August 14, 2014

‘Legal Handbook for LGBT Floridians and Families’ released by Equality Florida, law firm Carlton Fields

News release from Equality Florida:

legal handbookEquality Florida Institute is providing an electronic version of the Legal Handbook for LGBT Floridians and Their Families free of charge on their website.  Recently updated, the 76-page resource was a pro bono project of the law firm Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, in cooperation with Equality Florida Institute.

This third edition of the Handbook is full of helpful information and pointers on the very best ways lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Floridians can legally protect themselves and their families.   Because this information is so important to protecting Florida’s families, Equality Florida Institute is making it available for download at

Included is critical information about the importance of long-term planning related to health, family and financial considerations, and why taking steps to protect one’s family is so critical, especially for LGBT Floridians.  Many legal issues are addressed, including the implications of the Windsor decision, the current state of LGBT adoption, elder law, hate crimes, domestic partnership registries and what legal protections exist under Florida law.

“Discriminatory laws and the lack of legal protections impose hardships and complicate ordinary life for LGBT Floridians," said Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida. "This vital resource is important for LGBT Floridians to understand how to protect themselves and their loved ones under the laws that currently exist.”

“In the fast-changing legal landscape, we are proud to partner with Equality Florida as they work to secure full legal equality for Florida’s LGBT community and their families,” said Nancy Faggianelli, Chief Diversity Officer of Carlton Fields Jorden Burt.

Since the handbook discusses laws and policies that may change often, particularly with regards to LGBT rights, individuals are encouraged to verify specific information with legal counsel.

August 13, 2014

Liza Minnelli on Lauren Bacall: ‘We all loved her, as she was one of a kind. I’ll miss her very much.’

"She was a great friend to my family and especially to me. We all loved her, as she was one of a kind. I'll miss her very much." -- Liza Minnelli on Lauren Bacall's passing.

Minnelli grew up knowing Bacall and her husband, Humphrey Bogart. The Bogarts were Beverly Hills neighbors of Minnelli’s mother, Judy Garland.

Garland, Bogart and Bacall were among Hollywood’s original Rat Pack members.

In addition, Liza’s father, Vincente Minnelli, directed Bacall in the films Designing Woman (1957) and The Cobweb (1955).

Gay couples in Virginia could marry within days unless U.S. Supreme Court intervenes


logoRICHMOND, Va. -- A federal appeals court has denied a request to delay its ruling striking down Virginia's same-sex marriage ban.

A panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond on Wednesday denied the request by a county court clerk in northern Virginia to stay the decision while it is appealed to the Supreme Court.

That means that without intervention from the U.S. Supreme Court, same-sex couples could begin marrying and have their out-of-state marriages recognized by next Wednesday.

Late last month, the court ruled that Virginia's gay marriage ban approved by voters in 2006 is unconstitutional.

Representatives for the defendants didn't immediately comment.

Click here for updates.

ABC exclusive video: Barbra Streisand's ‘Partners’ duet with Michael Bublé, ‘It Had to Be You’

Watch more news videos | Latest from the US

partnersBarbra Streisand and Michael Bublé collaborate on It Had to Be You.

From Streisand’s upcoming duets album, Partners.

August 12, 2014

Movie star Lauren Bacall dies at 89; read 2012 interview with her son, Stephen Bogart

Lauren Bacall, one of the great movie stars of the 1940s and '50s, and widow of screen legend Humphrey Bogart died Tuesday at her home in New York City. She was 89.

Click here to read Bacall's obituary

Two years ago, I interviewed her son, Stephen Bogart, now of Naples, Fl.

He reminisced about his parents on the 70th anniversary of Bogart's classic, Casablanca.

Here's the article from March 2012:



On 70th anniversary of 'Casablanca,' son Stephen Bogart recalls great romance of Bogie and Bacall


Time’s gone by: Casablanca, one of the world’s best-loved films is 70, Humphrey Bogart has been dead more than a half-century and his young widow, movie star Lauren Bacall, is now 87.

“It was one of the greatest romances of the 20th century,” said their son Stephen Bogart, now 63 and selling real estate in Naples, Fla. “He died so young. But they found each other and many people don’t.”

Bogie married Bacall in 1945, three years after he starred opposite Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca, which will screen Wednesday night in movie theaters nationally and be re-issued March 27 in a special edition Blu-ray/DVD combo set (Warner Home Video).

Bacall made her first film in 1944 starring opposite Bogart in To Have and Have Not.

Bogart was 25 years older than Bacall — 19 when they made the movie. “That would have gone over well today,” Stephen jokes.

But Bacall was more than a match for Bogart. “She was an old soul,” Stephen says. “They had just done To Have and Have Not. [Their romance] evolved that way because of what happened on the screen. He was the highest-paid actor of his time. No. 1. You saw him fall in love on the screen. It was Bogie and Bacall.”

