Friday, July 25, 2014

PBCHRC VOTERS ALLIANCE ENDORSEMENTS (updated 7/24/14)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

PBCHRC Update - July 2014

MESSAGE FROM RAND HOCH, PRESIDENT & FOUNDER

Since 1988, the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council’s activists – all volunteers – have been screening candidates for public office, making endorsements, educating public officials and taking action with the sole purpose
of changing laws and policies to provide equal treatment and equal benefits for the local LGBT community.

Working to elect LGBT-supportive public officials has resulted in the enactment of more than 65 local laws and policies which now provide Palm Beach County’s LGBT residents and visitors with both equal protection and equal family benefits.

Thanks to the voter identification, early voting, absentee ballot and get-out-the-vote campaigns conducted this winter by the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance, members of Palm Beach County’s LGBT community – and our allies – turned out in record numbers for the municipal elections held this year. We hope to repeat this success in conjunction with the upcoming primary and general elections.

 The Voters Alliance endorses candidates who support LGBT initiatives and privacy rights, based, in part, on:
  • How a candidate has voted on LGBT issues.
  • How a candidate has supported the Palm Beach County LGBT community.

The Voters Alliance is currently midway through our endorsement process for the August 26 primary election. To date, we have made the following endorsements:
  • U.S. Congressman (Dist. 18) - Patrick Murphy
  • U.S. Congressman (Dist. 20) - Alcee Hastings
  • U.S. Congressman (Dist. 21) - Ted Deutch
  • U.S. Congresswoman (Dist. 22) - Lois Frankel
  • Florida State Representative (Dist. 81) - Kevin Rader
  • County Commissioner (Dist. 2) - Paulette Burdick
  • Circuit Court Judge - Jaimie Goodman
  • Palm Beach County School Board Member (Dist. 3) - Karen Brill
  • Palm Beach County School Board Member (Dist. 6) - Marcia Andrews
  • Palm Beach County School Board Member (Dist..7) - Debra Robinson
  • Palm Beach County Port Commissioner (Group 5) - Peyton McArthur
We continue to screen, interview and endorse additional candidates for both the August 26 primary election and the November 4 general election. To keep track of our endorsements as they are updated, please check our Endorsements page.

Additionally, PBCHRC supporters will have the opportunity to meet candidates seeking state and local office, as well as other LGBT-supportive public officials, at our biennial Summer SoirĂ©e, which will be held on August 9, 2014, at the West Palm Beach home of Christopher Caneles and Steve Nesbitt. To find more information, to help sponsor and/or to purchase tickets, please check our Events page.

With the progress on marriage equality that is sweeping the nation, it now appears that marriage equality will reach Florida eventually.

Palm Beach Gardens residents Sloan Grimsley and Joyce Albu, along with seven other Florida same-sex married couples, have sued the state in federal court for recognition of their out-of-state marriages. Kudos go out to Sloan, Joyce and the other plaintiffs — as well as the ACLU of Florida — for bringing this lawsuit in federal court.

The issue of recognition of out-of-state same-sex marriages is also in state court before the Fourth District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach. Florida Atlantic University student Gildas Dousset, whose husband is a longtime Florida resident, was denied in-state tuition that is granted to opposite-sex married couples. If Gildas is successful, the State of Florida -- or at least Palm Beach, Broward, St. Lucie, Martin, Indian River and Okeechobee counties -- could be required to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages. Kudos to Gildas and his husband for taking a stand -- and to his attorney George Castrataro.

Additionally, several other lawsuits seeking marriage equality have been filed in both state and federal courts in Florida, and we eagerly await their outcome.

However, it is important to keep in mind that until the entire state of Florida recognizes same-sex marriages (or until Congress updates applicable federal laws), married gay and lesbian Florida residents will continue to be denied the Social Security and Veterans Affairs spousal benefits which are currently enjoyed by legally married gay men and lesbians living in states which recognize marriage equality.

Until all federal and state civil rights laws become LGBT-inclusive – and until marriage equality is extended  throughout Florida – PBCHRC will remain vigilant in its efforts to end discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

PBCHRC was a proud sponsor of the documentary film “Before You Know It” at the Lake Worth Playhouse Stonzek Theatre in June. The movie chronicled the lives of three gay men as they addressed challenges facing them as gay seniors.

