Category: News / Politics

Palm Beach County Strengthens Civil Rights Protections

(GayWebSource.com) (West Palm Beach, Florida) –  At this morning’s meeting, Palm Beach County Commissioners voted unanimously to expand civil rights protections for minorities by amending the definition of “places of public accommodation” in the Palm Beach County Ordinance for Equal Opportunity to Housing and Places of Public Accommodation.

“When I looked at the antidiscrimination ordinances that had been in effect in Palm Beach County over the years, it became clear that our law needed to be updated to better protect minorities,” said County Commissioner Mary Lou Berger. “In light of all that is happening with race relations across our nation, this is the appropriate time for the County Commission to take a strong, proactive stand against discrimination.”

While a majority of states have long prohibited discrimination of any kind in retail establishments, Florida is not one of them.

“Since there is no statewide law covering discrimination in retail stores, the ordinance passed today is clearly the most significant civil rights law passed in Palm Beach County in decades,” said Rand Hoch, the retired judge who provided the County Attorney’s office with the language used in the ordinance.

Hoch is President and Founder of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council (PBCHRC), the County’s most prolific civil rights organization. Over the past twenty-five years, PBCHRC has succeeded in having public officials enact more than 90 local antidiscrimination laws and policies.

Palm Beach County first enacted an ordinance to prohibit discrimination in places of public accommodation in 1973.  Over the years, the ordinance has been rewritten to include discrimination based on race, sex, color, religion, national origin, disability, familial status, sexual orientation, age, marital status, and gender identity or expression.

However, for more than three decades, instances of public accommodation discrimination were strictly limited to only those which occurred in places offering lodging, food service or entertainment in the ordinance.

“The ordinance traced its roots back to civil rights laws written in the 1960s when it was legal to have ‘Whites only’ hotels, restaurants and bars and the County Commissioners only addressed inequities had occurred in very few places of commerce.” said Hoch. “As we know, discriminatory acts are not limited to those few places.”

“No one should be subjected to the humiliation of being denied service in a store open to the general public because of his or her race.” said County Commissioner Priscilla Taylor.

“Allowing store owners to choose their customers based on prejudice deprives shoppers of the freedom to walk into a store that seems to be open the general public and get served like everybody else,” said Hoch.

At today’s meeting, the County Commissioners widely expanded the definition of public accommodation to include retail stores, schools, day care and senior centers, medical offices, funeral homes, bakeries, laundromats and virtually all other places of business throughout the county.

“When the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council asked the County Commission to expand the definition of places of public accommodation last January, our main priority was to prohibit consumer racism in retail stores – a practice known as ‘shopping while Black,'” said Hoch.

The experience of people of color being refused service – or given poor service – is not uncommon.  “Shopping while Black” also includes black customers being followed by store clerks, wrongly detained, steered away from certain products, and being asked for additional forms of identification regarding credit applications.

President Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey,  Condoleezza Rice, and other well-know Black Americans have publically discussed their humiliating experiences of shopping while black.

“There are very few African American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store,” President Obama said after the 2012 shooting of Trayvon Martin. “That includes me.”

“Public accommodations must be open to all people equally. If you hang out a shingle and get a license to do business with the general public, you should be required to provide the same service to all of the general public – and that includes gays and lesbians.” said Hoch.

Since same-sex marriage has become legal, a handful of companies in the wedding industry in Colorado, Indiana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont and Washington have  refused to provide services gay and lesbian couples.

“Gay and lesbian couples planning their weddings are being refused service solely because of their sexual orientation,” said Hoch.  “Under the new Palm Beach County ordinance, if a bakery refuse to provide a cake for a gay or lesbian couple’s wedding, that baker may be faced with litigation, a fine of up to $50,000 and payment of attorneys’ fees.”

The new ordinance does take into account the special rights of churches and private clubs by exempting both religious and distinctly private organizations from the ordinance.

“Churches may be allowed to  exclude people of other faiths.  Private clubs may be allowed to continue to deny membership based on race and religion,” said Hoch. “However, in Palm Beach County, businesses engaged in commerce will no longer be allowed to refuse service based on a person’s race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or any other protected classes.”

 

1 Song for Equality and Peace by Craymo

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3JHZ23suKo">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3JHZ23suKo</a>
(GayWebSource.com) Orlando, FL 1/1/2017

Indie gay Orlando singer/songwriter Craymo releases an inspirational new music video for the re-release single of his reggae pop song One Love One World (We Are One). One Love One World is a heartfelt song promoting world peace, equality, love, tolerance, brotherhood and human rights.

