Vote No On 2 Campaign's Fan Box

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Gay Lovers in Exile - The Daily Beast

Recent same-sex marriage victories don’t include the right to sponsor your spouse for a green card, leaving binational gay couples wondering where exactly home is.
Gay Lovers in Exile - The Daily Beast
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Friday, April 10, 2009

We are switching to the Equality Florida Blog

Equality Florida Blog

Please switch over to the Equality Florida Blog.
That's where you will get Breaking New and features that matter to you.

Make the switch and tell your friends.
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Rachel Maddow & Behind the Scenes of Anti-Gay Marriage Video

Rachel Maddow & Behind the Scenes of Anti-Gay Marriage Video

Worth seeing since the anti-Marriage Equality folks are trying to get all the videos of their auditions off the internet.

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Rachel Maddow & Behind the Scenes of Anti-Gay Marriage Video

Rachel Maddow & Behind the Scenes of Anti-Gay Marriage Video

Worth seeing since the anti-Marriage Equality folks are trying to get all the videos of their auditions off the internet.

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Thursday, April 9, 2009

YouTube - Response to the Lies told in "NOM - Gathering Storm" ad

The National Organization for Marriage recently released a new fear mongering (if not over-blown and dramatic) ad against same sex marriage full of lies and propaganda. Here is one clever lad's response.
YouTube - Response to the Lies told in "NOM - Gathering Storm" ad

Equality Florida: Send A "Thank You" Postcard to Vermont

Big Victory

Send A "Thank You" Postcard to Vermont

We're sending a great big "Thank You" from the Sunshine State to Vermont for becoming the first and only state to recognize full marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples through the legislative process.

Sign this ePostcard and we'll deliver your note to Vermont's Senate President Shumlin and House Speaker Smith, who stood out as real champions in this effort, along with thousands of other "Thank You" notes from Florida.

We know anti-gay groups are already targeting these leaders. Let them know we stand behind them all the way.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

BREAKING NEWS: Gainesville Voters Reject Charter Amendment 1, Uphold LGBT Protections


Victory In Gainesville
Voters Reject Fear Tactics and Discrimination

March 24, 2009

(GAINESVILLE, FL) Equality Florida joins with local leaders in Gainesville and fair-minded people across the state and nation in celebrating today's decisive victory over discrimination and fear embodied in Gainesville Charter Amendment 1.

Voters rejected the amendment by a vote of 58% to 42%. If passed, Charter Amendment 1 would have repealed existing civil rights protections for Gainesville's gay and transgender community.

For over a year, backers of the amendment have waged a fear-based campaign filled with outright lies and media campaigns that dehumanized gay and transgender people. Specifically, these extremists drew a target on the backs of transgender people with bigoted messages intended to instill fear in the hearts of Gainesville citizens.

Led by Equality Is Gainesville's Business, a coalition of local, state and national organizations worked together to stop discrimination from being legalized in Gainesville.

The sweeping language of the ballot initiative, imported to Florida by a far right conservative group in Michigan, would have also prohibited the City of Gainesville from ever providing nondiscrimination protections beyond those listed in the Florida Civil Rights Act.

"Supporters of Charter Amendment 1 waged a campaign that blatantly lied to voters about the protections Gainesville has provided transgender citizens." said Joe Saunders EQGB campaign manager. "By targeting transgender people, proponents of Charter Amendment 1 have proven the need for inclusive anti-discrimination laws. Voter's embraced Gainesville's anti-discrimination laws tonight when they rejected Amendment 1."

Saunders is also the field director for Equality Florida.

"This is a local victory but it's significance reaches across our state and our nation. Those pushing Amendment 1 are part of a national effort to repeal LGBT protection in communities across the country," said Nadine Smith, executive director for Equality Florida. "This victory sends a strong signal that we will not allow extremists to turn back the progress we have made to secure equality for everyone."

The local team waged a strong grassroots campaign reaching voters and unmasking the real human impact of the proposed amendment.