Thanks to the work of our LGBT colleagues at Florida Atlantic University, some progress continues to be made on the implementation of a domestic partner health insurance stipend policy. The new policy may be found at www.fau.edu/hr/files/DPHIS_FAU.pdf. However, the current policy continues to exclude employees with working spouses. This discriminatory exclusion often results in higher out-of-pocket expenses for gay and lesbian couples, as the cost for maintaining separate health insurance policies for each spouse is generally higher than a single family policy.

The Council's current projects include persuading:
  • The City of Boca Raton to rescind Ordinance No. 5161;
  •  The City of Riviera Beach to amend its nondiscrimination policies and ordinances to include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity or expression.”
  • Florida Atlantic University to amend its anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policy to include “gender identity or expression” and to eliminate the discriminatory provisions in the school’s domestic partnership health insurance policy.
  • The Chief Judge of Florida's 15th Judicial Circuit in and for Palm Beach County to include sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression in mandatory diversity training for judges and court personnel.
  • All public employers within Palm Beach County to: (a) adopt policies which specifically prohibit discrimination based on "sexual orientation" and "gender identity and expression”; and (b) provide the same employment benefits to families based on domestic partnerships or out-of-state same-sex marriages as are provided to families based on legally recognized marriages.
  • All public employers within Palm Beach County offering domestic partners health insurance to provide annual payments to offset – or fully reimburse – the additional federal taxes assessed on the value of those payments.
In keeping with PBCHRC’s commitment to promoting equality through education, advocacy, direct action, impact litigation and community outreach, PBCHRC Board Member Hutch Floyd and I will be participating in November in the 2014 Out & Equal Workplace Summit in San Francisco. The following month, PBCHRC Vice Chair Jess Blackman, Secretary Rae Franks and Litigation Chair Trent Steele will be participating in Lavender Law, the National LGBT Bar Association Conference in New York. While in New York, Trent will also be participating in the Family Law
Institute.

These conferences bring together the best and brightest legals minds in the country, and PBCHRC is proud to continue its relationship these incredible legal organizations.

Finally, PBCHRC Treasurer Dan Hall and I were proud to represent the Council at President Obama’s LGBT Pride Month Reception at the White House on June 30. We were also pleased to attend a policy briefing on LGBT issues at the White House prior to the reception with the President and First Lady.

Since 1988, the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council has worked diligently on behalf of the LGBT community. Rest assured, we will continue to do so in 2014 and beyond.

Judge Rand Hoch (retired),
President and Founder


This paid electioneering communication, which is independent of any party, candidate or committee, is produced, sponsored and paid for by the The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance.

The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance.
Post Office Box 267
West Palm Beach, Florida 33402
(561) 358-0105

Monday, March 24, 2014

Florida's First Openly-Gay Judge Predicts Marriage Equality Will Be Legal by 2016

http://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com/pulp/2014/03/floridas_first_openly-_gay_jud.php



Welcome to blogs.browardpalmbeach.com

Florida's First Openly-Gay Judge Predicts Marriage Equality Will Be Legal by 2016







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The demonstration, which was spearheaded by Andy Amoroso, the first openly gay city commissioner in Palm Beach County, drew a crowd of over 100 people carrying signs and calling for Florida's legislature to legalize gay marriage in Florida.

"As a lawyer who closely follows this issue in federal courts across America," Hoch said during his speech, "I feel comfortable in predicting that before the end of June, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court will strike down all laws across the nation which prevent lesbians and gay men from marrying their partners."

Hoch, who practices law and mediates employment disputes, became Florida's first openly gay judge when he was appointed Judge of Compensation Claims in 1992 by then-Governor Lawton Chiles. He served until his term ended in 1996.

In 1988, Hoch founded the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, and has served as the group's president since 2006.

During his speech, Hoch also praised Palm Beach County citizens' pro marriage-equality stance.
"More than a quarter of a million people in Palm Beach County voted against enshrining anti-LGBT discrimination in our state constitution," he said. "Locally we had the votes to kill the marriage ban."

