Florida state senator introduces domestic partner registry bill

Florida Sen. Eleanor Sobel

Florida State Sen. Eleanor Sobel — a Democrat from Hollywood in Broward County near the southern end of the state — has introduced legislation that would create a statewide domestic partner registry and add “partnership” as a relationship status option to all state forms, according to an email today from Florida Together Federation.

Senate Bill 166 is slated to be heard in the Florida Legislature’s 2012 session, beginning in January.

In a written statement, Sobel — described by Florida Together officials as a longtime ally of the LGBT community — said that a “majority of Americans and Floridians support recognition for same-sex relationships,” and that it “no longer makes sense for the state to have just one category — married and everyone else.”

Michael Kenny, executive director of Florida Together, said that LGBT rights advocates are thrilled to see Sobel introduce the bill, but he acknowledged that there is still a long way to go.

Kenny said, “Having a bill filed is a long, long way from creating law. But as they say, even the longest journey begins with a first step and we are proud to have Senator Sobel start this journey with us and for us.”

Florida Together Federation is a statewide organization that brings together local LGBT groups in the state to share resources, skills and information in the battle for LGBT equality.

—  admin

GetEqual Now joins protest in Orlando

C.d. Kirven

Dallas activist C.d. Kirven and Get Equal Now joined Stand Up Florida to protest an appearance by National Organization for Marriage in Orlando, Florida.

In the picture, Kirven was leading a prayer and asked “Who would Jesus hate?”

NOM’s recent protests have attracted few people so instead of outdoor demonstrations, they have moved their anti-gay rhetoric indoors, speaking in churches.

The counterprotest outside the church also included Courage Campaign, Come Out Orlando, Florida Together, Human Rights Campaign, Queer Activist Coalition, ISO, Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and Metropolitan Community Church, among others.

Members of Get Equal Now and Stand Up Florida first met in Dallas in June when the group from the Sunshine State traveled to Dallas for the ExxonMobil protest.

Kirven said two NOM supporters were outside the church and about 10 were inside. Courage Campaign counted 150 NOM protesters.

One sign that read “Tradition is a Choice” referred to the accusation by conservative religious groups that homosexuality is a choice. Religion is a choice that is constitutionally protected.

“We had a victory in California and we are standing together for marriage equality today,” Kirven said at the rally. “This is not a battle between homosexual against heterosexual. This is a battle of justice against injustice. I would love to sit down with Dr. King who attended NOM’s Atlanta protest to begin a sisterhood between our communities. We must and will be free. Get Equal Now!”

—  David Taffet