BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com
Calling Lynda Bell "bigoted," gay-rights group SAVE Dade on Wednesday blamed the Miami-Dade Commission vice chairwoman for sabotaging a proposal to ban discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression.
"Time and again Commissioner Bell has taken the side of bigotry and discrimination," SAVE Dade Deputy Director Maria Barth said in a news release after commission co-sponsors dropped a proposed addition to the county’s gay-rights ordinance. "Lynda Bell’s outdated and anti-family views are completely out of step with her district. Her bigoted positions have no place in our county government."
Bell struck back by calling the SAVE Dade attack “dishonest and slanderous.”
“I am one vote on the commission, and I do not have the power to single-handedly derail any piece of legislation,” Bell said in a statement to the Miami Herald. “To indicate or suggest otherwise, based on the results of one preliminary vote is misleading at best and divisionary and inflammatory at worst.”
Barth said SAVE Dade blames Bell because she was the only commissioner to vote against the proposal in its first reading three months ago.
“The only way to achieve the policies we all need is for the community to elect people that represent the voters,” incoming SAVE Dade Executive Director Tony Lima said in a statement. “Commissioner Bell doesn’t represent the voters. As long as Commissioner Bell continues to vote against the interests of her district, SAVE will work to engage the community to hold the commissioner accountable. District 8 deserves better.”
SAVE Dade activists are particularly outraged because District 8 previously was represented by Katy Sorenson, who in 1998 championed passage of the county’s current gay-rights law.
“Lynda Bell’s district is most progressive. It was represented by Katy Sorenson, who is a huge supporter of equality,” Barth said. “It’s a sad day when we have an elected official who doesn't understand the needs of her district, whether it’s Katy’s seat or any other district.”
The county’s existing gay-rights law, upheld by voters in 2002, doesn’t cover transgender people. Monroe County and Key West updated their human rights ordinances in 2003, Miami Beach in 2004, Palm Beach County in 2007 and Broward County in 2008. Tuesday night, Equality Florida, the statewide gay-rights group, announced a trans-inclusive anti-discrimination law passed 4-0 in Alachua County, including the Gainesville area.
In May, Miami-Dade Commissioners Bruno Barreiro and Audrey Edmonson filed a trans-inclusive amendment, co-sponsored by Commissioners Barbara Jordan and Sally Heyman, which would have banned discrimination in housing, public accommodations and employment based on gender identity or expression.
After the amendment passed on first reading with an 11-1 vote, the proposal went to the commission’s Health and Social Services Committee, comprised of chairwoman Edmonson, Bell, Commissioners Jose "Pepe" Diaz, Jean Monestime and Javier D. Souto.
After lobbying by Miami-Dade's statewide Christian Family Coalition, the committee declined to discuss the proposal at its July 8 meeting and originally decided to defer until Aug. 26. Realizing the committee votes weren’t there, co-sponsors dropped the proposal on Tuesday.
Christian Family Coalition Executive Director Anthony Verdugo praised commissioners for their decision, saying the gender law would have been “harmful and unnecessary.”
Verdugo also criticized SAVE Dade for blaming Bell.
“Politics is a microcosm of life. And in politics, as in life, one must always remain gracious in both victory and defeat,” Verdugo said. “The ad hominem attacks made as a result of yesterday's developments are extremely disappointing, as well as their thinly veiled threat of elected officials.”
August 14, 2013 in Bisexual, Business, Current Affairs, Florida, Fort Lauderdale & Broward County, Gay, Key West & Monroe County, Lesbian, LGBT, Media, Miami & Miami-Dade County, Miami Beach, Palm Beach County, Politics, Religion, South Florida, Transgender, Weblogs, Wilton Manors, Workplace, Youth | Permalink | Comments (63)
Translated from Russian by Google Chrome:
Russian human rights activist Nikolai Alexeyev was summoned to the Investigative Committee of the case of insulting the deputy of the State Duma Elena Mizulina. On Wednesday, August 14, LGBT activist Nikolai Alekseev movement has come in for questioning in the TFR. According to investigators, a human rights activist left on the Net a few offensive comments to the deputies of the State Duma. The fact that the head of the State Duma Committee on Family Elena Mizulina and her deputy Olga Batalina filed a complaint against the LGBT activist in the TFR, it became known at the end of July. Case Against Alexeyev was filed on the grounds of crimes under Part 2 of Art. 128.1, p. 319 of the Criminal Code "Slander, insulting a government official." Investigators suspect that in the period from May to June 2013 published by unidentified persons in the Internet "harmful" material in the public domain. Reports allegedly contained insults and deputies Mizulina Batalina as officials. - I am ready for any development of the situation, ready to answer all the questions I will ask - said Nikolai Alekseev reporters before the interrogation. - Ms. Mizulina, apparently, can not sleep at night, rereading my tweeter. I do not know which to me can be a claim: I did not offend anyone, simply stated his position in those messages that are published. I have 11,000 messages in Twitter, which I make a complaint. This is a general public tweeter where you can say anything to anyone. If the court finds me guilty, then I'll be working where I am told, but I do not have a lawyer, I do not need, and I have nothing to hide. Recall Duma deputy Mizulina was one of the initiators of the law banning promotion of non-traditional sexual relationships, which in irritation perceived LGBT activists and their supporters.
