Gay former news anchor Charles Perez and his partner, Miami accountant Keith Rinehard, are pulling up roots in Florida and moving to Connecticut, where they plan to marry September 27, according to Steve Rothaus of The Miami Herald. Perez, who is suing Miami station WPLG-ABC 10 for demoting him from weekday anchor to weekend anchor, allegedly because of his sexual orientation, was then fired after filing the lawsuit. Perez plans to add a retaliation charge to his suit.
Even before his termination, Perez claims that because of his status as a highly visible news anchor, station management had discouraged him from marrying his partner or starting a family, neither of which he could have done in Florida in any case, as the state bans same-sex marriage and adoption by gays. "We just want to be normal people and not work in places where they say 'Don't have kids, don't get married,'" Perez, 46, told Rothaus. "On Friday the 25th, we're going to Westport, Conn. Saturday we're going house shopping. And Sunday we're getting married on the beach -- in linen and flip-flops."
In August, Perez won a two-year restraining order against his ex, Dennis Ricardo Pena, in Miami-Dade domestic violence court. Perez believes it was Pena who made public a private e-mail Perez had sent to his therapist regarding gender identity issues, an incident that appears to have precipitated the souring of relations between Perez and management at WPLG.
Perez plans to change his name to Charles Rinehard after their wedding. "We don't want to raise a family with different last names," Perez told Rothaus.