Wednesday, June 8, 2016

President's Message - June 2016


MESSAGE FROM PBCHRC'S PRESIDENT & FOUNDER
June 1, 2016
This month is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month.  Around the world, LGBT people and our allies will be celebrating in honor of the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City, the tipping point in the United States in our movement for equal rights.

On Tuesday, June 7, Palm Beach County Commissioners will proclaim June "LGBT Pride Month." Leaders and activists from PBCHRC, COMPASS, Metropolitan Community Church and other local LGBT organizations will be on hand to accept the proclamation.  Please join us at  9:30 a.m. in the 6th Floor County Commission Chamber at the Palm Beach County Robert Weisman Governmental Center, 301 N. Olive Avenue in West Palm Beach. Thanks go out to County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay for making this happen.

 As usual, we have a lot to be proud of and May 2016 was a fabulous month for PBCHRC!

PBCHRC Treasurer Dan Hall and Victor Espidol
  
Three high school seniors - Daniel Brassloff, Victor Espidol and Melanie Camejo Coffigny - were presented with the 2016 Daniel S. Hall Social Justice Awards. Each year, PBCHRC awards the  scholarships to college-bound student advocates for the LGBT community.  Kudos to Daniel, Victor and Melanie.

PRCHRC Rae Franks (center) with her Diversity Honors Award
Longtime PBCHRC Secretary Rae Franks was presented with one of the 2016 Diversity Honors Awards by the Harvey Milk Foundation.  Rae was recognized for her tireless efforts on behalf of the county's LGBT community for more than 25 years.
Finally, Hillary Clinton's campaign staff appointed me, along with eight other Floridians, to serve on the Platform Committee for the Democratic National Committee. This appointment marks the third time the Democratic Party has called upon PBCHRC to help shape the party's platform.  In 2004, then-PBCHRC Vice President Deidre Newton served on the Platform Committee at the request of the John Kerry campaign.  PBCHRC research assistant Michael Ira Thayer also served in that capacity in 2008 at the request of Hillary Clinton.    

I am looking forward to participating in the Platform Committee meetings and attending the Democratic National Convention in July. (This will be my seventh convention!)
Since 1988, the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance has been screening candidates for public office, making endorsements and educating public officials for the sole purpose of amending and enacting LGBT-inclusive laws and policies.  Our endorsements are made upon consideration of how candidates have voted on LGBT issues and how they have supported the Palm Beach County LGBT community. 
Throughout Palm Beach County, it is illegal to discriminate against LGBT people with regard to employment, housing and public accommodation.  In addition, the following public employers have taken steps to prohibit discrimination based on "sexual orientation" and/or "gender identity or expression": Atlantis, Belle Glade, Boca Raton,  Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Greenacres, Haverhill, Hypoluxo, Juno Beach, Jupiter, Lake Clarke Shores, Lake Park, Manalapan, Pahokee, Palm Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, Palm Beach Shores, Riviera Beach, Royal Palm Beach, South Bay, Tequesta, Wellington and West Palm Beach. as well as for Palm Beach County, the School District of Palm Beach County,  Palm Beach State College, Florida Atlantic University,  the Port of Palm Beach, the Health Care District of Palm Beach County, the Office of the Tax Collector, the Palm Beach County Property Appraiser, the Office of the Supervisor of Elections, the Office of the Public Defender, the Office of the State Attorney, the Palm Beach County Sheriffs' Office, the Office of the Clerk and Comptroller, Seacoast Utility Authority, the Solid Waste Authority, Palm Tran, the Palm Beach County Children's Services Council and the South Florida Water Management District.
In fact, there are now more than 110 local ordinances, resolutions, collective bargaining agreements and policies providing Palm Beach County's LGBT residents and visitors with equal rights, protections and benefits.  A complete list  can be found by clicking on the "Laws & Policies" tab on the PBCHRC web site's home page.

Within the last few months, 11 candidates endorsed by the PBCHRC Voters Alliance have been elected to office. These include: State Attorney Dave Aronberg, Boynton Beach Mayor Steven B. Grant, Lake Worth Mayor Pam Triolo, Lake Worth City Commissioners Andy Amoroso and Scott Maxwell, Rivera Beach City Councilwoman Tanya Davis Johnson, Wellington Village Councilmen John McGovern and Michael Napoleone and West Palm Beach City Commissioners  Shanon Materio, Sylvia Moffett and Paula Ryan.
Tanya Davis Johnson 

Newly-elected Riviera Beach City Councilwoman Tanya Davis Johnson is now the 11th openly LGBT person to hold elective office in Palm Beach County.  Over the years, five openly LGBT candidates we have helped elect have served as mayors.  Three others have served as vice mayors and three have served on city commissions or city councils.

In May, we began interviewing - and endorsing - judicial candidates.  Over the next two months, we will be interviewing more than 40 candidates whose names will appear on the ballots in Palm Beach County this year.  So far, the following candidates for upcoming elections have been endorsed:

President - Hillary Clinton 
U.S. Senator - Patrick Murphy 
U.S. Congressman (Dist.20) - Alcee Hastings 
U.S. Congresswoman (Dist.21) - Lois Frankel 
U.S. Congressman (Dist. 22) - Ted Deutch 
State Senator (Dist. 31) - Jeff Clemens
Public Defender - Carey Haughwout 
Supervisor of Elections - Susan Bucher 
Tax Collector - Anne Gannon 
County Commissioner (Dist. 5) - Mary Lou Berger 
Circuit Circuit Judge (Group 4) - Gregory Tendrich 
County Court Judge (Group 7) - Marni Bryson 
County Court Judge (Group 11) - Gregg Lerman

To learn more about the candidates, click on their names.