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Religious groups in Puerto Rico are protesting proposed laws that would allow gay and lesbian couples to adopt and would establish a public school curriculum examining gender issues including sexual orientation.
A large Christian organization, Puerto Rico for Family, said Wednesday it will seek two constitutional amendments to limit marriage to heterosexual couples and to award parents the sole right to educate their children on gender matters.
Legislators are expected to soon debate the pending legislation as the U.S. territory pushes for expanded gay rights amid heavy opposition from religious groups.
The proposals come just months after the island's Supreme Court narrowly voted to uphold a local law banning adoptions by same-sex parents. The judges said it was up to legislators to change the adoption law if they saw fit.
News release Aug. 14 from the U.S. Defense Department:
DOD Announces Same-Sex Spouse Benefits
Today, the Department of Defense announced its plan to extend benefits to same-sex spouses of uniformed service members and Department of Defense civilian employees.
After a review of the department's benefit policies following the Supreme Court's ruling that Section Three of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional, and in consultation with the Department of Justice and other executive branch agencies, the Defense Department will make spousal and family benefits available no later than Sept. 3, 2013, regardless of sexual orientation, as long as service member-sponsors provide a valid marriage certificate.
The Department of Defense remains committed to ensuring that all men and women who serve in the U.S. military, and their families, are treated fairly and equally as the law directs.
Entitlements such as TRICARE enrollment, basic allowance for housing (BAH) and family separation allowance are retroactive to the date of the Supreme Court's decision. Any claims to entitlements before that date will not be granted. For those members married after June 26, 2013, entitlements begin at the date of marriage.
We recognize that same-sex military couples who are not stationed in a jurisdiction that permits same-sex marriage would have to travel to another jurisdiction to marry. That is why the department will implement policies to allow military personnel in such a relationship non-chargeable leave for the purpose of travelling to a jurisdiction where such a marriage may occur. This will provide accelerated access to the full range of benefits offered to married military couples throughout the department, and help level the playing field between opposite-sex and same-sex couples seeking to be married.
For civilian benefits administered government-wide to federal employees, the Department of Defense will follow the Office of Personnel Management and the Department of Labor's guidance to ensure that the same benefits currently available to heterosexual spouses are also available to legally married same-sex spouses.
BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com
Miami-Dade commissioners on Tuesday withdrew a proposal adding gender identity and expression to the county’s current anti-discrimination law.
“The commission has decided to withdraw the item in order to allow more time to educate the county commission on this important issue,” said Maria Barth, deputy director of SAVE Dade, the county’s leading gay-rights group.
The plan, which couldn't gather enough votes at the committee level, would have banned discrimination in housing, public accommodations and employment based on gender identity or expression.
The county’s existing gay-rights law that passed in 1998 doesn’t cover transgender people. Monroe County and Key West updated their human rights ordinances in 2003, Miami Beach in 2004, Palm Beach County in 2007 and Broward County in 2008.
Tuesday night, Equality Florida, the statewide gay-rights group, announced a trans-inclusive anti-discrimination law passed 4-0 in Alachua County, including the Gainesville area.
In May, Miami-Dade Commissioners Bruno Barreiro and Audrey Edmonson filed a trans-inclusive amendment, co-sponsored by Commissioners Barbara Jordan and Sally Heyman. The amendment passed on first reading with an 11-1 vote. Only Miami-Dade Commission Vice Chairwoman Lynda Bell voted against.
The amendment then went to the commission’s Health and Social Services Committee, comprised of chairwoman Edmonson, Bell, Commissioners Jose "Pepe" Diaz, Jean Monestime and Javier D. Souto.
After lobbying by Miami-Dade's statewide Christian Family Coalition, the committee declined to discuss the proposal at its July 8 meeting and originally decided to defer until Aug. 26.
On Tuesday, commission co-sponsors dropped the plan.
Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said Tuesday’s decision “is the step that needed to be taken.”
“It’s fairly apparent the education failed and the politics failed,” she said. “They now know who they need to educate and who they need to advocate with.”
August 14, 2013 in AIDS and Health, Bisexual, Business, Current Affairs, Florida, Fort Lauderdale & Broward County, Gay, Lesbian, LGBT, Media, Miami & Miami-Dade County, Miami Beach, Palm Beach County, Politics, Religion, South Florida, Transgender, Wilton Manors, Workplace, Youth | Permalink | Comments (7)