Sunday, September 17, 2017

Palm Beach County, Florida LGBT History Timeline - updated 9/17/17

Palm Beach County LGBT History Timeline

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 by.

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.

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.  (James was subsequently elected Mayor in 2008 and served through 2011).

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 - Deidre Newton, an open lesbian, is appointed by West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Mouio to serve the Mayor’s Transition Team.

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

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

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 rules that Florida's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, making her the fourth Florida judge to reach that conclusion.

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

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

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.

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

2016 - The City of West Palm Beach updates its health care plans to include trans care benefits to municipal employees.

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

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

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

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

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

2017 - The Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners amends the definition of “sexual orientation" in the County’s Equal Employment Ordinance from "male or female homosexuality, heterosexuality and bisexuality, by preference or practice" to   "heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality or asexuality, whether actual or perceived."

2017 - The City of Delray Beach enacts a ban on conversion therapy for minors.

2017 - The City of Riviera Beach enacts a ban on conversion therapy for minors.

2017 - The City of Palm Beach Gardens passes a resolution opposing conversion therapy for minors.

2017 - The Village of Wellington enacts a ban on conversion therapy for minors.

2017 - The City of Greenacres enacts a ban on conversion therapy for minors.

2017 - Former PBCHRC Vice President Deidre Newton is appointed to the Palm Beach County Fair Housing Board.

LGBT-Supportive Laws and Policies in Palm Beach County - updated September 2017

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.
118.     2017 - The Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners amends the definition of “sexual orientation" in the County’s Equal Employment Ordinance from "male or female homosexuality, heterosexuality and bisexuality, by preference or practice" to "heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality or asexuality, whether actual or perceived."
119.      2017 - The City of Delray Beach enacts ban on conversion therapy for minors.
120.      2017 - The City of Riviera Beach enacts ban on conversion therapy for minors.
121.      2017 - The Village of Wellington enacts ban on conversion therapy for minors.

122.    2017 - The City of Greenacres enacts a ban on conversion therapy for minors.

President's Message - September 2017

September 5, 2017
Unlike Floridians living in approximately 85% of Florida's 67 counties, Palm Beach County's LGBTQ residents are protected from discrimination in employment, housing and the full range of public accommodations. Our public school students are protected from harassment based on sexual orientation and gender identity. While lesbian and gay couples are free to marry statewide, couples in Palm Beach County who do not choose to get married, can register as domestic partners and enjoy limited benefits. And each month, more LGBTQ youth in our county are being protected from the abuses related to so-called "conversion therapy."

All LGBTQ Floridians - not just those of us in Palm Beach County - should enjoy the same rights, benefits and protections.  However, outside of South Florida and a few pockets here and there in the Sunshine State, little has been done to ensure that progress will be made for LGBTQ people statewide.

For the 11th consecutive year, the Florida Legislature has failed to amend the Florida Civil Rights Act and Florida's Fair Housing Act to include LGBTQ Floridians. Moreover, Governor Rick Scott, like his predecessor Charlie Crist, has failed to respond to PBCHRC's repeated requests to issue an executive order providing equal treatment for LGBTQ state employers and contractors.

In our nation's capital, no action has been taken on the Equality Act of 2017 (S.1006/H.R.2282), which would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Fair Housing Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Jury Selection and Services Act and other federal laws to include "sexual orientation" and "gender identity."  These amendments are necessary to provide consistent and explicit nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people across key areas of life, including employment, housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally funded programs, and jury service. The Equality Act would also update the definition of "public accommodations" to include virtually every place where business is conducted throughout the country.

The Equality Act has been co-sponsored by Senator Bill Nelson (and 45 other members of the U.S. Senate) as well as by Representatives Ted Deutch, Lois Frankel and Alcee Hastings (and 193 other members of the U.S. House of Representatives).  Although PBCHRC asked Congressman Brian Mast to become a co-sponsor when we me with him last June, to date, he has not done so.

Based on the actions, appointments and statements made by the Trump-Pence administration, as well as the inaction by Congressional leaders, it appears that protecting the rights of LGBTQ Americans is not a national priority.

Therefore, we must continue to act locally to ensure LGBTQ people are provided with equal rights, protections and benefits.

