Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Gaily News: Harvey Milk stamp, Florida marriage equality fight

Posted By on Thu, May 22, 2014 at 11:14 AM

click to enlarge harvey_milk_stamp.jpg

• To celebrate Harvey Milk Day today, which is also Milk’s birthday, the White House will honor the California politician and LGBT activist — who became the first openly gay public official in the country in 1977 when he won a seat on San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors — by unveiling a new forever stamp with his image on it.

Tampa Bay will be well represented at the event, which can be live streamed here starting at 3 p.mWatermark publisher Tom Dyer will be on hand, as will USF historian David K. Johnson, author of The Lavender Scare: The Cold War Persecution of Gays and Lesbians in the Federal Government, an acclaimed book that's being made into a documentary.

• Florida could be the next state to win the marriage equality fight.

As federal judges in state after state rule in favor of same-sex marriage — Oregon, Utah, Arkansas, Pennsylvaniasix gay couples in Florida who filed a lawsuit against the state in an attempt to overturn its ban on marriage equality will have their day in court this summer. The Eleventh Judicial Court Judge Sarah Zabel will hear the case in Miami on July 2.

“Today the majority of Floridians stand with us, as there is no reasonable argument for discrimination against our families,” said Equality Florida Institute Chief Executive Officer Nadine Smith. “Throughout the nation, courts have ruled that these harmful laws are outdated and out of step, and we believe that equality and justice will prevail in Florida, as well.”

In other LGBT news:

• A binational, married gay couple that legally wed in Massachusetts last summer has filed a lawsuit against Florida Atlantic University for not recognizing their marriage. The university rejected one of the men’s application for in-state tuition based on their marriage because Florida law doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage.

• Common Core educational standards already are a divisive topic. But one Florida lawmaker is taking the debate to a new level.

Republican State Rep. Charles Van Zant claims the Common Core will turn students gay. He said that the American Institute for Research, which is developing Common Core testing for Florida, “are promoting as hard as they can, any youth that is interested in the LGBT agenda.”

He made these comments at the Operation Education Conference in Orlando in March, and also told attendees: "These people that will now receive $220 million from the state of Florida, unless this is stopped, will promote double-mindedness in state education and will attract every one of your children to become as homosexual as they possibly can.”

• St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman has made a deal with St. Pete Pride to waive half of the security and cleanup fees associated with the festivities planned for June 27-29, which were estimated to cost the organization $69,000. The city has sponsored the annual event in name only for the past few years, and this is the first time the city has offered assistance beyond that.

Mayor Kriseman will also be the first city leader to ever take part in the Pride parade. And it’s the first time that city police officers and firefighters will be permitted to walk in the parade in uniform.

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