A complete list of the PBCHRC-endorsed candidates - including those who have already been elected this year - can be found by clicking on the "Endorsements" tab on the PBCHRC web site's home page.

Fortunately, it is not  "all work and no play" for PBCHRC's leaders and supporters.

On the evening of July 2, PBCHRC supporters, elected officials and candidates for office will gather for our Summer Soirée at the fabulous architecturally unique home of retired attorney and art collector Jeffrey P. Ganek. Thanks to the incredible work done by PBCHRC Treasurer and our Board Members, the Summer Soirée -- like this year's Winter  Fête -- SOLD OUT before we could even design printed invitations!

Special thanks go out to our Summer Soirée underwriters:  State Attorney Dave Aronberg, Paul Bernabeo and David Cohen, Christopher Caneles and Stephen Nesbitt, Echo, Daniel S. Hall, The Law and Mediation Offices of Rand Hoch, P.A.,Tony Jaggi and Donald Watren, Wood Kinnard and Alberto Arias, Mittleman Eye, Stephen Mooney and Scott Velozo, George J. Palladino and Jerrold St. George, Randy Perkins, Joseph Pubillones Interiors, Sandy James Fine Food & Productions, David Silvers, Robert Simeone, Law Offices of W. Trent Steele, Steinger, Iscoe & Greene, and  Don Todorich - Corcoran Group R.E

Our next major social event will be the Winter Fête will be held on January 14, 2017, so please mark it on your calendar and watch for tickets going on sale after November's General Election.

Finally, special thanks go out to West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio, who was the first mayor in Florida, and the second in the nation, to ban travel on city business to North Carolina and Mississippi - two states that have enacted horribly discriminatory laws.  Mayor Muoio also is working toward providing trans-related care to any municipal employees in need.

Since 1988, the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council has worked diligently on behalf of the LGBT community. With your support, we will continue to do so in the years to come.  And, as always, PBCHRC will keep you posted on our progress.

Judge Rand Hoch (retired), 
President and Founder
This paid electioneering communication, which is independent of any party, candidate or committee, is produced, sponsored and paid for by the The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance.
The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance. 
Post Office Box 267, West Palm Beach, Florida 33402 

Palm Beach County LGBT Activist Selected For DNC Platform Committee

Photo: BrowardPalmBeach.com

When the Democratic Party holds its annual national convention next month, Palm Beach County’s LGBT community will be well represented.

Rand Hoch, founder and president of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, is a member of the DNC’s platform committee. Hoch spoke to SFGN Monday morning, via telephone, about his duties on the committee.

“It’s an impressive process going on,” said Hoch, a retired judge.

When asked how the platform committee intended to reach out to supporters of Bernie Sanders, the Vermont Independent, Hoch said it requires patience and understanding.

“It’s listening to their concerns,” Hoch said. “We as Democrats have a lot more in common than we have differences. Bernie Sanders has brought a lot of new people into the party. How we integrate those new ideas with the party’s platform is what our committee will have to work on.”

Hoch said that while important, the platform committee is second to the rules committee in terms of power. Former U.S. Congressman Barney Frank, a gay man, is co-chair of the DNC rules committee.
According to Hoch, Florida’s delegation to the convention contains 29 delegates who identify as LGBT. Deidre Newton, a lesbian and state committeewoman for the Palm Beach County Democratic Party, is joining Hoch in Philadelphia. The Democratic National Convention is July 25-28.

Hoch said currently there is a lot of drafting of party documents. He expected the “final crunch” of the party platform to occur during an October meeting in Orlando.

This will be Hoch’s seventh Democratic National Convention. His first time was in 1976 when the party nominated Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter, who went on to become the 39th President of the U.S.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Palm Beach County Commission Proclaims LGBT Pride Month

June 6, 2016


LGBT community leaders and activists were on hand this morning as the Palm Beach County Commission issued a proclamation marking the 47th anniversary of the Stonewall riots and declaring June as LGBT Pride Month in Palm Beach County.


The proclamation, which was presented by Commissioner Melissa McKinlay, was co-accepted by PBCHRC Secretary Rae Franks, Compass CEO Tony Plakas and Metropolitan Community Church Pastor Rev. Dr. Lea Brown.


"We are all Americans. Period. We live in a country that stands for freedom, justice and equality for all.  We shall not discriminate on race, religion, ethnicity, gender, gender identity or sexual orientation," said Commissioner McKinlay. "I am proud to support a resolution that stands for all of these things."


"The Stonewall riots in New York City served as the catalyst for the gay rights movement in the United States," said PBCHRC Founder and President Rand Hoch.  "On that night in June of 1969 when harassed by the police officers who raided the Stonewall Inn, beleaguered gay, lesbian and transgender patrons finally fought back."

Shortly thereafter, riots occurred as LGBT and supportive New Yorkers joined the fray, denouncing the longstanding and unwarranted actions of the New York City Police Department.

"The rest is history," said Hoch. "Our history."

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Palm Beach County (Florida) LGBT History Timeline (updated 5/26/16)

1977 - The Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners considered, but failed to approve,  an ordinance to  make it unlawful to discriminate in employment “for any reason, except where such reason is directly related to the job being applied for or being performed.”

