• Fired Gay Teacher Invited to White House to Welcome Pope

    PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A Roman Catholic teacher fired over her same-sex marriage says she has been invited to the White House to help welcome Pope Francis.

  • Fla Mayors Send Message to Putin: ‘End Discrimination’

    As the Winter Olympics gets underway this week in Sochi, mayors from three of Florida’s most important cities have joined together to call on Russian President Vladimir Putin to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and visitors.

  • Fla. County Asks Judge to Clarify Gay Marriage Ruling

    The county at the center of Florida's gay marriage debate wants a judge to clarify his order allowing a same-sex couple to obtain a marriage license there.

  • Fla. House Panel OKs Bill Restricting Public Restrooms to Birth Gender

    Transgender Floridians would have to use public bathrooms designated for their birth gender, unless they have a license or passport that proves they've completed their transition to their new sex under a bill that passed its first legislative committee on Wednesday.

  • Fla. Supreme Court Asked to Rule on Gay Marriage

    Florida's highest court is being asked to decide whether or not the state's ban on gay marriage is constitutional.

  • Florida AG Bondi Wants Gay Marriage Ban Kept Intact Longer

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is asking to keep intact the state's ban on same-sex marriage until ongoing appeals have finished.

  • Florida AG Pam Bondi Won’t Say If She’ll Keep Fighting Marriage Equality

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is not giving clear answers on whether she will keep up a legal battle over the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

  • Florida AG Wants High Court Ruling on Gay Marriage

    Attorney General Pam Bondi has defended Florida's gay marriage ban, but she now says she wants the state's high court to settle whether the ban is legal.

  • Florida AG: Gay Marriage Would Cause Harm

    Florida AG Pam Bondi

    The attorney general of Florida says in court documents that recognizing same sex marriages performed in other states would "impose significant public harm."

  • Florida Again The Epicenter Of Nation’s Polarizing Politics

    (AP) TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida is emerging as an epicenter of the nation’s polarizing politics in the final days of the 2018 campaign.

    In the closely contested campaign for governor, President Donald Trump and GOP nominee Ron DeSantis have used what has been called racially coded language to slam Democrat Andrew Gillum. The battles for the governor’s mansion and a key U.S. Senate seat are playing out in communities still recovering from a killer hurricane and one of the nation’s deadliest school shootings.

    Florida Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis waves. (Bob Self /The Florida Times-Union via AP, File) 

    Virtually every hot-button cultural issue tearing at the nation — including guns, race and the environment — is unfolding in a deeply personal way here.

    That’s a sharp change in a state where elections notoriously come down to the wire. Politicians in both parties traditionally focus on winning over moderate voters, especially those living along Interstate 4 in the shadow of Disney World, to eke out a win. Not so in the Trump era as each side scrambles to mobilize its strongest supporters.

    “This election is truly a choice between results and resistance,” Trump told a crowd during a rally in southwest Florida. “This is really an election between greatness and gridlock.”

    Trump’s visit is just one of two stops planned this week to bolster DeSantis and Gov. Rick Scott’s U.S. Senate campaign.

    The Democrats are out in force in the Sunshine State, as well. Former President Barack Obama visited Democratic-vote-rich South Florida on Friday, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders visited college campuses mid-week, urging students to vote for Democratic nominee Gillum, the Tallahassee mayor who could become the state’s first black governor.

    Democratic candidate for Florida governor Andrew Gillum, left, greets U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Ca., in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

    Speaking to a crowd of about 3,000 in Miami, Obama warned voters not to get bamboozled by misinformation while Republicans allow polluters to poison the environment, give tax cuts to billionaires and take healthcare away from millions.

    “We need leaders who will actually stand up for what’s right regardless of party,” Obama said. “Leaders who represent the best of the American spirit. Patriots who will stand up for anyone whose fundamental rights are at stake.”

    During his stop at the University of Central Florida, Sanders railed at Trump and contended he was coming to the state because he is worried that DeSantis will lose the governor’s race. DeSantis, a former congressman, won the GOP primary over a much-better-funded opponent largely based on Trump’s backing.

    “I say to Donald Trump: This country has struggled with discrimination of all kinds for too many years,” Sanders said. “We say to Trump today, ’We are not going backwards into more discrimination. We are going forward to celebrate our diversity.”

