2014 was a very busy year not just nationwide but here in the Sunshine State as well. Five different judges struck down our state’s discriminatory same-sex marriage ban, many different organizations were celebrating milestone anniversaries, and entertainers such as Lady Gaga started their worldwide tours here. Here’s a timeline covering a lot of the important events that transpired this past year that impacted Florida’s LGBT community.
January 10 – Senator Marco Rubio is successful in ensuring Judge William Thomas, who presides over the Miami-Dade Circuit Court, was not re-nominated to fill a Federal District Court post. Had Thomas been confirmed, he would have been the first openly gay black male federal court judge. Darrin Gayles, another openly gay black male judge from Miami, is nominated by President Obama in February, and he is confirmed later in the year.
January 17 – The Fort Lauderdale Invitational Regional Tournament (FLIRT), affiliated with the International Gay Bowling Organization (IGBO), welcomes teams from all over the country for the 32nd annual competition.
January 18 – The Broward County Human Rights Board fines Publix $98,000 after they determine the supermarket wrongly terminated a gay employee, cake decorator Richard Glisson.
January 21 – Six couples, with the Equality Florida Institute, file a lawsuit in Miami challenging the constitutionality of the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.
January 23 – Quench Lounge in Largo celebrates their first anniversary with a “Winter White Party.”
January 23 – The independent film My Fair Lidy, starring Central Florida drag legend Leigh Shannon, premieres at the Garden Theatre in Winter Garden.
January 24 – Latinos Salud celebrates their fifth anniversary at Alibi.
January 25 – Over 120 artists come to Boca Raton to present their works in the city’s fifth annual Fine Art Show.
January 25 – Tens of thousands of Tampanians celebrate the annual Gasparilla festival, as a flotilla sails up Old Tampa Bay and the mayor gives the pirates the key to the city.
January 30 – The Miami Beach Botanical Garden hosts their ninth annual “Taste of the Garden” fundraiser.
February 3 – The Miami Herald reports that 54 percent of Floridians support the right of LGBT people to marry whomever they wish.
February 12 – Allan Hendricks and Rand Hoch are honored at the Equality Florida Palm Beach Reception held at Northern Trust in North Palm Beach.
February 22 – Equality Florida’s Tampa Gala is held at The Vault, honoring Mayor Bob Buckhorn and PNC Bank.
February 26 – After Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed a “license to discriminate” bill in her state, Governor Rick Scott announced that if any bill were to reach his desk in Tallahassee, he would also veto it.
February 28 – Walt Disney World officially cuts off all funding to the Boy Scouts of America over their continued anti-gay policies.
March 3 – Jon Allen, owner of the Island House in Key West for the past 15 years, announces his intentions to sell the property. He decides against selling just three months later.
March 5-10 – Winter Party Festival, a fundraiser for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, holds eleven different dance parties across six days in Miami Beach.
March 8 – Bradley’s on 7th in Tampa celebrates their third anniversary with a special show hosted by Joey Brooks and featuring Esme Russell, Robyn DeMornay, and special guests Susan Whitney and Natasha Richards.
March 13 – The ACLU and SAVE file a lawsuit on behalf of eight couples challenging the constitutionality of the state’s ban on recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions.
March 15 – The annual Taste of Pride fundraiser, benefiting St. Pete Pride, is held at the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg.
March 16 – Actress Sharon Gless (Cagney & Lacey, Queer as Folk, Burn Notice) is presented with the Voice for Equality Award at the Equality Florida Miami Gala at Pérez Art Museum. Also honored are the six couples that sued the state of Florida for marriage rights.
March 21 – BarCodes in Orlando celebrates their fifth anniversary in business with many fun giveaways, including concert tickets and cash prizes.
March 21-30 – Over 100,000 people converge on Miami Beach for the 29th annual Winter Music Conference.
March 22 – Owner Joe Marcella and managers Milancita, Alyson Thomas and Danny Villar throw a seventh anniversary party for the Miami nightclub Discotekka, which was enjoyed by hundreds of partygoers and well-wishers.
