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SAVE Dade: Commission Vice Chairwoman Lynda Bell responsible for failed gender identity law

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 "Lynda Bell’s outdated and anti-family views are completely out of step with her district.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.”

Comments

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So, the Christian Family Coalition is against equality and favors discrimination. Doesn't sound very Christian to me.

Everyone has equal rights in America and Florida, no me should have special rights? Steve, who don't you represent? It seems like the heterosexuals are the only ones who dont have any rights.

Linda I live in Palmetto Bay and support your views.

I've followed SAVE for many years now. I find them to be quite fair and a credible organization. I don't remember them ever attacking anyone like this. To me, there is obviously a reason for it all and I suspect it's because Commissioner Bell has displayed bigotry with her conduct and votes. Otherwise, SAVE would be acting with the same graciousness as they always have.

Now we have a 21st Century Anita Bryant -- and a wanna be mayor. The former president of Florida Right to Life finally reveals her true colors and they are not the colors of the rainbow.

Diane Lawrence
Thankfully in District 7

Thank goodness for this lady stopping an attempt to sneak through a highly offensive, immoral and anti-family laws while the citizens weren't paying attention. A better move would be to repeal those other offensive measures referenced in this article that were apparently sneaked through on an unsuspecting public last decade and greatly increased perversion over the years.

This would be a horrible way to deal with some obviously confused and screwed up individuals. If someone is so disordered that they do not know what their sex is then it is best to immediately escort them to an institution to deal with this problem, not to encourage them as they lead a destructive life. Whoever proposed this absurd law needs to be removed and has no sympathy for these confused individuals.

Wow Ed... "escort them to an institution to deal with this problem"... that kind of talk sounds awfully familiar. Where have I heard that before?

* Native Americans were once considered a "problem" and we took their land.

* Japanese Americans were once considered a "problem" and we through them in work camps.

* African Americans were once a "problem" and we enslaved them.

* Jewish people were once a "problem" and we slaughtered them.

Need I go on, or do you see who is the "problem" in this equation?

Oh no... did I just compare you to the white slave owners, to German nazi's, to racist Americans.... I sure did. Same thinking, same language, same people Ed. You're one of them and nothing like us. I like the US's.

Why don't you join us in the 21st century Ed. The people are a lot nicer and the food tastes much better.

The CC talks about "remaining gracious". I suppose they consider being racist, gracious? Elsewhere, they were sued for racial discrimination and settled out of court when they knew they would lose.

With all do respect Ed, I believe you should be seeking help in an institution. Your mindset is quit similar to the mindset people in the wrong side of history had, among them you remind me a lot of Adolf Hitler. His life was not that great... Educate yourself.

ANYONE WHO BELIEVES THAT WE ALREADY HAVE EQUAL RIGHTS IN AMERICA OR FLORIDA IS APPARENTLY LACKING IN INTELLECT BECAUSE IT IS BLATANTLY INCORRECT. ALSO, IF YOU POSSESSED ANY INTELLECT AT ALL WHATSOEVER, YOU WOULD UNDERSTAND THAT NO ONE IS ASKING FOR SPECIAL RIGHTS, MERELY EQUAL RIGHTS, SOMETHING NO ONE SHOULD HAVE TO ASK FOR, AS IF RIGHTS WERE ANOTHER'S TO GIVE OR TAKE AWAY. THERE IS ONLY ONE REASON WHY ANYONE WOULD BE AGAINST EQUAL RIGHTS AND IT IS BECAUSE OF THEIR OWN HATE. MOST OF THAT HATE COMES FROM RELIGION, WHICH IS CHOCK FULL OF HATE WITH ONLY A DASH OF LOVE. REMEMBER, RELIGION IS MYTHOLOGY AND BELIEF IN SUCH THINGS IS A MENTAL ILLNESS. FURTHER, MYTHOLOGY IS NOT TO BE USED TO LEGISLATE OVER OTHERS, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOUR CHURCHES THAT WE PAY FOR REMAIN TAX EXEMPT. YOU MAY FOLLOW YOUR MYTHOLOGY IF YOU WISH BUT YOU ARE NOT TO FORCE IT ON OTHERS. WHY ARE YOU CHRISTIANS ONLY "I'M CHRISTIAN... UNLESS YOU'RE GAY" (GOOGLE THAT AND READ IT, YOU NEED TO) OR SOMETHING NOT CONTAINED WITHIN THE TWO BOXES CALLED MALE AND FEMALE THAT NOT EVERYONE CAN FIT INTO. WHAT DO YOU THINK YOUR COURSE OF ACTION WOULD BE IF IT WERE YOU WITH A HORMONAL IMBALANCE, OR A VERY CORRECTABLE PHYSICAL BIRTH DEFECT? DO NOT ANSWER WITH A RELIGIOUS BASED REPLY BECAUSE IT IS IRRELEVANT.

