ACLU

Joe Vinson

A memorial service will be held Sunday in Pensacola for activist Susan Watson, who died Friday, December 2, after a brief illness. She was 62 years old.

At the time of her death, Watson was executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama. But, her life and activism were rooted here in Northwest Florida.

Watson grew up in Pensacola, where her father, who was in the Navy, settled the family when she was 10 years old.

This week venues around Pensacola are hosting Stamped: The Pensacola LGBT Film Festival. This is the fourth year for the film festiva which highlights artistic achievement in film from and about the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and queer community.

David Newton, one of the organizers of the film festival shared this about the fest,

A public workshop has been set by the Pensacola City Council, on a proposed non-discrimination ordinance sponsored by Councilman Brian Spencer.

Pensacola’s current non-discrimination ordinance, passed more than 30 years ago, deals only with fair housing. Spencer’s proposal expands it to include employment and public accommodations.

ACLU

Efforts are underway in Escambia County to address what’s known as the "school-to-prison pipeline." The issue was the subject of a panel discussion on Monday, Aug. 31 at Franco’s Restaurant, 523 E. Gregory St., Pensacola.

Residents in Escambia County are being urged speak up about school discipline and school arrests.  

Community groups such as the ACLU of Northwest Florida and the Escambia Youth Justice Coalition are calling on residents to push for changes in the district’s disciplinary policies, which they say disproportionately impact African American students.

Photo via Flickr//Utility, Inc. / https://flic.kr/p/rHLzp9

Legislation moving through the Florida Senate would require law enforcement agencies to set up guidelines for the use of body cameras. One local department appears to be ahead of the curve.

The measure, passed unanimously by the Senate Criminal Justice Committee on Tuesday, not only mandates policy, but also the training of personnel and the storing of the video. Baker State Senator Greg Evers, the committee chairman, says the recordings would only be used when officers are performing their duties.

Efforts are underway in the state to get a constitutional amendment on the 2016 General Election ballot that would restore voting rights to felons on the state’s 2016 General Election ballot. On Monday, March 2, the Pensacola Coffee Party and League of Women Voters of the Pensacola Bay Area will present a public discussion of the topic. The forum will be held at Franco’s Italian Restaurant at 6 p.m.

Currently, Florida is one of the toughest states in the country - along with Kentucky and Iowa- for ex-felons seeking to have their civil rights restored.

Courtesy of Lindsay Myers & Sarah Humlie

 

The historic legalization of same sex marriage in Florida is hitting home for Pensacola couple Sarah Humlie and Lindsay Myers. Although they married out of state in 2012, they were plaintiffs in the ACLU case to end Florida’s long-held ban. Sandra Averhart spoke with Humlie and Myers, who happens to be a colleague at WUWF.

Sandra Averhart (SA): Well, it's been a few days since the news that the stay would end, allowing marriage licenses in Florida to be issued for the first time Tuesday. What are your thoughts now, several days later, on this ruling?

  As of Tuesday, Florida becomes the 36th state, along with the District of Columbia, to allow same-sex marriages.

In 2008, Florida voters approved a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. But a series of court rulings found the ban to be a violation of the U.S. Constitution's 14th Amendment guarantees of equal treatment and due process.

Ileana Ortiz

   A federal appeals court has refused to extend past January 5 a stay in the ruling that declares unconstitutional Florida's ban on gay marriage.

In August, Tallahassee Federal Judge Robert Hinkle joined a number of other judges, in ruling that the state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, approved by Florida voters in 2008, violates the equal protection clause of the U.S.  Constitution. He said next month’s deadline is adequate for appeals to be considered, before any same-sex marriage licenses are issued.

Campaign for Youth Justice

The Escambia Youth Justice Coalition (EYJC), in conjunction with the youth organization Str8 Up Pensacola, is holding a youth advocate training workshop this evening in Pensacola. The event is being held in observance of Youth Justice Awareness Month.

The Youth Justice Coalition is made up of a broad base of members, who’ve come together to advocate for juvenile justice reform in the Escambia County school system.

rawstory.com

In an election-year U-turn, Gov. Rick Scott's administration is dropping a problematic voter purge aimed at keeping non-U.S. citizens from casting ballots.

Scott first pushed to have the state look for non-U.S. citizens on the rolls before the 2012 election. But many election supervisors, however, wound up not removing anyone after questions arose about the law and the accuracy of the list.

Jamille Ellingson

Beginning Tuesday cohabitating unmarried adults, gay and straight, will be able to register as domestic partners with the City of Pensacola.

Ordinance number 41-13 was approved in December, setting up a Domestic Partnership Registry, or DPR, and providing registered domestic partners with various rights and benefits. Sponsored by Councilman Larry B. Johnson, the DPR will also be open to those who live outside the Pensacola city limits.

City of Pensacola

On an 8-1 vote in mid-December, the Pensacola City Council approved a domestic partnership registry – or DPR – which will ensure a number of rights to hundreds of unmarried couples.

Sponsored by Councilman Larry B. Johnson, the DPR will be open to cohabiting, unmarried adults — both gay and straight — to register as domestic partners. Those who live outside the Pensacola city limits are also eligible. Applications are expected to be accepted beginning in March, for a fee which – along with other nuts and bolts – will be determined between now and then.

ACLU Wins Access to Inmate Treatment Documents

Nov 25, 2013
Florida Department of Corrections

A settlement is in place between the American Civil Liberties Union and the Florida Department of Corrections, regarding inmate housing at the Santa Rosa Correctional Institution in Milton.

In its lawsuit filed in August, the ACLU claims it requested from the Department of Corrections last November two years’ worth of demographic and housing records concerning the Santa Rosa Correctional Institute. DOC rejected the request in April.
 

City of Pensacola

Legal decisions and hospital visitation are among the rights currently not afforded to the nearly three thousand unmarried Pensacolians who cohabitate.