SUCCESSES  IN THE 2017 MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS
Since 1988, volunteers for the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance (PBCHRCVA) have interviewed hundreds of candidates for public office. We have done this to educate candidates and public officials and select candidates for endorsements. 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
PBCHRCVA reviewed the records of incumbent office holders throughout the county and interviewed numerous candidates seeking election to municipal offices in this spring's municipal elections. Much of the Council's ability to screen, interview and endorse candidates rests on the shoulders of Rae Franks, who has served as the Council's Secretary since the early-1990s. The entire Board of Directors is grateful to the time and energy Rae has spent over the past several months - and over many, many years - contacting candidates, scheduling interviews, and asking the questions that help us make difficult endorsement choices.

PBCHRCVA works diligently to identify more LGBTQ-supportive residents and get them registered to vote. In the weeks before the elections, we conducted an extensive Get-Out-The-Vote (GOTV) campaign in several municipalities. We encouraged supporters to get their LGBTQ-friendly family, co-workers and friends to vote-by-mail or get to the polls to vote for candidates endorsed by PBCHRCVA.

In last spring's municipal elections,  LGBTQ voters throughout Palm Beach County once again turned out in record numbers. Together with our allies throughout the county, we helped elect (or re-elect) 10 candidates endorsed by the PBCHRC Voters Alliance.   

Based on the endorsement criteria, PBCHRC has already made the following endorsements of candidates seeking local, state and federal offices in 2018.

U.S Congress (Dist. 20) - Alcee Hastings
U.S Congress (Dist. 21) - Lois Frankel
U.S Congress (Dist. 22) - Ted Deutch
Florida House of Representatives (Dist. 90) - Joe Casello
Palm Beach County Commission (Dist. 6) - Melissa McKinlay
Palm Beach County School Board (Dist. 4) - Erica Whitfield
Palm Beach County School Board (Dist. 7) - Debra Robinson
Delray Beach City Commission (Seat 3) - Mitch Katz
Riviera Beach City Council (Dist. 4) - Dawn Pardo
Wellington Village Council - John T. McGovern
Wellington Village Council - Tanya Siskind
West Palm Beach City Commission (Dist. 1) - Sylvia Moffett
West Palm Beach City Commission (Dist. 3) - Paula Ryan
West Palm Beach City Commission (Dist. 5) - Shanon Materio
Most endorsements for contested races in 2018 will not be made until after the qualifying period ends this winter for municipal elections, and next summer for federal, state and local elections.

For a complete list of candidates PBCHRCVA has endorsed since 2016, please go to http://pbchrc.blogspot.com/2017/03/pbchrc-voters-alliance-endorsements.html. You can be sure PBCHRC will be calling on all elected officials to take steps to enact laws and policies to provide equal protection, treatment and benefits for the local LGBTQ community

Thanks to your support of our endorsed candidates over the years, it is illegal to discriminate against LGBTQ people with regard to employment, housing and public accommodation throughout Palm Beach County. As a result of PBCHRC's efforts, there are now 122 ordinances, resolutions, collective bargaining agreements and policies which provide LGBTQ  residents and visitors equal rights, protections and benefits.  A complete list can be found by going to www.pbchrc.org/our-impact and clicking on "Laws & Policies."

BANNING CONVERSION THERAPY

PBCHRC's top priority since 2016 is to ban the practice of conversion therapy on minors throughout Palm Beach County. (Conversion therapy, long discredited by the nation's leading medical and mental health organizations, is counseling based on the erroneous assumption that LGBTQ identities are mental disorders that can be cured through aversion treatment).

For more than a year, PBCHRC Board Member Trent Steele and I have been coordinating the efforts to ban conversion therapy throughout Palm Beach County. We have partnered with the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the Southern Poverty Law Center and SAVE in our efforts. In August, Trent and I brainstormed with several of our team members at Lavender Law, a national conference which brings together LGBTQ and allied legal professionals dedicated making advancements in laws relating to the LGBTQ community.  During the program on conversion therapy, PBCHRC was recognized for our successes.

And while I am on the topic of successes, two more Palm Beach County municipalities - the Village of Wellington and the City of Greenacres - have enacted ordinances to effectively ban conversion therapy for minors by licensed professionals.

In June, the Wellington Village Council held two public hearings at PBCHRC's request on an ordinance to ban the conversion therapy for minors. At both hearings, Dr. Julie Harren Hamilton, a Palm Beach Gardens psychologist who is an outspoken advocate for what she calls "sexual orientation change therapy," urged the Village Council not to enact the ban. (Dr. Hamilton had previously spoken against banning conversion therapy at the Palm Beach County Commission, the West Palm Beach City Commission and the Delray Beach City Commission, but to no avail).

