Monday, April 13, 2015

HARVEY MILK DIVERSITY HONORS GALA TO SPOTLIGHT SOUTH FLORIDA LGBT ACTIVISTS


Deborah Cox, Rand Hoch, Jazz Jennings, Elaine Lancaster, Judy Shepard, Lillian Tamayo, William Thomas and Dean Trantalis to be honored for leadership in diversity

The inaugural Diversity Honors, co-presented by the Harvey Milk Foundation and The Pride Center at Equality Park, will be hosted by the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, May 9. This milestone event will recognize national honoree Judy Shepard, founder of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, plus several South Florida leaders who have made a significant impact on improving the quality of life for the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community. Special host presenter will be Stuart Milk, co-founder and president of the Harvey Milk Foundation.

Emceed by WSVN-TV's Craig Stevens, the gala will celebrate South Florida forces for change, including international recording artist Deborah Cox, President and Founder of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Rand Hoch, nationally recognized teen activist and honorary co-founder of the Transkids Purple Rainbow Foundation Jazz Jennings, celebrity entertainer Elaine Lancaster (James Davis), CEO of Planned Parenthood of South Florida Lillian Tamayo, 11th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida Miami Judge William Thomas and Fort Lauderdale Commissioner Dean Trantalis.

"The Harvey Milk Foundation is proud to make history along with the Pride Center at Equality Park to debut this event, which will celebrate the power and resolve of adversity," said Milk.

"There has been a tremendous amount of progress for more equal rights and acceptance around the world, but we have a lot more work to do. This event will allow us to showcase our achievements and celebrate those who have and continue to advocate for equality."

The main event of the evening will be the presentation of the premier Diversity Honors awards to the following champions:

Judy Shepard will accept the coveted Harvey Milk Honors Medal. In October 1998, Judy and Dennis Shepard lost their 21 year-old son, Matthew, to a murder motivated by anti-gay hate. Matthew's death moved many thousands of people around the world to attend vigils and rallies in his memory. Determined to prevent others from suffering their son's fate, Judy and Dennis decided to turn their grief into action and established the Matthew Shepard Foundation to carry on Matthew's legacy. The Foundation is dedicated to working toward the causes championed by Matthew during his life: social justice, diversity awareness & education, and equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Judy Shepard is the founding president of the Matthew Shepard Foundation Board of Directors, and served as its first executive director from 1999 to 2009. In her continuing role as board  
president, she travels across the nation speaking to audiences about what they can do as individuals and communities to make this world a more accepting place for everyone, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, sex, gender identity and expression or sexual orientation. Speaking from a mother's perspective, Judy also authored a 2009 memoir, "The Meaning of Matthew," exploring the family's journey through the prosecution of Matthew's assailants, the ensuing 
media coverage, and their continuing work to advance civil rights. She and Dennis continue to make their home in Casper, Wyoming.

Deborah Cox is a Grammy-nominated R&B singer-songwriter with 12 number one hits on Billboard's dance music charts. Cox became an icon in the gay community with her soulful dance anthems, including the 1998 song "Nobody's Supposed to Be Here." Cox made her Broadway debut in the lead role of Elton John's and Tim Rice's Broadway musical, AIDA, and recently received rave reviews for her critically acclaimed vocal performance in Lifetime's biopic, Whitney. Cox has been recognized for her longstanding commitment to various social issues in the LGBT community. She received the Out Music Pillar Award in January 2015, the California State Senate Award in 2014 and The Civil Rights Award from the New York Senate for her efforts in the fight for Human Rights and Equality in 2007. She will also be honored for her contributions as an HIV/AIDS awareness activist.

Rand Hoch founded the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council (PBCHRC) in 1988 and has twice served as the organization's President. The Council was successful in having Palm Beach County extend protected status to gay men, lesbians and bisexuals in housing, public accommodation and county employment and in having the City of West Palm Beach extend basic domestic partnership benefits to city employees. Through his long-time commitment to the PBCHRC and community leadership, Hoch has been responsible for the enactment of more than 85 laws and policies extending equal rights and benefits to LGBT Floridians.  Hoch also served as Florida's first openly gay judge.