The rally, which was held at Lake Worth City Hall, was organized with the help of local advocates as well as political representatives who sponsored or endorsed the demonstration. Sen. Bill Nelson has endorsed the demonstration, as have Sens. Jeff Clemens and Patrick Murphy. Congressman Ted Deutsch is also among those who have endorsed the rally.

The demonstration offered poster boards for gay married couples to make signs showing where they got married and how much they ended up spending for their out-of-state weddings.

"On a financial level, people are spending millions of dollars to get married," Amoroso told New Times last week. "But because of Florida's laws, gay and lesbian couples are being forced to fly to other destinations to get married."

In his speech at the top of the City Hall steps, Hoch called a reversal of Florida's ban on gay marriage "inevitable."

"Sooner or later, the courts here in Florida will declare that the ban against lesbian and gay marriages is unconstitutional, as the ban violates both the equal protection clause and the due process clause of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution."






Sunday, March 23, 2014

Join Us for the Gay Polo League Polotini Party in Weillington, Florida on Friday, April 4

The 5th Annual International Gay Polo Week will take place April 4, 5 and 6 in Wellington, Florida.  

Politini Party
 
The GPL Polotini Party
The GPL Polotini Party, hosted by Patricia Quick, will be an ultra-elegant cocktail party will take place Friday, April 4 at 7 p.m. p0olside at the Mallet Grille International Polo Club Palm Beach.

The setting is beyond spectacular. The entrance to International Polo Club Palm Beach is via a palm-lined drive that leads to the steps of the magnificent infinity pool at the Mallet Grille Patio surrounded by lush tropical landscaping and some of the most carefully manicured polo fields in the world.  The club was born out of a dream to build a facility to showcase the incredible skills of the ponies and players that dominate the sport. International Polo Club Palm Beach is considered the crown jewel of the sport of polo.

The GPL Polotini Party is certain to be a chic and memorable event. Look for substantial gourmet appetizers prepared by five-star chefs presented with the most creative attention to detail. In addition, admission includes valet parking and open bar.

Purchase your tickets today to ensure you and that your friends are included in what promises to be the party of the century.

For tickets to the GPL Polotini Party, click here.


Saturday, April 5, 2014
The 5th Annual International Gay Polo Tournament
Where: Grand Champions Polo Club - On the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Lake Worth Road in Wellington

When: Saturday, April 5, 2014

Time:  Gates open at Noon. Polo Matches start at 1 p.m.
           
VIP Tables: seating for six center field, open bar, gourmet food, table-side service throughout the polo matches and VIP Valet Parking,
$1,000.

Individual VIP Tickets: $200

Tailgate Spaces: includes tent, six tickets and one field-side parking space, $375.

General Admission: $25 (parking additional)

Parking:  $25 for valet parking, $10 for self-parking)

For tickets to the Tournament, click here.

Sunday, April 6, 2014
Sunday GPL Polo Brunch

Sunday GPL Polo Brunch at International Polo Club Pavilion: $125 per person.  For tickets to the Sunday Brunch, click here.

Travel Packages
For event travel packages including the match, events and hotels:
call (888) 999-4613 or click here.

About the Gay Polo League

GPL is a community that shares a love for adventure, fun and the challenging sport of polo. GPL is committed to providing members with an enjoyable, supportive and competitive experience.

GPL represents a wide range of ages, backgrounds and skill levels. GPL trains and competes in mainstream matches and events while sharing enthusiasm for the sport, to change perceptions about our community.

For more information about GPL, click here.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Tailgates Going Fast for Gay Polo


One of the most anticipated highlights of the winter equestrian season, The 5th Annual International Gay Polo Week Presented by Cobble Court Interiors, will take place April 2-6, 2014 in Wellington FL. The tournament held on Saturday, April 5 is well known for its elaborate and fun tailgates. Every year tailgaters seek to best each other for creativity and execution. The result is one of the most colorful and entertaining outdoor events on the season's calendar.
At last year's Gay Polo Tournament, the tailgates sold to capacity. A sell-out is expected again this year, so those vying to win the coveted tailgate prize or want to secure their place at this year's event are encouraged to purchase soon.   