With all of the recent incidents of terrorism, mass shootings and senseless killing of innocent people and children, Craymo wants to start 2016 with a message and vision of love for the world. The music video begins with children in Pang Liu Village in China who were taught English using One Love One World as a learning aid.

It is a thought provoking message of the power of a song to change people’s lives for the better. Craymo says “let’s all put our hands together to help make this world a better place for all of us.”

The music video is co-directed by Craymo along with Nathan McMahan of August Moon Productions. The Director of Photography is Brent Reynolds, also of August Moon Productions and was edited by Jason Barnes, all local central Florida film talents. One Love One World (We Are One) is co-written by Craig Stephen Raymo and Brandon Jarrett of Moho Productions. The song is produced by Brandon Jarrett.

One Love One World (We Are One) world premiere music video is released January 1, 2016 on YouTube and all social media.

One Love One World is from Craymo’s CD Cosmos available on iTunes

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/one-love-one-world/id580366397?i=580366635

and CDBaby.com

West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio places travel ban on city-funded trips to Mississippi

(GayWebSource.com – West Palm Beach, Florida) — In the wake of Mississippi’s enactment of HB 1523, West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio became the first mayor in Florida — and the second in the nation after Seattle Mayor Ed Murray — to place a travel ban on city-funded trips to Mississippi.

HB 1523, which was signed into law yesterday by Mississippi’s Republican Governor, Phil Bryant, allows people with religious objections to deny services to lesbian and gays and permits employers to use religious beliefs as justification in determining workplace policies.

“For more than two decades, West Palm Beach has been in the forefront, protecting the civil rights and ensuring equality for the LGBT community,” said Muoio. “Until the discriminatory laws in Mississippi and North Carolina are repealed, West Palm Beach taxpayers will not subsidize legally-sanctioned discrimination against LGBT people.”

On March 28, Muoio became the second mayor in the nation — after San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee – to impose a similar ban on travel to North Carolina following the enactment of another comprehensive anti-LGBT law in that state.

Mayor Muoio implemented the two travel bans at the request of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council (PBCHRC), a local civil rights organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.  Since 1990, PBCHRC has been responsible for the enactment of more than 100 local laws and policies which prohibit discrimination against the LGBT community.

“Once again, Mayor Muoio has taken steps to ensure that taxpayers dollars will not be spent in places that discriminate against LGBT Americans,” said retired judge Rand Hoch, PBCHRC President and Founder.  “We commend Mayor Muoio for putting her strong beliefs against bigotry into action by prohibiting taxpayer dollars being used in both Mississippi and North Carolina.”

Last year, Muoio was one of a handful of mayors who announced a similar travel ban to the state of Indiana, following the

wake of Indiana’s passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act,

As the result of pressure placed on Indiana by civic leaders, businesses, and numerous other entities, the Indiana Legislature promptly amended the Religious Freedom Restoration Act,by specifying that the law could not be used as a legal defense to discriminate against patrons based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Following Muoio’s announcement this morning, travel bans to Mississippi have been implemented by the governors of Minnesota, New York, Vermont and Washington as well as the mayors of.San Francisco and Seattle

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Media provided by GayWebSource.com – Gay Media and Press Network.

Indie Orlando LGBT Artist Craymo wins Best Song for Anti-Bullying Anthem in Worldwide Music Contest

Be Myself CD Single Cover

(GayWebSource.com) Orlando, FL 12/19/2017 Anti bullying song Be Myself
Indie Orlando singer/songwriter recently won Best Song for his anti-bullying dance pop anthem Be Myself in the 3rd edition of the original songwriting competition the Worldwide Music Contest out of over 1200 entries from songwriters all over the world. Be Myself is an inspirational electronic pop anthem about embracing your individuality. Craymo dedicates the song to anyone who has ever been bullied, teased or made fun of for being different.

Craymo is a LGBT artist and was bullied growing up for being gay and also for wearing glasses. Craymo says: “I grew up gay and was bullied and teased as a teenager and young adult and had to pretend that I was straight to keep from being bullied, verbally and physically. I wanted to give back and create a song about embracing your individuality, an empowering song about courage to possibly help those who may be going through the same things with their self-confidence. I want to let kids know that it is OK to be different, it’s OK to just be yourself, no matter what anyone else thinks.” Gary Root, reviewer for Skope Magazine summed it up: “Craymo makes musical magic with a message in this upbeat, dance party with passion and purpose. In music, breaking rules and challenging conventional wisdom are often deliberate efforts to establish a marketing niche, but for Craymo it probably feels more like natural state of mind and being.”