Jazz Jennings is a 14-year-old transgender girl, activist, and honorary co-founder of the Transkids Purple Rainbow Foundation. Jennings will soon star in her own reality television show on TLC. She has been featured on a variety of news and talk show programs and has been interviewed by news media including Katie Couric, Barbara Walters, Meredith Vieira, Dr. Drew, 60 Minutes, MSNBC, Teen Vogue, People magazine and The Rosie Show. She was also the subject of an Oprah Winfrey Network documentary, "I am Jazz: A Family in Transition." Jennings was recognized at the 2013 GLAAD Awards where she met former President Bill Clinton and was on TIME magazine's list of "Top 25 Most Influential Teens of 2014."

Elaine Lancaster (James Davis), internationally acclaimed entertainer/socialite, has helped raise more than $20 million for numerous charitable organizations since 1996. She became the first female impersonator to have a re-occurring role on Bravo's "The Real Housewives of Miami" for three seasons and has recently launched Elaine Lancaster Cosmetics, featuring a signature line of lip lacquers. In addition to her efforts in raising awareness for the LGBT community, she is a human rights and political activist, philanthropist and highly sought after hostess for high caliber special events. She was just named as the global celebrity spokesperson for Multimedia Platforms Worldwide, Inc..

Lillian Tamayo is the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of South, East and North Florida. Under her leadership, Planned Parenthood broadened its clinical and educational service to reach the diverse and fast-growing demographics of its communities. She has also served on the boards of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the John S. & James L. Knight Foundation's Community Advisory Board. Tamayo is a past recipient of the Compass Leadership Award, the ACLU Foundation of Florida's Nelson Poynter Award, the Woman of Valor Award from the National Council of Jewish Women and the Ruth Green Award from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America Affiliate Chief Executives Council.

Judge William Thomas is a long-time advocate for public injustice. He worked as an assistant public defender at the Dade County Public Defender's Office, before accepting a position as an assistant federal public defender with the Federal Public Defender's Office for the Southern District of Florida. In 2004, he was elected to the Circuit Court for the 11th Judicial Circuit in and for Miami-Dade County. Since his election, he has served in the juvenile (one year), criminal (six years) and civil (four years) divisions of the circuit court the latter of which where he currently presides. 
 
Dean Trantalis is a long-time legal activist and Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner in District 2. For more than 30 years, Trantalis has served as a community activist and citizen advocate. He is one of the Broward County LGBT's community's most respected spokesmen and led the county to be the first in the state to extend protection from discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations to the LGBT community.

"We couldn't be prouder to co-present an event that brings together the leaders of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties and showcases leadership in diversity and equality in South Florida and beyond," said Robert Boo, chief executive officer at The Pride Center at Equality Park. "The Pride Center at Equality Park has a long history of being at the forefront of promoting positive gay role models and this event symbolizes our strong commitment to all those we serve and our generous supporters who stand behind our mission."

In addition to a cocktail reception, seated three-course dinner and musical entertainment, Diversity Honors will offer a front and center opportunity to hear a compelling speech about the need for more education, greater acceptance and advocacy for equal rights from Stuart Milk.

Stuart Milk is the co-founder and president of the Harvey Milk Foundation and nephew of the late civil rights icon, Harvey Milk, one of the first openly gay elected officials in the United States who was assassinated shortly after winning a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Stuart has spearheaded or played a vital role in award winning programing in 47 countries in support of the LGBT community and human rights. For more than a decade, he has been recognized with numerous global awards for his tireless volunteer leadership in some of the most challenging human rights environments on five continents.

Tickets for Diversity Honors are $150 per person  
and corporate tables of 10 are $1,500.
For reservations or for more information, visit www.diversityhonors.com.

