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Tampa scores high in new report on LGBT equality; St. Pete and other Florida cities above average listen

11/19/13 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday
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Tags: LGBT, equality, Human Rights Campaign, equality florida, Tampa, St. Pete, Florida, marriage equality, domestic partnership

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Tampa ranks high for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality in American cities in a report released today by the Human Rights Campaign.

The LGBT rights group gives Tampa 89 points and St. Petersburg 66 points out of 100.

The Municipal Equality Index report was written by Cathryn Oakley, legislative council for state and municipal advocacy at the Human Rights Campaign. ...

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Conservative Terry Kemple appointed to Hillsborough County diversity council listen

10/02/13 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday
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Tags: LGBT, Muslims, Hillsborough County Commission, Terry Kemple, Kevin Beckner, Les Miller, islam, Victor Crist, diversity

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Hillsborough County Commissioners created a Diversity Advisory Council Wednesday morning and unanimously appointed conservative Christian Terry Kemple as one of its members. That’s despite the push from some commissioners in the past to exclude him because they say he has anti-diversity views including against Muslims and gays. Openly gay Commissioner Kevin Beckner said his change of heart came from something Pope Francis said this summer.

"Actually was a response to, when he was asked of...

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Transgender woman in Pinellas denied access to restrooms at PTEC listen

09/19/13 Janelle Irwin
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday
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Tags: LGBT, discrimination, Pinellas County Schools, transgender, PTEC, U.S. Department of Education, education, ACLU, wmnf

The ACLU of Florida is asking the U.S. Department of Education to compel the Pinellas School district to broaden transgender rights in schools. The civil rights group filed a complaint this week on behalf of Alex Wilson, a transgender nursing student who was denied access to restroom facilities at her school for either men or women.

“Because I did not have the sexual reassignment surgery which costs about $20,000 to do and that if I used those restrooms I would have charges pressed agains...

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Equality Florida asks St. Pete to suspend its relationship with St. Petersburg, Russia because anti-gay legislation listen

08/14/13 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday
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The LGBT rights group Equality Florida sent a letter this week to the Mayor of St. Petersburg and city council asking that the city suspend its relationship with St. Petersburg, Russia because of recent anti-gay violence and legislation.

We interviewed Nadine Smith, executive director of Equality Florida.

Note: St. Pete's relationship with its Russian namesake is not an official Sister City designation; St. Pete's Sister City is Takamatsu, Japan.

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Pinellas County might expand transgender rights listen

08/09/13 Janelle Irwin
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday
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An anti-discrimination ordinance in Pinellas County means that men and women can’t be denied certain rights based on their sex. On August 20, County Commissioners will hear from the public about whether to expand that ordinance to include transgender individuals.

The change to the county’s ordinance would simply replace the word ‘sex’ with ‘gender.’ During a meeting Tuesday, Commissioner John Morroni expressed some conc...

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Saint Pete Shows its Pride listen

07/01/13 Samuel Johnson
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday
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The Saint Petersburg Pride parade and festival was in full swing on Saturday, despite the rainy weather. The celebrants were still savoring the euphoria unleashed last week from the Supreme Court’s favorable decisions on same-sex marriage.



<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/wmnf/9184491953/" title="St. Pete Pride Parade 2013 by WMNF...

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St. Pete LGBT residents and their supporters rally for Supreme Court DOMA decision listen

06/27/13 Janelle Irwin
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday
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Tuesday, the Supreme Court of the United States struck down the Defense of Marriage Act and sent advocates for equality into a frenzy of celebration. At North Straub Park in downtown St. Petersburg, some 100 members of the LGBT community and their allies rallied despite threatening weather. Among the crowd of purple shirts and rainbow flags, Stacy Blake, executive director of Community Tampa Bay compared the decision to a 1967 ruling that is responsible for her own marriage.

“Loving V. ...

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Immigrant Rights Activist Accuses Sen. Rubio's Office of Revealing his Undocumented Status to the Police listen

06/26/13 Sean Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday
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Three people were arrested at the Tampa office of U.S. Senator Marco Rubio yesterday. They were participating in a sit-in to protest Senator Rubio’s stance on the rights of lesbian and gay individuals in proposed immigration reform legislation and in workforce discrimination. But it’s what happened with one of the protesters who was not arrested that could be even more noteworthy. Felipe Sousa-Rodriguez is co-director of the LGBTQ rights group Get Equal; he is accusing a Rubio staff membe...

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Hillsborough County Commission ditches ban on sponsoring gay pride despite pleas from conservatives listen

06/05/13 Janelle Irwin
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday
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Hillsborough County Commissioners unanimously repealed a policy Wednesday that barred the board from promoting or participating in gay pride events. The ban had been in place since then-Commissioner Ronda Storms suggested it. Openly gay county commissioner Kevin Beckner started the conversation by recapping Storms’ 2005 motion.

“Board members, I move that we adopt a policy that Hillsborough County government obtain from acknowledging, promoting and participating in gay pride recognit...

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Pinellas begins its domestic partnership registry listen

04/16/13 Samuel Johnson
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday
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Monday non-married couples in Pinellas were able to sign up for the county’s new domestic partner registry. The four different branches of the Clerk of Courts were prepared for a large influx of registrations, but the rush didn’t occur.

By the end of yesterday, fewer than ten couples had signed up on the first day of countywide registration. Rod Tabler, manager of the Saint Petersburg branch office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court, said he wasn’t surp...

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