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Miami-Dade Commission Passes Domestic Partner Ordinance

Some great news coming out of South Florida...

MiamidadeChip Arndt just wrote in to say that the Miami-Dade County commission just voted 8-4 to extend health insurance benefits and other legal rights to the domestic partners who live with county employees, including gay couples. The measure establishes a domestic partner registry for the county.

Said Chip, who serves as the President of the Freedom Democrats and Executive Board of Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus: "I commend the commissioners on their vote to extend benefits to all registered domestic partners in Miami Dade. It is an historic day for all families. It has been 10 years of hard work by all citizens who believe in fairness. We together now can say to all Miami Dade employees that your family unit matters, that your community respects your family, and are you too deserve medical benefits and visitation rights for your loved ones."

One commissioner was reportedly absent from the vote. He was expected to vote against it.

According to the Miami Herald: "The bill would give all Miami-Dade residents the right to visit their partner in jails and hospitals. It would also allow county employees to buy insurance coverage for their partner and that partner's children."

Earlier this month, Anthony Verdugo, executive director of the Christian Family Coalition threatened county commissioners if they should vote for the measure: "Every commissioner who does vote for the proposal will be held accountable."

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Comments

  1. I commend Miami-Dade for taking this small (but significant) move forward. Local domestic partnerships ordinances are the first step towards a more equitable system when it comes to dealing with "alternative families."

    While statewide domestic partnerships or civil unions seem unlikely in Florida, given the state government's dismal record on gay rights and strong religious right, I think this will have a positive impact for some same-sex couples nevertheless. And I always applaud that.

    Posted by: John | May 20, 2008 12:50:45 PM


  2. Along with much credit to Equality Florida and SAVEDade, one individual who deserves a great deal of applause for his own tireless efforts to get this passed in the state where a day without homophobia is like a day without sunshine is Chip Arndt—best known as the cowinner of "The Amazing Race 4" but also President of Miami's gay Freedom Democrats, a regular fundraiser for HIV/AIDS agencies, cofounder of the Gay American Heroes Foundation, and official Obama delegate to the Democratic National Convention—once the Party figures out how to seat them. I vote for laps. :- )

    Bravo!

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | May 20, 2008 1:53:35 PM


  3. MICHAEL, hear! hear!

    This is a great step forward in the Sunshine State and Chip Arndt deserves a lot of the credit.

    Muchisimas gracias to Equality Florida, SAVE Dade, Chip and all those who fought for this advancement in fairness and equality.

    By the way, the UCC of Florida and some of the local congregations in the Miami-Dade area were actively involved in this campaign. They deserve some love as well.

    Posted by: Zeke | May 20, 2008 2:18:34 PM


  4. From the looks of it, I think they oughta get that red-tipped thing looked at by a doctor. Fast. Early treatment, early cure.

    Posted by: hill_w | May 20, 2008 4:03:32 PM


  5. Yes, it is a historic day for all Miami Dade residents and thank you for the nice comments.

    The real leaders and heroes, however, to pass this ordinance are: Equality Florida, Nadine Smith (Executive Director, Stratton Pollitzer (Deputy Director) and Tobias Packer (South Florida Field Organizer); SAVE Dade and their Executive Director, Heddy Pena and her team; and hundreds of dedicated Miami Dade citizens, straight and LGBT, who have spread the word of compassion and fairness the past ten years.

    Now, onward to defeating the Florida Marriage ballot Amendment #2 in November.

    Please consider a donation to Equality Florida, www.eqfl.org, and/or SAVE Dade, www.savedade.org, who are both in the trenches to defeat that measure.

    Posted by: Chip Arndt | May 20, 2008 5:51:52 PM


  6. What is it with this state and gay rights?

    Why does Florida have this reputation as being like another California with lots of gays when there is all this antigay opposition down there?

    Anita Bryant started it and it's still going on to this day. She did make an impact and the people in Florida still can barely make a move towards equality without the religious right pouncing immediately after it happens.

    I know that the state amendment banning gay marriage will pass overwhelmingly. The gays in Florida seem to be very unwilling to fight very hard. C'mon people, get your act together.

    This is the strangest state in the country- Is it California or is it really Alabama?

    Posted by: Juliana | May 20, 2008 6:09:11 PM


  7. Juliana....I am unsure where you are from, but the "gays" in Florida actually are fighting very hard and we are fighting side-by-side with many straight allies, who have joined us.

    Also, HRC (Human Rights Campaign Fund) and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force also have been very helpful in the fight to defeat Ammendment #2 and BOTH are in the trenches with us.

    You may want to read up on all that is happening to defeat the measure and all that the "gays and straights" are doing across this very large state TOGETHER (with a very conservative northern part) --- as they say in Florida, "...the further north you go, the deeper south you are", meaning, yes, the northern parts of the state are not bastions of tolerance for all....check out for more information on all that we are doing each week...

    www.eqfl.org (Equality Florida)and

    www.floridaredandblue.com (Florida Red and Blue)

    And make a small donation to help us! :-)

    Posted by: Chip Arndt | May 20, 2008 6:44:48 PM


  8. Congratulations Chip and everyone involved in this important step towards equality. YOU GUYS ROCK!!!!!

    Posted by: JerzeeMike | May 20, 2008 9:39:50 PM


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