Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Please Share PBCHRC Voters Alliance Endorsements for the March 14 Municipal Elections


Since 1988, the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance (PBCHRCVA) has interviewed close to 1,000 candidates and has made endorsements in hundreds of races for public office.  LGBT and allied voters have relied on our endorsements to elect candidates who, in turn, have enacted 117 laws and policies benefiting the LGBT community.  (There are more LGBT-supportive laws and policies in effect in Palm Beach County than in all of Florida's other 66 counties combined!) 

On March 14, elections will be held in several municipalities in Palm Beach County, including Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Greenacres, Lake Worth and Palm Beach Gardens.   

The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance endorses candidates who support LGBT initiatives and privacy rights. Endorsements of candidates are made upon consideration of:

  • How a candidate has voted on LGBT issues
  • How a candidate has supported the Palm Beach County LGBT Community 
The following candidates endorsed by PBCHRCVA have already been elected or re-elected in 2017 without opposition:

Boynton Beach City Commissioner Joe Casello 
Greenacres City Councilwoman Lisa Rivera  
Palm Beach Town Councilwoman  Danielle Hickox Moore  
Wellington Village Councilman John McGovern 
Wellington Village Councilman  Michael Napoleone 
West Palm Beach City Commissioner Cory Neering  
West Palm Beach City Commissioner Keith James   
   
PBCHRCVA is not only relying on you to vote in the upcoming municipal elections on March 14, we are also counting on you to share this e-mail with LGBT and allied voters, so progress on our issues can continue to be made. 



The following candidates have been endorsed by 
The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance 
for election or re-election in the March 14 election. 
To learn more about the candidates, please click on their names.
 



Please note that not all of the listed candidates  

will appear on your ballot 

   
Boca Raton Mayor - Susan Haynie

Boca Raton City Council (Seat A)  - Scott Singer
Boca Raton City Council (Seat B) - Andy Thomson
Boynton Beach City Commission (Dist. 2) - Mack McCray
Delray Beach City Commission (Seat 2) -Kelly Barrette
Delray Beach City Commission (Seat 4) - Josh Smith, Jr.
Greenacres Mayor - Jonathan Pearce
Greenacres City Council (Dist. 5) - Paula Bousquet
Lake Worth City Commission (Dist. 2) - Christopher McVoy
Lake Worth City Commission (Dist. 4) - Herman Robinson
Palm Beach Gardens City Council (Group 1) - Mark Marciano
Palm Beach Gardens City Council (Group 3) - Matthew Lane
Palm Beach Gardens City Council (Group 5) - Joseph Russo

The polls are open on Tuesday, March 14   
from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.  

To find your polling place, click here.
 

This paid electioneering communication, which is independent of any party, candidate or committee, is produced, sponsored and paid for by 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

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

LGBT-Supportive Laws and Policies in Palm Beach County

     
1.    1990 - Palm Beach County amends its Fair Housing Ordinance to protect gay men, lesbians and bisexuals from discrimination in housing, financing for housing, and in public accommodations. 

2.    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.  

3.    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.

4.    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.    

5.    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.

6.    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.

7.    1992 - West Palm Beach becomes the first public employer in Florida to provide domestic partnership benefits for municipal employees.

8.    1994 - West Palm Beach enacts an Equal Opportunity Ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation in private and public employment, housing and public accommodation.

Note:   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.

9.    1996 - Lake Park enacts an Equal Opportunity/Minority and Women Business Enterprises Ordinance which prohibits discrimination based on  sexual orientation.

10.    1999 - Atlantis updates its Police Department’s Harassment and Discrimination in the Workplace Policy to include sexual orientation.

11.    2002 - The Palm Beach County Sheriffs' Office offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

12.    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.

13.    2003 - West Palm Beach extends lifetime health insurance benefits to the surviving domestic partner of any city employee killed in the line of duty

14.    2003 - The Palm Beach County School Board adopts a policy to protect students against harassment based on actual or perceived sexual orientation.