_________________
About The Harvey Milk Foundation

The Harvey Milk Foundation is a global non-profit NGO that promotes Harvey Milk's inspiring legacy through human rights education and global outreach. In 1977, Harvey Milk (1930-1978) became the first openly LGBT elected official to a major office in the United States. He was assassinated in San Francisco's City Hall 11 months later. The all-volunteer run foundation was founded by Harvey's nephew, Stuart Milk, and Anne Kronenberg, Harvey's campaign manager and political aide. Today, the Harvey Milk Foundation provides on-the-ground support and award-winning programing to struggling and emerging LGBT communities on 5 continents with over four dozen dedicated volunteer leaders and long term partnerships in 31 nations. 
 
For more information, please visit www.milkfoundation.org
 
About The Pride Center at Equality Park

For more than 20 years, The Pride Center has provided a welcoming, safe space - an inclusive home - that celebrates, nurtures and empowers the LGBT communities and our friends and neighbors in South Florida. The Pride Center's programs and services meet the distinct socio- economic, health, spiritual, and safety needs of the LGBT community. It hosts more than 60 regular meeting groups each month and more than 35,000 adults and youth attend activities at  
the Center, each year. Outreach activities over the past year directly impacted 50,000 residents and visitors to South Florida. The Pride Center is a major site for HIV testing and prevention, education and counseling and offers holistic and comprehensive support programs for persons living with HIV/AIDS, including the nationally acclaimed PALS Project.

For more information, visit www.pridecenterflorida.org.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio places travel ban on city-funded trips to Indiana

March 31, 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.

"For more than two decades, West Palm Beach has been in the forefront, protecting the civil rights and ensuring equality for the LGBT community," said Muoio. "Until Indiana's discriminatory law is amended or repealed, West Palm Beach taxpayers will not subsidize legally-sanctioned discrimination against LGBT people."

Mayor Muoio took this action at yesterday's City Commission meeting at the request of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, a local civil rights organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.
 
"Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act
sanctions outright discrimination against LGBT people," said retired judge Rand Hoch, President and Founder of the Human Rights Council.  "We commend Mayor Muoio for putting her strong beliefs against bigotry into action by prohibiting taxpayer dollarsbeing used in Indiana."

Similar travel bans have been put into place by states of Connecticut and Washington, as well as the cities of Portland, Seattle and San Francisco.

Muoio's concern goes beyond her own city.

"The U.S. Conference of Mayors is scheduled to meet in Indianapolis next year," explained Muoio.  "If Indiana's law is not changed, I am going to ask the Conference to move the meeting to a more accepting locale."

Monday, March 30, 2015

Palm Beach County (Florida) LGBT History Timeline (updated 4/9/15)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1991 - Riviera  Beach adopts a policy prohibiting the use of any public funds for organizations or facilities which discriminate on the basis of several protected classes, including sexual orientation.
 
1992 - Governor Lawton Chiles appoints PBCHRC Founder Rand Hoch to serve as Florida’s first openly gay judge.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1994 - Chuck Wolfe, an openly gay man, serves as Director of Operations for Chiles/McKay reelection campaign.
 
1995 - Voters in West Palm Beach overwhelmingly reject the effort to repeal the Equal Opportunity Ordinance by a margin of 56% to 43%.  West Palm Beach becomes the first jurisdiction in Florida to withstand a repeal effort by popular vote.

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

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

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 - The Palm Beach County Classroom Teachers Association and the School Board of Palm Beach County amend their collective bargaining agreement to prohibit disc rimination based on sexual orientation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2005 - West Palm Beach establishes a Domestic Partnership Registry.

2005 - The Pride Business Alliance is established.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2006 - Betty James, an open lesbian, is appointed Mayor of Cloud Lake.  (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 - 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 - Kendall Rumsey, an openly gay man, is elected to the Lake Park Town Commission.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2011 - The Rusty Gordon Democratic Caucus is established.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2013 - PBCHRC celebrate's its 25th Anniversary.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2014 - Lake Worth establishes a Domestic Partnership Registry.

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

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

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

2014 - 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 Harvey Milk Foundation presents its Diversity Honors Award to PBCHRC President and Founder Rand Hoch.