The Center Commends ACLU and Associates for Challenging Florida’s Refusal to Recognize Marriage Equality

The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center of Central Florida (The Center) recognizes the outstanding efforts of the ACLU, the ACLU of Florida and the Podhurst Orseck law firm for challenging the State of Florida’s refusal to recognize the legal marriages of eight same-sex couples which occurred in marriage equality states around the country .  The plaintiffs in this lawsuit come from every corner of the state and represent the various demographics of the citizens of the state.  Named as defendants are the Governor, the Attorney General, the Surgeon General and Health Secretary along with the Secretary of the state Department of Management Services. [Read more...]

The Center Announces the Completion and Display of Its Annual Audit

The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center of Central Florida (The Center) is proud to announce the completion of an independent audit for the years ending September 30th, 2013 and 2012.  The audit, performed by Carter& Company, a CPA firm out of Destin Florida, recently submitted their Independent Auditors’ Report to The Center and we have included the report on our web site so the community can see where the contributions to the Center have been spent.

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New Group: Jewish LGBTQ of Orlando

Center LogoJewish LGBTQ Community in Orlando, Florida is a space where Jewish Lesbian, Jewish Gay, Jewish Bisexual, Jewish Transgender, and Jewish Questioning can communicate to create a Jewish LGBTQ Community in Orlando, Florida.

I moved here originally in December 2010, and found that I had no one to celebrate the High Holy Days (Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah) as well as Passover and Chanukah. Noticing that all the Temples/Synagogues and Jewish Organizations are on the outer border of Orlando, and not internally, questions raised in my mind… Where are all the Jews? Where are all the LGBTQ Jews? How do most LGBTQ Jewish people find each other? A majority of the LGBTQ activity in Orlando occurs mostly and closer to the downtown area, thus I felt that Jewish LGBTQ people were invisible, and cannot find each other. I’ve been told that we are here, and am delighted when I do meet a fellow LGBTQ Jew, yet the occurrence is rare, so I set out to find our community.

We have been raised with a strong sense of Jewish identity and pride. Sharing our Jewish culture with each other will allow us to make stronger ties with our home, Orlando, and solidify the feeling of “We belong”, settle down, and make ties to the land.

This group will allow us to connect and share our commonalities, heritage, traditions, hopes, thoughts, concerns, wishes, celebrations, and worship.

So, please join the group, and be a part of forming the Jewish LGBTQ Community. You can find others to kibitz and shoomz with; go to Temple with; have Seders and Chanukah parties with. If interested, we could even form a LGBTQ Synagogue. We could create a visibility to other LGBTQ Jews that need and desire this feeling of “community”, current and new residents, also transients. WHO KNOWS……the concepts are limitless, once we join together.

Any member can approve the membership of anyone asking to join.  For more information please contact us at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1397668847157117/1406618519595483/?notif_t=group_activity

Zei Gazunt….. it will be what it becomes.

-Jeffrey Stuart Korn, aka Yitzchak Simchah ben Godol

The GLBT Community Center Applauds Equality Florida And Six Couples For Challenging Florida’s Law Against Marriage Equality

Center LogoThe Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center of Central Florida (The Center) is celebrating a major milestone in our path towards full equality for our community with the announcement of a court challenge to the Florida laws that prohibit marriage equality.  This is a major step for our state and follows on the progress of major initiatives throughout the nation at the federal, state, and local government levels to ensure equality and liberty for all.

In recent months, numerous courts in several states have either granted the right for same sex couples to marry or struck down state laws banning same sex marriage.  Court rulings in Utah and Oklahoma have paved the way for our own state organization, Equality Florida, in conjunction with the National Center for Lesbian Rights, to file a formal complaint with the State of Florida. While the path here in Florida will be a unique one, precedent has been set at the federal level thanks to the Windsor Case ruling of the United States Supreme Court, and its interpretation within the lower Circuit Courts.  The Center has seen a watershed of support from disparate members of Central Florida, and we are firm in our conviction that equality for all citizens is in our near future.

Our community and its leaders believe strongly that Article I, Section 27 of the Florida Constitution, which bars the State of Florida from recognizing marriage or civil unions unless it consists of the union ofone man and one woman, is wholly unconstitutional and violates the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution. In addition, two Florida Statutes also include similar language that prohibit state recognition of LGBT marriages, and these will also be challenged in this landmark court filing for marriage equality.

Equality Florida, the largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida’s LGBT Community, held a press conference January 21, 2014 to announce the filing of the lawsuit in Miami-Dade County. The plaintiffs were introduced at the conference by Nadine Smith, the Executive Director of Equality Florida. The six plaintiff couples have been together an average of 13 years, with the longest relationship being over 25 years.  Five of the couples have children and one even has grandchildren. They are your typical modern Florida family, with relationships that cross ethnic and religious lines.

Equality Florida is the catalyst behind the filing of this lawsuit and The Center commends them for taking on such a task.  They are joined by the National Center for Lesbian Rights and are represented by several prominent attorneys including Orlando Civil Rights expert, Mary Meeks.

The Center, located at 946 N. Mills Ave. Orlando, FL 32803 is a non-profit organization dedicated to informing, educating, supporting and advocating on behalf of the LGBT Community and its allies.

THE CENTER GREATLY REDUCES ITS DEBT SERVICE ALLOWING EXPANSION OF NEW AND EXISTING PROGRAMS FOR CENTRAL FLORIDA

CenterLogoThe Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center of Central Florida (The Center) announces the sale of the adjoining property currently occupied by Forbidden City.  This transaction is the culmination of the Board of Directors of The Center taking a pro-active role to reduce the debt service, resulting in The Center being on a strong financial foundation for the first time in over a decade.

Timothy Vargas, President of the Board of Directors, issued the following statement:

“Today’s property sale and substantial pay down of our mortgage debt is the culmination of many months of sustained focus toward bringing financial stability to The Center.  Over the past 15 months, we have managed the finances with laser like focus, and as a result, we have paid off over $310,000 in debt.  What this means financially for The Center cannot be overstated.  For the first time in 10 years, The Center’s debt burden has been reduced to a reasonable level given the size of our organization.  Even after the sale of the Forbidden City property, The Center retains ownership of our other two Mills 50 properties which gives us significant flexibility as we steer the organization through the next 10 years.  By dramatically reducing the debt burden, our donors can now rest assured that funds are used for programs that serve the community, and not for debt service.”

This reduction of debt allows The Center to concentrate on extending existing programs such as support services and counseling  and transgender individuals, to implement new services for seniors, women, and minorities, and to become more involved in domestic violence prevention in our community.  For many years financial limitations prevented The Center from being a true Community Center for many of our diverse members in Central Florida.  This sale, while not completely paying off all debts, allows The Center to earmark donated funds for the expansion of such programs.