March 22 – The very first Manatee Pride is held at the Riverwalk in downtown Bradenton.
March 28-30 – The Ultra Music Festival turns fifteen and organizers see record crowds flood Miami’s Bayfront Park.
March 29 – The AIDS Walk Orlando raises over $150,000 in donations for the Hope and Help Center of Central Florida.
March 29 – Connie Gilbert is honored with the Voice for Equality Award at the Equality Florida Key West Gala at the Gardens Hotel in Key West.
March 29-30 – Singers Crystal Waters and Karina Iglesias headline the 21st annual Pridefest of Lake Worth and the Palm Beaches, held at Bryant Park in Lake Worth.
March 30 – The Florida AIDS Walk and Music Festival, presented by AHF Pharmacy, is held at the South Beach Park on Fort Lauderdale Beach. Headliners The Go-Go’s perform their greatest hits for the crowd.
March 31 – 73-year-old Braulio Valenzuela-Villanueva attempts to burn down the home of two lesbians and their eight children in Miami-Dade County because he did not approve of the women’s sexual orientation. He is brought up on hate crime charges.
April 1 – A Key West couple, Aaron Huntsman and William Lee Jones, file a lawsuit in Monroe County after they were denied a marriage license by county clerk Amy Heavilin.
April 12 – The Tampa Bay Red Ribbon Run, held at Al Lopez Park in Tampa, raises $15,000 for Metro Wellness and Community Centers.
April 12 – Liquid Tampa celebrates its second anniversary with a special performance by Shangela.
April 13 – The sixth annual Miami Beach Gay Pride Parade and Festival is held along Ocean Drive, with singer Gloria Estefan and choreographer and director Kenny Ortega serving as grand marshals in the parade.
April 13 – 21-year-old Dakota Basinger is kicked off a basketball team sponsored by the Kissimmee Parks and Recreation League because he is HIV-positive. The employee who dismissed Basinger resigned from his post and the city gave private and public apologies to Basinger.
April 20 – University of Central Florida student George Dumont alleges that the Beta Theta Pi fraternity rejects him after discovering that he is gay. After a two-month investigation, the university rules that no wrongdoing was committed on the part of the fraternity.
April 24 – The national Dining Out for Life campaign celebrates its 24th year. In Tampa Bay, over 40 restaurants participated and donated proceeds to AIDS Service Association of Pinellas. In South Florida, over a dozen restaurants participated and donated proceeds to Broward House.
April 25 – The third annual Pride in Business Awards, hosted by MBA Orlando, is held at the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld. Jorge Estevez from WFTV-TV is the master of ceremonies for the evening. Hotspots Magazine is nominated for Small Business of the Year. (The Hammered Lamb won.)
April 27 – The 26th annual AIDS Walk Miami, benefiting Care Resource, is held at the Miami Beach Convention Center. Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine serves as master of ceremonies and Alexia Echevarria from The Real Housewives of Miami is the grand marshal.
April 30-May 4 – SunFest, Florida’s largest music festival, brings in hundreds of thousands of music fans to West Palm Beach’s Flagler Drive. Ellie Goulding, Robin Thicke, the Goo Goo Dolls, and The Bangles were among the headlining performers.
May 2-May 11 – Over 60 films are screened at the 16th annual Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.
May 3 – Edith Windsor and Anastasia Hiotis are honored with the Voice for Equality Award at the Equality Florida St. Petersburg Gala, held at the Mahaffey Theater.
May 4 – Lady Gaga kicks off her ARTPOP Ball tour with a performance at the BB&T Center in Sunrise.
May 7-12 – Thousands of bears come to Fort Lauderdale Beach for the third annual BeachBear Weekend.
May 9 – State Rep. David Richardson, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Audrey Edmonson and local filmmaker Joe Cardona are honored at SAVE’s Champions for Equality reception at the Hyatt Regency Miami.
