A Bright Future in the Sunshine State
July 28, 2009
Making Lemonade out of lemons (or more aptly orange juice out of oranges…), supporters of LGBT equality in Florida refused to back down after last November’s passing of the marriage/domestic partnership ban, Amendment 2. A small group of leaders created O.U.T. Florida – Organizations United Together, an organization of small LGBT groups whose mission is to bring equality to Florida by strengthening local groups across the state. In Orlando this weekend, close to 100 individuals, representing 75 Florida LGBT groups (including HRC Orlando, HRC South Flordida, and HRC Tampa), met for a daylong conference of information sharing, brainstorming, and planning. Political, social, advocacy, cultural, health, and other groups, representing such locations as Jacksonville, Gainesville, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, Tampa, Miami, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Orlando, met with each other and found new friends and a new cooperative spirit to work together for change in the Sunshine State. In addition to all of the local information shared, I presented on the national LGBT landscape and urged the attendees to reach out to their own members of Congress about key federal legislation, including the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal, DOMA repeal, and the Domestic Partners Benefits and Obligations Act. At the end of the day, (organized completely by volunteers), the attendees left engaged and energized. Florida is ready to let the sun shine in.