"Today Gainesville voters showed that they value the rights of all citizens," said EQGB Chair and Gainesville City Commissioner Craig Lowe. "They have rejected the politics of fear and instead chose to retain the values that make our city such a beautiful place. Today, our voters showed their true character by emphasizing that, in Gainesville, every person matters."

A broad array of organizations came out to publicly oppose Charter Amendment 1. These organizations include: the Anti-Defamation League - Florida, the ACLU of Florida, Equality Florida, the Human Rights Campaign, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the National Center for Transgender Equality, Lambda Legal, National Center for Lesbian Rights, Organizations United Together (O.U.T.), UM (University of Miami) for Equality, Florida Association of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, Florida NOW, Gainesville Area NOW, Judy Levy NOW PAC, Alachua County Democratic Party, Alachua County Green Party, Alachua County/Gainesville League of Women Voters, Alachua County NAACP, Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce, Gainesville Area AIDS Project (GAAP), Gainesville Commission on the Status of Women, Human Rights Council of North Central Florida, Interweave, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Gainesville, North Central Florida Central Labor Council, Pride Center of North Central Florida, Social Justice Council of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Gainesville, Trinity Metropolitan Community Church, United Church of Gainesville Social Concerns Committee, University of Florida Students for Change, Students for a Democratic Society @ UF, Wild Iris Books and Wild Words Café, University of Florida Faculty Senate, University of Florida Presidential LGBT Concerns, and University of Florida Student Senate.

Equality Florida is Florida's only statewide human rights organization dedicated to the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. Through education and advocacy, the organization is committed to building a state of equal rights for all Floridians, inclusive of all sexual orientations and gender identities.


Gainesville Voters Take A Stand Against Discrimination

It's still unofficial, but right now with 82% of precincts reporting about 61% has voted down City Charter Amendment 1. Here's the election returns.

For over a year, supporters of Charter Amendment 1 have waged a fear-based campaign that blatantly lied to voters about the intent and impact of Charter Amendment 1 and specifically targeted transgender people with harmful discrimination. The sweeping language of the ballot initiative, which was written by a far right conservative group in Michigan, would have prohibited the City of Gainesville from providing nondiscrimination protections beyond the minimal protections set forth in the Florida Civil Rights Act.

Again.  It's still unofficial, but I  feel confident in saying the ugly tactics to dehumanize transgender people have failed.  Today the City of Gainesville has once again proven itself as a beacon of progress.  

Friday, February 27, 2009

Breaking News: Ryan Skipper's Killer Found Guilty

Ryan Skipper's Killer Found Guilty

Today, Joseph Bearden, one of the two accused killers of Ryan Skipper, was found guilty of second-degree murder and robbery.

On March 15, 2007, Ryan Skipper was stabbed 19 times and left to die on a dirt road in Polk County, Florida. His death is a bloody reminder of the anti-gay hatred faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in our state.

Just days ago, a prosecution witness revealed that shortly after the killing, Joseph Bearden, the defendants, said, "He felt he was doing the world a favor by getting rid of one more faggot."

The 19 stab wounds that Ryan Skipper suffered are what the FBI calls 'overkill'. That's when the violence in an assault is beyond what would be necessary for a robbery and more than would even be required to take someone's life. Overkill is a key indicator of a hate crime.

During his closing statement, State Attorney Castillo said the brutality of Ryan's murder indicated, "hatred, contempt and utter disregard for another human being because he was gay."

Hate crimes are directed at groups of people. They are intended to make an entire community afraid simply because of who they are.

But hate crimes are only effective as a two-step dance: first the offender sends fear into people's hearts with a heinous act of violence. Then leaders around them act like nothing more happened than a car theft gone wrong. No action. No public acknowledgment of what has happened. No commitment to ensuring this never happens again. Their silence is as terrifying as the violence itself.

Click here to take action.

Tell Gov Crist and Attorney General McCollum that they must refuse to be the second-step in the cycle of anti-gay hate violence. Tell them to speak out, to turn the tide and declare that gay and transgender people are valued members of our society and that hate violence will not be tolerated against any group.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Orlando Sentinel coverage of the Ryan Skipper Trial

FULL STORY:,0,6216987.story

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Missing Link

Gay and Transgender Issues in the Workplace


It Takes One to Know One

                             By Brian McNaught

     In my youth, if someone called you a "homo" or a "moron," the reply was usually, "It takes one to know one," meaning "You'd have to be a homo to recognize another homo." It was an inane comment but it usually shut them up more effectively than "So is your mother."