Lynda Bell is advocating for people who would be more in tuned to the Nazi party rather then being Christian. There is nothing very Christian about any so-called family coalition. Isn't it great that a Floriduh cracker is representing the people of South Dade? I never realized when I lived in Miami-Ddae that so many bigots lived in the county. Is she a member of the KKK also?

Wow ED JENKINS, Gaby was right. You need to educate yourself and seek some professional help from a mental institution. This is not an issue of confusion within the trans individual, the issue lies with those who have a problem with it. It's exactly that. YOUR problem, so YOU deal with it. I don't know where you get "immoral, anti-family laws" as an agenda for people who want the same rights as you, but your conclusion was reached without the necessary logic and truth. Further, ED, perversion is an OPINION, and you know what they say about those. Also, since you're pointing fingers, are your own hands clean? No. They are not. Go home and wash your hands and try to realize that there are others on the planet that are not you.

SAVE Dade stands for Sodomize And Victimize Everyone in Dade. Hurray for Lynda Bell. She amply proves that the best man for the District 8 County Commission seat is a lady! And a grand lady, at that. Lynda: as a District 8 registered voter you will always have my vote and that of my entire 32 member family. Every registered voter in my block is with you! God bless you.

While thankfully a small minority there appears to be quite a few people in this message list who have no concern for these confused individuals who are roaming the streets in a state of delusion not even knowing what sex they are. As most with common sense know the best course of action is to escort these individuals to institutions where at best they can be cured of their issues and released and at worst they will be safe from doing further harm to themselves by acting on their delusions. It certainly is not acting as if all is fine and sneaking through ordinances encouraging them in their delusional behavior.

All fair-minded people know that SAVE Dade is an out and out hate group that promotes bigotry and discrimination. Its members probably keep KKK costumes in their closets, along with all their tacky drag queen costumes. These bigots are hopping mad at our Lynda for having sounded the proverbial Bell. Thank you, Lynda, you're the best!

And, yes, SAVE Dade DOES ACTUALLY stands for Sodomize And Victimize Everyone in Dade. This hate group is proof that we must be ever vigilant of extremists masquerading as our "saviors". We need to be saved from SAVE Dade!

Wow, so much for tolerance and respect, I am so glad the real are showing their colors here.

My family an I are with you Lynda, we are voters in your district and not only will I vote for you, I will also work and donate and donate to your re-election campaign!

Hate groups like "SAVE" Dade are the real problem here. They masquerade as supporters of fairness and equal rights, all the while looking for ways to legalize discrimination in Miami-Dade County. Their claims are laughable and they have absolutely no credibility.

The so-called "transsexual" ordinance actually enshrines discrimination in our community, you just can't argue with the facts.

You have my support Commissioner Bell!

Why are the haters always the ones who claim to support equal rights for all? Where is Commissioner Bell's right to disagree without being falsely attacked by the extremists on this blog?

Get a life.

Commissioner Bell is my commissioner I have voted for her four years ago and plan on voting for her again, keep up the great work commissioner!

I am an African-American lesbian who actually supported the gender identity law, until I saw the smear campaign that SAVE Dade launched against Commissioner Bell.

Now, I am not so sure.

I may not agree with the Commissioner, but she has the right to express what she believes as much as I do.

I support her right to free speech!

Those who attack Commissioner Lynda Bell are doing a great disservice to our cause. Now that Doris has come out, I feel I can too, as a gay male and ardent supporter of gay rights sometimes my community just doesn't get it. If we are going to fight discrimination, then we have to stop behaving like children.

I actually feel sorry for Commissioner Bell now, while I may not agree with her, at least we know where she's coming from.

I may just vote for her in the next election.

I am a proud and out lesbian living in Commission District 8 and SAVE Dade does not speak for me. I voted for Commissioner Lynda Bell the last time around and plan to do so again. Why? Because I am not one issue person and feel Commissioner Bell has done a great job for our community, she truly cares about everyone, keeping taxes low and providing safer streets.

Commissioner, you have my vote and those of all my friends in the next election!

Well, after reading some of these comments on here, I guess District 8 really is full of bigots that support Lynda Bell. Where are you Katy Sorenson? Please come back.

R.I.P. District 8 1994-2010

I am a proud Christian living in District Eight and I am hundred percent in favor of our Commissioner Lynda Bell. Thank you Commissioner Bell. Blessings.

Thank you Commissioner Bell. We are very proud of you. We are voters of District Eight and you are our Commissioner.

District 8 is very proud to have Lynda Bell representing us. She is a and always would be our Commissioner.

Lynda Bell is our champion. District 8 is very well representad by her.

Finally, a leader we can believe in, the bullies at SAVE Dade shuold take a cue from a true leader.

Cease and Desist.

You have my 100% support Commissioner Bell.

I'm not too familiar with all the specifics on this proposed law. However, I am very concerned whether passage of it would open the door to sex offenders and predators in public bathrooms.

