Gay Rights Battle Heats Up in Doral With Mysterious Fliers, Public Hearing Tonight

Last month, when the City Council of Doral unanimously approved a plan to extend benefits to domestic partners of city employees -- becoming the seventh Miami-Dade County to do so -- the move was hailed by activists and city leaders.

But the council's decision has also sparked strong opposition. In the last few weeks, mailers have been bombarding the city excoriating the benefits plan and urging protest. "Marriage benefits = Married employees only! the fliers read. "The Doral City Council wants to force YOU to pay with your money for "marriage" benefits to all "domestic partners."

See also: What the Supreme Court's Move on Gay Marriage Means for Florida

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What the Supreme Court's Move on Gay Marriage Means for Florida

It seems a bit strange that gay couples in Moab, Utah; and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, are now free to marry, while LGBT citizens in gay meccas like South Beach, Wilton Manors, and Key West are still forbidden to even enter a civil union. But the path toward progress doesn't always make sense.

Though the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to turn away multiple gay marriage cases without comment this morning doesn't directly effect Florida, it makes Attorney General Pam Bondi's quest to keep Florida's gay marriage ban in place look like a fool's errand.

See also: Appeals Court Denies Pam Bondi's Motion to Stay Gay Marriage Cases

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Miami-Dade County Commission Likely To Advance Transgender Protections Today

In Miami-Dade, transgender residents today have zero legal protection against being fired or discriminated against by their county government. That incredible fact remains true in 2014 largely because of one county commissioner and one conservative group hell-bent on keeping that basic human protection off the books.

Well, with that right-wing commissioner -- Lynda Bell -- now on the way out of County Hall after an electoral defeat last month, the County Commission will try again today to get the ball rolling on a transgender protection clause.

Update: The commission passed the transgendered protection this afternoon. It will now head to committee for a second vote.

See also: The Shiny, Happy Faces of Transgender Discrimination in Miami-Dade County

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Appeals Court Denies Pam Bondi's Motion to Stay Gay Marriage Cases

Today, the Third District Court of Appeal in Miami denied a motion by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi to freeze the marriage equality cases in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties from advancing through the court system.

"The Third District Court denied her the motion to stay briefings, which was seen as a delaying tactic to slow or stop the case for marriage equality from going forward in Florida," said Mark Ebenhoch, the media director for Aaron Huntsman and William "Lee" Jones, one of the South Florida couples challenging the state's ban on same-sex marriage.

See also: Gay Marriage Question One Step Closer to the Florida Supreme Court

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Florida Supreme Court Will Rule on Gay Marriage

In an unusual move, the Florida Supreme Court justices today decided to rule on case involving the state's same-sex marriage ban, according to the Orlando Sentinel. The case will skip the traditional appeal process after the Second District Court of Appeal directly asked the Florida Supreme Court to take on the case due to "great public importance."

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Pam Bondi on Keeping Gay Marriage Illegal: "I am Just Getting Started"

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Apparently there are some people out there who don't think Attorney General Pam Bondi is doing a good enough job defending Florida's ban on same-sex marriage, which a federal jude just ruled yesterday was unconstitutional and will be scene in the near future as "an obvious pretext for discrimination."

Well, just hours after the ruling, Bondi took a pledge before gay marriage opponents and promised that she's just getting started in her fight to upkeep the ban.

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Federal Judge Rules Florida's Gay Marriage Ban Unconstitutional; Immediately Stays Decision

Photo by George Martinez
U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle ruled today that Florida's gay marriage ban violates the 14th Amendment's guarantees of equal protection and due process. The federal judge's ruling follows similar rulings by state judges in four counties. However, like those rulings, Hinkle immediately stayed his decision.

Thus, same-sex couples in Florida will still have to wait for further court decisions before getting their marriage licenses.

See also: Same-Sex Marriage Could Give $182.2 Million Boost to Florida's Economy

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Same-Sex Marriage Could Give $182.2 Million Boost to Florida's Economy

Florida's ban on same-sex marriage is chiefly a civil rights issue, but it's also an economic issue.

A new analysis by the UCLA School of Law's William Institute estimates Florida could see a $182.2 million boost to its economy if gay marriage were legalized -- and that's just in the first three years alone. That translates to roughly $12.2 million in taxes for the state and local governments.

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Florida's Same-Sex Marriage Ban Continues to Crumble: Broward Judge Rules Against It

Photo by George Martinez
Always a little late to the party, but still ahead of the rest of Florida, Broward County has joined the movement to strike down Florida's ban on same sex marriages. A judge in Broward this afternoon has ruled that Florida's ban is unconstitutional, a judgment that follows two similar opinions out of Monroe and Miami-Dade counties.

Unlike those cases, which involved couples seeking the right to marry, this case involved a couple that had entered a civil union in Vermont who were seeking the right to divorce in Florida.

See also: Miami-Dade Judge Rules in Favor of Gay Marriage

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Meet Florida's Biggest Homophobes

Browse the Facebook page of the Florida Democratic League for a few seconds and you'll come across a disturbing image of an effigy of a black man hanging from a lamp post with a sign attached to his dead body: "This n***** voted."

The image accompanied a rant on Miami-Dade Judge Sarah I. Zabel's decision to rule in favor of gay marriage. The ranter claimed that Zabel had "judicially lynched" Florida voters who had voted in favor of the state's 2008 constitutional ban on gay marriage.

If you find dredging up painful images from racist past to enforce present discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation logically absurd, at best, to deeply offensive, at worst, you're probably not familiar with the thinking of Florida's last bastion of (loosely) organized homophobes.

See also: The Top Ten Outed Right-Wing Homophobes

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