15.    2003 - Lake Worth amends the city's Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

16.    2004 - The Office of the Clerk and Comptroller offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

17.    2004 - The Office of the Supervisor of Elections becomes the first local public employer to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and expression.

18.    2004 - The Port of Palm Beach offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

19.    2004 - Lake Worth offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

20.    2004 - The Palm Beach County Property Appraiser offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

21.    2005 - West Palm Beach establishes a Domestic Partnership Registry.
  
22.    2005 - Belle Glade amends its Equal Employment Opportunity Policy to include sexual orientation

23.    2006 - Belle Glade enacts s Special Event Permit Ordinance specifically prohibiting discrimination based on “sexual orientation or gender related grounds.”

24.    2006 - Palm Beach County offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

25.    2006 - The School District of Palm Beach County offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

26.    2006 - The Office of the Supervisor of Elections offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

27.    2006 - The Office of the Tax Collector revises its non-discrimination policy to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

28.    2006 - The Office of the Tax Collector offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

29.    2006 - Palm Beach County establishes a Domestic Partnership Registry.

30.    2006 - Delray Beach offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

31.    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.

32,    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.)

33.    2006 -  West Palm Beach extends health insurance continuation coverage (COBRA) to city employees with domestic partners.

34.    2006 - Palm Tran offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

35.    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.

36.    2007 - Lake Worth amends the city's Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and expression.

37.    2007 - Jupiter offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

38.    2007 - Juno Beach revises its non-discrimination and harassment awareness policies to include sexual orientation.

39.    2007 - Juno Beach revises the definition of "immediate family" with regard to bereavement leave to include an employee's "significant other."

40.    2007 - Hypoluxo amends its non-discrimination policy to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

41.    2007 - The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office amends its nondiscrimination policy to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and marital status.

42.    2007 - The Health Care District of Palm Beach County offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

43.    2007 - The Solid Waste Authority updates its nondiscrimination policies in early 2007 to include sexual orientation

44.    2007 - The Solid Waste Authority offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.
                              
45.    2007 - Palm Beach County amends its Equal Employment Ordinance to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and expression.

46.    2007 - Tequesta enacts comprehensive policies prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

47.    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.

48.    2007 - Palm Beach Gardens City Council implements basic domestic partner benefits for city employees.

49.    2008 - Palm Beach Community College offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

50.    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.

51.    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.

52.    2008 - Tequesta revises its collective bargaining agreements and its employee handbook to include domestic partners as members of employee's immediate family.

53.    2008 - The South Florida Water Management Districts amends its policies to prohibit harassment based on gender identity or expression.

54.    2009 - The Palm Beach County Children's Services Council offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

55.    2009 - Seacoast Utility Authority offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

56.    2009 - The School District of Palm Beach County includes the children of employees' domestic partners as eligible dependents for health insurance coverage.

57.    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.

58.    2011 - Wellington offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

59.    2011 - Wellington amends their non-discrimination policies to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

60.    2011 - The Office of the State Attorney revises its Harassment Policy to include gender identity or expression.

61.    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.

62.    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.      

63.    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.

64.    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.

65.    2011 - The Board of Trustees of Florida Atlantic University adds sexual orientation to the school’s Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Regulation.

66.    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.

67.    2012 - Palm Beach County amends its Nondiscrimination in Contracting Policy to include gender identity or expression.

68.    2012 - The West Palm Beach Housing Authority adds gender identity or expression to its nondiscrimination policy.

69.    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.

70.    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.

71.    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.

72.    2013 - The Town of South Palm Beach adds "sexual orientation" and "any other legally protected status" to the Town's nondiscrimination statement.

73.    2013 - The Palm Beach County Solid Waste Authority adds gender identity or expression to its nondiscrimination policy.

74.    2013 - The City of Delray Beach updates its policy against discrimination, harassment and bullying to include both "sexual orientation" and "gender identity or expression."   