Think about it for a second. Any man out there can put on a wig and dress up like a woman and have the legal right to enter a women's bathroom and simply "stalk" women and children. If they are reported, that person could legally sue the establishment while getting "his rocks off?" All at the expense of transgender individuals - I don't think so.

I am against all kinds of discrimination but this new law needs to be studied thoroughly before its adopted.

Now, didn't SAVE Dade praise the Commission for deferring the proposal in order to "educate" lawmakers down the line before it viciously attacked Lynda Bell for her vote? I don't know but I think that SAVE Dade is talking out of both ends to me.

Who opened the asylum? The "transsexual ordinance promotes discrimination and undermines public safety pure and simple.

What don't you people get?

Commisioner Bell is only one vote on a 13-member commission, boy, these sore losers must really be despearte to try to make believe that she had anything to do with the defeat of this proposal.

Here we go again, the extremists at SAVE Dade playing the blame again. They just can't stand anyone who disagrees with them, that doesn't sound very tolerant to me.

Keep up the good work Commissioner Bell.

We have your back.

So SAVE Dade has finally come out, in favor of discrimination.

I'm dropping my membership immediately, good riddance!

Commissioner Bell, add me to your list of supporters, I will be contacting your office to volunteer for your campaign.

They have woken up the silent majority with this ordinance that was offensive immoral and anti-family. It is obvious to almost everybody that is anyone is so confused that they do not even know their sex then they are not fit to live independently in society and need to be escorted directly to an institution that will prevent them from further endangering themselves.

Now that the majority has awoken to these offensive ordinances we need to repeal the other ones referenced in this article that were sneaked through on the unsuspecting public over the last decade. Only then can we move closer to making Dade Country a more moral county.

MY FAMILY AND I ARE WITH YOU LINDA
POSTED BY AURORA\08 15 2013

YOU HAVE MY SUPPORT LINDA BELL KEEP THE GOOD W

POSTED BY JOE AUGUT 15 2013

We are backing-up our hero, Commissioner Lynda Bell. She is a truly defender of the human rights. We need more commissioners like her. Good work done

YOU HAVE MY SUPPORT LINDA BELL KEEP THE GOOD
W+ORK
POST BY JOE

I AM A LESBIAN AND I SUPPORT LINDA BELL
POST BY TANIA 08 15 2013

I SUPPORT LINDA BELL BECAUSE WE NEED A MORAL COUNTRY
AGAIN
POSTED BY JOSE AUGUST 15 2013

My family ana I will vote for you LINDA BELL
POSTED BY JONNY

The liars club is at it again. I remember when Commissioner Sally Heyman LIED to Channel 10 and our community saying that the gender identity ordinance did not apply to bathrooms because it did not use that word in the ordinance. Well, now she has been exposed as a less than honest person.

So much for believeing anything these people say. Yes, this ordinance does preomote discrimination, we have to reject it.

Oh my word. Save DADE if you are so called "tolerant" why would you go on and blame ONE PERSON for this not passing? Huh? Shame on YOU SAVE DADE. All you are is a bunch of bullies and BIGOTS.

What is wrong with Save DADE? They didn't get their way and now they're pouting about it and blaming someone else? Just like them to do that.

Though I did want this ordinance to pass, I do NOT agree with the blaming of Lynda Bell. I love her! She's an incredibly great commissioner and it is NOT HER FAULT that this did not pass. Save DADE SUCK IT UP!

I personally know Christian family coalition, and I don't see the problem with them. This ordinance was dangerous to pass. And I am forever grateful because Lynda Bell voted no and stood up for what's right! You go girl!!!!

WHAT'S WRONG HERE?

"SAVE Dade" Deputy Commissar Maria Barth says that “SAVE Dade blames Bell because she was the only commissioner to vote against the proposal in its first reading three months ago.”

How could the “only commissioner to vote against the proposal” stop the proposal? What about all the other members of the Commission? Don’t the other 12 County Commissioners count for anything or amount to much???

Are we missing something here? Is "SAVE Dade" implying that they require TOTAL control of the Miami-Dade County Commission to get their evidently dangerous and discriminatory ordinance passed?

Since when does the vote of “only one commissioner" determine what gets approved or rejected by the Miami-Dade County Commission??? Again, are we missing something here?

Yes! We are missing the fact that "SAVE Dade" ideologues are not rational, level-headed, fair-minded, sane individuals. They are inmates running an insane asylum. As someone already pointed out, they need professional help before they injure themselves or others. Let’s hope "SAVE Dade" ideologues get the help they need before it’s too late.

Bullying, name calling, hate speech that's what "SAVE" Dade is all about, they are the real haters and are finally showing their true colors.

SHAME ON YOU "SAVE" DADE. You need to apologize to Commissioner Lynda Bell and the entire community!

Commissioner Bell you have our support forever.

Equality??<<<<

SAVE Dade stands for Sodomize And Victimize Everyone in Dade. Now I understand why these jokers do and say what they do!!!

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