UPDATED: Register Now for Winter Membership Meeting
The Florida LGBTA Democratic Caucus is pleased to announce plans for our upcoming Winter (Biennial) Membership Meeting and Board Elections, held February 7, 2015, in Gainesville, Florida! The membership meeting will include the election of officers and other board members, the consideration of bylaws changes and a discussion about transgender inclusion and participation in the Caucus. […]
Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus Statement on Arrival of Marriage Equality
TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – The Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus proudly welcomes marriage equality to the great State of Florida and its LGBT residents! For years, same-gender couples have been denied full equality in this state where we live, play and pay taxes, but that has come to an end! Last Tuesday, January 6, was just the […]
Lawsuit Filed By Six Couples to Bring Marriage Equality to Florida
On Tuesday, January 21, 2014, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of six same-sex couples challenging the ban on marriage equality in Florida. The South Florida couples suing for the right to marry are Catherina Pareto and Karla Arguello; Dr. Juan Carlos Rodriguez and David Price; Vanessa and Melanie Alenier; Todd and Jeff Delmay; Summer […]
Caucus Applauds the Supreme Court Decisions on DOMA and Prop 8
TAMPA, FL – The Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus applauds rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court decisions today that struck down a critical section of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and reinstated marriage equality for same-sex couples in California. “This is an enormous victory and joyous day for loving, married couples and their families across […]
The Florida LGBTA Democratic Caucus is pleased to announce plans for our upcoming Winter (Biennial) Membership Meeting and Board Elections, held February 7, 2015, in Gainesville, Florida! The membership meeting will include the election of officers and other board members, the consideration of bylaws changes and a discussion about transgender inclusion and participation in the Caucus. As always, there is no cost to attend the membership meeting.
Members attending the membership meeting are encouraged to register in advance. This will allow us an opportunity to prepare nametags and agenda materials. There is no fee to attend the membership meeting.
February 7, 2015, 1:00pm
Location: Pride Community Center of North Central Florida
3131 NW 13th Street, Suite 62
Gainesville, FL 32609
Join us as we prepare for victory in 2016!
Hotel Information: A special room rate of $89/night has been arranged at Paramount Plaza Hotel & Suites, 2900 SW 13th Street, for the nights of February 6th and 7th. Click this link to make your reservation using our discount code. The special rate is only valid for the nights of February 6th and 7th and reservations must be made by January 28th.
TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – The Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus proudly welcomes marriage equality to the great State of Florida and its LGBT residents! For years, same-gender couples have been denied full equality in this state where we live, play and pay taxes, but that has come to an end!
Last Tuesday, January 6, was just the beginning. Not only did couples all over the state of Florida finally get to say “I do,” but those who had previously tied the knot in other states or countries that already had marriage equality finally are able to have those marriages recognized by this state that we all love. It’ll also be a comfort to future same-gender couples to know that when they are ready, their state is ready to welcome them!
The economic impact of marriage equality here in Florida has the potential to be immense. With our tourism-based economy that includes our gorgeous beaches as well as famous tourist destinations, the table is set for Florida to experience a multi-million dollar economic boost from Floridians and tourists alike.
Politicians and activists who remain in opposition to marriage equality will be defeated at the polls. Florida is ready for marriage equality and those who attempt to keep fighting it will not be able to earn the votes of the next generation of voters. To that end, we urge Attorney General Pam Bondi to drop any and all remaining appeals and let court rulings in favor of equality stand!
• With our organization’s mission to elect pro-equality candidates, our Political Action Committee interviewed candidates for local, county and state offices, and our members voted to endorse 21 candidates. Of those endorsements, 10 candidates were elected including: LGBT candidate Michael Smith – reelected to the Largo City Commission against an anti-gay candidate; Linda Lerner – a long-time advocate for LGBT issues reelected over a right-wing candidate; and former Largo mayor Pat Gerard – a LGBT supporter whose election gives Democrats a majority on the County Commission for the first time in 50 years.
• Our 2014 Endorsement Victories: (*Stonewall Dems member)
- Joe Barkley* — Belleair Bluffs City Commission
- Julie Bujalski — Dunedin, Mayor
- Yolanda Roman* — Gulfport City Council
- Michael Smith* — Largo, City Commission, Seat 1
- Smamatha Fenger — Largo, City Commission, Seat 3
- Linda Lerner — School Board, Dist. 6
- Rene Flowers — School Board, Dist. 7
- Dwight Dudley — State House, Dist. 68
- Darryl Rouson* — State House, Dist. 70
- Pat Gerard* — County Commission, Dist. 2
• Our Stonewall PAC donated $7,100 in direct contributions to our 19 endorsed candidates and received $6,300 in contributions from over 85 individuals to support our political activities. We held two successful fundraising events: one was hosted by St Petersburg City Councilmember Darden Rice and attended by all of our Pinellas Democratic elected officials, and another was held at Georgie’s Alibi, a “Professional Member” of the Stonewall Democrats.