75.    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.

76.    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.

77.    2013 - The Palm Beach Town Council votes 4-1 to implement the full range of domestic partnership benefits for Town employees.

78.    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.

79.    2013 - The City of Boca Raton amends its personnel rules and regulations to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

80.    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.

81.    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).

82.    2013 - The City of Palm Beach Gardens offers full domestic partnership health insurance benefits to its municipal employees.

83.    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.

84.    2014 - Lake Worth establishes a Domestic Partnership Registry.

85.    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.

86.    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.

87.    2014 - The City of Boynton Beach amends its personnel policies to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and expression.

88.    2014 - The City of Boynton Beach extends the full range of domestic partnership benefits to its municipal employees.

89.    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.

90.    2014 -  The Town of Lake Park updates its Equal Employment Policy to prohibit discrimination based on "gender identity or expression"

91.    2015 - The Port of Palm Beach includes an LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination clause in their contract with Bahamas Paradise Cruiseline.

92.    2015 - The Farmworker Coordinating Council of Palm Beach County updates its nondiscrimination policy to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

93.    2015 - The City of Boynton Beach enacts an LGBT-inclusive Civil Rights Ordinance.

94.    2015 - The City of  Riviera Beach amends its Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy to include both "sexual orientation" and "gender identity or expression".

95.    2015 - The City of Greenacres enacts an LGBT-inclusive Civil Rights Ordinance.

96.    2015 - The City of Delray Beach enacts an LGBT-inclusive Civil Rights Ordinance.

97.    2015 - Florida Atlantic University amends Regulation 5.010, Anti-discrimination and Anti-harassment, to include "gender identity and expression".

98.    2015 - The Town of Lake Clarke Shores unanimously adopts  an LGBT-inclusive resolution supporting freedom from discrimination for all individuals.

99.    2015 - The Town of Haverhill adopts an LGBT-inclusive resolution supporting freedom from discrimination for all individuals.

100.    2015 - The Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners  votes to vastly expand the  definition of "places of public accommodation" in the Palm Beach County Ordinance for Equal Opportunity to Housing and Places of Public Accommodation. 

101.    2015 - The Village of Wellington enacts an LGBT-inclusive Civil Rights Ordinance.

102.    2015 - The West Palm Beach City Commission votes to vastly expand the  definition of "public accommodations" in the West Palm Beach Equal Opportunity Ordinance.

103.     2015 - The School District of Palm Beach County replaces 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.

104.    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.

105.      2016 -  The Town of Haverhill amended its Equal Employment Opportunity  Policy to prohibit discrimination against Town employees based on "sexual orientation" and "gender identity or expression".

106.      2016 -  The Town of Haverhill amended its Anti-Harassment Policy to prohibit harassment against Town employees based on "sexual orientation" and "gender identity or expression".

107.    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.

108.      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.

109.      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.

110.    2016 - The Town of Lake Clarke Shores  updated its Anti-Harassment Policy to specifically include "gender identity or expression" among the protected classes.

111.    2016 - The City of West Palm Beach updated its procurement code to expressly prohibit  discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.

112.     2016 - The City of West Palm Beach updated its health insurance policies to include transgender related care for municipal employees.

113.    2016 - The City of West Palm Beach enacts a ban on conversion therapy on minors.

114.    2016 - The 15th Judicial Circuit updated its Civil Rights Complaint Procedure to specifically include complaints of discrimination based on "gender identity or expression".

115    2016 - The 15th Judicial Circuit updated its Code of Conduct for Non-Judicial Employees to prohibit discrimination based on "gender identity and expression”.

116.    2017 - The City of Lake Worth enacts a ban on conversion therapy on minors.

117.    2017 - The City of Boynton Beach enacts a ban on conversion therapy on minors.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

President's Message - February 2017

 
MESSAGE FROM PBCHRC'S PRESIDENT & FOUNDER
February 1, 2017

Now, more than ever, local LGBTQ advocacy will be the key to progress for our community.  It is clear that safeguarding the rights of LGBTQ Americans will not be a priority for the Trump Administration and the Republican-led Congress.