     Today, that same phrase – "It takes one to know one" - has a completely different and much richer meaning for me.

     Alan Goldstein was the Jewish boy who lived behind me growing up in Flint, Michigan. He was my best friend for many years. It was through the time I spent with Alan and his family that I initially learned about Jewish celebrations such as Hanukkah, and also about the sting of anti-Semitism which I saw in Alan's face when another Christian eight-year-old in the neighborhood called him a "kike." …


(To finish reading this offering, please go to



Nadine Smith
Executive Director
Equality Florida
PO Box 13184,
St. Petersburg FL 33733 
Ph: 813-870-3735
Fax: 727-499-6925

Visit and become a member today! 

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Women say mall cops arrested them for kissing

Women say S.A. mall cops arrested them for kissing
Feb. 3, 2009

SAN ANTONIO - Jessica Garcia intends to prove in court that security officers at Rolling Oaks Mall unfairly targeted her and her girlfriend when they were arrested in December on trespassing and other charges.

Garcia said the officers - a Bexar County sheriff's deputy and an employee from a private security company - began harassing them Dec. 26 because her girlfriend gave her a kiss on the cheek while sitting inside the mall on a bench.

Mall officials said the women, both 22, were acting inappropriately and were told to leave because they were not complying with the shopping center's code of conduct.

Danielle Pardue, the mall's marketing director, denies the women's claims of discrimination and said security officers would evict anyone found kissing in the mall, regardless of sexual orientation.

"If our security officer feels that is disruptive to our shoppers and our business, then they have that authority to make that determination," she said. "It's their responsibility to make sure our shopping place is an enjoyable shopping place for everyone to be."

Pardue also stressed that contrary to what the women claim, they weren't arrested because they were kissing, but because they re-entered the mall after being told to leave.

But Garcia feels otherwise.

She was scheduled to appear in court today, but her lawyer had to postpone the date for later this month.

Garcia said the officers intentionally harassed the couple, accusing them of kissing and having "swapped spit."

Monday, January 12, 2009

Voting for the freedom to marry does not hurt politicians, new study confirms

A new study by Freedom to Marry released today shows that voting for the freedom to marry and against anti-gay/anti-marriage measures does not cost politicians reelection:

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Best Interests of the Child: New York Times Editorial

 January 6, 2009
The Best Interests of the Child
W.H., an infant, was reportedly removed from her parents by Arkansas's Department of Human Services after she was taken to a hospital with injuries that strongly suggested abuse. Fortunately for W.H., her grandmother, a registered nurse, was eager to take her in. But there was a hitch. Her grandmother lives with another woman, and a ballot initiative recently passed in Arkansas makes it illegal for gay and unmarried heterosexual couples to adopt or become foster parents. Arkansas courts should strike down this offensive new law.
Arkansas has a long tradition of allowing child welfare professionals to decide who should become a foster or adoptive parent. Anti-gay forces, however, have campaigned to disqualify gay people. In 2006, the Arkansas Supreme Court struck down a regulation barring gay people from becoming foster parents.
Last year anti-gay activists promoted Act 1, a ballot referendum that broadened the ban to include unmarried heterosexual couples. In November, it passed with about 57 percent of the vote. The A.C.L.U. of Arkansas is challenging the new law, on behalf of a group of would-be parents and children, contending that it discriminates against gay and unmarried straight couples and that it makes it impossible to place children in the best homes.
The new law is undeniably discriminatory. Under Arkansas law, people convicted of major crimes, including contributing to the delinquency of a minor, remain eligible to adopt children or become foster parents. Single people who have no partner — or who have a large number of casual sex partners — are also eligible. Anyone who is in a committed relationship, gay or straight, but is not married is automatically barred.
The new law also interferes with the Department of Human Services' ability to do its job of making individualized assessments of prospective parents and placing children in the homes that are best able to meet their needs. As the W.H. case suggests, an unmarried couple could be the most qualified parents. And because of the shortage of foster parents, the ban is very likely to make children wait substantially longer for a loving home.
Arkansas's new law was a victory for the forces of bigotry and a major setback for the guiding principle of the law in adoption and foster care: the best interests of the child.

