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Bar Brawl

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$750K Judgment in Yearlong Case

WILTON MANORS — After a ruling this fall by Broward County Circuit Court Judge Mark Gold, a Consent Final Judgment has been issued requiring the payment of $750,000 damages by Matty’s on the Drive to plaintiffs Jackson Padgett and Mark Negrete, the owners of Georgie’s Alibi.

The case made headlines this fall as part of the backdrop from other legal actions between Padgett and Negrete and Terry Norman and George Kessinger, the former owners of the Alibi, and one of whom, Norman,  is a principal in Matty’s, which opened in 2008 at the north end of Wilton Drive.

In February, another judge ruled that Norman and Kessinger and Norman had made knowing fraudulent misrepresentations of material facts in their sale of the Alibi to Padgett and Negrete, which entitled them to $255,000 in damages.

In his ruling, Judge Gold found that Norman, who is listed as an officer of Matty’s on the Drive’s operating entity (NAG Bar, LLC), violated a non-compete agreement he had with Padgett and Negrete when he entered into a business relationship with Matty’s.

According to the judgment, the $750,000 judgment against Matty’s and Norman resulted from “intentional, malicious, and wilful acts” to harm the plaintiffs. It also says that Norman and Matty’s agreed to the terms of the judgment’s settlement.

Miami Beach in Finals to Host 2017 worldOutgames

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MIAMI BEACH—The Gay and Lesbian International Sport Association (GLISA) last week announced its shortlist of bidders for the fourth edition of worldOutgames, with Miami Beach and Reykjavík, Iceland have been named the finalists to host the worldOutgames in 2017.

Daniel Vaudrin, Co-President of GLISA, which serves as the governing body of the worldOutgames, told reporters, “We have two amazing cities for our members to choose between at our selection meeting in Antwerp in February 2013. Both cities are very different from each other and each is equally exciting in its own way.”

Denver, Rio de Janeiro, and Rome were also considered. Officials say that a site inspection team will visit both cities to prepare a report for GLISA to review before making the final selection in February.

Barney Frank: A Gay Lion, in Winter

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In January, U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) closes a distinguished legislative career that began at the dawn of the modern gay rights movement. Frank, who chaired the House Financial Services Committee until last year, was the first Member of Congress to come out (in 1987), and is considered America’s most prominent LGBT elected official.

Elected to the House in 1980 (with 52 percent of votes cast), he witnessed firsthand the nation’s long march to LGBT rights, culminating personally for him this summer with his marriage to his longtime partner, James Ready.

The distinguished gentleman from Massachusetts was in Greater Fort Lauderdale last month to attend this year’s “Stonewall Stars: Turning the Tide,” which was held on November 17 at The Manor Restaurant and Complex in Wilton Manors. The event was hosted by the Stonewall National Museum and Archives (SNMA) to celebrate the achievements of local and national individuals who further the cause of LGBT rights.

He spoke with the Florida Agenda in an exclusive interview just minutes prior to his historic South Florida appearance.

Where has your life intersected with the gay rights movement?

My political career and the movement for LGBT equality are about the same age. [The] Stonewall [Riots] in 1969 really begins the modern movement for the rights of sexual minorities, and I got elected to the Massachusetts legislature three years later.

I got to participate in the second gay rights parade in the history of Boston.

I filed the first legislation for gay rights in Massachusetts because the gay rights groups that were just forming asked everyone who was running that year to sponsor the legislation, and I was the only one who said “yes.”

Is there someone in American politics to whom you would like to be favorably compared?

When you are asked to evaluate yourself, you are either humble in a way that isn’t credible, or arrogant in a way that isn’t attractive.

There is one I would like to be compared to: Thaddeus Stevens [is historically] underappreciated. [He was] a Republican Senator from Pennsylvania before the Civil War who was a fierce believer in the equality of the races. He worked hard to accomplish it. He was a very pragmatic fanatic. And that’s what I’ve tried to be.