• We sent over 1,500 “Get Out the Vote” mailers to households for the November General Election, with support by a grant from the Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus. The mailer promoted 17 equality candidates and provided information on the state amendments and county referendum.
• Our first Stonewall Democrats Judicial Candidate Forum in July was attended by all of the judicial candidates. As a result, we recommended five of the candidates for election.
• In addition to our Pinellas candidates, our chapter made financial contributions to support the Pinellas Democratic Party and its Victory Fund, the Pinellas Voters Fund, and an event for Attorney General candidate George Sheldon.
• Our members were involved in many of campaigns and GOTV efforts and also made thousands of phone calls on behalf of our endorsed candidates and recommended issues.
Community Involvement and Education
• Over our nine years, the Stonewall Democrats have advanced LGBT rights through our political work, as well as our community involvement and education activities. This year saw historic advancement of pro-equality policies in county and municipal areas of government.
• By our work to elect St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman and pro-equality city council members, the City of St Petersburg has now received a 100% rating by the Human Rights Campaign based on LGBT inclusion in local laws and policy. Under the new leadership, the city is actively advancing LGBT rights and recognition — including the Mayor raising a rainbow flag over City Hall for June as Pride Month, and signing onto the Mayors for Freedom to Marry pledge. St. Petersburg has expanded its domestic partner health benefits to all employees, and has LGBT liaisons within city government and the police department.
• We had a significant presence at St Pete Pride — the largest Pride event in Florida. The Stonewall Democrats were nominated as the Community Organization Grand Marshal, and our member, Darden Rice, was named the Female Grand Marshal. Our parade float highlighting our pro-equality candidates (“Our Stars are Out for Equality”) won the “Priscilla Award” (Best Non-Profit) and was featured on the cover of the Tampa Bay Times. Our booth at the street festival provided information about our endorsed candidates and our members helped raise over $2,500 staffing a beverage booth.
• We set a new record in 2014 with nearly 160 members. We are one of the largest chapters in the Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus and our members hold several leadership positions with the state organization.
• Many of our members serve as members of the Pinellas Democratic Party. In December, our President, Susan McGrath, was elected as the county’s new Democratic Party Chair. All of the county party’s officers are Stonewall Democrats members. In addition, our members represent our county as members of the Florida Democratic Party and hold positions within that organization.
• As part of our work, the Stonewall Democrats help educate candidates and elected officials about issues important to the transgender community. At our November meeting, we marked the Transgender Day of Remembrance with a special program and speaker.
• Our organization supports the community in many ways. In September we sponsored a team for AIDS Walk Tampa Bay that raised over $1,850. We also donated $500 for Gay Days, $250 to Doctors for America, and $200 to participate in the January 2015 MLK Parade in St Petersburg.
• Our annual Holiday Party draws approximately 200 guests and is well attended by Democratic elected officials from across Pinellas County
Today, Florida Democratic Party Chair Allison Tant made the following statement on the end of Florida’s ban on marriage equality:
“I want to extend my congratulations to Florida’s gay and lesbian couples who are finally able to enjoy marriage equality. While the fight was not easy, equality and justice have prevailed in the Sunshine State. I am so proud of the tireless efforts of those who championed LGBT rights day in and day out for years.
“While thousands of LGBT couples will get married across the state over the coming days and weeks, there are still a dozen counties with Clerks of Court who are refusing to conduct courthouse marriages in a final, futile attempt to hold back equality. This shameful stunt by a few desperate and out-of-touch politicians who are showing disrespect for the rights of all Floridians. These clerks need to do the job they swore to do, or step aside and allow all Floridians to marry.”
The Manatee County Clerk of Courts will begin issuing marriage licenses to all couples, including same-sex couples, on Tuesday, January 6, 2015, according to an update on the Clerk’s official website.
The changes sweeping across Florida’s Clerks of Courts comes on the heels of a federal district court order yesterday that clarified the unconstitutionality of Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage.
The Clerk’s office will be open on Tuesday, January 6th, starting at 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. — the office’s normal business hours.
In other news, earlier this week, Publix announced it will extend benefits to same-sex spouses.
The federal trial court with jurisdiction over the issue has issued a clarification of its earlier ruling on gay marriage in Florida.
The January 1, 2015 order in Brenner et al v. Scott, etc., et al, “holds unconstitutional the Florida ban on same-sex marriage,” “does not require the Clerk to issue licenses to other applicants,” “but as set out in the order that announced issuance of the preliminary injunction, the Constitution requires the Clerk to issue such licenses. As in any other instance involving parties not now before the court, the Clerk’s obligation to follow the law arises from sources other than the preliminary injunction.”