“Be Myself” serves up an inviting pop dance number geared to blending 1980’s pop like George Michael and some of today’s chart topping music like Olly Murs, Will Young, Ronan Keating, Robbie Williams and Maroon 5. Be Myself also won Best Pop/Rock Song in the August 2015 Akademia Music Awards and was a finalist for Best Pop Song in the 2016 Indie Music Channel Awards and finalist for Best Pop Song in the 2015 Hollywood Music In Media Awards. Be Myself also recently held the #2 position on the Euro Indie Music Chart.

Learn more about Craymo’s music and purchase Be Myself at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/craymo3

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ABOUT
Craymo is an inspirational singer/songwriter that writes and performs uplifting alternative pop songs about life and love. His single One Love One World (We Are One) promotes equality, diversity, human rights and world peace. The song is a featured download on the UNESCO website New Songs For Peace and has been performed by children at their schools all over the world. One Love One World was also used as a learning aid to help teach English to students in Pang Liu Village in China. Craymo has been an opening act for Smashmouth and appeared as a male vocalist on Star Search ’89 with Ed McMahon. His songs have been licensed in several TV shows including The Mysteries of Laura (NBC), Toddlers and Tiaras (TLC), Chris and John To The Rescue (Canada), The Orlando Citrus Parade (Synd) and many indie films including Lucky Dog,Culture Shock, Gabe The Cupid Dog, Miss Castaway and Paper Thin Immortals. Craymo’s song Moment won Best Alternative Recording in the 2016 Indie Music Channel Awards. Moment is a song that promotes suicide prevention awareness and he wrote the song after his first cousin took his own life with the hope that it might help prevent others from doing the same. The music video for Be Myself was directed by Stas Ivanov and is available on YouTube and Vevo.

SOCIAL MEDIA

http://www.facebook.com/Craymo.music

http://www.youtube.com/Craymo
http://www.instagram.com/Craymomusic

Indie gay artist Craymo releases upbeat anti-bullying anthem Be Myself

(Gaywebsource.com) Orlando, Florida (10/1/2014) – Indie singer/songwriter Craymo from Orlando, Florida releases his uplifting anti-bullying pop anthem Be Myself that gives you the courage to just be yourself no matter what anyone else thinks. Inspired by the sounds of Maroon 5, One Republic and Robbie Williams, Craymo gets the party started with an upbeat hand clapper that instantly puts you in a good mood and entices you into singing along!

Bullying is reaching epidemic numbers and awareness needs to be made to help young kids, teenagers and adults realize that words, taunting, ridiculing and physically harming another person is wrong and damaging to the person being bullied. Growing up gay Craymo was the victim of bullying many times in his young adult as well as his adult life. Being called names, being teased and being emotionally attacked eats away at the human psyche.

Research shows that half of all children are bullied at some time during their school years. More than 10% are bullied regularly. Over 30% of children with a food allergy have been bullied. Food allergies affect nearly three million children. Girls bully in groups more than boys do and though girls use more indirect emotional type of bullying, research indicates that girls are becoming more physical than they have in the past. There has been an alarming increase of children committing suicide as a result of bullying. Bullying occurs globally in schools everywhere, it’s not just a problem for the United States.

Obese children, people with learning disabilities, having health conditions, wearing glasses, physical disabilities, being gay, etc. are all targets for mean bullies. Gay teens are three times more likely than heterosexual teens to report being bullied. In contrast 80% of gay teens said they were less likely than heterosexuals to say they had bullied someone else. Every day over 160,00 skip school in fear that they will be bullied.

Craymo wanted to create a fun, inspirational and empowering song to embrace your individuality, there is no one else like you. You are unique, just Be Yourself.

Be Myself has been featured on the Independent Music Radio Network syndicated in over 35 countries and held for two weeks at #2 position on the Independent Mainstream Top 30 Chart. Be Myself is nominated for best Pop song 2014 Hollywood Music In Media Awards, September and has been selected for a featured spot on Al Walser’s Top 20 Countdown show syndicated globally. Be Myself was co-written by Craymo, Brandon Jarrett and Joshua Danyel of Moho Productions, LLC. The song was produced by Brandon Jarrett and Craymo for Moho Productions, LLC. Craymo is available for personal appearances, live performances and TV and Radio interviews.

