2015 was a monumental year for Florida’s LGBT community. Thanks to the efforts of the ACLU of Florida and a handful of lesbian and gay couples and their attorneys, marriage equality took effect statewide in January 2015.
While PBCHRC’s involvement in the statewide marriage equality movement was limited to persuading the West Palm Beach City Commission and the Palm Beach County Commission to sign on to the briefs supporting the ACLU’s lawsuits, PBCHRC was making progress on other matters of importance to the LGBT community.
PBCHRC, in cooperation with the Palm Beach County Classroom Teachers Association, convinced the School District of Palm Beach County to eliminate the phrase “personal life style (including sexual orientation)” and replace it with the phrases “gender identity and/or gender expression” and “sexual orientation” in the Discrimination and Harassment provision in the School District’s collective bargaining agreement with the teachers’ union.
The Wellington Village Council unanimously voted to enact an LGBT-inclusive Civil Rights Ordinance.
The Town of Haverhill adopted an LGBT-inclusive resolution supporting freedom from discrimination for all individuals.
The West Palm Beach City Commission voted to vastly expand the definition of “public accommodations” in the West Palm Beach Equal Opportunity Ordinance.
Florida Atlantic University amended Regulation 5.010, Anti-discrimination and Anti-harassment, to include “gender identity and expression.”
The Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners unanimously voted to vastly expand the definition of “places of public accommodation” in the Palm Beach County Ordinance for Equal Opportunity to Housing and Places of Public Accommodation.
The Town of Lake Clarke Shores unanimously adopted an LGBT-inclusive resolution supporting freedom from discrimination for all individuals.
The Delray Beach City Commission unanimously voted to enact an LGBT-inclusive Civil Rights Ordinance.
The Greenacres City Council unanimously voted to enact an LGBT-inclusive Civil Rights Ordinance.
The City of Riviera Beach amended its Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy to include both “sexual orientation” and “gender identity or expression.”
The Boynton Beach City Commission enacted an LGBT-inclusive Civil Rights Ordinance.
West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio placed a travel ban on city-funded trips to Indiana to protest that state’s enactment of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
The Farmworker Coordinating Council of Palm Beach County updated its nondiscrimination policy to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.
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.
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.”
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.
The Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners voted to sign on to all future marriage equality amicus briefs to be filed by the cities of Miami Beach and Orlando.
By a vote of 6-1, the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners voted to sign on to a marriage equality amicus
brief filed by the cities of Miami Beach and Orlando.
The West Palm Beach City Commission voted unanimously to sign on to all of the marriage equality amicus briefs filed — and to be filed — by the cities of Miami Beach and Orlando.
The Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners unanimously voted to implement a policy providing that the County will 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.
PBCHRC President 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. PBCHRC co-sponsored the conference.
The Town of Lake Park updated its Equal Employment Policy to prohibit discrimination based on “gender identity or expression.”
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.
On August 18, the West Palm Beach City Commission unanimously approved an equal benefits ordinance to require city contractors to provide the same family benefits to employees’ same-sex spouses and (both same- and opposite-sex) domestic partners as the contractors offer to employees’ legally recognized (i.e., opposite-sex) spouses.
Palm Beach County Circuit Court Judge Diana Lewis named Jason Simpson personal representative of his late husband’s estate. Although Judge Lewis was the fourth Florida Judge to rule that Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, she was the first to recognize an out-of-state same-sex marriage.
The City of Boynton Beach amended its personnel policies to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and expression.
The City of Boynton Beach extended the full range of domestic partnership benefits to its municipal employees.
PBCHRC President and Founder Rand Hoch and PBCHRC Treasurer Dan Hall attended the LGBT Pride Month Reception at the White House with the President and First Lady.
Palm Beach County School Superintendent E. Wayne Gent implemented an initiative placing gender studies contacts in every school to provide support for LGBT students.
PBCHRC President and Founder Rand Hoch addressed the American Bar Association conference on diversity issues.
Palm Beach Gardens residents Sloan Grimsley and Joyce Albu, along with seven other Florida same-sex married couples, sued the state in federal court for recognition of their out-of-state marriages. Legal representation was provided by the ACLU of Florida.
The Lake Worth City Commission voted unanimously to establish a domestic partnership registry.
The Clerk & Comptroller for Palm Beach County 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.