From Daily Kos: Florida Democratic Party Finally Speaks up for GLBT Rights

Florida Democratic Party Finally Speaks up for GLBT Rights

In a surprise move, Karen Thurman, the Chair of the Florida Democratic Party, released a statement affirming the party's commitment to GLBT equality.

While this may not seem like much for many of you in other parts of the county, this is a major step for us here in Florida. During the campaign last year on Amendment 2, the so-called "Marriage Protection Amendment" that enshrined discrimination in the Florida constitution, the Florida Democratic Party was silent throughout the campaign.

Our party has lived in fear of being tagged with the "gay" label, knowing the negative impact that can have, especially in the more conservative areas north of the I-4 corridor.

But at this weekend's Jefferson-Jackson dinner, the FDP's major fundraising event of the year, it appears that the voices of the Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus were finally heard by the party. The Caucus had one particularly effective display that showed on one side, the California Democratic Party's response to their Supreme Court ruling on Prop 8 and a blank area on the other side, showing the FDP's response to our Amendment 2.

Perhaps they have realized that the lines in Florida are already pretty clearly drawn on these issues. Those that oppose GLBT equality are not likely to be supporting Democratic candidates and issues in this state. There isn't a lot of downside risk.

One can only hope that for a change, our party is willing to stand on the side of what is right and to finally raise a voice in support of equality.

The full statement issued by the FDP:

"During this month-long celebration of PRIDE and throughout the year, Florida Democrats are fighting for equality and civil rights for all residents of the Sunshine State.

"As the Party of inclusion, Democrats know that all are created equal and we have fought against discrimination based on race, sex, ethnicity, national origin, language, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, and disability.

"Over the past several years, Democrats stood up to change Washington. In doing so, the cause of ending discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans has taken a giant leap forward.  

"With a Democrat in the White House and Democratic Majorities in Congress who are committed to equality and justice, we have reached significant milestones. President Obama and our Democratic Congress are concentrating on a number of measures to ensure equality for all-such as supporting federal rights for GLBT couples, stronger hate crimes laws, ridding our military of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' in a way that both ensures national security and strengthens our Armed forces, banning discrimination in the work place, fighting HIV/AIDS and ensuring adoption rights. And while the debate over marriage equality takes different forms across the country, Democrats support recognizing same-sex couples so all of Florida's families are able to receive the same rights and protections.

"While there have been great strides made in promoting equal rights for all Americans, we still have much more to do especially here in Florida.

"As Democrats we are fighting to ensure that Florida's children have safe and secure homes and receive care from families who love them, regardless of their sexual orientation.

"Our Democrats in the Legislature are fighting for domestic partnerships to ensure committed, unmarried couples throughout Florida have access to basic legal rights,  like hospital visitation. And Democrats in Tallahassee are fighting to stop work-place discrimination at the state level.

"As Democrats, we look forward to a nation where discrimination of any kind is a thing of the past. GLBT Pride month is a reminder that we still have a way to go."


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