May 9 – Monroe County Circuit Judge David Audlin steps down from the bench, after months of unwanted media attention focusing on the judge’s Manhunt profile. Audlin, who did nothing illegal, said about his decision to retire, “I’m looking forward to my constitutional rights being restored — my right to privacy and to be left alone in my private life.”
May 15-18 – Alibi in Wilton Manors turns 17 and celebrates with four days of special events.
May 16 – The new nightclub House opens in Miami’s Wynwood Arts District.
May 16-17 – Cher’s Dressed to Kill Tour makes two stops in Florida, one at the Amway Center in Orlando and one at the BB&T Center in Sunrise.
May 17 – Over 800 people attend the Pride & Passion fundraiser at the Tampa Museum of Art, known unofficially as the kick-off event for six weeks of Pride events in the Tampa Bay area.
May 31 – Attorney General Pam Bondi, in her quest to stop gay couples from marrying, alleges in a court document that if same-sex marriages were allowed in Florida, they would “impose significant public harm” on the state.
June 3 – Judge Sarah Zabel denies three anti-gay groups — Florida Family Action, Florida Democratic League and People United to Lead the Struggle for Equality — the request to intervene in the marriage lawsuit filed by the Equality Florida Institute.
June 3-8 – Gay Days® and Gay Disney Week events are held at Disney theme parks, the Doubletree by Hilton Orlando, Parliament House Resort, and many more venues. Performers coming to entertain crowds during the week include Da Brat, Mya, and LeAnn Rimes.
June 4-8 – Orlando Black Pride celebrates with events at Club 369 and at the host hotel, Stay Sky Suites on International Drive.
June 11-15 – The 37th annual Key West Pride celebrations are held on Duval Street.
June 12 – A new nightclub, Enigma, opens in St. Petersburg’s EDGE District.
June 14-22 – Lakeland Pridefest returns for a fourth year with a number of events, including the Miss Gay Polk Pride Pageant.
June 17 – The Fort Lauderdale City Commission approves a resolution urging the state to take action to legalize same-sex marriage. The resolution, sponsored by Commissioner Dean Trantalis, was opposed by Mayor Jack Seiler and Vice-Mayor Romney Rogers. The two are widely criticized for their votes against the measure.
June 21 – Miami-Dade Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce’s Emerald Gala, presented by Wells Fargo, is held at the Hilton Miami Downtown Hotel.
June 21 – Wilton Drive is closed off for the 14th annual Stonewall Pride event, presented by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. Sheila E is the headlining performer at this event.
June 23 – The Orlando City Council votes 5-2 to file a friend-of-the-court brief asking the state to legalize same-sex marriage and to stop defending the state’s same-sex marriage ban in court.
June 25 – Twist South Beach celebrates its 21st anniversary with music by DJ Alex Infiniti and a special performance by TP Lords.
June 28 – Compass’s 13th annual Stonewall Ball is held at the Harriet Himmel Theater at West Palm Beach’s CityPlace shopping district.
June 28 – St. Pete Pride celebrates its twelfth year with their first-ever nighttime parade, which was attended by over 150,000 people and was very well-received.
June 28 – Former Governor Charlie Crist files an amicus brief in support of same-sex marriage in Florida, with regard to the case of Pareto v. Ruvin filed by the Equality Florida Institute.
July 16 – Equality Florida shows its commitment to the North Florida LGBT community by opening a dedicated office in Jacksonville.
July 17-20 – Thousands of men come to Miami Beach to celebrate Miami Beach Bruthaz Weekend. The theme this year is “knowledge, culture and fashion.”
July 17 – Judge Luis Garcia, ruling in the case of Huntsman v. Heavilin, finds that Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Celebrations are organized in over a dozen Florida cities. A stay of the ruling is eventually issued.
July 17 – Tallahassee Mayor John Marks pledges his support for marriage equality in a video for Mayors for the Freedom to Marry. In the video, Marks says, “this is the right thing to do. Individuals have rights and freedoms, and we need to allow everybody to have those same rights and those same freedoms.”
July 18 – Marni Sawicki, mayor of Cape Coral, announces that she supports marriage equality, making her the first mayor in southwest Florida to do so. “It’s about human rights and freedom of choice. I believe it’s the right thing to do,” she says.