Smith to discuss ‘What’s Next For Equal Rights After Amendment 2?’

Smith to discuss 'What's Next For Equal Rights After Amendment 2?'

The Democratic Club of the Islands is featuring Nadine Smith, Executive Director of Equality America, to speak to all interested islanders on Thursday, January 15 at 7 p.m. at the Sanibel Public Library, 770 Dunlop Road.

Previously, Smith was director of The Human Rights Task Force of Florida. She joined the organization in 1993 after serving as one of four national co-chairs on the 1993 march on Washington, D.C. and taking part in the historic, first-ever meeting between LGBT leaders and a sitting U.S. President (Bill Clinton) in the White House.

Smith has led advocacy efforts in Florida at the state level at a time of unprecedented attacks on the gay and lesbian community, serving as Equality Florida's lead lobbyist, heading efforts to stop discriminatory legislation and ballot measures and to overturn Florida's ban on adoption by gay and lesbian parents.

Her experience in community organizing, social change and politics includes her service as campaign manager for Citizens for a Fair Tampa, a successful effort to prevent repeal of that city's human rights ordinance, and her own campaign in 1991 for Tampa City Council. An award-winning journalist, Smith has written syndicated columns for general audience publications.

Democratic Club of the Islands members are also urged to attend this meeting to hear exciting news about the restructuring of the club and to learn new opportunities for activism in the Obama era. Call Brian Anderson at 472-2206 for more information.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

[Undo 2] Bob Barr: No Defending the Defense of Marriage Act

From the Los Angeles Times


No Defending the Defense of Marriage Act

The author of the federal Defense of Marriage Act now thinks it's time for his law to get the boot -- but for political reasons, not in support of gays.
By Bob Barr

January 5, 2009

Excerpt 1

In 1996, as a freshman member of the House of Representatives, I wrote the Defense of Marriage Act, better known by its shorthand acronym, DOMA, than its legal title. The law has been a flash-point for those arguing for or against same-sex marriage ever since President Clinton signed it into law. Even President-elect Barack Obama has grappled with its language, meaning and impact.

I can sympathize with the incoming commander in chief. And, after long and careful consideration, I have come to agree with him that the law should be repealed.

The left now decries DOMA as the barrier to federal recognition and benefits for married gay couples. At the other end of the political spectrum, however, DOMA has been lambasted for subverting the political momentum for a U.S. constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. In truth, the language of the legislation -- like that of most federal laws -- was a compromise.

DOMA was indeed designed to thwart the then-nascent move in a few state courts and legislatures to afford partial or full recognition to same-sex couples. The Hawaii court case Baehr vs. Lewin, still active while DOMA was being considered by Congress in mid-1996, provided the immediate impetus.

Excerpt 2: 
In effect, DOMA's language reflects one-way federalism: It protects only those states that don't want to accept a same-sex marriage granted by another state. Moreover, the heterosexual definition of marriage for purposes of federal laws -- including, immigration, Social Security survivor rights and veteran's benefits -- has become a de facto club used to limit, if not thwart, the ability of a state to choose to recognize same-sex unions.

Even more so now than in 1996, I believe we need to reduce federal power over the lives of the citizenry and over the prerogatives of the states. It truly is time to get the federal government out of the marriage business. In law and policy, such decisions should be left to the people themselves.

In 2006, when then-Sen. Obama voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment, he said, "Decisions about marriage should be left to the states." He was right then; and as I have come to realize, he is right now in concluding that DOMA has to go. If one truly believes in federalism and the primacy of state government over the federal, DOMA is simply incompatible with those notions.

Bob Barr represented the 7th District of Georgia in the House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003 and was the Libertarian Party's 2008 nominee for president.

Posted By Nadine to Undo 2 at 1/06/2009 12:52:00 PM