Fortunately, since 1988, the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance (PBCHRCVA) has worked diligently to elect LGBTQ-supportive candidates for public office. For almost three decades, the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council (PBCHRC) has worked with these public officials to enact local ordinances and policies to provide equal treatment and equal benefits for the LGBTQ community.

As a result of our efforts, throughout Palm Beach County it is illegal to discriminate against LGBTQ people with regard to employment, housing and public accommodation. In addition, there are now 117 local ordinances, resolutions, collective bargaining agreements and policies that provide Palm Beach County's LGBTQ residents and visitors equal rights, protections and benefits. A complete list can be found by clicking here and selecting the "Laws & Policies" tab.


MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS
In a few weeks, municipal elections will be held throughout Palm Beach County.  While the Town of Palm Beach will hold its election on February 7, other communities (including, but not limited to Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Derlay Beach, Greenacres, Lake Worth, Palm Beach Gardens and West Palm Beach) will hold their elections on March 14.

PBCHRCVA endorses candidates who support LGBTQ initiatives and privacy rights.  Endorsements of candidates are made upon consideration of:

●    How a candidate has voted on LGBTQ issues 
●    How a candidate has supported the Palm Beach County LGBTQ community
 
Over the past several weeks, PBCHRCVA representatives have reviewed the records of incumbent office holders throughout the county. We have interviewed numerous candidates running in the March municipal elections and we will conduct additional interviews throughout February.

To date, the following candidates have been endorsed by The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance in their campaigns for election (or re-election) in 2017:

Boca Raton Mayor - Susan Haynie 
Boynton Beach City Commission (Dist. 2) - Mack McCray 
Boynton Beach City Commission (Dist. 4) - Joe Casello 
Greenacres Mayor - Jonathan Pearce 
Greenacres City Council (Dist. 1) - Lisa Rivera 
Greenacres City Council (Dist. 5) - Paula Bousquet 
Lake Worth City Commission (Dist. 2) - Christopher McVoy 
Palm Beach Town Council - Danielle Hickox Moore 
West Palm Beach City Commission (Dist. 2) -  Cory Neering 
West Palm Beach City Commission (Dist. 4) -  Keith James 

Congratulations to Palm Beach Town Councilwoman Danielle Hickox Moore and West Palm Beach City Commissioners Cory Neering and Keith James, who were re-elected without opposition.
   
As our candidate screening process moves forward, we will be updating our list of endorsed candidates. To view the most current list of candidates endorsed by PBCHRCVA, click here.


BANNING CONVERSION THERAPY
PBCHRC's top priority for 2017 is to ban the practice of conversion therapy on minors (a discredited method of counseling based on the erroneous assumption that LGBTQ identities are mental disorders that can be cured through aversion treatment) throughout Palm Beach County.

Conversion therapy has long been rejected by our nation's leading medical and mental health organizations.  Across the nation, it is banned in California, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont, the District of Columbia, Cincinnati, Seattle and Pittsburgh.

Trent photo PBCHRC Board Member Trent Steele and I have been coordinating the local efforts to ban conversion therapy.  PBCHRC has partnered with the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the Southern Poverty Law Center to work on banning conversion therapy on minors throughout Palm Beach County. As a result of our collaborative efforts, bans on conversion therapy on minors have already been enacted - unanimously - by city commissions in West Palm Beach, Lake Worth and Boynton Beach.

In drafting our model ordinance, PBCHRC relied heavily one the work done by a longtime PBCHRC ally - Robert Rosenwald, First Assistant City Attorney for Miami Beach.  Rob got the ball rolling last year by drafting - and persuading the Miami Beach City Commission to enact - the first conversion therapy ban in Florida. PBCHRC has worked with Rob for more than a decade, both at the City of Miami Beach and at the ACLU of Florida, where Rob served as director of the organization's LGBTQ Advocacy Project. No doubt, we will be relying on his insight, experience and talent in the years to come, as we move forward with other local LGBTQ-related initiatives.