1981 - The LGBT-inclusive Metropolitan Community Church of the Palm Beaches is founded.

1987 - Atlantic Coast Democratic Club becomes the second LGBT political organization to be  chartered by the Florida Democratic County.

1988 - The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council (PBCHRC) is founded to work towards ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

1988 - The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council issues its first political endorsements.

1989 - The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council begins an educational campaign on bias against gay men and lesbians in housing in Palm Beach County.

1989 - PBCHRC Founder Rand Hoch is elected to serve as Vice Chair of the Palm Beach County Democratic Executive Committee.

1990 - Palm Beach County amends it’s Fair Housing Ordinance to protect gay men, lesbians and bisexuals from discrimination in housing, financing for housing, and in public accommodations.   (The law is the oldest gay rights law currently in effect in Florida).

1990 - Palm Beach County becomes the first public employer in Florida to amend the County's Affirmative Action Plan to protect gay and lesbian County employees from discrimination in County hiring and employment.  

1990 - Palm Beach County Commissioners unanimously vote to appoint local gay rights activist Norm Aaron to serve on the Palm Beach County Fair Housing Board.  Aaron becomes the first of many openly LGBT public officials to serve in Palm Beach County since 1990.

1990 - PBCHRC Founder Rand Hoch becomes Chair of the Palm Beach County Democratic Executive Committee.

1990 - Palm Beach County Anti-Violence Project is established by the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council to work with law enforcement and LGBT community to combat an increase in gay bashing in Palm Beach County.

1990 - West Palm Beach includes LGBT issues in its diversity training for law enforcement officers and other municipal employees

1990 - West Palm Beach City Commissioners appoint PBCHRC Founder Rand Hoch to serve on the West Palm Beach Employment Practices Review Commission.  His fellow commissioners elect him Chairman Pro Tempore.

1990 - LGBT activist Norm Aaron forms “Seniors and Sunshine” to support for LGBT Seniors in Palm Beach County.

1991 - The Palm Beach County Human Rights council plays an integral part in the successful "West Palm Beach '91" campaign to switch the city into a 'strong mayor' form of government.

1991 - The School Board of Palm Beach County rejects PBCHRC’s request to add sexual orientation to its list of categories protected from employment discrimination.

1991 - West Palm Beach becomes the first public employer in Florida to enact an ordinance prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in public employment.

1991 - The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council conducts a countywide survey on anti-LGBT crimes and bias.

1991 - An amendment sponsored by Senator Eleanor Weinstock (D-West Palm Beach) to include sexual orientation in Florida’s Hate Crimes Act is enacted into law

1991 - The Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners appoints PBCHRC Founder Rand Hoch to serve on the Palm Beach County Ethics Steering Commission.

1991 - West Palm Beach reverses an initial denial by the Zoning Board of a license for The Backdoor Bookstore, a lesbian owned business geared to the LGBT community.  The short-lived bookstore becomes the unofficial LGBT community center in Palm Beach County.

1991 - The Palm Beach County Supervisor of Election designates The Backdoor Bookstore an official Continuous Voter Registration Site.

1991 - The Southern Source, a “lesbian/gay vehicle for communication and information” published by Susan Harris is founded.

1991 - The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council presents awards to State Senator Eleanor Weinstock and West Palm Beach Police Chief Billy Riggs for their work in successfully combating violence against the LGBT Community.

1991 - The Palm Beach County Fair Housing Board begins testing on LGBT bias in housing.


1991 - PBCHRC Founder Rand Hoch addresses FBI Hate Crimes Training Conference of law enforcement officials from Florida and Alabama.

1991 - The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council establishes both a state and a federal political action committee.  The pro-LGBT PACS are the first in the nation to be headed by a lesbian, longtime lesbian activist Roz Rizzo.

1991 - West Palm Beach adopts a policy prohibiting the use of any public funds for organizations or facilities which discriminate on the basis of several protected classes, including sexual orientation. 
   
1991 - Boynton Beach adopts a policy prohibiting the use of any public funds for organizations or facilities which discriminate on the basis of several protected classes, including sexual orientation.

1991 - Riviera  Beach adopts a policy prohibiting the use of any public funds for organizations or facilities which discriminate on the basis of several protected classes, including sexual orientation.

1992 - Governor Lawton Chiles appoints PBCHRC Founder Rand Hoch to serve as Florida’s first openly gay judge.


1992 - West Palm Beach becomes the first public employer in Florida to provide domestic partnership benefits for municipal employees.

1992 - Chuck Wolfe, an openly gay man working in the administration of Florida Governor Lawton Chiles, is appointed Director of Florida Relief Center, which is headquartered at the Palm Beach County Fairgrounds.

1992 - Compass, the successor of the Stop AIDS Project, is formed as the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of the Palm Beaches.

1992 - The first PrideFest is held at the Armory Center in West Palm Beach.

1992 -  PBCHRC Founder Rand Hoch is selected as an LGBT "Avant Guardian" by The Advocate, the nation's largest gay and lesbian news magazine.

1994 - West Palm Beach enacts an Equal Opportunity Ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation in private and public employment, housing and public accommodation.

1994 - West Palm Beach Mayor Nancy Graham head’s the “NO on 1!" campaign, urging voters not to repeal the City’s recently enacted Equal Opportunity Ordinance.

1994 - Chuck Wolfe, an openly gay man, serves as Director of Operations for Chiles/McKay reelection campaign.