July 22 – Representative David Jolly announces his support of the July 17 decision that struck down Florida’s same-sex marriage ban. He becomes the second Republican member of Florida’s Congressional delegation to speak out in favor of marriage equality (after Ileana Ros-Lehtinen).
July 23 – Senator Marco Rubio, speaking at Catholic University in Washington D.C., accuses marriage equality supporters of being “intolerant” of people who support “traditional marriage.”
July 25 – Judge Sarah Zabel, ruling in the case of Pareto v. Ruvin, becomes the second judge to find the state’s ban on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional. A stay is issued.
July 26 – Parliament House in Orlando celebrates its 39th anniversary with a special show featuring Erika Norell, Armani, and RuPaul’s Drag Race queens BeBe Zahara Benet and Shangela.
July 26 – Julion Evans of Tampa dies after a long battle with the disease Amyloidosis. His mother’s church, New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, denies the family the option to hold the funeral there after they learned he was gay, despite originally agreeing to the funeral arrangements.
July 27 – The Red Ribbon Dance, a fundraiser for the AIDS Service Association of Pinellas, is held at the Gulfport Casino Ballroom.
August 4 – Broward County Circuit Judge Dale Cohen, ruling in the case of Brassner v. Lade, says that the state of Florida must recognize the same-sex marriages that are performed in other jurisdictions. A stay is issued.
August 6 – Circuit Court Judge Diana Lewis finds the state’s ban on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional, becoming the fourth judge in the state to rule in that direction.
August 8 – Gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist insists Governor Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi do not need to defend the state’s same-sex marriage ban any longer. In an interview with The Miami Herald, Crist said the two could make the choice to “make sure new and better things happen in Florida.”
August 8 – Attorney General Pam Bondi, citing her wish to “preserve taxpayer and judicial resources,” asks that no more Florida judges rule on same-sex marriage since the U.S. Supreme Court has not ruled on the issue.
August 9 – Poverello’s 24th annual Bowling to Fight Hunger, presented by Wells Fargo and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, is held at Sawgrass Lanes in Tamarac.
August 11 – The City of Orlando approves the request to add gender identity to its anti-discrimination ordinance.
August 11 – The Miss Florida F.I. Pageant is held at the Deauville Beach Resort in Miami Beach. After a seven year absence, the pageant is revived, with the last titleholder, Victoria Michaels, crowning Brittany Moore at the end of the event.
August 14-17 – Thousands of sexy men party in Key West during Tropical Heat Week.
August 16 – The Pridelines Masquerade Ball is held at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables.
August 16 – Score in Miami Beach celebrates its sixteenth anniversary.
August 18 – West Palm Beach’s city council requires city contactors to give the same benefits to same-sex domestic partners as they would to married opposite-sex spouses.
August 21 – U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle, in Tallahassee, becomes the first federal judge to deem Florida’s same-sex marriage ban to be unconstitutional. Four state judges already ruled in a similar direction.
August 22 – Attorney General Pam Bondi, speaking to reporters after the previous day’s federal court ruling, said to her enemies, “This is me doing my job as attorney general. And I will continue to do that and if anybody wants me to moderate my message or stand for less I have a message for them: I am just getting started.”
August 22-24 – The Flamingo Resort in St. Petersburg celebrates its fifth anniversary.
August 27 – Swedish home furnishings brand IKEA opens its first store in Miami-Dade County just off the Dolphin Expressway and Florida’s Turnpike in Sweetwater.
August 28-31 – Georgie’s Alibi in St. Petersburg celebrates fourteen years in business with a weekend of events.
September 5 – Six young professionals are honored at the second annual SAVE Luminaries of Equality Awards, held at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden.
September 6 – The 11th annual AIDS Walk Tampa Bay is held at Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg, benefiting the AIDS Service Association of Pinellas.
September 13 – Metro Wellness and Community Centers hosts their second annual Wild Gala at One Progress Plaza in St. Petersburg.
