Equality Florida to Hold Seventh Annual Tampa Gala

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Equality Florida to Hold Seventh Annual Tampa Gala
Celebration Expected to Boost Support for Hillsborough County Domestic Partner Registry

(TAMPA) Equality Florida, the largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida's lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, will host its seventh annual Tampa Gala Saturday, February 23, 2013 at the historic Italian Club, 1731 East Seventh Avenue, in Ybor City, from 8:00-10:30 p.m.

Equality Florida expects more than 300 people, including political, business, faith and civic leaders and friends of equality. The Gala provides an opportunity for those present to learn about Florida’s status in the fight for full equality for the state’s LGBT community. Attendees will have an opportunity to get involved and learn about Equality Florida’s work, including efforts to make schools safe for LGBT students, end workplace discrimination, and gain legal protections for families.

In January, the Hillsborough County Commission voted 4-3 against a countywide Domestic Partner (DP) Registry. DP Registries allow participants to register their relationships in order to receive a half-dozen or so legal protections, which include notification that a partner has had an emergency, access to a partner in the hospital, and being able to make medical decisions for a partner who is incapacitated. "Our job isn't just to be angry at the vote," Equality Florida Executive Director Nadine Smith told the audience at a community meeting this week. "Our job is to change that vote." Learn more about Hillsborough County’s decision, and Equality Florida’s plans to reverse it, at the Gala.

The 2013 Gala is the culmination of a year long effort by Equality Florida's Tampa Steering Committee, co-chaired by Melissa Judge and Scott Moore. The Gala’s Host Committee includes many of Tampa’s prominent business leaders and community supporters. The event will feature an open bar, hors d’oeuvres, and music by Jurika.

The program will include a "State of the State" address by Equality Florida’s executive director Nadine Smith, and presentation of the Voice of Equality Awards to individuals and organizations that have championed the equality movement. This year’s prestigious “Voice of Equality” award will go to Hillsborough School board member April Griffin for leading the way in creating a safe and inclusive environment for students. Northern Trust and Community Tampa Bay will receive the “Equality Means Business” and “Community Partner for Equality,” awards, respectively.

To make reservations for the 2013 Equality Florida Tampa Gala, please visit www.eqfl.org/tampagala or call  (813) 870-3735.  Tickets are $100.

Equality Florida is the largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.