1995 - Voters in West Palm Beach overwhelmingly reject the effort to repeal the Equal Opportunity Ordinance by a margin of 56% to 43%.  West Palm Beach becomes the first jurisdiction in Florida to withstand a repeal effort by popular vote.


1995 - The Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County presents its Legislative Advocacy Award to PBCHRC Secretary Rae Frank and Vice President Fields.

1995 - By a four-to-three vote, the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners reject PBCHRC’s request to include sexual orientation as a protected class in the Palm Beach County Equal Employment Ordinance, which the County Commission enacts – without sexual orientation – by a five-to-two vote.

1995 - Denise Bleau, an open lesbian, is elected to the Lantana Town Council.

1996 - Lake Park enacts an Equal Opportunity/Minority and Women Business Enterprises Ordinance which prohibits discrimination based on  sexual orientation.

1996 - PBCHRC President Norm Aaron becomes the oldest openly gay American to carry the Olympic Torch.

1996 - Chuck Wolfe, an openly gay man working in the administration of Florida Governor Lawton Chiles, is appointed Executive Director of the Miami Financial Emergency Oversight Board.

1996 - The Atlantic Coast Democratic Club is reorganized as the Lawton Chiles Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Democratic Club.

1997 - Chuck Wolfe, an openly gay man is appointed Director of External Affairs by Governor Lawton Chiles.

1997 - Chuck Wolfe, an openly gay man is appointed Director of Florida Tobacco Control Pilot Program (a/k/a The Truth Campaign)

1997 - Following the resignation of Lantana Mayor Robert MacDonald, Town Council Member Denise Bleau, an open lesbian, is appointed to serve as Mayor.
 
1997 - The Palm Beach County Classroom Teachers Association and the School Board of Palm Beach County amend their collective bargaining agreement to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

1998 - Working with PBCHRC, the Palm Beach Sheriff's Office establishes a Hate Crimes Task Force with a toll free number for reporting hate crimes.

1998 - PBCHRC provides Anti-Hate cards to the Civil Rights Unit of the Office of the State Attorney in conjunction wit the Hate Crimes Task Force.

1998 - Deidre Newton, an open lesbian, is elected to the Palm Beach County Soil and Water Conservation District Board.

1999 - Atlantis updates its Police Department’s Harassment and Discrimination in the Workplace Policy to include sexual orientation.

2000 - Metropolitan Community Church of the Palm Beaches moves into new location in Palm Beach Gardens.

2000 - John L. Stryker, part-time Palm Beacher and philanthropist, establishes the Arcus Foundation, the world's leading foundation funding organizations worldwide working to advance LGBT equality.

2000 - The City of West Palm Beach offers full domestic partnership health insurance benefits to its municipal employees.

2001 - In recognition of a lifetime battling for civil rights for all, the Democratic Women's Club of Palm Beach County presents PBCHRC President Norm Aaron with its Humanitarian Award.

2002 - The Palm Beach County Sheriffs' Office offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

2002 - The Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners amends the County's Equal Employment Ordinance to prohibit discrimination based on marital status and sexual orientation.

2002-   Metropolitan Community Church of the Palm Beaches holds its first Rainbow Ball.

2002 - Compass holds its first Stonewall Ball.


2003 - West Palm Beach extends lifetime health insurance benefits to the surviving domestic partner of any city employee killed in the line of duty

2003 - The Palm Beach County School Board adopts a policy to protect students against harassment based on actual or perceived sexual orientation.

2003 - Lake Worth amends the city's Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

2003 - Voices of Pride, a local gay men’s chorus, is founded.

2003- A gay couple settles their housing discrimination lawsuit against a Boca Raton apartment complex for $75,000.

2003 - Michael Woods, an openly gay man and COMPASS Board Member, is recognized as Special Olympics New Coach of the Year by Special Olympics - Palm Beach County.

2003 - Chuck Wolfe, an openly gay man, becomes CEO and President of The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, which has helped elect thousands of openly LGBT candidates to local, state and federal offices.

2004 - The Office of the Clerk and Comptroller offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

2004 - The Office of the Supervisor of Elections becomes the first local public employer to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and expression.

2004 - The Port of Palm Beach offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

2004 - Tom Gerrard, an openly gay man, is appointed to the Manalapan Town Commission. (He was subsequently elected to the Town Commission in 2005 and 2007).

2004 - Lake Worth offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

2004 -  John Herrick, an openly gay man, is elected Treasurer of the Republican Party of Palm Beach County.

2004 - Michael Woods, an openly gay man and COMPASS Board Member, is awarded the Dwyer Award for Excellence in Education by the Economic Council of Palm Beach County and the Education Foundation of Palm Beach County.

2004 - Tom Gerrard, an openly gay man who served on the Manalapan Architectural Commission, is appointed to the Town Commission.
 
2004 - The Palm Beach County Property Appraiser offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

2005 - West Palm Beach establishes a Domestic Partnership Registry.

2005 - The Pride Business Alliance is established.

2005 - Tom Gerrard, an openly gay man who had been appointed to the Manalapan Town Commission in 2004, is elected to the Town Commission.

2005 - The Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County presents the Community Service Award to PBCHRC Founder Rand Hoch.

2005 - Belle Glade amends its Equal Employment Opportunity Policy to include sexual orientation.

2006 -    Belle Glade enacts s Special Event Permit Ordinance specifically prohibiting discrimination based on “sexual orientation or gender related grounds.”

