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Community meeting set for Wednesday night at GLCC

Open notice from Americans for Equality:

Dear GLBT supporter:
In 1996 and again in 2001, you, along with many others, joined Americans for Equality in the fight to preserve GLBT rights in Broward County.
Because of your efforts, the Broward County gay and lesbian community enjoys protection from discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations as well as domestic partner benefits.
As the political consultant who worked with Americans for Equality, I remember, all too well, the negative remarks in the press by anti-gay activists and elected officials, the anti-gay protests and the polarization of the entire community from the divisive campaign.
Unfortunately, we now find ourselves facing another potential repeal initiative referendum.
It is imperative you attend a community meeting scheduled for next Wednesday, August 1 at 7 p.m. at the Ft. Lauderdale Gay and Lesbian Community Center, 1717 N. Andrews Ave., (1 mile south of Oakland Park Boulevard).
Your immediate action is required.
With your help, we can greatly minimize the potential risk to the GLBT community and save our hard fought rights.
A coordinated effort now may spare the GLBT community from fending off another repeal referendum in 2008.
We can't do this without your support.  Please come and bring a friend.
Your attendance is critical.  We will give you all of the information you need to take immediate action.
Take the opportunity to forward this E-mail to anyone you believe is concerned about preserving the hard fought rights of the GLBT community.
I look forward to seeing you there. 
You may contact either myself or Robin Bodiford, Past Chair, Americans for Equality, at the numbers below, if you have any questions.
Your partner in the battle,
Richard Giorgio
Patriot Games, Inc.
Attorney Robin L. Bodiford
Past Chair, Americans for Equality
Dear Community Members: 
Prior to 1995, gays and lesbians in Broward County had no legal rights, at all.  We were afraid to identify ourselves as gay at work, when applying to buy a home, or condo:  it took real nerve to check into a hotel and ask for one king size bed.  We were afraid because we could lawfully be excluded from places of public accommodations, denied housing, and fired for no reason other than our sexual orientation. 
Many of us remember vividly how it was, and how happy we were when we passed the amendment adding protections for gays and lesbians to the Broward County Human Rights Ordinance.  And, in 1999, we passed the Domestic Partnership Ordinance, allowing us to register as domestic partners.  The rest is history:  an openly gay mayor of Wilton Manors, an openly gay Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner and now, an openly gay County Commissioner; gay open air cafes like Rosie's, the New Moon and Georgie's, guys and girls walking hand in hand down Wilton Drive.  No more hiding behind windowless walls like Chardees with parking and entrance in the back.  We have arrived in Broward County. 
But, wait....
Now, a handful of GLBT activists, only some actually living in Broward (and none of whom worked with us in the past campaigns) are in the process of  risking the entire GLBT community's rights to protection in employment, housing and places of public accommodation with a proposed amendment to add "gender identity and expression" as a protected class, which may go before the Broward County Commission Agenda in early September
Based on prior experience, we expect an immediate effort to repeal all of our hard won rights.  If passed now, our rights will go before the voters on the 2008 ballot.  A disaster in an election year, for many reasons, not the least of which there have been no preparations to fight a campaign of this kind on short notice.
The proponents of this ill conceived plan are completely unwilling to agree to postpone the commission vote until May, 2008, and thereby avoid a vote before 2010.  If we do not act now, all of our hard won rights may be lost.  This group has moved forward behind all of our backs, with no outreach to Broward's GLBT community (other than the small insider circle of gay politicos).  Contrary to the mistruths that have been circulated, no one is questioning whether gender identity should be protected. We are only urging a strategic change in timing to avoid the 2008 ballot. 
Please join us on Wednesday, August 1st, at the meeting at the GLCC (at 7 p.m. at the Ft. Lauderdale Gay and Lesbian Community Center, 1717 N. Andrews Ave., 1 mile south of Oakland Park Boulevard) to discuss the issue, and learn what all of us, acting together, can do to forestall this pending disaster.
Warm regards,
Law Offices of Robin L. Bodiford, P.A.
2550 North Federal Highway, Ste. 20
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33305
(954) 630-2707


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