Judy Berens and Charlie the Cheetah. Photo by Christian Palmer
 At last year's tailgate event, The Panther Ridge tailgate took the prize for Best in Show. Complete with a live cheetah named Charlie, it was hard to beat the Wellington conservation center's "live" wildcat effort. Founded in 1999 by Judy Berens, Panther Ridge is a non-profit organization that provides haven for some of the world's most majestic and endangered big cats and works to involve people in conservation efforts.  

The Gay Polo Tournament was a great venue to get the word out about the facility and attendees of the event crowded around the popular tailgate to catch a glimpse of Charlie the Cheetah.

"A lot of people would walk by, then they'd stop in their tracks and they'd say, 'Oh my gosh, it's real!' laughed Berens. "Then, they'd want to come closer and ask questions. Charlie is a great spokesperson!"

The Best Dressed tailgate, masterminded by Jed Pearsall, went to Pan Am, a 1960s take on airline travel and a brilliantly art-directed effort that included attendees dressed in uniforms of flight crew, flight attendants, ground crew and 1960s travelers. The impressive Pan Am tailgate was a crowd favorite and a popular spot field-side.
Pan Am Tailgate. Photo by Christian Palmer
"The inspiration for this was easy," said Pearsall. "When my partner Bill and I think of polo, we think of glamour, excitement, tradition and adventure. Pan Am, whether you remember it from real life or experienced it from the TV show, seems to touch on all those things. But more importantly, it gave us ideas for a lot of great props!"

Karen McGovern and friends created a tailgate inspired by William Shakespeare's, A Midsummer Night's Dream. The floral-clad, forest-inspired theme was complete with costumes and body makeup. But it was their gastronomical offerings that earned the tailgate the prize for Best Cuisine.
RBC Wealth Management. Photo by Christian Palmer.
"It was forest-y crazy finger food," said Karen McGovern, who helped to orchestrate the ambitious tailgate. "We had cheeses and a deep fried turkey. The most popular were fresh Florida strawberries that were just huge."
The Most Enthusiastic Theme was awarded to the Pride Center tailgate, a South Beach theme of silver and grey, styled with contemporary furniture.
"We love what we do and we love having a great time," said James Walker who is Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the Pride Center. "If we can do that and support the community all at once, we have a lot to be enthusiastic about. That venue is such a friendly and warm place. Everyone just loves it."
Tailgates are $375 and include a tent, six tickets and one field-side parking place. Don't miss out on your chance to show your creative side and compete in the ultimate tailgating experience. Purchase your tailgate today and join us for over-the-top fun!

About the Gay Polo League:
GPL is a community that shares a love for adventure, fun and the challenging sport of polo. GPL is committed to providing members with an enjoyable, supportive and competitive experience.

GPL represents a wide range of ages, backgrounds and skill levels. GPL trains and competes in mainstream matches and events while sharing enthusiasm for the sport, to change perceptions about our community.

For more information about GPL visit www.gaypolo.com.

The 5th Annual International Gay Polo Week Presented by Cobble Court Interior Fast Facts: 
Friday, April 4: GPL Polotini Party, hosted by Patricia Quick, Poolside at the Mallet Grille International Polo Club Palm Beach

Saturday, April 5: International Gay Polo Tournament at Grand Champions Polo Club

Sunday, April 6: GPL Polo Brunch at International Polo Club Palm Beach

The 5th Annual International Gay Polo Tournament
Where: Grand Champions Polo Club
On the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Lake Worth Road in Wellington, FL

When: Saturday, April 5, 2014

Time: Polo Matches start at 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
          Gates open at noon

Tickets for Friday, Saturday and Sunday events, call (561) 753-3389 or  click here

Friday Night GPL Polotini Party at International Polo Club Poolside hosted by Patricia Quick: $100 per ticket-includes valet, substantial appetizers, open bar

Saturday The 5th Annual International Gay Polo Tournament Options:

VIP Tables: $1,000 includes seating for six center field, open bar, gourmet food,
table side service throughout the polo matches and VIP Valet Parking

Individual VIP Tickets: $200

Tailgate Price: $375, includes tent, six tickets and one field-side parking place

Valet Parking: $25

General Admission: $25 (parking additional)

General Admission Parking: $10

Sunday GPL Polo Brunch at International Polo Club Pavilion: $125 per person 

PBCHRC Post Election Update - March 2014

 
MESSAGE FROM PBCHRC'S PRESIDENT & FOUNDER


Since 1988, the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council's activists - all volunteers - have been interviewing candidates for public office, making endorsements, educating public officials and taking action with the sole purpose of changing laws and policies to provide equal treatment and equal benefits for the local LGBT community.