2006 - Palm Beach County offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

2006 - Matthew McWatters, an openly gay man, is elected to serve as Secretary of the Palm Beach County Democratic Executive Committee.

2006 - The School District of Palm Beach County offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

2006 - J.P. Sasser, who was first elected Mayor of Pahokee in 2000, comes out publically as a gay man.  Sasser served as Mayor from 2000 to 2008 and from 2010 to the present).

2006 - The Office of the Supervisor of Elections offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

2006 - Betty James, an open lesbian, is appointed Mayor of Cloud Lake. 

2006 - The Office of the Tax Collector revises its non-discrimination policy to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

2006 - The Office of the Tax Collector offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

2006 - Palm Beach County establishes a Domestic Partnership Registry.

2006 - Delray Beach offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

2006 - The Palm Beach County School Board adopts a Commercial Nondiscrimination Policy which prohibits the School District from doing business with firms which discriminate on the basis of race, gender, religion, national origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, disability, or any other form of unlawful discrimination.

2006 - The Board of Trustees of Florida Atlantic University trustees adopts an Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Regulation covering all classes protected by law.  (Gay men and lesbians at FAU's Palm Beach and Broward campuses would be covered under the regulation because such discrimination is prohibited by county ordinances.)

2006 -  West Palm Beach extends health insurance continuation coverage (COBRA) to city employees with domestic partners.

2006 - Palm Tran offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

2006 - At the request of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, Palm Beach County School Board Chairman Tom Lynch apologizes for referring to the LGBT community as a  “protected species” at a School Board meeting.

2006 - Tom Lynch decides not to seek re-election to the School Board.

2006 - Mark Foley, who represented Palm Beach County in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2005 through 2011 resigns from Congress after allegations surfaced that he was gay and had sent suggestive emails and instant to Congressional pages.
 
2007-  West Palm Beach amends its Equal Opportunity Ordinance to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity or expression  in private and public employment, housing and public accommodation.

2007 - Lake Worth amends the city's Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and expression.

2007, Kerry Gallagher, an open lesbian, is elected Chairman of the Board of The Lord's Place, a nonprofit organization dedicated to breaking the cycle of homelessness in Palm Beach County.

2007 - Jupiter offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

2007 -  Deidre Newton, an open lesbian and PBCHRC Vice Chair, is appointed to the Florida Financial Literacy Council by Alex Sink, Florida's Chief Financial Officer.

2007 - Juno Beach revises its non-discrimination and harassment awareness policies to include sexual orientation.

2007 - Juno Beach revises the definition of "immediate family" with regard to bereavement leave to include an employee's "significant other."

2007 - Hypoluxo amends its non-discrimination policy to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

2007 - At the request of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, then-state senator Ted Deutch (D-Boca Raton) and then-state representative Kelly Skidmore (D-Boca Raton) introduced bills during the 2007 Florida legislative session to add sexual orientation as a protected class in the Florida Civil Rights Act and the Florida Fair Housing Act. Neither bill was received a public hearing.

2007 - The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office amends it's nondiscrimination policy to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and marital status.

2007 - The Health Care District of Palm Beach County offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

2007 - The Solid Waste Authority updates its nondiscrimination policies in early 2007 to include sexual orientation

2007 - The Solid Waste Authority offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

2007 - Palm Beach County amends its Equal Employment Ordinance to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and expression.


2007 - Tequesta enacts comprehensive policies prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

2007 - Royal Palm Beach amends its Equal Employment Opportunity Policy and its Anti-Harassment and Anti-Discrimination Policy to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

2007 - The Palm Beach County Bar Association adopts and LGBT inclusive anti-discrimination policy, becoming the first County bar association in Florida to do so.

2007 - At the request of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink becomes the first constitutional officer in Florida history to officially recognize our families by revising her office's sick leave policy to allow employees to opportunity to use sick leave to care for domestic partners.

2007 - Palm Beach Gardens City Council implements basic domestic partner benefits for city employees.

2007 - The Board of Trustees of Palm Beach Community College rejects PBCHRC’s request to provide domestic partnership benefits for college employees.

2007 - The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council launches a successful “Puppies, Not Partners” campaign after Palm Beach Community College offers its employees pet health insurance months after the college’s Board of Trustees voted against offering health insurance to employees’ domestic partners.

2008 - Palm Beach Community College offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

2008 - At the request of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council then-State Senator (now Congressman) Ted Deutch (D-Boca Raton) and then-State Senator (now Florida CFO) Jeff Atwater ®-North Palm Beach) co-introduce legislation to amend the Florida Civil Rights Act and Florida Fair Housing Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.  The bill is passed by the Florida Senate Commerce Committee, with four Republicans and three Democrats voted to pass the bill, and with one Republican voting  against the bill).  This historic vote remains the only time in the history of the Florida Legislature that a civil rights bill including sexual orientation has ever passed a legislative committee.
2008 - The Palm Beach County School Board expands the definition of "family" in the School District's Leave of Absence policy to include employees' domestic partners and their children.

2008 - The Palm Beach County School Board includes sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression  as protected classes in a comprehensive policy protecting students against bullying and harassment.

2008 - Betty James, an open lesbian, is elected Mayor of Cloud Lake.

2008 - Tequesta revises its collective bargaining agreements and its employee handbook to include domestic partners as members of employee's immediate family.

2008 - Tom Gerrard, an openly gay man is appointed to fill vacancy as Mayor of Manalapan. (Subsequently elected Mayor in 2009, he served through 2011).