Assistant West Palm Beach City Attorney Zoë Panarites also has been instrumental in our efforts and successes. Utilizing the draft Trent and I provided, she strengthened the ordinance, which was enacted in West Palm Beach.  We are now using Zoë's ordinance as the model for other municipalities throughout Palm Beach County.

Special thanks go out to Rachel Needle, a local psychologist who has presented expert testimony about the harms caused by conversion therapy at the public hearings in West Palm Beach and Boynton Beach.

We also have been working closely with our Miami-Dade County counterpart, SAVE, which is conducting a similarly successful campaign to ban conversion therapy on minors throughout Miami-Dade County. As the result of the efforts of SAVE, conversion therapy bans have been enacted in Miami Beach, Miami, Bay Harbor Islands, North Bay Village and El Portal.

In Broward County, Wilton Manors Vice Mayor Justin S. Flippen succeeded in having the city commission enact a similar ban. Justin, an openly gay man who went through conversion therapy in his youth, has been extremely helpful to our campaign by making himself available to the local media. His television appearances have been both educational and moving.

In the months to come, PBCHRC will seek to enact similar bans on conversion therapy in other local municipalities. Our ultimate goal is to persuade the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners to enact a countywide ban protecting LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy.

Unfortunately, our opponents are already at work trying to undermine our efforts to ban conversion therapy.  On January 31, State Representative Randy Fine ( R - Palm Bay)  filed H.B. 17, which, if enacted, would  prohibit any local government from adopting any regulation on any business, profession, and occupation unless there is an express authorization from the legislature through a general law.  If enacted, this law could nullify almost all of the conversion therapy bans already in place -- and all of the one PBCHRC and SAVE are currently working on.  PBCHRC is working with our allies in the legislature to kill this bill.


OTHER NEWS
In her role as Youth Regional Organizer for Planned Parenthood of South, East, and North Florida, PBCHRC Board Member Carly Cass organized the Women's March in Tallahassee. More than 15,000 people from throughout Florida participated in the event on January 21.   

Carly also continues her efforts to create a more inclusive environment for LGBTQ students in Palm Beach County's public schools. She currently is working closely with school board members and school district staff to advocate for medically accurate, inclusive, sexual health education within in our public schools.  PBCHRC continues to support our school board members in their efforts to create a safe, inclusive environment for our students.

As the Southern District Director of NOW, PBCHRC Board Member Meredith Ockman was one of the lead speakers at the West Palm Beach Women's Rally on January 21, which attracted more than 10,000 of our allies.

Kudos to Meredith and Carly for their work bringing our allies together -- and for speaking out so effectively on our behalf.

On February 24, PBCHRC Board Member Hutch Floyd will be co-presenting a webinar entitled "Inclusion in the Workplace and Justice in the Courts-LGBTQ Considerations" for the  National Association for Court Management Communications Committee. Hutch also reports that at the direction of the Honorable Jeffrey Colbath, Chief Judge of the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit in and for Palm Beach County, two administrative orders were updated. Administrative Order 11.701, Civil Rights Complaint Procedure was amended to specifically include complaints of discrimination based on "gender identity or expression." Administrative Order 11.702, Code of Conduct for Non-Judicial Employees was amended to prohibit discrimination based on "gender identity and expression."
 
DANIEL S. HALL SOCIAL JUSTICE AWARDS
 
PBCHRC is now taking applications for the 2017 Daniel S. Hall Social Justice Awards. The scholarships will be awarded to Palm Beach County high school seniors who have demonstrated an interest in advocacy on behalf of the LGBTQ community. Applications must be received by midnight April 7, 2017. To apply, please click here.