    The ramped-up campaign rhetoric in the closing days shows signs of bringing a surge of voters with it.

    This election is on pace to significantly surpass the turnout of Florida’s past five midterm elections, stretching back two decades. By Friday, nearly 4.1 million people had either voted by mail or at an early voting location.

    Election Day will wrap up a bitter campaign season that witnessed the battle between DeSantis and Gillum veer into racial politics and heated exchanges over a long-simmering FBI investigation involving Gillum’s home city.

    Right after the primary, DeSantis said Florida voters shouldn’t “monkey this up” by electing Gillum, a comment Democrats contend was racially charged. Trump also called Gillum a “thief” and corrupt, a move the mayor says is meant to reinforce negative stereotypes of black men.

    The Gillum campaign, meanwhile, cut ties with a Democratic Party vendor and a campaign volunteer caught on video calling Florida a “cracker” state and saying the campaign was taking advantage of “white guilt.”

    The Senate race between Scott and incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson has taken a back seat to the governor’s race, but it too has centered largely on name-calling and insults lobbed in tens of millions of dollars’ worth of negative television ads. Scott has painted Nelson as an ineffective career politician, while Nelson has labeled Scott untrustworthy because of questions about how the multimillionaire governor has handled his finances while in office.

    For months, Scott had kept his distance from Trump and even disagreed with the president on items such as the death toll in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. But he joined Trump in southwest Florida and plans to be with him again Friday in Pensacola. For some voters, that may prove to be all the difference.

    “I’m not a huge Rick Scott supporter,” said Allison Chiddo, a West Palm Beach resident who attended Trump’s Estero rally. “He’s part of the swamp.... I’m not going to sit here and BS you. I don’t trust either one. I’m going to vote the way Trump sees it.”

    During Trump’s mid-week rally, DeSantis took the stage, where he bashed Gillum as a “failed mayor” who was “hanging out with Bernie Sanders.” DeSantis also railed at Gillum for saying that Trump should be impeached.

    Gillum, during a stop this week at a bayside restaurant in Destin, barely mentioned Trump or DeSantis but still got in a jab.

    “I don’t care who’s on the other side of us, I am always going to be team Florida, so whether it’s Donald Trump or Ron DeSantis, if you come after Florida, if you come after Floridians, you’re gonna have to go through me,” he said.

    Associated Press writers Tamara Lush in Estero, Mike Schneider in Orlando and Brendan Farrington in Destin contributed to this story.

  • Florida Asks Who Can Issue Gay-Marriage Licenses

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Just days before Florida's ban on gay marriage is scheduled to be lifted, the state's top legal officer wants a federal judge to clarify whether clerks in all counties can issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

  • Florida Attorney General Files Another Appeal Fighting Same-Sex Marriage

    Florida attorney general Pam Bondi is continuing her fight against marriage equality.

  • Florida Clerks Advised to Say 'No' to Gay Marriage, For Now

    THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, December 16, 2014..........Even if a court ruling declaring Florida's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional takes effect next month, gay couples outside of a sparsely populated Panhandle county might not be able to get marriage licenses.

  • Florida clerks plan for gay marriages Jan. 6

    MIAMI (AP) - Court clerks around Florida are beginning to announce plans to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples next week following a federal judge's ruling.

  • Florida Clerks To Use New Forms After Gay Marriage Ruling

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida’s court clerks are going to start using new marriage and divorce forms that no longer use the words “husband” and “wife.”

  • Florida Couples Sue for Freedom to Marry

    Marriage is back in the news in Florida after Tuesday morning’s announcement that groups are coming together to challenge the state law barring same-sex marriage.

  • Florida Democrats Choose Bittel

    Florida Democrats picked a new leader last weekend in Orlando.

  • Florida Dems LGBTA Caucus Endorses Candidates

    Florida’s LGBTA Democratic Caucus released an updated list of endorsements on Friday.

  • Florida Dems Say Scott Campaign Broke Fundraising Law

    TALLAHASSEE — The head of the Florida Democratic Party is contending that Republican Gov. Rick Scott's campaign broke the state's campaign finance laws by shifting money between accounts.

  • Florida Files Petition To Keep Gay Marriage Ban

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi filed an emergency petition on Monday seeking to keep the state's ban on gay marriage in place past Jan. 5.