2008 - Michael Ira Thayer, an openly gay man, is appointed to serve on the Platform Committee of the Democratic National Committee.

2008 - BLAST (Bi, Lesbian and Straight Together) Women of West Palm Beach is founded.

2008 - Kerry Gallagher, an open lesbian, is appointed to the Palm Beach County Homeless Advisory Board.

2008 - The Palm Beach County Office of Equal Opportunity rules that the School District has discriminated against employees with domestic partners by charging them higher health insurance premiums than married couples must pay.  (The School District subsequently settles the cases brought by two lesbian couples).

2008 - The South Florida Water Management Districts amends its policies to prohibit harassment based on gender identity or expression.

2008 - Kendall Rumsey, an openly gay man, is elected to the Lake Park Town Commission.

2009 - The Palm Beach County Children's Services Council offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

2009 - Susan Stanton, a transsexual woman is hired to serve Lake Worth City Manager.

2009 - Seacoast Utility Authority offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

2009 - The School District of Palm Beach County includes the children of employees' domestic partners as eligible dependents for health insurance coverage.

2010 - The Palm Beach County School Board revises all of the School District’s  nondiscrimination policies to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

2010 - Wellington plays host to the world's first international gay polo tournament.

2010 - Kendall Rumsey is appointed Vice Mayor of  Lake Park.

2010 - Michael Fowler, an openly gay man lesbian, was appointed Vice President of Information Management at NextEra (Florida Power and Light).

2010 - Deidre Newton, an open lesbian, is elected to serve as Vice Chair of the Palm Beach County Democratic Executive Committee.

2011 - Wellington offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

2011 - Wellington amends their non-discrimination policies to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

2011 - The Boca Raton City Council unanimously votes to opt-out of the Palm Beach County Equal Employment Ordinance, leaving LGBT workers’ in Boca Raton with no legal recourse in cases of employment discrimination.

2011 - The Office of the State Attorney revises its Harassment Policy to include gender identity or expression.

2011 - The Office of the State Attorney revises its Family Medical Leave Policy to provide the same benefits to families based on domestic partnerships as are provided to families based on legally recognized marriages.

2011 - West Palm Beach revises its Family Medical Leave Policy to provide the same benefits to families based on domestic partnerships as are provided to families based on legally recognized marriages.      

2011 - Openly gay businessman Andy Amoroso is elected to the Lake Worth City Commission.

2011 - The Office of the Public Defender revises its Family Medical Leave Policy to provide the same benefits to families based on domestic partnerships as are provided to families based on legally recognized marriages.

2011 - The Rusty Gordon Democratic Caucus is established.

2011 - Palm Beach County revises its Family Medical Leave Policy to provide the same benefits to families based on domestic partnerships as are provided to families based on legally recognized marriages.

2011 - The Board of Trustees of Florida Atlantic University adds sexual orientation to the school’s Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Regulation.

2012 - NextEra (Florida Power and Light) based in Juno Beach, implements domestic partner benefits for its employees.

2012 - Delray Beach revises its Family Medical Leave Policy to provide the same benefits to families based on domestic partnerships as are provided to families based on legally recognized marriages.

2012 - Palm Beach County amends its Nondiscrimination in Contracting Policy to include gender identity or expression.

2012 - The Palm Beach County School Board creates a 24 member School District Diversity and Equity Committee, which includes a representative appointed by PBCHRC and another appointed by COMPASS, Palm Beach County’s LGBT Community Center.

2012 - The West Palm Beach Housing Authority adds gender identity or expression to its nondiscrimination policy.

2012 - The Office of the Clerk and Comptroller revises its Family Medical Leave Policy to provide the same benefits to families based on domestic partnerships as are provided to families based on legally recognized marriages.

2012 - Michael Fowler, an openly gay man lesbian, was appointed to serve on Palm Beach County School District's Technical Advisory Council.

2012 - Florida Atlantic University's Student Government passes a resolution recommending that FAU's Board of Trustees include "gender identity or expression" in the university's Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Regulation.

2012 - Boca Raton refused to sign a contract with the Solid Waste Authority for a County grant to handle emergency response to hazardous materials for the sole reason that the contract required Boca Raton to agree to treat its employees equally without regard to sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.  The Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners gives Boca Raton 60 days to either sign the contract as presented or forfeit more than $1.2 million in grants over a five year period..  (Boca Raton promptly signs the contract with the LGBT-inclusive language)

2012- Palm Beach County School District Superintendent E. Wayne Gent and the Palm Beach County School Board jointly issue a proclamation declaring October 2012 as LGBT History Month.


2012 - Openly gay Christian recording artist Shawn Thomas is inducted into the GLBT Hall of Fame.

2013 - PBCHRC celebrate's its 25th Anniversary.

2013 - Palm Beach County Property Appraiser Gary Nikolits implements a tax equity policy providing eligible employees with domestic partners a $500 annual stipend to offset the additional federal income taxes which assessed on employees whose domestic partners receive health insurance through their employers.

2013 - Palm Beach County's Constitutional Tax Collector Anne Gannon implements a tax equity policy providing eligible employees with domestic partners a $500 annual stipend to offset the additional federal income taxes which assessed on employees whose domestic partners receive health insurance through their employers.

2013 - Myra Koutzen, a lesbian, is elected to the Palm Beach Shores Town Commission.

