BY STEVE ROTHAUS
The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports that Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi abruptly canceled a speech Tuesday "amid a growing backlash over her office’s legal fight against a same-sex marriage lawsuit."
"Bondi was scheduled to speak at the Florida Network of Youth and Family Services annual awards banquet in Sarasota and receive special recognition from the group for her work on fighting human trafficking," writes Sarasota political reporter Jeremy Wallace.
Bondi is under fire for defending Florida's gay marriage ban, which is being challenged in federal and local courts. According to a recent federal court filing, Bondi says gay marriage would "impose significant public harm."
"Florida's marriage laws, then, have a close, direct, and rational relationship to society's legitimate interest in increasing the likelihood that children will be born to and raised by the mothers and fathers who produced them in stable and enduring family units," Bondi's office said in court documents.
The Florida Network of Youth and Family Services represents 31 crisis agencies in Florida which serve homeless, runaway and troubled youth and families, according to its Facebook page.
It's not surprising that Bondi's Florida Network speech was called off. Much of the group's efforts focus on LGBT homeless youth.
Last holiday season, Florida Network President/CEO Stacy Gromatski wrote a op-ed in the Miami Herald about youth homelessness, which she called "our national tragedy."
Gromatski then zeroed in on LGBT youth:
Yet there’s a subgroup within that population of homeless youth receiving the least attention — lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered youth (LGBT). Between 9 percent and 45 percent of the homeless youth population are LGBT youth.
It has been difficult to accurately assess the number of such youth because of their fears of law-enforcement and social-service workers. Moreover, those 354 organizations that have reported to the LGBT Homeless Youth Provider Survey state that almost 40 percent of their total populations are LGBT youth.