September 14 – Ramrod in Fort Lauderdale celebrates its twentieth anniversary with special guest, adult movie star Sam Colt.
September 17 – The Hillsborough County Commission votes to create a county-wide domestic partnership registry.
September 19-20 – Margaret Cho performs two special nights of stand-up comedy at the Palm Beach Improv at West Palm Beach’s CityPlace.
September 20 – Johnny’s in Fort Lauderdale celebrates 34 years in business with a comedic roast of owner Sean David.
September 20 – Julian Cavazos’s third annual Reverse Quinceañera, benefiting SunServe, is held at the Sanctuary Second Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale.
September 20 – The Headdress Ball, benefiting the Hope and Help Center of Central Florida, celebrates its twenty-fifth anniversary with a sold-out dinner and show at the Hilton Orlando. Singer Debbie Gibson gives a special concert at the end of the evening and at an after-party.
September 23 – The second annual Pink Flamingo Awards, presented by the LGBT Visitor Center and hosted by ANT, is held at the Miami Beach Convention Center.
September 27 – Maria Mark, John Delaney and Patrick Geraghty are honored with Voice for Equality Awards at the Equality Florida Jacksonville Gala, held at the Florida Yacht Club.
October 1 – The Hillsborough County Commission votes to include LGBT people in its human rights ordinance.
October 2-9 – The Village Pub in Wilton Manors celebrates two years in business with an entire week of events, including appearances by Del Shores and Amy and Freddy.
October 4 – New Executive Director Terry DeCarlo is introduced at the GLBT Community Center of Central Florida’s Black and White Ball, held at the Orlando Museum of Art.
October 4 – The fourth annual Celebrate Orgullo, South Florida’s Hispanic LGBT Pride Festival, is held at the corner of Collins Avenue and 73rd Street in Miami Beach.
October 4-5 – Jacksonville’s River City Pride celebrates its 35th anniversary with performances by Lady Bunny, Thelma Houston and Tom Goss.
October 6-12 – Over 150,000 people attend Come Out with Pride Orlando, which celebrated its tenth anniversary this year. Clean Bandit, Meghan Trainor, Capital Cities and Lil’ Kim were among the performers who sang to crowds throughout the week. Talk show host Wendy Williams also made a brief appearance while in town for the Susan G. Komen Walk.
October 8 – The state of Florida, after a court ruling, issues a new death certificate to Arlene Goldberg, naming her the legal spouse of the recently deceased Carol Goldwasser.
October 10 – The sixth annual Fort Lauderdale Gay and Lesbian Film Festival begins. The largest festival in the organization’s history presents nearly 100 films across two weekends.
October 13 – After originally asking the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in on the issue, Attorney General Pam Bondi instead asks the Florida Supreme Court to take up the question of marriage equality.
October 18 – Sarasota Pride celebrates its 25th anniversary with a festival at J.D. Hamel Park.
October 25 – SAVE’s annual Halloween Ball celebrates its twentieth anniversary this year. The party, whose theme was “Once Upon a Midnight Scary,” was held at the Alfred I. Dupont Building in downtown Miami.
October 26 – Michael Putney, anchor at WPLG-TV in Miami, calls out Governor Rick Scott live on-air during a broadcast of This Week in South Florida. He says, in part, “Governor Scott is the top elected official in the state. If he didn’t want Attorney General Bondi to file those appeals he can simply call her up and say, “hey stop it.” Or he can order her to stop it,” going on to call his refusal to take a side in the affair “appalling.”
October 31 – The eighth annual Wicked Manors (this year’s theme being “Freak Show”) brings 25,000 party-goers to Wilton Drive.
November 3 – Cape Coral votes to form a domestic partnership registry.
November 4 – Election results across Florida are overwhelmingly in favor of the Republicans: Rick Scott and Pam Bondi both win second terms as governor and attorney general, respectively, and the Florida Legislature keeps its Republican majority.
November 6 – Orlando’s new performing arts center, the Dr. Phillips Center, opens to the public. The cost to build the Dr. Phillips Center was over $500 million.
