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'Cagney & Lacy' star Sharon Gless joins Equality Florida's Get Engaged marriage-equality campaign

News release from Equality Florida:

Friday, October 11th marks the 25th anniversary of National Coming Out Day, the anniversary of the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. While the focus is on celebrating LGBT people who have the freedom and courage to come out in a world that continues to discriminate, Equality Florida is calling on straight Floridians to “come out” as allies in the fight for equal rights.

Multi-award winning Actress Sharon Gless, a Florida resident, has joined Equality Florida in its Get Engaged campaign (www.GetEngaged.org), a statewide call to action with the goal of securing full marriage equality in the state of Florida.

“I am proud to add my voice to those who continue to fight for equal rights in Florida,” said Gless. “I urge all Floridians to Get Engaged in the fight for marriage equality.”

The Get Engaged campaign, launched in partnership with Freedom to Marry, makes the case for why marriage matters by spotlighting the love stories of long-term couples who, because of Florida's discriminatory marriage laws, are denied the rights other married couples have to protect their loved ones.

"The message of the campaign is simple, said Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida. “It is time for everyone who believes in fairness and equality to speak up for those principles. "Gay couples want marriage for reasons that anyone who has ever been in love will understand:  To make a lifelong commitment to one another, grow old together and care for each other in sickness and in health. Marriage laws provide the protections we need to be there for our loved ones."

This month, the focus is on straight couples and individuals who want to commit publicly that they are standing on the right side of history in support of marriage equality.

A high-profile straight ally, Gless has been a steadfast advocate of LGBT rights for many years. “As a Floridian, I am enraged that so many of my friends, my neighbors, cannot enjoy the marital bond of love and the same legal rights that my husband and I have.”

Support for equal rights under the law has grown exponentially in the past 4 years. A 2013 Public Religion Research Institute poll found that found 54% of Floridians favor marriage equality. 

Florida leads the Deep South in support for marriage equality, and the numbers are shifting across all demographics. "We are rapidly gaining support from Republicans and Democrats alike,” said Smith. “Young people overwhelmingly support equality, and we see movement among seniors too. This is a turning point, and this is a call for those who privately despise discrimination to publically condemn it."

LGBT couples and straight allies are invited to share their story at www.GetEngaged.org.

Equality Florida is the largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. www.eqfl.org

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