BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com
The rainbow flag is flying over Beth Moshe Congregation in North Miami, reports Jessica Wolland.
"The rabbi for years has been saying we need to reach out to the gay community to let them know we're here and that they are welcome here," said Wolland, who teaches Hebrew and preschool at the synagogue.
"Our synagogue is open to everybody," said Rabbi Jory Lang, spiritual leader at Beth Moshe for 25 years.
The synagogue has a web page dedicated to LGBT youth and families.
Lang said it was his idea to permanently fly the rainbow flag, along with flags of the United States and Israel.
"It is not so much a symbol the gay community is welcome as much as it is to criticize the homophobes. It is a statement against ignorance and prejudice," Lang said. "I cannot tolerate intolerance."
Lang said sexual orientation is not a choice.
"No one chooses to be gay. No one makes a conscious decision to be gay. And no one has a right to question," he said. "Most importantly, God does not make mistakes."
Lang said there is a substantial LGBT membership at Beth Moshe and that he would happily marry same-sex couples. "If two people love each other, that's it. Period."
His response to anyone who objects: "It's very simple. If someone doesn't like it, don't come here. Everyone is welcome, except those who want to exclude."
TAVERES, Fla. -- Students fighting to have a gay-straight alliance club at their middle school in central Florida have won a partial victory for the time being.
But the judge also refused to issue a preliminary injunction that would have allowed the club to meet immediately at Carver Middle School.
The students' lawsuit instead will be allowed to move forward to the next phase of evidence exchange.
The students sued the school board last December. It was the second lawsuit seeking to form the gay-straight alliance club at the school.
Here’s the news release from the ACLU of Florida:
OCALA, FL - In an order issued today, Federal District Judge William Terrell Hodges denied the Lake County School District’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by several students at Carver Middle School, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida, whose attempts to create a gay-straight alliance (GSA) at their school have been routinely thwarted by school administrators. The lawsuit, which was filed in December of 2013, is the second lawsuit in less than year brought by students at Carver Middle School challenging the School Board’s ongoing efforts to block the students’ constitutionally-protected right to establish a GSA to combat bullying at their school. The judge’s order also dismissed a motion for preliminary injunction which would have allowed the club to meet immediately, but the case will continue on to the next phase, where the parties exchange evidence.
In August, the school board passed a new club policy that included new requirements for middle-school student clubs and required all existing clubs, including the Carver GSA, which had been allowed to meet as the result of a settlement in the previous lawsuit, to reapply in order to meet. The students in the GSA submitted the club application explaining the goals of the club – including “to create and execute strategies to confront and work to end bullying, discrimination, and harassment against all students” – in October. On December 5th, after requests for an update on the status of the GSA application, the school board’s attorney stated that the Superintendent had denied the club application under the new club policy and would not permit it to operate as a school club, claiming that the club was not an extension of the school curriculum. However, numerous non-curricular clubs have been approved across the district. It was after this that the lawsuit was filed.
In response to the judge’s order issued today, ACLU of Florida LGBT rights staff attorney Daniel Tilley said the following:
“The school board’s ongoing effort to block these students from creating this club, including most recently their motion to dismiss this legal challenge, is the perfect example of why the club is so badly needed. All across the country, LGBT students are subject to serious bullying and harassment, and the students who make up the GSA at Carver are working to be a part of the solution by doing something that multiple studies have proven to work. Instead of supporting them, the school board is ignoring the problem, and in doing so, participating in it. Judge Hodges was right to throw out their motion to dismiss, and though we are disappointed that he also denied our motion for preliminary injunction, we look forward to continuing to make the case for why these brave kids should be allowed to stand up to the bullies.”
GSAs are student organizations made up of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students and their straight allies that advocate for an end to bullying, harassment, and discrimination against all students. GSAs exist in thousands of schools across the country. LGBT students in schools with GSAs are significantly less likely to experience victimization related to their sexual orientation and gender expression, and less likely to feel unsafe because of their sexual orientation than students without a GSA.
From the White House:
IRS Tax Tips for Married Same-Sex Couples
Today, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released a new YouTube video designed to provide useful tax tips to married same-sex couples.
Following last summer's Supreme Court decision invalidating a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act, the IRS ruled that same-sex couples, legally married in jurisdictions that recognize their marriages, are now treated as married for federal tax purposes. The ruling applies to all federal tax provisions where marriage is a factor, including filing status, claiming personal and dependency exemptions, taking the standard deduction, employee benefits, contributing to an IRA and claiming the earned income tax credit or child tax credit.
The new video, less than two minutes long, is available in English, Spanish and American Sign Language and can be accessed via IRS.gov. It joins an array of online products, including answers to frequently-asked questions, designed to help same-sex couples file their federal income tax returns.
Breaking news from Equality Florida:
There was no discussion and no dissenters. The revised policy will now be posted for a 30 day review period before adoption. Now, they move more quickly on implementing "best practices".
