Monday, March 30, 2009

Equality Prevails in Gainesville, Florida

By Stephen Wiseman, ENC intern

By a margin of 16 points, Charter Amendment One failed in Gainesville, Florida last week. This ballot initiative would have repealed Gainesville's anti-discrimination ordinance to protect LGBT individuals and would have also prohibited the City of Gainesville from ever providing protections beyond those listed in the Florida Civil Rights Act.

I first heard about Charter Amendment One several months ago when a friend alerted me to the disturbing advertisement created by those is support of the Amendment. The ad, created by Citizens for Good Public Policy, showed a young girl entering a women's restroom at a playground. She was then followed by a scruffy looking man while the words "Your City Commission Made This Possible," scrolled over the screen.

The supporters of Charter Amendment One waged a fear-based campaign that specifically targeted transgender people. And although this was contained within Gainesville, the amendment could have had larger implications for the LGBT community.

The victory in Gainesville showed that equality could prevail. Nadine Smith, executive director for Equality Florida said, "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." Congratulations to all those who worked for equality in Florida!

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