Be Myself is available for purchase on Craymo’s website www.craymo.com CDBaby.com, iTunes and most digital download sites. The song is available for branding and licensing opportunities.

Be Myself by Craymo http://www.reverbnation.com/craymo/song/21203861-be-myself

Contact: Craig Raymo, Director of Publishing, Moho Music, ASCAP mohoprods@yahoo.com
Gaywebsource.com-Gay news & Press Network

West Palm Beach to Vote on Equal Benefits Ordinance

West Palm Beach, Florida (GayWebSource.com) — The City of West Palm Beach is poised to become the first public employer in the county to enact an equal benefits ordinance (EBO) requiring contractors to offer equal family benefits to all of their employees.

The ordinance is being considered at the request of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, a local non-profit organization which has successfully encouraged numerous local public employers to enact more than 75 laws and policies providing equal benefits for employees in nontraditional families.

“It is all about equal pay for equal work,” said Rand Hoch, President and Founder of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council.

The proposed ordinance is limited to city contracts of $50,000 or more, entered into by contractors with five or more employees. To comply with the proposed ordinance, a contractor offering health insurance and other family benefits to employees’ legally recognized spouses must offer the same benefits to employees’ same-sex spouses and domestic partners.

The law would not require city contractors to begin offering benefits not previously offered. If a contractor does not offer benefits to opposite-sex married employees, it is not required to offer benefits to employees in same-sex marriages or domestic partnerships.

“West Palm Beach has been in the forefront of equal benefits issues in Florida since 1992,” said Hoch. “The EBO paves the way to ensure that contractors embrace the same pro-family policies which the City of West Palm Beach has implemented over the years.”

“Requiring contractors to provide to employees with same-sex spouses and domestic partners benefits equal to those provided to employees whose marriages are recognized by the state of Florida will require contractors to maintain a competitive advantage in recruiting and retaining the highest quality work force, thereby improving the quality of goods and services that the city receives,” said Mayor Jeri Muoio.
Since the first equal benefit ordinances was enacted in 1996, numerous public employers across the nation have followed suit, including the state of California. In Florida, six public employers – Broward County, Hallandale Beach, Key West, Miami Beach, Oakland Park and Key West — have enacted equal benefits ordinances.

Media provided by GayWebSource.com – Gay Media and Press Network.

 

Boynton Beach to Consider Domestic Partnership Benefits

Boynton Beach, Florida (GayWebSource.com) At the request of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, the Boynton Beach City Commission will soon address offering employees with domestic partners or same-sex spouses the same family benefits currently offered to municipal employees whose marriages are recognized by the state of Florida.

For more than two decades, the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council has been successful in its campaigns to encourage local public employers to offer equal benefits to employees with nontraditional families.

Earlier this month, the Council sent a comprehensive report on Workplace Equality to the Mayor and City Commissioners and asked them to “adopt policies providing City employees with domestic partners the same family benefits as are provided to employees with spouses, including medical insurance, dental insurance, COBRA and health insurance continuation coverage, life insurance, accidental death and dismemberment insurance, family sick leave, bereavement leave, family-medical leave, the employee assistance plan and as any other family benefits offered by the City.”

The Council also met with Julie Oldbury, the City’s Director of Human Resources and Risk Management.  Prior to coming to work for Boynton Beach, she Ms. Oldbury directed the implementation of similar benefits for the City of Oakland Park.

“Despite recent court decisions in Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties, Florida still does not recognize same-sex marriages, ” said Rand Hoch,  President and Founder of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council.  “Additionally, opposite-sex couples may remain unmarried to allow their children to receive child support from a prior marriage.  These families which should be accorded equal treatment and benefits by the City of Boynton Beach.”

According to U.S. Census data, more than 5,200 Boynton Beach residents identify themselves as unmarried partners living together.

“Boynton Beach is a progressive city whose elected officials should fully recognize diverse familial relationships,” said Allan Hendricks, an LGBT rights advocate who ran for City Council in the last election.  “One way to ensure that all residents are treated fairly is to provide all city employees identical family benefits.”

“Since Boynton Beach does not pay any portion of the insurance premium for employees’ dependents, these benefits will only require a minimal impact on the City’s budget,” said Hoch.

