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Florida quietly begins protecting gay couples

Timothy Kincaid

July 9th, 2012

green = 2012, pink = prior

Florida is not known for its support and recognition of same-sex couples. On June 7, 1977, Anita Bryant led a campaign to repeal an anti-discrimination ordinance in Dade County, beginning a culture war that still is raging today. In 2008, it joined the wave of anti-gay ballot measures prohibiting both marriage and civil unions by a 62% vote.

But, without a lot of media or fanfare, cities and counties within the state have been rapidly stepping up to offer such protections as can be granted at a local level. And while some of the progress has been over the past couple of years, there are six cities and two counties that begin offering domestic partner registration during the first half of this year alone.

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of this change is that it is entirely unexciting altogether. In today’s rapidly accepting world, where the question is whether Great Britain or Australia* will be the next nation to enact marriage equality (or if US courts will beat them to it), it hardly seems worth noticing that Gulfport or Volusia County now offer registries. But to the citizens of those cities and counties it is very very important.

And as a cultural marker, it is astounding. Today, Anita Bryant is a symbol of discrimination and bigotry, and 44% of Florida residents live in a city or county that recognizes the relationships of their gay citizens.

* – Yes Australia is a long shot and the Brits are the odds on favorites, but there is a lot of buzz going on down under and my instinct has me hedging my bet.

Comments

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daftpunkydavid
July 9th, 2012 | LINK

what about france? isn’t marriage equality supposed to be passed into law by the fall of 2013?

Lawrence A. Glinzman
July 9th, 2012 | LINK

In Volusia County, our Domestic Partnership ordinance took effect July first and Carlos and I were the first couple to register, having worked on its passage for about 2 years.

The amazing thing was, not one person showed up at the hearings to speak against it and many straight allies and people we had never seen before came to speak on its behalf. Same with the Human Rights Ordinance the year before which added LGBT citizens to the list of protected classes for housing, employment and public accomodations in Volusia County (with penalties and the right to sue in County courts for damages)

Timothy Kincaid
July 9th, 2012 | LINK

Lawrence,

Congratulations! and thanks for your work in Florida.

F Young
July 9th, 2012 | LINK

France (2012 or Spring 2013) and Ireland (2013) will get marriage equality before England, Northern Ireland, Wales and the SCOTUS.

Marriage equality will not arrive to the UK as a whole, but country by country, starting with Scotland in 2013.

Australia is not near marriage equality.

F Young
July 9th, 2012 | LINK

I have since checked and the French government has promised marriage equality in the first half of 2013. The opposition does not have the votes to stop it.

Patrick
July 10th, 2012 | LINK

I grew up in Miami and starting kind of knowing I was gay shortly after Mr. Bryant came down and messed up the lives of many. I was a boy when she did that. She never wanted to protect me. She wanted to force me to be something I never could be. Had she not done that chances are I would have had some wonderful teen years open and free. I was in my mid 20′s b4 I even knew what she did. Her hate destroyed my childhood. It had to be about what she wanted not what was best for me a child. I know her for the devil she is now!

Timothy Kincaid
July 10th, 2012 | LINK

Bwa-ha-ha, my maniacal scheme has worked!! I have tricked the readers into doing my research for me!!

Seriously, thanks for the comments and predictions. Whichever nation is next, with each increase the world changes. And wherever each of us lives, the concept of equality is reinforced and the defense of disparity weakens.

tavdy79
July 10th, 2012 | LINK

There are quite a few dominos wwaiting to fall. In addition to Australia and England & Wales, there’s Scotland, France, Luxembourg, and New Zealand has recently joined the race as well.

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