 Dr. David Pickup, the nation's leading advocate of what he calls "reparative therapy" (and who is prohibited from practicing it in California) also tried to convince the Village Council that it was possible to change the sexual orientation and gender identity of LGBT children through therapy.

However, these two quacks were no match for Dr. Rachel Needle, a local psychologist who is Florida's leading expert on the harms of conversion therapy. (Dr. Needle had already convinced elected officials in West Palm Beach, Boynton Beach, Riviera Beach and Delray Beach of the harms of conversion therapy - and each municipality enacted an ordinance banning it). PBCHRC is grateful for Rachel's volunteer work on behalf of LGBTQ youth.

The Liberty Counsel, a national anti-LGBT legal organization, sent a letter threatening to file suit if Wellington banned conversion therapy. Over the past year, the organization sent similar letters to Palm Beach County, the City of West Palm Beach and the City of Delray Beach. However, to date, no lawsuits have been filed.

An administrator from Kings Academy, a local Christian school, spoke and urged the Village Council to vote against enacting the ban a both hearings. His wife, mother and even his teenage son all joined him in speaking out in opposition. Several other self-described Christian residents also spoke out against the ban. It was obvious by the comments made by a majority of the Village Council Members at both public hearings that Dr. Needle was far more persuasive than Drs. Hamilton and Pickup.

At First Reading on June 13, Vice Mayor John McGovern, Councilwoman Tanya Siskind and Councilmen Michael Napoleone and Michael Drahos all voted in favor of the ban, Mayor Anne Gerwig was the sole opponent. However, at Final Reading on June 27, Councilman Drahos, possibly swayed by sheer number of Christian residents/voters who spoke in opposition to the ban, changed his vote, joining Mayor Gerwig in opposition to the ban. However, with the three votes cast by Vice Mayor McGovern, Councilwoman Siskind and Councilman Napoleone, the ban was enacted and took effect immediately.

Thanks go out to Vice Mayor McGovern, Councilwoman Siskind and Councilman Napoleone for their insightful comments at the two hearings. Thanks also go out to PBCHRC Board Member Meredith Ockman for coordinating the campaign in Wellington and to PBCHRC Board Member Jamie Todd Foreman-Plakas for his persuasive presentation to the Wellington Village Council concerning the legal aspects relating to banning coversion therapy for minors.   
With much less drama, in August, the Greenacres City Council voted to enact a ban on conversion therapy for minors. The sole vote against the ordinance was cast by Councilman Peter Noble, who has initially voted against directing the City Attorney to draft an ordinance for consideration by the City Council.  At First Reading, Noble surprised everyone by voting in favor of the ban. However, at Final reading, he again flip-flopped and voted against the ban.  Regardless, with a 4-1 vote, the ban took effect upon passage.

Thanks go out to Greenacres City Councilwoman Paula Bousquet and  PBCHRC Board Members Meredith Ockman and Jamie Foreman for ensuring that Greenacres would,become the seventh Palm Beach County municipality to enact an ordinance to effectively ban conversion therapy for minors by licensed professionals.

Across the nation, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, the District of Columbia, Pima County (AZ), Cincinnati (OH), Seattle (WA), Pittsburgh (PA), Toledo (OH), Columbus (OH), Philadelphia (PA), Allentown (PA), Dayton (OH) and Athens (OH) have laws preventing licensed mental health providers from offering conversion therapy to minors. (New York's ban is uniquely the result of an order signed New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and not legislation.)

In Florida, the municipalities of West Palm Beach, Lake Worth, Boynton Beach, Riviera Beach, Delray Beach, Wellington, Greenacres, Miami, Wilton Manors, Miami Beach, Bay Harbor Islands, El Portal, Key West and Tampa also have banned the practice.

A few months ago, the Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners approved (on First Reading) an ordinance banning conversion therapy for minors. Final Reading is set for October 2. Kudos to our South-Florida counterpart SAVE (www.save.lgbt) for their success in banning conversion therapy in several municipalities in Broward and Miami-Dade Counties, and for their anticipated success with the the Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners.

PBCHRC continues to work to enact bans on conversion therapy in other local municipalities we are working with the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners to enact a countywide ban protecting LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy before the end of the year.  In addition, PBCHRC is working closely with the Human Rights Council of North Central Florida (www.hrcncf.org) in their efforts to enact conversion therapy bans in Alachua County and in Gainesville.

