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COLUMN

Happytown

The week the city got all gay on the county, Polk Sheriff Grady Judd continued to get all hot on the porn and the Siegel's unfinished mansion overshadowed the region's hunger crisis. Sex and money, then!

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What’s big and gay and glad all over? Orlando is, bitches. Not only are we anticipating the return of the Come Out With Pride parade on November 13 – which is a “return” because either October didn’t actually happen or Jesus wept and blew his nose all over Orlando to drown out our sins – but now we have official word from the city of Orlando that, holy shit, gay people can get married!At least that’s what we heard WFTV Channel 9 newsman Bob Opsahl say on the teevee the other night: “… an ordinance that will afford gay people the same rights as straight couples” (followed by judgment face). The city’s been making winking eyes at the notion of a domestic partner registry since back in early summer, but last week it finally issued a draft of its intentions to further codify gays into real human beings via official documentation. That’s great, of course, but it’s not like the magical fairy taxation switch that straight people get just by getting hitched in their backyards. No, this is more of a depression march that allows (allows!) queers to visit their partners in jail and the hospital, make life-support decisions, look after their property in the case of incapacitation and arrange their funerals. Gays are so lucky!

Well, maybe. The hitch is that, though the city has been working closely with Equality Florida to draft this ordinance as part of its chapter 57 nondiscrimination code (under the relatively new drumbeat of “gays are great for economic development”), what the city really wants – as communicated from the mayor’s hottie Chief of Staff Frank Billingsley in a memo – is for the county to draft an extremely similar code at almost exactly the same time, thereby allowing the registry to be absorbed into the county’s more expansive network of offices. You know, like the courthouse. Also, it will be cheaper that way and, the city promises, it won’t cost the county a thing. The gays will pick up the tab when they pay to either register or break up. Sound like fun?

Not so fast. Billingsley is requesting that the county confirm its intentions by Nov. 11 so that the city can race forward with its part in December just in time for Gay Christmas.We called Orange County spokesman Steve Triggs and he said that, though Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs may be newly hot for the gays, “there are a lot of other things on her plate right now.” That veiled hesitance was echoed by Jeff Newton, county attorney, who, having just received the documents from the city on Oct. 26, hadn’t really had a chance to look at them. There is due diligence to be done! Whether said crumbs from the fairness plate – even if paid for by the gays – can scatter where they need to by Nov. 11 will depend on how long the assistant county attorney, Peter Lichtman, who has been assigned the case (he oversaw a similar ordinance in Broward County), takes to figure it out. In other words, “Whether that’s realistic, I don’t know,” Newton says. In related news: Gays aren’t real.

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