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Daytona Beach residents Debra Hamblin and Tonya Bridges set their wedding date for 2016 in hopes that by then, their marriage will be legal in Florida.
But even if it's not, they hope that events such as the Volusia Pride Festival will promote awareness and acceptance of families like theirs. The couple attended the third annual festival at New Smyrna Beach's Old Fort Park on Saturday where hundreds of members and supporters of the LGBTQ community came together to promote acceptance and celebrate diversity.
“This is a no-judgment zone,” Bridges said about the festival, “We want people to see that we are an everyday family just with two girls.”
The event, sponsored by Parents, Friends and Family of Lesbian and Gays, is the national group's only sanctioned gay-pride festival in Volusia County and included live entertainment and informational booths from local businesses, nonprofits and several churches.
“It's important for the gay community to know that they are supported and have allies that will support issues such as job security to marriage equality,” said PFLAG President Kathy Seibert.
During the festival Mayor Adam Barringer read a city proclamation that expressed the city's support for the festival and the LGBTQ community at large.
“This is a celebration of all lifestyles and we have a very diverse community,” Barringer said, adding that he hoped the event would send a positive message to all cities and residents in Volusia County.
While the festival is not political in nature, it gave several gay-rights advocates and couples the opportunity to voice their support for the legalization of gay marriage –– a heavily debated issue in Florida that is awaiting a ruling by a U.
By Rick Steelhammer
On Friday, I was feeling kind of bad about taking a cannonball off my recently rejoined weight-watching wagon. I'd given in to the siren call of free donuts, after a box magically appeared next to the newsroom coffee machine, its lid tilted jauntily askance. Then I availed myself of a selection of free hard candies from a bowl at the other end of the office.
By Lydia Nuzum
As dozens of people milled through rows of used books Saturday in the Charleston Civic Center, Cheryl Crigger Morgan reminisced about how, just two years before, the crowds had been bigger, nationally recognized authors had come to share their works and Southern Living magazine had featured the Kanawha County Public Libraries' Book Festival as a "must-see" for the region.