With open enrollment for employee health insurance just a few months away, time is of the essence.

The Council hopes that at next week’s city commission meeting, city leaders will take a pro-family stance by directing staff to determine how to implement these benefits.

As a result of the efforts of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, domestic partnership benefits are currently offered by the municipalities of  Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Jupiter, Lake Worth, Palm Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, Wellington and West Palm Beach, as well as by Palm Beach County, the Palm Beach County School District, the Port of Palm Beach, the Palm Beach County Health Care District, Palm Beach State College, Florida Atlantic University, the Children’s Services Council, Palm Tran, Seacoast Utility Authority,  the Solid Waste Authority and all five of Palm Beach County’s constitutional officers.

More than seventy-five public employers across Florida now provide domestic partnership benefits to their employees.

Media provided by GayWebSource.com – Gay Media and Press Network.

Florida’s First Openly-Gay Judge Predicts Marriage Equality Will Be Legal by 2016

The rally drew a crowd of over 100 people carrying signs and calling for Florida’s legislature to legalize gay marriage in Florida.

“As a lawyer who closely follows this issue in federal courts across America,” Hoch said during his speech, “I feel comfortable in predicting that before the end of June, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court will strike down all laws across the nation which prevent lesbians and gay men from marrying their partners.”

Hoch, who practices law and mediates employment disputes, became Florida’s first openly gay judge when he was appointed Judge of Compensation Claims in 1992 by then-Governor Lawton Chiles. He served until his term ended in 1996.

In 1988, Hoch founded the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, and has served as the group’s president since 2006.

During his speech, Hoch also praised Palm Beach County citizens’ pro marriage-equality stance.
“More than a quarter of a million people in Palm Beach County voted against enshrining anti-LGBT discrimination in our state constitution,” he said. “Locally we had the votes to kill the marriage ban.”

The rally offered poster boards for gay married couples to make signs showing where they got married and how much they ended up spending for their out-of-state weddings.

In his speech at the top of the City Hall steps, Hoch called a reversal of Florida’s ban on gay marriage “inevitable.”

“Sooner or later, the courts here in Florida will declare that the ban against lesbian and gay marriages is unconstitutional, as the ban violates both the equal protection clause and the due process clause of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution.”

The full text of Judge Hoch’s comments

Thank you Commissioner Amarso for putting together this afternoon’s rally.  And thank you Mayor Triolo and all of the Lake Worth City Commissioners for your support.

Back in 2008, Floridians voted overwhelmingly to prohibit lesbians and gay men from marrying our partners.  It was truly a sad day for our community.

But consider this.  If Palm Beach County was an independent state, things would be different.

Thanks in great part to your efforts, more than a quarter of a million people in Palm Beach County voted against enshrining anti-LGBT discrimination in our state constitution.  Locally we had the votes to kill the marriage ban.

However, since we have not (yet) seceded from Florida, lesbians and gay men in Palm Beach County – and throughout Florida – are prohibited from marrying our partners.

And unless 60% of Florida voters come out and vote to repeal the ban, we are stuck with marriage inequality.   That’s the bad news.

The good news is, the United States Supreme Court has described marriage as a fundamental right fourteen times since 1888.

Therefore, it is inevitable that, sooner or later, the courts here in Florida will declare that the ban against lesbian and gay marriages is unconstitutional, as the ban violates both the equal protection clause and the due process clause of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

As a lawyer who closely follows this issue in federal courts across America, I feel comfortable in predicting that before the end of June, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court will strike down all laws across the nation which prevent lesbians and gay men from marrying their partners.

While Floridians might have to wait for that Supreme Court ruling, it is also possible that that marriage equality may come to our state sooner.

Here in Florida, there are two lawsuits working their way through the court systems.  The National Center for Lesbian Rights and Equality Florida have filed suit in state court, which, if successful, would allow gay men and lesbians to marry their partners in Miami-Dade County.

Additionally, the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida and the SAVE Dade Foundation have filed suit in federal court to force Florida to recognize those out-of-state, same-sex marriages which are recognized by the federal government.

We are honored that Palm Beach Gardens Firefighter/Paramedic Sloan Grimsley and her wife, child developmental care consultant Joyce Albu, are the lead plaintiffs in this  lawsuit.