2013 - The Town of South Palm Beach adds "sexual orientation" and "any other legally protected status" to the Town's nondiscrimination statement.

2013 - The Palm Beach County Solid Waste Authority adds gender identity or expression to its nondiscrimination policy.

2013 - The Boca Raton Community Relations Board votes unanimously to recommend that the City Council to amend its enabling ordinance to include "sexual orientation" and "gender identity or expression".

2013 - The City of Delray Beach updates its policy against discrimination, harassment and bullying to include both "sexual orientation" and "gender identity or expression."  

2013 - The City of West Palm Beach enacts a tax equity reimbursement policy to reimburse municipal employees insuring their domestic partners for the full amount of the additional federal income taxes which are assessed on employees whose domestic partners receive health insurance through their employers.

2013 - In recognition of PBCHRC's 25th Anniversary, the Ritz-Carlton, Palm Beach invites openly gay poet Richard Blanco to conduct a poetry reading in honor of our organization.

2013 - West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio appoints Robert Telford, a broadcast coordinator for the City's television station, as the Mayor's Liaison to the city's LGBT community.

2013 - Florida Atlantic University offers a domestic partnership stipend to university employees and allows employees to use sick leave to care for their domestic partners.

2013 - PBCHRC Board Member J.P. Sasser is appointed to the LGBT Task Force of the Area Agency on Aging.

2013 - PBCHRC Founder Rand Hoch is appointed to the Standing Committee on Diversity and Inclusion of The Florida Bar.
 
2013 - In recognition of PBCHRC's 25th Anniversary, The Arts Garage sponsors a special performance of William Randall Beard’s musical Beyond the Rainbow in honor of our organization.

2013 - The Palm Beach Town Council votes 4-1 to implement the full range of domestic partnership benefits for Town employees.

2013 -  Palm Beach County enacts a tax equity reimbursement policy to reimburse municipal employees insuring their domestic partners for the full amount of the additional federal income taxes which are assessed on employees whose domestic partners receive health insurance through their employers.

2013 - The City of Boca Raton amends its personnel rules and regulations to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

2013 - The City of Boca Raton extends the jurisdiction of the Community Relations Board to include the city's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents.

2013 - The City of Boca Raton extends the full range of domestic partnership benefits to its municipal employees. The benefits include health, dental and vision insurance, continuation of insurance coverage (identical to coverage under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, or COBRA), funeral leave, domestic violence leave, family sick leave and domestic partner leave (identical to coverage by the Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA).

2013 - The City of Palm Beach Gardens offers full domestic partnership health insurance benefits to its municipal employees.

2013 - West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio issues a proclamation declaring November 19, 2013 as "Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Day".

2013 - The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council celebrates its 25th anniversary at The Four Seasons, Palm Beach.

2014 -  The Clerk and Comptroller for Palm Beach County implements a tax equity reimbursement policy to reimburse employees insuring their domestic partners for the full amount of the additional federal income taxes which are assessed on employees whose domestic partners receive health insurance through their employers.

2014 - Palm Beach Gardens residents Sloan Grimsley and Joyce Albu, along with seven other married, same-sex couples, successfully sue the State of Florida in federal for recognition of their out-of-state marriages.  The couples were seek those public benefits and protections enjoyed by opposite-sex married couples.  The State of  Florida appealed the ruling.

2014 - Lake Worth establishes a Domestic Partnership Registry.

2014 - Lake Worth implements a tax equity reimbursement policy to reimburse employees insuring their domestic partners for the full amount of the additional federal income taxes which are assessed on employees whose domestic partners receive health insurance through their employers.

2014 -  Openly gay City Commissioner Andy Amoroso organizes a marriage rally at Lake Worth City Hall which draws over 100 marriage equality supporters.

2014 -  PBCHRC President and Founder Rand Hoch addresses the American Bar Association conference on diversity issues.

2014 - Myra Koutzen, a lesbian who serves on the Palm Beach Shores Town Commission becomes Vice Mayor.

2014 - President Obama invites PBCHRC President and Founder Rand Hoch and PBCHRC Treasurer Dan Hall to attend the LGBT Pride Month Reception at the White House.

2014 - Palm Beach County School Superintendent E. Wayne Gent implements an initiative placing gender studies contacts in every school to provide support for LGBT students.

2014 - Palm Beach County Circuit Court Judge Diana Lewis names Jason Simpson personal representative of his late husband’s estate. Although Judge Lewis was the fourth Florida Judge to rule that Florida's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, she was the first to recognize an out-of-state same-sex marriage.
 
2014 - The City of West Palm Beach enacts and Equal Benefits Ordinance requiring city contractors to provide the same family benefits to employees with domestic partners and same-sex spouses as they provided to employees whose marriages are recognized by the state of Florida.

2014 - The City of Boynton Beach amends its personnel policies to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and expression.

2014 - The City of Boynton Beach extends the full range of domestic partnership benefits to its municipal employees.

2014 - PBCHRC Vice Chair Jess Blackman and Litigation Chair Trent Steele were elected to the Board of Directors of the Florida Association of LGBT Lawyer and Allies.

2014 - The Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners unanimously votes to establish a policy stating that the County shall not do business with, or appropriate funds to, any public or private organization which practices discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, ancestry, sex, age, marital status, familial status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability or genetic information.

2014 -  The Town of Lake Park updates its Equal Employment Policy to prohibit discrimination based on "gender identity or expression"

 2014 -  PBCHRC President and Founder Rand Hoch and Vice Chair Jess Blackman presented a seminar on discrimination at the “Out of the Closet and In Your Office” legal education conference sponsored by the Florida Association of LGBT Lawyer and Allies.


