Island City Honors “Ed Lugo Day”
WILTON MANORS, FL– On Monday, Feb. 20, Mayor Gary Resnick presented local businessman and resort owner Ed Lugo with an official proclamation to commemorate “Ed Lugo Day” in the Island City. The proclamation and designation honored Lugo’s contributions to the economic development and success of the city, and cited Lugo and his Ed Lugo Resorts “for its most deserving award as a Top 5 winner in the Best Service category by Trip Advisors in its 2012 Travelers’ Choice Awards.” The proclamation also noted that “Ed Lugo Resort is a cherished business and provides a perfect example of the success our business community constantly strives for in our community.”
Multimedia Platforms, LLC Plans Changes to Publications, Web Content
WILTON?MANORS, FL – In an announcement this week, Multimedia Platforms (MMP), LLC, publisher of the Florida Agenda newspaper and MARK magazine, reported that it has sold its interest in Markslist Media, LLC, the owner of Jumponmarkslist.com. This sale, effective last week, will result in the launch of a new men’s entertainment magazine in addition to a new, state-of-the-art website.
Bobby Blair, publisher and managing partner of Multimedia Platforms, called the upcoming launch “the most innovative in LGBT media industry.”
“We have spent the last six months in the creation and investment of this new web platform and look forward to making it available to you on March 8,” Blair said. “It is our goal to provide all of our online friends with a fun and exciting social media experience…I think you will be quite impressed,” he added.
MMP will continue to publish the Florida Agenda as well as the new men’s entertainment magazine, which will have a new name and look, in addition to the new web platform and the extant FloridaAgenda.com. The launch party for the new brands will take place on Thursday, March 8, at The Manor Restaurant and Entertainment Complex in Wilton Manors, to coincide with PrideFest weekend.
Turnabout: Orange County Mayor Will Support Domestic Partner Registry
ORLANDO, FL – After weeks of often-public reflection, Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs has announced her decision to support creation of a domestic-partner registry which would benefit all residents of the county, which includes some of the nation’s most popular tourist destinations. Approval by county commissioners would result in a county-wide system that mirrors one already established by the jurisdiction’s largest city, Orlando. That city approved a domestic partner registry last year that offers visitation rights to LGBT couples who are not legally permitted to marry in Florida. It also extends rights to other unmarried couples in such institutions as hospitals and corrections facilities, as well as end-of-life decision- making options in medical centers and funeral homes.
In adding these rights, Orange County would join the ranks of Florida metro areas including Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties. Jacobs, a Republican, told reporters that she would like to offer a parallel option for couples who do not cohabitate. The first-term mayor presented her proposal this week to Orange County commissioners, a majority of whom have expressed support for a system similar to the one in effect in Orlando. Jacobs would like to expand the existing Orlando registry to accommodate any county resident. Same-sex couples say the registry is needed because they are often barred from seeing their partners during medical emergencies because state law doesn’t recognize them as family. Gay people are sometimes unable to make medical or funeral decisions for the same reason.
Jacobs’ supporters say her initial hesitancy had less to do with opposing the registry than with concerns about conflicts with state laws. Some of these concerns included forcing private and religious schools to honor the registry, as well as funeral home ordinances which require mortuaries to consult with next-of-kin relatives in disputes concerning cremation requests, irrespective of the rights of a potential domestic partner. In spite of these concerns, Jacobs said optimistically, “I don’t see any deal killer here.” Jacobs said that, barring unforeseen circumstances, all Orange County residents will be eligible for the list by late spring or early summer. She acknowledged the rollercoaster ride—psychological as well as political—which has surrounded the public debate over the registry. “Maybe there’s no right way to deal with issues that are both complicated and emotional,” Jacobs offered.
Gay Combat Vet. Dan Choi Joins ‘Occupy’
WILMINGTON, DE – Former Iraq War veteran Dan Choi, whose coming-out pronouncement helped end the Pentagon’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, attended an “Occupy Delaware” event this week, praising the movement’s members and offering a poem of his own composition to encourage protesters to continue their fight for inclusiveness.
Addressing participants at the “Tent-Raising and Rally” on Saturday, Choi, a former U.S. Army lieutenant who was discharged after he announced he is gay, said: “On this very special day, I wrote a poem–about tents. So, this is an ode
to our tent.”
He then read to the approximately 100 people assembled: “Tents usually keep heat inside. But our fire has spread all around this country. A tent is usually a place where we can hide. But what we are doing in these tents is exposing the reality of our country and our economy.”
Jury Selection Begins in NJ Webcam Suicide Case
NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – Jury selection began this week in the trial of a former Rutgers University student who is charged with employing a webcam to spy on his gay room-mate’s intimate encounter with another man could reveal some heretofore unknown facts, including the name of the unidentified man in the video. The roommate, Tyler Clementi, committed suicide in 2010, just days after the alleged spying occurred.
Dharun Ravi, the suspect, is not charged with the death of Clementi, 20. Instead, Ravi is charged with bias intimidation, a hate crime that is punishable by 10 years in prison. Ravi, 19, is also charged with invasion of privacy, as well as tampering with evidence and witness tampering. That doesn’t mean the suicide won’t be on the minds of jurors: trial Judge Glenn Berman told prospective jurors last week that Clementi had killed himself.
The other man depicted in the video—who has been publicly identified only as “M.B.”—may be brought to testify, which could become key to conviction or exoneration. Attorneys for both sides argued over publicly identifying “M.B,” with Judge Berman eventually ruling that lawyers for Ravi could, indeed, reveal his identity. Should the man testify, it is expected that his full name will be used.
The crime with which Ravi is charged occurred in September 2010, a few weeks after Clementi and Ravi, newly-assigned roommates, moved into their dorm room at Rutgers.
Clementi is alleged to have asked Ravi to leave their dorm room so that Clementi could have privacy when a friend of his stopped over to their room. Investigators say that Ravi used his computer’s webcam to spy on Clementi. Ravi posted a Twitter message: “Roommate asked for the room till midnight. I went into molly’s room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay [sic].”
Two nights later, authorities allege that Ravi attempted to do the same thing when Clementi asked him to stay away from the room. The next day, Clementi killed himself. He jumped from the George Washington Bridge, after writing a short Facebook status update: “Jumping off the gw bridge, sorry.”