PBCHRC'S 2017 WINTER FÊTE 
This year's Winter Fête was an incredible success. On January 14, more than 200 PBCHRC supporters partied throughout the night at the home of Mason Phelps and Ron Neal in Wellington. Thanks go out to Mason and Ron for their hospitality, as well as to Bruce Langmaid and Chuck Poole, who hosted the pre-party honoring the Winter Fête underwriters.

As a result of generous underwriting, every dollar raised from ticket sales will be used to fund PBCHRC initiatives. Thanks go to underwriters Lee Bell and Fotios Pantazis, County Commissioner Mary Lou Berger, State Rep. Lori Berman,  David Chin and Thomas Hayden, James Berwind and Kevin Clark, David Cohen and Paul Bernabeo, Christopher Caneles and Stephen Nesbitt, Tom Corrigan and Craig Mitchell, Arlen Dominek & A. J. Young, Bill Eberhardt, former Congressman Mark Foley and Ryan Ruark, Charlie Fredrickson, the Gay Polo League, Michael Grattendick and Chip Freeman, Howard Grossman, M.D., Dan Hall, West Palm Beach City Commissioner Keith James, Michael Kagdis, County Commissioner Dave Kerner, Wood Kinnard and Alberto Arias, Sid Lesowitz and Peter Rogers, Lou Marotta and Mike Fullwood, David Miller and Ray Wakefield, George J. Palladino and Jerrold St. George, Phelps Media Group, Mason Phelps and Ron Neal, Joseph Pubillones Interiors, State Sen. Kevin Rader, Rooster's, West Palm Beach City Commissioner Paula Ryan, Trent Steele and Wayne Lewis, J.P. Sasser, Stephen Mooney and Scott Velozo, Don Todorich, Donald Watren and Tony Jaggi, and Fred Zrinscak.

Since 1988, the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council has worked diligently on behalf of the LGBTQ community. With your support, we will continue to do so in the years to come - and we will keep you posted on our progress!

Judge Rand Hoch (retired),
President and Founder

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

PBCHRC Voters Alliance Endorsements for 2017

The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance endorses candidates who support LGBT initiatives and privacy rights. Endorsements of candidates are made upon consideration of:

  • How a candidate has voted on LGBT issues
  • How a candidate has supported the Palm Beach County LGBT Community 
The following candidates have been endorsed by The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance in their campaigns for election or re-election in 2017:

Boca Raton Mayor - Susan Haynie
Boca Raton City Council (Seat A)  - Scott Singer 

Boca Raton City Council (Seat B) - Andy Thomson
Boynton Beach City Commission (Dist. 2) - Mack McCray 
Delray Beach City Commission (Seat 2) -Kelly Barrette
Delray Beach City Commission (Seat 4) - Josh Smith, Jr. 
Greenacres Mayor - Jonathan Pearce
Greenacres City Council (Dist. 5) - Paula Bousquet
Lake Worth City Commission (Dist. 2) - Christopher McVoy

Lake Worth City Commission (Dist. 4) -  Herman Robinson
Palm Beach Gardens City Council (Group 1) - Mark Marciano 
Palm Beach Gardens City Council (Group 3) - Matthew Lane
Palm Beach Gardens City Council (Group 5) - Joseph Russo
 __________________

The following candidates who have been endorsed by The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance were elected (or re-elected) to hold office in 2016 and 2017:

U.S. Congressman Ted Deutch
U.S. Congresswoman Lois Frankel
U.S. Congressman Alcee Hastings
State Senator Jeff Clemens
State Senator Bobby Powell
State Senator Kevin Rader 
State Representative Joseph Abruzzo
State Representative Lori Berman
State Representative Bill Hager
State Representative Al Jacquet
State Representative David Silvers
State Representative Matt Willhite
County Commissioner Mack Bernard
County Commissioner Mary Lou Berger
County Commissioner Dave Kerner
County Commissioner Hal Valeche
Clerk of the Circuit Court Sharon Bock
Property Appraiser Dorothy Jacks
Public Defender Carey Haughwout
Sheriff Ric Bradshaw
State Attorney Dave Aronberg
Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher
Tax Collector Anne Gannon
School Board Member Frank Barbieri
School Board Member Barbara McQuinn
School Board Member Chuck Shaw
Port Commissioner Jean Enright
Port Commissioner Wayne Richards
Port Commissioner Katherine Waldron
Circuit Court Judge Dina Keever
County Court Judge Marni Bryson
Palm Beach Soil and Water Conservation Board Member Pat Edmonson
Palm Beach Soil and Water Conservation Board Member Rob Long
Boynton Beach Mayor Steven B. Grant

Boynton Beach City Commissioner Joe Casello
Greenacres City Councilwoman Lisa Rivera 
Lake Worth Mayor Pam Triolo
Lake Worth City Commissioner Scott Maxwell
Lake Worth City Commissioner Andy Amoroso 

Palm Beach Town Councilwoman Danielle Hickox Moore 
Rivera Beach City Councilwoman Tonya Davis Johnson
Wellington Village Councilman John McGovern
Wellington Village Councilman Michael Napoleone
West Palm Beach City Commissioner Sylvia Moffett
West Palm Beach City Commissioner Paula Ryan
West Palm Beach City Commissioner Shanon Materio

West Palm Beach City Commissioner Cory Neering 
West Palm Beach City Commissioner Keith James 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Boynton Beach outlaws 'conversion therapy' on minors

By Brooke Baitinger, South Florida Sun Sentinel
January 4, 2017

LGBT youngsters living in Boynton Beach are free to be themselves and love who they want to love without worrying about medical efforts to change them.

The city on Tuesday became the latest municipality in South Florida to outlaw "conversion therapy," a method aimed at converting a person's gender identity or sexual orientation.

The Boynton Beach Commission gave initial approval toan ordinance banning licensed professionals from trying to convert the gender identity or sexual orientation of LGBT youth. Violators can be fined $500 or sued by the city, according to language in the ordinance.
Commissioner Justin Katz voiced his support for the ban Tuesday.

"It's just an absurd idea that in 2016 - going on 2017 now - that people could believe that you could change someone's sexuality through chastising them and berating them and making them hate themselves," he said. "I'm happy that this ordinance has been trickling its way down Palm Beach County, and we're able to solidify that we are protecting children regardless of their sexual orientation."

The ban will apply only to state-licensed therapists. To ensure its constitutionality, the law still allows unlicensed professionals, such as religious leaders, to engage in conversion therapy, the city said.

The proposal was drafted by the Palm Beach County Human Rights Coalition, according to president and founder Rand Hoch.

Hoch began pushing legislation banning conversion therapy when he received phone calls from kids who said their parents were forcing them into therapy that was making them feel worthless, he said.

"At age 12 or 13, they had trained professionals who were telling them they would never fall in love, have a family, that they were basically worthless human beings," he said.

Last month, the Lake Worth City Commission voted unanimously to ban the practice. Other cities that enacted bans include Miami, Miami Beach, Bay Harbor Islands and Wilton Manors. The Key West City Commission were scheduled to vote on it Wednesday evening.

At Tuesday's Boynton commission meeting, several residents urged commissioners to enact the ban. Arlene Torgan, 84, told the story of her son.

"We didn't know he was gay at the time, because like every child that age, he was afraid to tell mommy and daddy because he thought there was something wrong with him," she said. "We found out when he was 34, when he met his partner who is now his husband."

Torgan said she has encountered numerous people, many of them in their 60s, who had never told their parents they were gay because they were afraid.

The Palm Beach County Human Rights Coalition hopes county government will adopt the ordinance, too, making it effective countywide. Hoch said he was encouraged to hear Boynton residents' support for the measure Tuesday.

"To hear people react that way is very encouraging and moving, and it means people get it," he said. "It's about protecting children."

