead ten hours later in hospital and was kept on ventilators for organ donation. One classmate reported that, “King would sometimes go to school wearing make-up and high heels [and] King’s appearance was ‘freaking the guys out’.” The killer has been charged with a hate crime murder and may be tried as an adult.

Alexio Bello, a 68-year-old, gay man, was found stabbed to death at his home Miami, Florida in January. A young, homeless man, who Bello had taken into his home, was identified as a “person of interest” by police. The case is pending.

Police continue to investigate the murder of a transgender woman in Detroit, Michigan earlier this month. Police have not released the name of the victim. The National Center for Transgender Equality has accused police of mishandling the murder investigation, citing that “police do not usually identify murder victims by the clothes they wear.” The case is pending.

Patrick Murphy was shot three times in the head in Albuquerque, New Mexico in January. Murphy was a well known drag performer in the community. Last year, Murphy won title of Miss New Mexico Gay Rodeo Association. The case is pending.

But who’s to blame for this rise in hate crimes?

“I blame the man that shot my son. I blame any person who shoots anyone else in hate crimes and the parents to teach hate to their kids. I accepted my son for who he wanted to be and I was not going to turn my back on him because he was gay. Parents need to sit down and talk to their child [about tolerance towards gays],” said Denise King.

Scott Hall blames Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle and the incident last year over the new public restrooms which Naugle made the erroneous claims that they are required to keep gay men from having sex in the restrooms. These claims made Naugle the darling of the religious right and prepares him for a U.S. Congressional run later this year. “Naugle encourages people to believe that gay people are evil or bad. He validates hate as a way to rid the world of gays,” Scott said.

Michael Rajner of UNITE Fort Lauderdale claims there’s “not one person to blame for contributing to the hate out there. Really, it’s the intolerance of many religious groups along with the hatred by our [political] leadership. This leadership has become a symbol of the leadership we need to change.”
But can we be safe in the streets of our community? According to Michael Rajner, “Live your life as normal. Don’t live in fear. Police will tell you that to be safe you should always be aware of your surround

But can we be safe in the streets of our community? According to Michael Rajner, “Live your life as normal. Don’t live in fear. Police will tell you that to be safe you should always be aware of your surroundings. Keep an eye out to see if anyone is following you. Always travel in pairs and not alone. And most importantly, do not be afraid to report incidents to the police. Only when incidents are reported to the police can laws can be enacted or changed. Do not be afraid, but be conscious that hatred does exist.”

Written by kickingalion

November 29, 2008 at 4:40 am

Now Florida Wants To End Partner Benefits Too

Antigay-rights activist seeks to ban same-sex benefits

By Bill Varian, Janet Zink and Beth Reinhard, Times/Herald Staff Writers

TAMPA — Seeking to capitalize on statewide passage of a gay marriage ban, a leading antigay-rights activist is setting his sights on same-sex domestic partnership benefits.

David Caton, executive director of the Florida Family Association, says he will seek a change to the Hillsborough County Charter in 2010 to pre-emptively ban same-sex benefits for county employees.

Efforts to recruit volunteers and collect signatures from voters to get the issue on the ballot will begin early next year, he said.

In interviews with the St. Petersburg Times and Miami Herald on Thursday, Caton sought to frame the issue as a fiscal, as much a moral, argument.

“We’re going to use the momentum from the marriage amendment to speak to the fact that most people in this state don’t want a recognition of that type of relationship,” Caton said. “At this time of economic stress, our government should not be providing benefits to nonemployees on the basis on their sexual relationships.”

Gay-rights activists said any such effort by Caton will only galvanize an already motivated bloc of Hillsborough County voters. Those voters have shown greater evidence of organization and hustle in rallying for candidates and causes they support.

“We’ve got a coalition now, and we’ve got people who will work very, very hard to ensure he is not successful,” said Sally Phillips, president of the Hillsborough County Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Allied Democratic Caucus. “He’ll have a fight on his hands.”

In addition to passage of Amendment 2, Caton said he probably would not be pursuing the matter at this time if not for the election of openly gay County Commissioner Kevin Beckner, who won office Nov. 4. He cited strong turnout at Beckner’s swearing-in Tuesday as evidence that his supporters will press him to pursue a gay-rights agenda.

“I think the heavy turnout for his swearing-in was more than just friendship; it was a politically motivated event,” Caton said.

Beckner did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Hillsborough County does not offer domestic partnership benefits to employees, although the city of Tampa does. A change to the County Charter would not affect city employees.

The city’s benefits, however, also figure in Caton’s strategy.

Caton said he would seek to use the political momentum of a Hillsborough charter change to influence Tampa elections for City Council and mayor in 2011. With gay marriage bans getting passed in several states, he called same-sex domestic partner benefits the next frontier in the gay-rights battle.

“Domestic partnership will be the battlefield between the pro-family agenda and the gay-radical agenda,” Caton said. “They’re saying it,” and he and other like-minded people are prepared to respond, he said.

Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio said Caton’s efforts will not pressure the city to change its policies. A majority of City Council members have said they would not seek to end same-sex benefits.

“We are going to continue our domestic partner benefits,” Iorio said. “It’s the right thing to do.”

Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe said Caton is seeking to address a problem that doesn’t exist. In the meantime, the county is facing major challenges, he said.

“My focus is going to be 100 percent on solving some weighty issues: job creation, transportation,” Sharpe said. “I’m going to spend the next two years trying to figure out how to bring people together to address quality-of-life issues.”

Written by kickingalion

November 27, 2008 at 4:24 am