Across the nation, the Attorneys General in seven states – Oregon, Nevada, Virginia, Pennsylvania, California, Illinois and Kentucky – have refused to defend lawsuits addressing their states’ bans on marriage equality.

The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council is asking you to contact Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and ask her to join these seven attorneys general and refuse to waste taxpayers dollars defending Florida’s marriage ban in federal court.

Thank you.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Biography of Judge Rand Hoch (retired)

Rand Hoch founded the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council in 1988 and served as the organization’s President until 1992. During that time, the Council was successful in having Palm Beach County extend protected status to gay men, lesbians and bisexuals in housing, public accommodation and county employment and in having the City of West Palm Beach extend basic domestic partnership benefits to City employees.

Rand served as Chairman Pro Tempore of the West Palm Beach Employment Practices Review Committee as a member of the Palm Beach County Ethics Advisory Committee and on the Boards of Directors of National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the Florida Consumer Federation, the Florida (Gay) Task Force, the Atlantic Coast Democratic Club, and the Palm Beach/Martin Counties Chapter of the ACLU.

Rand has also served as Chair and Vice-Chair of the Palm Beach County Democratic Executive Committee and as an Executive Committee Member of Gay and Lesbian Democrats of America. He has been a member of the Florida delegation to the Democratic National Conventions three times) and has attended thirteen Florida Democratic Party state conventions.

In 1992 Rand became Florida’s first openly gay judge when he was appointed Judge of Compensation Claims by Governor Lawton Chiles. During his judicial tenure, Rand served as President on Florida’s Conference of Judges of Compensation Claims, as Vice President of the International Association of Lesbian and Gay Judges, as a member of the Volusia County Elections Advisory Board and as a member of the Editorial Boards of The Florida Bar News and The Florida Bar Journal.

When his term ended in 1996, Rand returned to his law and mediation practice in West Palm Beach.  Since then Rand has served on the Board of Directors of Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, COMPASS (Palm Beach County’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community center), the ACLU of Florida and the Florida Academy of Professional Mediators. Rand has also served on the Board of Trustees of Florida Stage (as Vice Chair and Secretary) and  on the National Board of Accredited Mediators of the American Mediation Association.  He has served as Chair of the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Community Advisory Committee and as a member of the Palm Beach County Cultural Council’s Business Committee for Culture.  Rand is a Charter Member of Equal Opportunities Law Section of The Florida Bar and has served as the Section’s Legislative Committee Chair. He is also a founding member of the Committee for Diversity and Inclusion of the Florida Bar and the Palm Beach County Bar Association Committee for Diversity and Inclusion.

Rand resumed his service on the Board of Directors of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council in 2002 and was again elected president in 2006. During this tenure on the board, Rand’s efforts resulted in having Palm Beach County, the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections, the Office of the State Attorney, the Office of the Public Defender, the Cities of Boca Raton, West Palm Beach and Lake Worth, the Villages of Wellington and Tequesta, the West Palm Beach Housing Authority, the Palm Beach County Solid Waste Authority, and the Palm Beach County Bar Association extending protected status to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals;  the School District of Palm Beach County protecting students from harassment based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression;  Palm Beach County and the City of West Palm Beach establishing domestic partnership registries; Palm Beach County, the School District of Palm Beach County, the Health Care District of Palm Beach County, the Palm Beach County Solid Waste Authority, Florida Atlantic University, Palm Beach State College, the Palm Beach County Children Services Council, the Suncoast Utility Authority, the Cities of Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Lake Worth and Palm Beach Gardens, the Towns of Jupiter and Palm Beach, the Village of Wellington, the Clerk and Comptroller, the Tax Collector and the Property Appraiser extending domestic partnership benefits to their employees;  Palm Beach County, the City of West Palm Beach, the Property Appraiser and the Tax Collector implementing tax equity reimbursement programs for employees insuring their domestic partners.  To date, Rand’s efforts have resulted in more than 65 ordinances and policies being enacted to extend equal rights and benefits to the Palm Beach County LGBT community.

In recognition of his efforts, Rand has been awarded the Harriette S. Glasner Freedom Award; the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County’s Community Service Award; the Compass Public Service Award; the Florida Conference of Judges of Compensation Claims Outstanding Service Award; the Florida Workers’ Advocates Outstanding Service Award; the Spectrum Lifetime Achievement Award and the Hank Godley Memorial Award. He has also served on two occasions as the Grand Marshall of PrideFest.