November 7-9 – The second annual Florida Leather -n- Fetish Pride Weekend is held at the Flamingo Resort in St. Petersburg.
November 11 – Daniel and Scott Wall-DeSousa of Palm Bay are threatened by the Department of Motor Vehicles, telling them that their licenses could be revoked after they changed their surnames to a hyphenated state using legal documents procured in New York, a state with marriage equality. The couple went on to sue the state.
November 14-15 – The SMART Ride 11 brings bicyclists on a 165-mile trek from Miami to Key West, all to benefit various HIV/AIDS charities and non-profits in the state of Florida.
November 14 – At the end of The SMART Ride’s first day, Mark Haines, owner of the website Mark’s List, is tragically killed when he is struck by multiple cars on US 1 in the Florida Keys.
November 16 – Transgender teen activist Jazz Jennings is honored with the Voice for Equality Award at the Equality Florida Broward Gala, held at the Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six in Fort Lauderdale.
November 18 – Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehitnen speaks with WFOR-TV in Miami at length about her views on LGBT rights, which she says were significantly impacted after her child announced that he was transgender and started transitioning from female to male.
November 22 – Planned Parenthood’s Barbara Zdravecky is honored at the Equality Florida Suncoast Gala, held on top of the Palm Avenue Parking Garage in downtown Sarasota.
November 22 – City Side in Tampa celebrates their 24th anniversary.
November 25-December 1 – The very first Gay Days® Fort Lauderdale is held at the W Fort Lauderdale and at various other venues across South Florida. Part of the proceeds went to local charities such as The Pride Center, SunServe, Poverello and more.
November 26-December 1 – The 30th annual White Party Week celebrations are held at various venues across Miami-Dade County. The parties are fundraisers for primary care provider Care Resource.
November 28-30 – Dozens of softball teams from across the country compete in Fort Lauderdale at the twenieth annual Hurricane Showdown.
November 29 – The Leather Masked Ball is held at Bill’s Filling Station. The theme this year is “Cellblock 9,” a nod to this year being the ninth annual celebration. Proceeds are donated to the Leather Archives and Museum and a variety of local non-profits.
December 1 – The Florida Competitive Workforce Act, aimed at protecting LGBT people in the workplace, is filed in both houses of the Florida Legislature. The House sponsor is Rep. Holly Raschein (R-Key Largo) and the Senate sponsor is Sen. Joseph Abruzzo (D-Boynton Beach).
December 2 – Miami-Dade County adds transgender people to their non-discrimination ordinance.
December 6 – The tenth annual AIDS Walk Sarasota/Manatee brings hundreds of walkers over the Ringling Bridge.
December 6 – The Red & Green Party, an annual holiday party that benefits St. Pete Pride, is held at Sunken Gardens in St. Petersburg.
December 8 – After a second favorable court ruling by Judge Dale Cohen, it becomes apparent that gay couples could begin marrying in Florida as early as January 6, 2015.
December 9 – The seventh annual Hotspots Holiday Celebration is held at the W Fort Lauderdale. The proceeds raised from the event benefited The Pride Center at Equality Park.
December 12 – St. Petersburg’s LGBT Welcome Center, operated by Metro Wellness and Community Centers, has its grand opening. This Welcome Center is only the third of its kind in the country (after Seattle and Miami Beach).
December 14 – The fifth annual Santa Speedo Run, and introducing Mrs. Claus in Bras, a fundraiser for AIDS Service Association of Pinellas, showcases hundreds of runners on Palm Avenue and 8th Avenue in Tampa’s Ybor City district.
December 15 – The twelfth annual Cocktails for Compass benefit is held at Club Colette in Palm Beach.
December 16 – The Hotspots Central Florida Holiday Celebration is held at the Aloft Orlando Downtown.
December 17 – Judge Dale Cohen, who already ruled in favor of the plaintiff Heather Brassner earlier this year and again on December 8, grants her a divorce from Megan Lade. The court decision results in Florida’s first-ever “gay divorce.”