The Boynton Commission will vote on the ordinance a second and final time at the Jan. 17 meeting.

A Year in Review: LGBT Rights in Palm Beach County


 
By Tucker Berardi, South Florida Gay News January 4, 2017
http://southfloridagaynews.com/Local/a-year-in-review-lgbt-rights-in-palm-beach-county.html

A lot has happened in the past year for LGBT rights in Palm Beach County, from memorial events to new legislations offering protections for LGBT youth and individuals.

Organizations such as Compass, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Palm Beach County Human Rights Council and more have worked throughout the year with local politicians to establish new policies and practices to further the LGBT community.

“Palm Beach County is the largest county east of the Mississippi River, the third most populous county in the State of Florida, and home to the largest gay and lesbian community center of the southeast United States,” reads the Compass website. “Thanks to the hard work of the of passionate individuals, dedicated organizations and responsible public officials, Palm Beach County maintains inclusive school policies and protections for gay youth in the county.”

“This year has been a busy year for PBCHRC,” Rand Hoch, president and founder of PBCHRC told SFGN. “Some of our work involved new initiatives, some involved following up with previous legislative accomplishments that need to be refined for a variety of reasons, some involved reaction to situations as they came up.”

Discrimination was cut down in Lake Worth as several laws and policies were amended to expand discrimination protection to LGBT individuals in the city.

According to Hoch, this year’s amendments ensured that “the city’s Fair Housing Act would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.”

The amendments were also enacted so that “the city’s Merit Services policy would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression and [so that] the city’s Procurement Code would ensure equal opportunity based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression,” Hoch wrote.

Conversion therapy has also been a hot topic throughout the year, with South Florida cities such as West Palm Beach, Wilton Manors, Miami, and most recently Lake Worth banning the practice. PBCHRC hopes to continue this trend in 2017, even aiming for a county wide ban for Palm Beach.

“[We will also] encourage additional municipalities to enact bans,” Hoch wrote. “[We will] encourage the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners to enact a county wide ban on conversion therapy for minors.”

In terms of banning conversion therapy in surrounding cities, PBCHRC Board Member W. Trent Steele told SFGN that, “if past experience has been any indication, I’m hoping this vote will be even easier [in other cities] than what the PBCHRC has pushed in the past.”  

Besides conversion therapy this year also saw the election of two more openly-LGBT candidates: Myra Koutzen as Mayor of Palm Beach County and Tonya Davis Johnson elected to the Riviera Beach City Council.

Compass hosted the largest portion of the AIDS Memorial Quilt on World AIDS Day. With 126 squares, the display was an opportunity to see a number of lives and families who have been touched by HIV and AIDS.

“It is a memorial. It’s a user-generated memorial where they put their love and memories into this quilt,” Tony Plakas, Executive Director of Compass told SFGN. “We always try to find a way that the AIDS memorial quilt gets the respect it deserves.”

In terms of the upcoming year, Hoch said that PBCHRC and surrounding organizations will take each day as it comes, fighting for more LGBT protections and ensuring that LGBT rights are not compromised in the upcoming political atmosphere.

“Since the LGBTQ community cannot expect much progress on the national level and, for that matter, on the state level, we must focus our attention at the county at municipal levels,” Hoch told the Miami New Times in late November. “Ultimately, Washington D.C. will see what is happening on the local level on civil rights and perhaps finally get around to enacting legislation.”

PBCHRC will endeavor to get the Chief Judge of Florida's 15th Judicial Circuit in and for Palm Beach County to budget sufficient funding to include sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression in mandatory diversity training for judges and court personnel.

As 2016 wraps up, courses of action for more pro-LGBT legislation are in the works for next year.

“In 2017, PBCHRC will continue our efforts in Palm Beach County to encourage all public employers within Palm Beach County to adopt policies which specifically prohibit discrimination based on ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity and expression,’” Hoch wrote.