2014 - The Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners votes to sign on to the briefs in support of recognition of same-sex marriages which have been -- or will be -- filed by Miami Beach and other Florida local governments in all marriage equality cases in the State of Florida.

2014 - The West Palm Beach City Commission unanimously votes to sign on to the briefs in support of recognition of same-sex marriages which have been -- or will be -- filed by Miami Beach and other Florida local governments in all marriage equality cases in the State of Florida.

2015 - Shortly after midnight on January 6, 2015, Mike Edmondson and Keith Musbach become the first same-sex couple to be legally married in Palm Beach County.  Moments after the private ceremony, Sharon Bock, Palm Beach County's Constitutional Clerk & Comptroller holds a mass wedding for lesbian and gay couples.

2015 -  MorseLife, a senior health services provider based in West Palm Beach, became the first privately held fully insured company in the Florida to offer coverage and benefits for married same-sex couples.

2015 - The Port of Palm Beach unanimously voted to include an LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination clause in their contract with Bahamas Paradise Cruiseline.  Commissioner Peyton McArthur, a longtime PBCHRC supporter, pledged to have similar language included in all future contracts and agreements with the Port.

2015 - West Palm Beach Police Chief Bryan Kummerlen appointed Lieutenant Gregory Babcock to serve as the police department's liaison to the city's LGBT community.

2015 -  At PBCHRC's request, West Palm Beach City Commissioners unanimously adopted a resolution asking the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners to update the Palm Beach County  Ordinance for Equal Opportunity to Housing and Places of Public Accommodation to provide for a more expansive definition of "public accommodation".

2015 - The Farmworker Coordinating Council of Palm Beach County updated its nondiscrimination policy to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

2015 - The Boynton Beach City Commission enacted an LGBT-inclusive Civil Rights Ordinance.

2015 - In the wake of Indiana's passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio became the first mayor in Florida to place a travel ban on city-funded trips to Indiana.

2015 - The City of  Riviera Beach amended its Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy to include both "sexual orientation" and "gender identity or expression".

2015 - The Harvey Milk Foundation presented its Diversity Honors Award to PBCHRC President and Founder Rand Hoch.

2015 - The Greenacres City Council enacted an LGBT-inclusive Civil Rights Ordinance.

2015 - The Delray Beach City Commission enacted an LGBT-inclusive Civil Rights Ordinance.

2015 - Florida Atlantic University amended Regulation 5.010, Anti-discrimination and Anti-harassment, to include "gender identity and expression.

2015 - The Town of Lake Clarke Shores adopted an LGBT-inclusive resolution supporting freedom from discrimination for all individuals. 

2015 - PBCHRC President and Founder Rand Hoch appointed to the Palm Beach County’s Collective Impact for Education Initiative Leadership Council.

2015 - The Town of Haverhill adopted an LGBT-inclusive resolution supporting freedom from discrimination for all individuals. 

2015 - The Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners vastly expanded the definition of "places of public accommodation" in the Palm Beach County Ordinance for Equal Opportunity to Housing and Places of Public Accommodation.

2015 - The Wellington Village Council enacted an LGBT-inclusive Civil Rights Ordinance.

2015 - The City of West Palm Beach expanded the definition of "public accommodation" in the West Palm Beach Equal Opportunity Ordinance.

2015 - The School District of Palm Beach County replaced the phrase “personal life style (including sexual orientation)” with the phrases “gender identity and/or gender expression” and “sexual orientation” in the Discrimination and Harassment article in the School District’s collective bargaining agreement with the teachers’ union.

2015 - The South Florida Water Management District announced that it prohibits transgender workers from being harassed and discriminated against based on both "sexual orientation" and "gender identity or expression" even if they work in a jurisdiction that has no LGBT-inclusive rights laws. 

2016 -  The Town of Haverhill amended its Equal Employment Opportunity and Anti-Harassment Policies to include "sexual orientation" and "gender identity or expression".

2016 - Chris Bauchman was hired as the LGBTQ outreach coordinator for Ruth and Norman Rales Jewish Family Services in Boca Raton.

2016 - PBCHRC President and Founder Rand Hoch was presented with Palm Beach State College’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Award.

2016 - The Lake Worth City Commission amended the city’s Fair Housing Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.

2016 - The Lake Worth City Commission amended the city’s Merit Services policy to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.

2016 - The Lake Worth City Commission amended the city’s Procurement Code to ensure equal opportunity based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.

2016 - The Town of Lake Clarke Shores has updated its Anti-Harassment Policy to specifically include "gender identity or expression" among the protected classes.

2016 - The City of West Palm Beach added an LGBT web page, wpb.org/Contact/LGBT-Liaison, to the City’s web site.

2016 - The Town of Lake Clarke Shores has updated its Anti-Harassment Policy to specifically include "gender identity or expression" among the protected classes.  


2016 - Myra Koutzen, a lesbian, is elected Mayor of Palm Beach Shores.

2016 - Tonya Davis Johnson, a lesbian, is elected to the Riviera Beach City Council.

2016 - The Harvey Milk Foundation presented its Diversity Honors Award to PBCHRC Secretary Rae Franks.

2016 - PBCHRC President and Founder Rand Hoch is appointed to serve on the Platform Committee of the Democratic National Committee.