Equality Florida CEO, Nadine Smith served on the committee that reviewed and recommended this policy change.
We salute FAMU for their hard work and commitment to creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for FAMU students, faculty, staff and visitors.
BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com
On the cusp of 80, Oscar-winner Shirley MacLaine remains fearless and uncensored.
“That was really stupid,” she says during an interview, laughing, when asked why good films tank at the box office. “If I could answer that, I’d head a studio. Are you kidding me or what?”
MacLaine, special guest at Friday's opening of the Miami International Film Festival, was just as candid at 40, when her political outspokenness landed her on President Richard Nixon’s notorious enemies list.
“Oh boy, did I ever,” MacLaine says, recalling how in the early ‘70s she couldn’t find film work. “All of Hollywood was basically Democratic. But some of the real power monsters were not. They were for Nixon.”
Until then, MacLaine led a charmed professional life. At 19, Warren Beatty’s older sister danced on Broadway in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Me and Juliet. A year later, she became understudy to musical star Carol Haney in George Abbott and Jerome Robbins’ The Pajama Game, choreographed by Bob Fosse.
That led to instant stardom when Haney sprained her ankle and, in 42nd Street fashion, MacLaine went on in her place.
Alfred Hitchcock then asked MacLaine to leave New York, move to Hollywood and co-star opposite John Forsythe in the director’s comedic mystery, The Trouble With Harry.
“[Pajama Game producer] Hal Prince and company told me, ‘Oh God, don’t go. You’ll get lost. You’ve got to dance in the chorus of more shows, get more experience.’ That’s what they told me. I didn’t listen to them. Frankly, I liked Hitchcock. I thought it was funny,” MacLaine says. “I didn’t know how to act. I didn’t know the first thing about it. I wanted to experience California and this new thing called acting. I had been dancing since I was 3. I was really ready for something new. I’ve always been ready. That’s why I traveled so much. And got myself caught in coup d'états and revolutions.”
After The Trouble With Harry, MacLaine appeared with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis in Artists and Models, then co-starred in Mike Todd’s Around the World in 80 Days.
“He had full control over friggin’ nature,” MacLaine says of Todd, whose death in a 1958 plane crash widowed Elizabeth Taylor. “Whenever we would go out and decide to shoot somewhere, he was controlling the sun, it seemed to me.”
MacLaine quickly scored three Best Actress Oscar nominations (Some Came Running, The Apartment, Irma la Douce), plus a Best Documentary nod for her film, The Other Half of the Sky: A China Memoir. She lost ’em all.
In 1976, she returned to the stage in a high-profile song-and-dance show. “Because I had politicized myself out of work and Hollywood. I couldn’t get hired. So I went back. I went back to Vegas, is where I went. And I started there and then ultimately ended up at The Palace. I absolutely loved it. Love it so much more than making movies.”
During her run at the famed Palace Theatre on Broadway, MacLaine took a film role opposite Anne Bancroft and Mikhail Baryshnikov in The Turning Point.
“I guess you could say that was one of my first, second, third or fourth comebacks. I can’t remember which,” MacLaine says. She received a fifth Oscar nomination, but again didn’t win.
“Terms was my part,” MacLaine says. “You know everybody in town, literally every studio, turned that picture down twice. I think they said it’s not a comedy or a drama. Something like, ‘Oh, you can’t have the daughter die.’”
In 1984, MacLaine finally won the Best Actress Oscar playing Aurora Greenway. Jack Nicholson, as her Terms love interest, won Best Supporting Actor.
“You know Burt Reynolds was supposed to play the Nicholson part. But he wouldn’t take off his toupee and he wouldn’t put on any weight. He wanted to keep exercising so he looked thin. It was a vanity question,” MacLaine says. “Isn’t that interesting?”
Recently, MacLaine is internationally recognized as Martha Levinson, Elizabeth McGovern’s TV mother in Downton Abbey.
“Downton Abbey is such a hit among discerning people, people who don’t remember what I did in the old days. They want to know what did she do? What is her resume?,” MacLaine says. “I think that show is basically being catered to, with the expert help of [creator] Julian Fellowes, to the Internet generation -- which is we can do 17 characters, but we only have to spend 15 seconds with each one.”
MacLaine’s newest theatrical film, Elsa & Fred co-starring Christopher Plummer, will be shown Friday night at the Miami film festival. The Olympia Theater screening is sold out.
“It’s a love story about older people. I am very interested in the fact that you can awaken that spark of trusting someone, being in love with someone when the guy is 80 and she is middle 70s,” she says.
Will younger audiences find Elsa & Fred appealing? “I don’t know,” says MacLaine, who turns 80 on April 24. “But it certainly was to me.”
BY STEVE ROTHAUS AND LUISA YANEZ
Hundreds of moviegoers Tuesday night crowded into the Colony Theatre on Miami Beach for the premiere of a documentary chronicling a pivotal moment in the rise of gay activism in Miami-Dade.