The case involves a same-sex couple seeking a marriage license in Washington County in northern Florida. The consolidate case also includes other same-sex couples married in other jurisdictions wishing to see their marriages legally recognized in Florida, and an association representing similar individual.
The order further notes, “There should be no debate, however, on the question whether a clerk of court may follow the ruling, even for marriage-license applicants who are not parties to this case.”
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
JAMES DOMER BRENNER et al.,
RICK SCOTT, etc., et al.,
CONSOLIDATED CASE NO. 4:14cv107-RH/CAS
ORDER ON THE SCOPE OF THE
In this consolidated case, the plaintiffs challenge provisions of the Florida
Constitution and Florida Statutes banning same-sex marriage. Two plaintiffs are
unmarried; they seek issuance of a Florida marriage license. The other plaintiffs
are individuals (and an association representing individuals) who were married in
other jurisdictions and seek recognition of their marriages in Florida. The
defendants, all in their official capacities, are the Secretary of the Florida
Department of Management Services, the Florida Surgeon General, and the Clerk
of Court of Washington County, where the two unmarried plaintiffs reside.
A preliminary injunction is in place and has been for more than four months.
It holds unconstitutional the Florida ban on same-sex marriage. Now the Clerk has
filed an emergency motion to clarify the preliminary injunction. She asks whether
the injunction requires her to issue marriage licenses to all qualified same-sex
applicants or only to the two unmarried plaintiffs.
The founders of this republic adopted a Constitution and a system for its
enforcement. When there are disagreements about what the Constitution requires,
those who are affected may seek a definitive ruling in court. These plaintiffs did
that in this case. The Secretary and Surgeon General—as duly empowered
officials of the State of Florida, represented by the Attorney General—joined issue.
So did the Clerk. The result was an explicit ruling that Florida’s same-sex-
marriage ban is unconstitutional.
The United States Supreme Court and federal courts of appeals had stayed
similar rulings in other cases. I stayed the ruling in this case while those stays
were in effect and for 91 more days—long enough to allow the defendants to seek
a further stay in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and, if
unsuccessful there, in the United States Supreme Court. The defendants did that.
They lost. The United States Supreme Court allowed the ruling in this case to take
History records no shortage of instances when state officials defied federal
court orders on issues of federal constitutional law. Happily, there are many more
instances when responsible officials followed the law, like it or not. Reasonable
people can debate whether the ruling in this case was correct and who it binds.
There should be no debate, however, on the question whether a clerk of court may
follow the ruling, even for marriage-license applicants who are not parties to this
case. And a clerk who chooses not to follow the ruling should take note: the
governing statutes and rules of procedure allow individuals to intervene as
plaintiffs in pending actions, allow certification of plaintiff and defendant classes,
allow issuance of successive preliminary injunctions, and allow successful
plaintiffs to recover costs and attorney’s fees.
The Clerk has acknowledged that the preliminary injunction requires her to
issue a marriage license to the two unmarried plaintiffs. The Clerk has said she
will do so. In the absence of any request by any other plaintiff for a license, and in
the absence of a certified class, no plaintiff now in this case has standing to seek a
preliminary injunction requiring the Clerk to issue other licenses. The preliminary
injunction now in effect thus does not require the Clerk to issue licenses to other
applicants. But as set out in the order that announced issuance of the preliminary
injunction, the Constitution requires the Clerk to issue such licenses. As in any
other instance involving parties not now before the court, the Clerk’s obligation to
follow the law arises from sources other than the preliminary injunction.
For these reasons,
IT IS ORDERED:
The motion to clarify, ECF No. 99, is granted. The preliminary injunction is
clarified as set out in this order.
SO ORDERED on January 1, 2015.
s/Robert L. Hinkle
United States District Judge
Florida Marriage Equality Legal Documents
Summary of the Florida Cases
Brenner v. Scott, Grimsley v. Scott
The Manatee GLBTA Democratic Caucus will host a theatre outing on Saturday, December 13 at the freeFall Theatre in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Members and friends of the Caucus will enjoy an unusual version of A Christmas Carol at the freeFall Theatre, 6099 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, FL. Tickets are $31 ($28 discounted for seniors, students, teachers, and military).
A portion of ticket sales goes to support Prism Youth Initiative, a 501(c)(3) non-profit supporting LGBTQ youth
The show starts at 2:00 p.m. Those wishing to carpool will meet at 12:30 p.m. at the Manatee Democratic Headquarters, 6233 14th St. W., Bradenton, FL 34207, to ride together.
Attendees will join in a convivial lunch outing after the show at O’Bistro, 6661 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, FL.
For more information, contact Sandra Gander at email@example.com
See the flyer, below, for more information.email us for more information.