The couple had stellar movie careers in the ‘40s and ‘50s. He starred in The Maltese Falcon (1941), The African Queen (1951), The Caine Mutiny and Sabrina (both 1954; she in Young Man With a Horn (1950), How to Marry a Millionaire (1953) and Designing Woman (1957). Together, they also made The Big Sleep (1946), Dark Passage (1947) and Key Largo (1948).

Stephen and his sister, Leslie, now 59, were youngsters when their father, 57, died of cancer in 1957.

Bacall, then 32, famously stood by her husband in his final days. “She was tough,” Stephen Bogart says. “She did take care of him. It was too bad it ended the way it did. It almost ruined her.”

She later fell in love with and married Oscar-winning actor Jason Robards. The couple had a son, Sam, now an actor and film director. Bacall and Robards were wed from 1961-69.

After their divorce, Bacall made a career comeback, this time on Broadway in two Tony-winning musical star vehicles: Applause (1970) and Woman of the Year (1981).

Stephen Bogart has three grown children, including son Richard, a University of Miami law student.

The son of Bogie and Bacall — whose gravelly voice is just like dad's — has mostly avoided show business. “I was in a play in high school,” Stephen Bogart says. “I wasn’t very good. I was not a good actor. It’s not easy to be good. I could have been a bad actor.”

Instead, he opted for a career in TV news, working at ESPN, NBC and Court TV.

Now, he co-manages Humphrey Bogart’s name and likeness. His father’s estate receives no residuals from the old films. “If we owned the rights to Casablanca, that would be lovely,” Stephen Bogart says.

Ex-GLAAD exec: 'In spite of living in closet, Shepard Smith has temerity to call Robin Williams a coward'

Fox News anchor Shepard Smith has apologized after suggesting Robin Williams was "a coward" for killing himself.

Posted to Facebook by Herndon Graddick, former president of GLAAD:

Married man's church funeral canceled after parishioners in Tampa learn he had a husband


Equality Florida tells the story of a Tampa man denied a church funeral after parishioners found out he was married to another man:

From Equality Florida Executive Director Nadine Smith:

T.W. Jenkins, pastor of Tampa’s New Hope Missionary Baptist Church is under fire after he canceled funeral services for Julion Evans-Capers, because parishioners read in his obituary that he was married to a man. The pastor called less than 24-hours before the funeral was to begin as the family attended the wake, literally standing next to Julion's coffin.  

Julion’s husband, Kendall Capers got in touch with the funeral home’s managers and requested space for a funeral the next day. But the ugliness of this church's actions have compounded the grief for Kendall who is still reeling from the shock.

"I haven't had a chance to grieve since I got the phone call." Kendall said.

Click here to read more at Equality Florida's website.

Israel OK's gay Jews to immigrate with non-Jewish spouses


JERUSALEM -- Israel says it will now allow Jews to immigrate to Israel with their non-Jewish same-sex spouses.

In a directive publicized Tuesday, Israeli Interior Minister Gideon Saar told immigration authorities not to differentiate between married gay and straight couples.

Israeli law grants citizenship to Jews and close non-Jewish relatives who move to Israel. In a few cases in recent years, Israel only naturalized non-Jewish same-sex spouses of Jews following threats of Supreme Court petitions, says Israeli immigration attorney Nicole Maor.

Israel does not permit gays to marry in the country, but recognizes same-sex marriages if they were performed legally abroad. It is generally tolerant toward gays.

Gays serve openly in Israel's military and parliament, and Israel's Supreme Court grants gays family rights including inheritance and survivors' benefits.

August 11, 2014

Video | President Barack Obama welcomes Gay Games participants to Cleveland

On YouTube:

President Barack Obama welcomes Gay Games 9 participants to the event, held in Cleveland and Akron. The President's video welcome was shared at GG9 Opening Ceremony at Quicken Loans Arena, in Cleveland, Ohio.

The games are underway through Saturday.

August 10, 2014

Elaine Lancaster to be honored Monday at Miss Florida Pageant, to host Score anniversary Aug. 16


Elaine Lancaster is having a very busy month.

Monday night, she will be honored with the Elaine Lancaster Stellar Award at the 37th annual female impersonators' Miss Florida Pageant, recognized for "two decades of charitable, social & philanthropic works and having a blast along the way."

The pageant begins 8 p.m. at the Deauville Beach Resort, 6701 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. Click here to buy tickets, which range from $50 to $100 each.

scoreOn Saturday, Aug. 16, Elaine will host the 16th anniversary Score, this year at its new location, 1437 Washington Ave., Miami Beach.

Elaine says she hosted Score's original opening on Lincoln Road, "16 years when she was "the New Fresh Face in town."

On Aug. 22 at 10 p.m., she'll celebrate her birthday (Aug. 27) at Score.

And on Aug. 29, The Forge at 432 W. 41st St., Miami Beach, will throw a "Veuve Clicquot Champagne Fete fit for a Queen," Elaine says.