“The Day It Snowed in Miami,” a film by Joe Cardona in association with the Miami Herald and WPBT2, chronicles the 1977 human rights ordinance battle.
The film is an 86-minute trip down memory lane of a turbulent time in Miami-Dade, just before the AIDS epidemic, when gay rights activists and conservative singer Anita Bryant tangled over the passage of the human rights ordinance, which prevented discrimination based on sexual orientation.
For those who missed the premiere, the documentary will be shown at 8 p.m. on Thursday on WPBT2.
March 05, 2014 in AIDS and Health, Arts, Bisexual, Business, Current Affairs, Florida, Fort Lauderdale & Broward County, Gay, Lesbian, LGBT, Marriage, Media, Miami & Miami-Dade County, Miami Beach, Palm Beach County, Politics, Religion, South Florida, Television, Transgender, Weblogs, Wilton Manors, Workplace, Youth | Permalink | Comments (0)
This is it! Last call to buy tickets for the 10 p.m. screening of The Day It Snowed In Miami: A Chronology of the LGBT-Rights Movement, our new documentary presented by Miami Herald Media Company and WPBT2.
The Day It Snowed In Miami by filmmaker Joe Cardona focuses on the early days during the Anita Bryant campaign in Miami-Dade County.
Film tickets are $10 and may be purchased online at www.colonytheatremiamibeach.com or call 305-434-7091. (An earlier screening on Tuesday is sold out.)
After the screenings, bring your ticket stub to Hotel Gaythering, 1409 Lincoln Rd., for a complementary cocktail.
March 04, 2014 in Arts, Bisexual, Business, Current Affairs, Film, Florida, Food and Drink, Fort Lauderdale & Broward County, Gay, Lesbian, LGBT, Media, Miami & Miami-Dade County, Miami Beach, Politics, Religion, South Florida, Transgender, Weblogs, Wilton Manors, Workplace, Youth | Permalink | Comments (0)
News release from Miami Beach Gay Pride:
For the sixth annual installment of Miami Beach Gay Pride, the honor of Grand Marshal has been bestowed upon two extraordinary members of the entertainment industry. After selling 100 million albums worldwide, singer-songwriter, actress and entrepreneur Gloria Estefan will be joined by the acclaimed American film and television producer, director and choreographer Kenny Ortega, announced Joel Stedman, Chairman of the Pride Board. The Miami Beach Gay Pride parade and festival will take place Sunday, April 13, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. along Ocean Drive between 5th and 15th Streets.
Estefan will lead the parade by riding in a vintage Rolls Royce convertible waving to an anticipated 80,000 fans and supporters who are expected at this year’s parade and festival. The seven-time Grammy Award winner and most successful crossover performer in Latin music history to date is expected to gather a record number of revelers along legendary Ocean Drive, given her local credentials, undeniable charisma and international celebrity.
“There is nothing more Miami than Gloria. She is an intrinsic part of this city’s cultural identity,” said Stedman. “Not only is she one of the most beloved and successful symbols of the vibrant and diverse South Florida community, but also she has proven to be committed to several charitable initiatives as well as a champion for the LGBT community.”
Joining Estefan as a Grand Marshal will be Ortega, the renowned artist who has choreographed Madonna, Elton John and Rod Stewart. One of the first entertainment personalities in America to “come out,” Ortega has been the recipient of three Emmy Awards and a Director’s Guild of America Award among countless other accolades. Ortega was Michael Jackson’s director and creative partner for both the “Dangerous” and “HIStory” World Tours and also directed the King of Pop’s post-mortem documentary “Michael Jackson’s This is It.”
“We are thrilled to acknowledge Kenny's unforgettable moments of joy and sheer entertainment he has provided throughout his career” said Stedman. “Numerous generations were influenced by Kenny whether by his Cher choreographies, his collaboration with Gene Kelly for “Xanadu”, his memorable “Dirty Dancing” moves or his involvement in Disney’s “High School Musical” movies, there is no age range left uninspired by his work.”
Since its inception six years ago, Miami Beach Gay Pride has grown from a neighborhood event to an event on the global stage with A-list performers. Attendance has grown as well. An estimated 15,000 spectators turned out for the first Pride parade in 2009 and an estimated 80,000 attended the 2013 event which attracted not only South Floridians, but also visitors from throughout the world. In addition to Parade spectators, last April’s event included 66 parade entries and 1,200 participants. The Pride Festival which followed featured 125 LGBT-friendly vendors and businesses, plus refreshments, two stages of entertainment, a family-friendly play area and fireworks.
The mission of Miami Beach Gay Pride is to bring together members and allies of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in celebration of the unique spirit and culture of the LGBT community. The all-volunteer Pride board produces safe, quality, mass-appeal events that are open to the entire community, including the Parade, Festival and allied Miami Beach Gay Pride sanctioned events. Miami Beach Gay Pride is produced with the support of the Miami Beach Visitors and Convention Authority. For more information, visit www.miamibeachgaypride.com.