Rand Photo 2013 Thanks to the voter identification, early voting, absentee ballot and get out the vote campaigns conducted this winter by the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance, members of Palm Beach County's LGBT community, and our allies turned out in record numbers for the 2014 municipal elections in Boca Raton and Palm Beach Gardens.

Our efforts were instrumental in the re-election of Palm Beach Gardens City Council Members Eric Jablin and Marcie Tinsley, both longtime supporters of LGBT rights. The two incumbents have 100% voting records on LGBT issues, and, in 2013, both voted to offer domestic partner health insurance benefits to city employees. Both Jablin and Tinsley were challenged by well funded opponents and turnout in the March election was unusually strong. (While only 11% of Palm Beach Gardens voters turned out in the 2013 municipal elections, this year turnout reached close to 19%.) Thanks to your efforts, the two candidates who were endorsed by the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance were re-elected.

In the Boca Raton municipal election, Deputy Mayor Susan Haynie, who voted in favor of offering domestic partnership benefits to city employees in 2013, defeated City Council Member Anthony Majhes, the sole vote against domestic partnership benefits.  City Council Member Michael Mullaugh, who also supported PBCHRC's initiatives in 2013, was also re-elected. Additionally, longtime PBCHRC supporter Robert Weinroth was elected to serve on the Boca Raton City Council.

Working to elect LGBT supportive public officials has resulted in the enactment of more than 65local laws and policies which now provide Palm Beach County's LGBT residents and visitors with equal protection and equal family benefits.

Earlier this year, Clerk and Comptroller for Palm Beach County Sharon Bock implemented 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. Currently, the clerk, along with the Palm Beach County Property Appraiser, the Constitutional Tax Collector for Palm Beach County, the City of West Palm Beach and Palm Beach County all provide tax equity for their employees with domestic partners. As a result of PBCHRC's efforts, more public employers provide tax equity in our county than in any other state in our nation.

Until all federal and state civil rights laws become LGBT inclusive - and until marriage equality reaches Florida - PBCHRC will remain vigilant in our efforts to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

The Council's current projects include persuading:

●     The City of Boca Raton to rescind Ordinance No. 5161; 
 
●     The Chief Judge of Florida's 15th Judicial Circuit in and for Palm Beach County to include sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression in mandatory diversity training for judges and court personnel; 
 
●     All public employers within Palm Beach County to: (a) adopt policies which specifically prohibit discrimination based on "sexual orientation" and "gender identity and expression" and (b) provide the same employment benefits to families based on domestic partnerships as are provided to families based on legally recognized marriages; and 
 
●  All public employers within Palm Beach County providing domestic partners health insurance to provide annual payments to offset (or fully reimburse) the additional federal taxes assessed on the value of those payments.

In keeping with PBCHRC's commitment to promoting equality through education, advocacy, direct action, impact litigation, and community outreach, PBCHRC will be cosponsoring the Gay and Lesbian Lawyers Network annual event in Fort Lauderdale. In addition, this December, three PBCHRC Board Members,  Vice Chair Jess Blackman, Secretary Rae Franks, and Litigation Chair Trent Steele, will be participating in Lavender Law, the National LGBT Bar Association Conference in New York. This conference brings together the best and brightest legals minds in the country and PBCHRC is proud to continue its relationship these incredible legal organizations.

Since 1988, the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council has worked diligently on behalf of the LGBT community. Rest assured we will continue to do so in 2014 - and beyond.

Judge Rand Hoch (retired)
President and Founder 

Palm Beach County (Florida) LGBT History Timeline (Updated 6/24/14)

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.

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.

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

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.

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)

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.

1988 - 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 - 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, sue the State of Florida in federal for recognition of their out-of-state marriages.  The couples seek those public benefits and protections enjoyed by opposite-sex married couples.

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.