Pragmatism is procedural. I believe it is important to take strong positions. What’s key is once you’ve taken the position, once you’ve arrived with your ideals, then you should be pragmatic about implementing them.

In 1989, the House Ethics Committee investigated Frank concerning allegations that he was aware of illegal activities committed by an ex-lover. Frank requested the investigation “in order to insure that the public record is clear,” with the committee finding no evidence of Frank’s involvement, and the House voting 408–18 to reprimand him.

Efforts to expel Frank from the House were led by U.S. Rep. Larry Craig, an Idaho Republican whose own historical notoriety was assured when he was arrested in 2007 for lewd conduct while soliciting gay sex in an airport men’s room.

Craig’s disgrace and fall from politics (he did not seek re-election in 2008) were depicted in the 2009 documentary “Outrage.” The June 7, 2010 issue of Newsweek listed Craig as one of several prominent conservative officials whose careers as promoters of anti-gay legislation were bookended with gay sex scandals.

How do you think history will remember Larry Craig?

I think as a hypocrite.

In 1995, House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX) referred to Frank as “Barney Fag” during a radio interview. Claiming it had been a slip of the tongue Armey tried to squash disclosure of the remark, and later attacked the news media for reporting it.

How will history recall Dick Armey?

As a very temporary phenomenon. He rose to power because the Republican Party won an election [the 1994 mid-terms] in which it didn’t have any real leaders available. He will go down, I think, as one of the most temporarily overrated people in American history.

Has President Obama’s re-election paved the way for a new political re-alignment?

The Democrats have a chance now to establish a very solid majority for two reasons: One of them is [demographics]. The other is that we are the party of government. We believe in the private sector, and the Republicans used to believe in government, too, before the “crazies” took over. The issue was, “Where is the line between the two?”

We’ve tended to want a bigger role for the government, the Republicans a bigger role for the private sector. What you have now is, we are poised I think to see people [thinking] better of government. In the first place, I think you’re going to see the economy do very well in the next four years.

I think the groundwork is laid for a successful Obama term by far. And out of that is going to become recognition on the part of the public that government does good things. Three years from now people are going to be very pleased with the [ObamaCare] health care bill. Three years from now, the financial reform bill will have been seen to be very good. The whole “issue” over LGBT rights is diminishing, and people are going to understand that we were right.

There’s one more thing I’m going to be pushing the President to do. We are now in a position, given the nature of the world, to reduce substantially our military expenditures. There is no need for us to be all over the world. That is a way for us to free up significant funds—$100 million a year—[and] we will still be a lot stronger than we need to be. We could free up $100 million a year, so that we could accomplish a lot of important things for the quality of life, through government, and still reduce deficit.

Create a “peace dividend?”

—And spend it in such a way that is [both] socially beneficial and politically beneficial.

Will you project yourself 10 years into the future—20 years, even—and tell me how you think the future of LGBT rights will look?

I believe 10 years from now we will have a national law banning discrimination in employment based on sexual orientation and gender identity. I believe people will be allowed to marry in most of the U.S., not all of it, [but] in 20 years I think all of it. And I think the fight for legal equality will have been essentially won if we keep it up.

The mistake generals have sometimes made at the point of victory is to relax. If we keep up the pressure, in 10 years we will have full legal equality.

Dream Globally, Buy Locally


“All politics is local.” Tip O’Neill

“You don’t sh** where you eat, and you definitely don’t sh** where I eat.” Tony Soprano

Welcome to the relaunch issue of the Florida Agenda. We hope you like and find value in the improvements we have made to both this journal and its sister publication, Guy Magazine. Thank you for your past and ongoing support, patronage, and honest criticisms, all of which have helped make this publication a community newspaper through and through.

Walking through the Gayborhood, you will notice the presence of small signs (perhaps too small) posted in retail and other windows enjoining you to spend your money locally this holiday season. It’s a worthy message, and one that Multimedia Platforms (the publisher of the Agenda and Guy) encourages you to put into practice as we close the remaining days of 2012—Mayan apocalypse predictions notwithstanding—prior to the end of Hanukkah (which runs through December 16), Kwanzaa (December 26 to January 1), and Christmas (you know this one).

