Florida gay rights activist found dead in landfill

Florida homosexual rights activist discovered lifeless in landfill

A homosexual rights advocate who was integral in legalizing same-sex marriage in Florida was discovered lifeless in a landfill in what’s being investigated as a murder, authorities mentioned Wednesday.

Jorge Diaz-Johnston, 54, the brother of former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, had been final seen alive Jan. 3, Tallahassee police mentioned. Shortly after a lacking individual alert was issued for him Saturday, his physique was present in a trash pile at a landfill in Baker, Florida, about 60 miles west of the Alabama border, based on the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Workplace.

Don Johnston and Jorge Diaz wait to talk to the media and supporters after a court docket listening to on same-sex marriage in Miami on July 2, 2014.J Pat Carter / AP file

Diaz, who served as mayor of Miami from 2001 to 2009, launched an announcement on Twitter confirming his brother’s dying.

“I’m profoundly appreciative of the outpouring of help proven to me, my brother-in-law Don, and my household after the lack of my brother, Jorge Diaz-Johnston,” he wrote. “My brother was such a particular present to this world whose coronary heart and legacy will proceed to stay on for generations to return.”

Whereas he had a high-profile brother, Diaz-Johnston made a reputation for himself. In 2014, he and his husband, Don Diaz-Johnston, and 5 different same-sex {couples} sued the Miami-Dade County clerk’s workplace after they have been barred from getting married.

“For us, it is not simply solely a query of affection and wanting to specific our love and have the advantages that everybody else has within the state, but it surely’s a difficulty of equality, and it’s a civil rights challenge,” Jorge Diaz-Johnston advised NBC Miami on the time.

Identical-sex {couples} who had challenged the marriage ban have a good time after Circuit Court docket Choose Sarah Zabel lifted the keep, permitting homosexual {couples} to marry Jan. 5, 2015, in Miami.Walter Michot / Pool by way of Getty Pictures file

In January 2015, a Miami-Dade circuit court docket decide dominated within the {couples}’ favor, legalizing same-sex marriage within the South Florida county greater than a yr earlier than the Supreme Court docket legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.

Elizabeth Schwartz, who represented the six {couples} within the case, known as Diaz-Johnston’s dying “heartbreaking.”

“They fought so laborious for his or her like to be enshrined and to have the ability to benefit from the establishment of marriage, and for the wedding to finish on this method — on this grotesque, heartbreaking method — there aren’t any phrases,” she advised NBC Miami.

Shortly after successful their case, Jorge and Don Diaz-Johnston married in March 2015, based on public information. Coupled with a picture of his husband grinning on the digicam over dinner, Don Diaz-Johnston addressed his dying on Fb.

“There are simply no phrases for the lack of my beloved husband Jorge Isaias Diaz-Johnston,” he wrote. “I can’t cease crying as I try to write this. However he meant a lot to all of you as he did to me. So I’m preventing by means of the tears to share with you our lack of him.”

The present mayor of Miami, Daniella Levine Cava, acknowledged Diaz-Johnston’s function in advancing LGBTQ rights within the metropolis.

“In Jorge Diaz-Johnston, we misplaced a champion, a frontrunner, and a fighter for our LGBTQ neighborhood,” she wrote on Twitter. “His tragic loss might be felt profoundly by all who beloved him, as we honor his life and legacy.”

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