Wednesday, May 21, 2008


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Miami-Dade Becomes 4th Florida County, 22nd Municipality to Offer DomesticPartner Benefits
(MIAMI) Today, Equality Florida applauded the Miami-Dade County Commission's passage of the Domestic Partners and Family Health Coverage Ordinance. Withtoday's passage, Miami-Dade becomes the 4th and largest county in Florida toprovide Domestic Partner benefits to employees and residents.
" This is a huge victory for our city and these protections will helpthousands of families to better care for one another," said StrattonPollitzer, Deputy Director for Equality Florida. "Even as we celebrate today's decision, we must go to work to protect these hard-won benefits by defeatingAmendment #2 on the November 4th ballot."
Other states have used these so-called "marriage protection" amendmentsto strip Domestic Partner benefits from all unmarried couples, gay andstraight. This past month, Michigan's Supreme Court used their so-called"marriage protection" amendment to strike down domestic partner protectionsacross the state, and evidence has emerged that proponents of Amendment #2are getting ready to do the same here in Florida.
One of Amendment #2's major backers, David Caton, was recentlydiscovered gathering data on Tampa's Domestic Partnership policy. He had toadmit to reporters that he was doing this to prepare for his group's attackon Tampa's Domestic Partnership plan that currently provides health benefitsto Tampa's police officers, firefighters and other municipal employees.
"Amendment #2 supporters can no longer deny that their goal is to repealvital domestic partner protections like those passed today in Miami-Dade,"said Pollitzer.
The new Miami-Dade ordinance provides health insurance and sick leavebenefits to county employees and creates a Domestic Partner Registry whichwill provide registered couples basic benefits like the right to visit theirpartner in the hospital. Monroe, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties alsoprovide Domestic Partner benefits.
Over the past year, Equality Florida has worked with dozens oforganizations to secure protections for all families. Our coalition partnersinclude: Save Dade, Unity Coalition, the Miami Dade Gay and Lesbian Chamberof Commerce, Pridelines, Safe Schools South Florida, SEIU, the HumanServices Coalition, Care Resource, Aqua Foundation, and many otherorganizations and individuals. Equality Florida members sent 7,700 MiamiDade commissioners in advance of todays vote.
Equality Florida is Florida's only statewide human rights organizationdedicated to the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.
Through education and advocacy, the organization is committed to building astate of equal rights for all Floridians, inclusive of all sexualorientations and gender identities.
Stratton Pollitzer
Deputy Director
Equality Florida
954-682-6094 cell

Rally With Obama
Friday May 23rd 5:00 PM
When: Friday, May 23, 5:00 PM
Where: Click the link below to find out!
Bank Atlantic Center
One Panther Parkway Fort Lauderdale , FL 33323
Signup here:
http://barackobama. 254/calendar/ 7971809/

Join Hillary for President in Florida
Wednesday - May 21, 2008
6:00 - University of Miami, Bank United Center

Go to the links for the following articles:

-State investigating Commissioner Cindi Hutchinson
The State Attorney's Office and state Commission on Ethics are investigatingCity Commissioner Cindi Hutchinson's use of her public office for herpolitical campaign.

-Alex Sink should make the cut
If Alex Sink, Florida's chief financial officer, is that rare breed ofFlorida Democrat. A former banker, she's a new face who brings more of abusiness acumen to the Cabinet than many former members. She's also one ofthe few Democrats to run and win a statewide election, and the fact that shedefeated a former president of the Florida Senate who had the support offormer Gov. Jeb Bush shouldn't be overlooked, either.

-Barack Obama campaign plans one of his signature mass rallies in Broward
South Floridians will have a chance to see Barack Obama, the leadingcontender for the Democratic presidential nomination, on Friday.

Fort Report
Go to the links for the following articles:

-Jeb Bush remains key player in education policy; not everyone pleased The news reached former Gov. Jeb Bush in a text message moments after Florida's tax commission approved the second of two private school voucher proposals he favors. One of the 25 commissioners, Patricia Levesque, sent it. She's also executive director of two foundations Bush created to promote conservative education policies he says will prepare students to compete in the global economy.

-Crist signs autism bill into law
Gov. Charlie Crist Tuesday signed into law a bill that will move towardrequiring insurance companies to treat autism disorders, calling it "a boldstep in the right direction."

-Judge Allen faces trial
Judge Michael Allen will go to trial next month before a Judicial
Qualifications Commission tribunal after the Florida Supreme Court todayrejected his effort to block the disciplinary inquiry.

Candidate Also Turns In More Petitions Than Necessary for August 26 Ballot Oakland Park - Mark LaFontaine, candidate for the State Legislature fromDistrict 92, was formally endorsed by the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, thenation's largest GLBT political action committee and the only nationalorganization dedicated to increasing the number of openly GLBT electedofficials at all levels of government. LaFontaine also turned insubstantially more petitions than needed to secure a spot on the August 26ballot, registering 694 valid petitions. Only 615 were required.
"I'm pleased to accept the endorsement of the Victory Fund, becausetheir track record of supporting winning candidates underscores the momentummy campaign has achieved," LaFontaine said. " Florida has never elected anopenly-GLBT representative to Tallahassee , and this endorsement, plus ourstrong petition drive, brings us one step closer to making history."
LaFontaine has long been an advocate for Florida 's GLBT community. Heis national treasurer of American Veterans for Equal Rights (AVER), whichsupports US veterans both gay and straight, and president of the local GoldCoast chapter, the largest in the organization. And he is a board member ofthe Dolphin Democrats, the oldest GLBT Democratic club in the state, as wellits former treasurer.
LaFontaine also was a leader in Scouting for All, which foughtdiscrimination in the Boy Scouts. He was instrumental in leading a diversecoalition including GLBT groups and religious and mental health leaders,which resulted in several government and community organizations pullingtheir funding from the Boy Scouts - including Broward County , the BrowardSchool Board, and United Way of Broward County .
In addition to supporting the GLBT community, LaFontaine is also amember of the Broward County Veterans Council, and is the only veteran inthe District 92 race, having served in the US Coast Guard. A resident ofBroward County since he was six years old, LaFontaine is the owner of asuccessful accounting practice based in Oakland Park, is a board member ofOakland Park Main Street, which is guiding that city's development, and alsohas been a member of the Fort Lauderdale Audit Advisory Board, whichoversees the city's finances.
In addition to Victory Fund support, LaFontaine has been endorsed by USRep. Barney Frank, chair of the House Financial Services Committee, andFlorida Rep. Kelly Skidmore (Dist. 90).
Florida House District 92 includes parts of Deerfield Beach , NorthLauderdale , Oakland Park , Lazy Lake , Poinsettia Heights , Pompano Beach ,Tamarac , Victoria Park and Wilton Manors.


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