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Activists Demand Gay Adoption, End to Discrimination in Florida

Hundreds of people (though less than the thousand hoped for) descended upon Tallahassee, Florida yesterday to lobby legislators for repeal of the state's gay adoption ban and passage of anti-discrimination laws inclusive of sexual orientation.

Tallahassee Tallahassee.com reports: "Despite the 62 percent public vote for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, several legislators told the demonstrators they should be optimistic about their long-term political prospects. Sens. Nan Rich, D-Weston; Elenaore Sobel, D-Hallendale Beach; and Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach, told the mostly young crowd of about 250 marchers that trends of history are on their side. Stuart Milk, the nephew of slain San Francisco city supervisor Harvey Milk, urged the demonstrators to go into the Capitol and lobby legislators for bills to combat 'hate crimes,' repeal the ban on gay adoption and forbid discrimination in housing or employment on the basis of sexual orientation. Frank 'Martin' Gill, the plaintiff in a pending lawsuit aimed at repealing the adoption ban, said he and his partner have been foster parents for 10 children but when a South Florida circuit judge granted their request to adopt two boys, the state immediately appealed under the law forbidding adoption by gays."

Watch a video of the demonstration, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Unfortunately, Florida does *not* have a lot to look forward to in the future.

    Despite the fact that the state is one of the closest political matches in the entire country, the entire freaking state is gerrymandered to a completely ridiculous degree. It's close to 50/50 in terms of voting for Democrats in national elections (and maybe even local races), but they put the Democratic areas so spread out (or so densely packed) as to make it impossible for Democrats to get anywhere near 50% of the seats.

    I believe there's a proposed constitutional amendment that would change the way district seats are drawn that's coming up (making it nonpartisan), but if it fails, the census will be done at some point around 2010, with redistricting happening soon thereafter. The state legislature does the redistricting and it stays that way for *ten years*, with no hopes of it changing without that public vote.

    If people from around the country want to help Florida become more tolerant and get things like gay adoption rights (never mind gay marriage!), fighting to help end the Republican stranglehold on redistricting in that state is the way to do it. Instantly, Florida would become a far more Democratic place and we could win many of the former Dem seats back, perhaps even winning the legislature, which would allow us to get basic civil rights for Florida gays.

    Here's the website for more info. http://www.fairdistrictsflorida.org/

    Bear in mind that because this is a constitutional amendment, it requires 60% of the vote. So this is almost a Herculean effort, but the best chance gay people have!

    (I wish I lived in Florida so I could volunteer for this. As it stands, I'm in Massachusetts. But they'll need money and probably phone callers from around the country.)

    Posted by: Ryan | Mar 17, 2009 12:47:07 PM

  2. I missed the protest because, while I can read towleroad from my work, I can't log in to facebook. It might be outside your mission statement, Andy, but would you be able to start a weekly reminder of LGBT protests being organized across the nation?

    Posted by: Kuhnsy | Mar 17, 2009 2:02:04 PM

  3. While I understand the intent, it's a shame this protest took place in Tallahassee. Yes, it's our capital; but, it simply is too out of the way to create a mass of protestors.

    Additionally, the gay community in Florida seems quite disjointed. I think the lack of coordination between groups in North, Central, and South Florida was one of the reasons why Amendment 2 (anti-gay marriage) passed.

    I created a website about Florida and Amendment 2: http://www.marriage4all.org. Yet, I've had the most difficult time getting it promoted. Several gay organizations across the state simply failed to respond to my request to help educate people. It's a shame.

    Posted by: alex | Mar 17, 2009 10:21:19 PM

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