A graduate of Georgetown University and Stetson University College of Law,  Rand practices law and mediates employment disputes throughout Florida.

 

Media provided by GayWebSource.com – Gay Media and Press Network.

 

Anti Bullying Song We Are One by Craymo for Sochi

(Gaywebsource.com). Kissimmee, FL, USA

Inspiration (def.) the action or power of moving the intellect or emotions.

The Olympic Games, every four years we are inspired, by the strength, camaraderie, compassion, human spirit, the personal triumphs and losses as well as the love of family and country. We are inspired by the athletes who wake up every day of their lives with the determination to be the best that they can be, no matter what the odds are that are stacked up against them. We are also inspired by the hundreds of nations around the world, coming together in peace to share their love of sports and competition.

We Are One (One Love One World), written and performed by indie, gay, singer/songwriter Craymo, is a song of inspiration, a song of hope for a better world. It is dedicated to the athletes of the Sochi Winter Games and to all the citizens of the world. It is an anti-bullying anthem that reminds us to simply be nicer and kinder to one another. To focus on the beauty of other human beings instead of our differences. We Are One (One Love One World) is a song of hope, togetherness, equality, love, brotherhood, human rights and world peace. It has been downloaded and performed by children, teachers and their choirs at schools all over the world including the United States, The UK, Canada, Australia and China. We Are One (One Love One World) is featured on the album Cosmos Remastered, available on CD Baby.com and iTunes.

“My ultimate dream is to hear every school, church and community choir from nations around the world sing this song together in unison to help raise the world’s consciousness towards love and to help erase hatred in our lifetimes” Craymo

In honor of the Sochi Winter Olympic Games Craymo is offering free MP3 downloads of We Are One (One Love One World), as well as the sing a long version, from his website through the end of the Sochi Winter Olympic Games until the end of February.

http://www.craymo.com

We Are One (One Love One World), written by Craig Stephen Raymo, BMI and Brandon Jarrett, ASCAP. Produced by Brandon Jarrett and Craymo for Moho Productions, LLC. Published by Craymo Music, BMI and Moho Music, ASCAP.For licensing, performance or personal appearance information Email: mohoprods@yahoo.com

 

Media provided by GayWebSource.com – Gay Media and Press Network.

Palm Beach County Clerk Offers Tax Relief for Domestic Partners

West Palm Beach, Florida (GayWebSource.com) —  Sharon R. Bock, Clerk & Comptroller for Palm Beach County has issued a new policy to provide federal tax relief to employees who cover their domestic partners on through the Clerk’s health insurance plans.

Under the Domestic Partner Tax Equity Policy, Clerk & Comptroller employees with qualified domestic partners who are enrolled in the Clerk’s health, dental or vision plans will have their pay grossed up to offset the additional federal taxes paid on these insurance premiums. Federal tax laws treat those insurance benefits as additional income for the employee, and are subject to additional income tax burden.

Married employees whose spouses and children are covered by the Clerk’s health, dental and vision insurance plans are not subject to the same tax burden.

“This is a fairness issue,” Clerk Bock said. “I want to ensure our employees are treated equally. That means employees with domestic partners should not have to pay more for their insurance coverage than their married colleagues who cover their spouses’ health insurance.”

Clerk Bock enacted the policy upon the request of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, a non-profit organization, which, for the last 25 years, has been dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.  The organization has also been the prime mover for domestic partnership benefits in Palm Beach County for more than two decades.

Within the past year, local policies to offset the additional federal tax burden paid by employees who insure their domestic partners were adopted by Palm Beach County, the City of West Palm Beach, the Palm Beach County Property Appraiser and the Constitutional Tax Collector for Palm Beach County.

“For more than 25 years, the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council has worked with both public and private employers to enact policies that eliminate inequalities in the workplace,” said Council President Rand Hoch.  “It is encouraging that once again, a Palm Beach County constitutional officer has taken steps to ensure that her  employees with domestic partners receive equal take-home pay for equal work.”

Five of the Florida’s nine tax equity policies have been instituted by public employers in Palm Beach County, placing the county at the forefront of the tax equity movement nationwide.
Other public employers in Florida offering federal tax equity relief to employees insuring their domestic partners include the Constitutional Tax Collector for Orange County, and the cities of Hallandale Beach, Miami Beach and Wilton Manors.

“More tax equity policies have been enacted by public in employers Florida than in the remaining 49 states combined,” said Hoch.

 

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