PBCHRC's 30th ANNIVERSARY
On Saturday evening, January 13, 2018,  PBCHRC will kick off our 30th anniversary celebrations with our annual Winter Fête for major donors.  This year's event will be held at Tarpon Cove, the Palm Beach home of James Berwind and Kevin Clark.  
PBCHRC also is seeking donors to help underwrite our Winter Fête. Benefactors who contribute $3,000 will receive four tickets and Sponsors who contribute $1,500 will receive two tickets to the event. All underwriters will be invited to a fabulous pre-party at a private home in early January. Our underwriters to date include:

Hosts 
James Berwind and Kevin Clark
Benefactors 
Congressman Mark Foley 
Daniel S. Hall 
The Law and Mediation Offices of Rand Hoch, P.A. 
George J. Palladino and Jerrold St. George 
Trent Steele and Wayne Lewis
Sponsors 
Lee Bell and Fotios Pantazis 
Palm Beach County Commissioner Mary Lou Berger 
State Representative Lori Berman 
Bill Bone 
Mauricio Busa and Barry Hayes 
Kerensa and Alicia Butler-Gile 
Christopher Caneles and Stephen Nesbitt 
David Cohen and Paul Bernabeo 
Bill Eberhardt 
FAU Public Ethics Academy - Dr. Peter Cruise, Executive Director 
Charlie Fredrickson 
Michael Grattendick and Chip Freeman 
Howard Grossman, M.D. 
West Palm Beach City Commissioner Keith James 
Sid Lesowitz and Peter Rogers 
MBAF, Accountants and Advisors, LLC 
Lou Marotta and Mike Fullwood 
Joseph Pubillones Interiors 
Senator Kevin Rader 
Richard and Ellen Rampell 
West Palm Beach City Commissioner Paula Ryan 
J. P. Sasser 
Don Todorich - Corcoran Group R.E 
Scott Velozo and Stephen Mooney 
Donald Watren and Tony Jaggi 
Gregg and Rebecca Weiss
Tickets are $300 per person and since tickets to both the 2016 and 2017 Winter Fêtes sold out long before we had the opportunity to send out invitations, we expect the 2018 Winter Fête to do the same.

To become a Benefactor or a Sponsor, or to buy individual tickets, please go to  www.pbchrc.org/events.


OTHER NEWS
*    Earlier this year, PBCHRC sent our third letter to Governor Rick Scott requesting him to update his Executive Order on "Reaffirming Commitment to Diversity in Government" to specifically include "sexual orientation" and "gender identity or expression" as protected classes. However, once again, it appears to have fallen on deaf ears.

*    Longtime PBCHRC supporter Joseph Pubillones, whose daughter is a student at Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, has been appointed as  PBCHRC's new  representative on the Palm Beach County School District's Diversity & Equity Committee.

*    PBCHRC Vice President Carly Cass continues to work closely with school board members and school district staff as work continues on developing a comprehensive sex education program which will be LGBTQ-inclusive.

*     Three of Palm Beach County's representatives in Congress - Ted Deutch, Lois Frankel and Alcee Hastings - have signed on as co-sponsors of the Therapeutic Fraud Protection Act of 2017 (H.R. 2119). If enacted, the practice of conversion therapy will be banned nationwide. Although PBCHRC asked Congressman Brian Mast to become a co-sponsor when we me with him last June, to date, he has not done so. Although both have been asked, to date, neither Bill Nelson nor Marco Rubio has signed on as co-sponsors to the Senate version of the bill.

*    PBCHRC  continues to work with Palm Beach County's newest municipality, the City of Westlake, on an LGBTQ-inclusive Civil Rights Ordinance.

On a final note, after sexual orientation was enacted as a protected class under the Palm Beach County Fair Housing Ordinance in 1990, gay activist (and subsequently PBCHRC President) Norm Aaron was appointed to serve on the Fair Housing Board. In 2002, following Norm's death, PBCHRC Secretary Rae Franks was appointed to the Board, Rae served with distinction (including several terms as chair of what is now the Palm Beach County Fair Housing/Equal Employment Board) until she stepped down this summer. Former PBCHRC Vice President Deidre Newton was recently appointed to the Board.  
PBCHRC thanks Rae for her dedication to public service and wishes Deidre success in her new role.

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