In this modern age of convenience, there are plenty of options available to a savvy shopper, and as the economy remains tepid, it is natural and smart to be discriminating with your hard-earned dollars.

Last week, my partner and I attended the Wilton Manors Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony. As the musical ensemble on stage played their hearts out, our friend, Krishan Manners came up to us and said—perennially-impish grin in place, and without a hint of irony, “Welcome to small-town living.” And wouldn’t you know we were standing on the city’s main street, Wilton Drive.

That ideal—and idyll—of a community built upon a foundation that includes gay gentrification is precisely the “promise” of Greater Fort Lauderdale’s gay ghetto (or ‘village,’ if your sensibilities prefer) to so many people around the country and the world who dream of living, working, and playing in a spot just like this.

We do our parts by ensuring that this Gayborhood—a goose responsible for laying so many golden eggs—is properly nourished, fed, watered and cared for; in short, sustained through the economic power that makes LGBT consumers the envy of every demographic and the target of every brand and commodity.

A recent survey for Shop.org found that shoppers on Cyber Monday spent an average $194.46 online, which was more than the average person spent online over the (Thanksgiving) weekend just preceding it ($172.42).

Don’t misunderstand me: in my house, we love us some eBay (and Amazon), but imagine the economic—and quality of life—impact to our community if that $366.88 four-day spending average had been spent in the Shoppes of Wilton Manors, or at Strawberry Plaza (home of Matty’s on the Drive and other establishments), or in To The Moon Marketplace, Out of the Closet, The Outlet, Island City Eyecare, LeatherWerks, 4 Men Clothing, Tropics, Tropixxx, or any of dozens of other local merchants who create jobs and a tax base for our community, our city, and our county. It builds the foundation for more gay—and yes, even some not-so-gay—men and women to build their lives here in this place we call paradise and home.

In the 13 shopping days remaining until Christmas (and the eight left until my birthday), take a moment and consider how much of your remaining shopping—and spending—can be done with merchants and venues where that money is best likely to make a positive impact in your own back yard (and preferably those where, even if the owners or management aren’t precisely a “mom” or a “pop,” you can be pretty sure that they at least have one).

Taking your money out of the local economy sends a message that you don’t support local businesses and local jobs.

By spending here, with the people in your Gayborhood, you likewise display front and center your willingness to serve as a steward for the greater community, since shopping local means saving gas and wear and tear to your car—and the environment (putting the “green” back into the season, in a meaningful way).

In this case, size doesn’t matter: large purchases, small purchases, gift cards—the world’s best shopping district outside of Naples, Italy is to be found right here on our doorsteps.

During the holidays and at every time of the year, home is what we make of it.

Mormon Church Leaders Call for Openness with Gay Members


SALT LAKE CITY, UT — In a dramatic policy shift, leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS, or Mormon Church) has launched a new Website aimed at gay church members and those non-gay members who are interested in a more meaningful discussion about homosexuals within the church.

Leaders were quick to clarify that their shift towards a compassionate conversation does not alter church teachings about the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman, but the site—“Love One Another: A Discussion on Same-Sex Attraction”—calls for “love” and openness in facing the challenges of being gay and LDS.

“Reconciling same-sex attraction with a religious life can present an especially trying dilemma,” the site’s presentation states, in an appeal to keep gay members within the fold. “Anyone who lives in both worlds can attest to its difficulty. But with faith, love and perspective, it can be done.”

“Same-sex attraction itself is not a sin, but yielding to it is,” the site explains. “However, through repentance Jesus Christ will offer forgiveness.”

The presentation notes that gay Mormons who are not engaged in same-sex relationships can enjoy “full fellowship in the church.” It added that LDS authorities will stop “advis[ing]” gay members to “marry those of the opposite sex.”

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