MESSAGE FROM RAND HOCH, PRESIDENT & FOUNDER
September 17, 2014
Another set of victories last night in Boynton Beach. By a margin of 4-1, the City Commission voted to (a) implement the full range of domestic partnership benefits for municipal employees, (b) amend the city's nondiscrimination policies to prohibit discrimination based on "gender identity or expression" and (c) direct the City
attorney to draft and LGBT-inclusive Civil Rights Ordinance for consideration later this year. The actions were taken as the result of requests made by PBCHRC in mid-July. Mayor Jerry Taylor cast the "no" votes on all three proposals.
Throughout the summer, the PBCHRC Voters Alliance engaged in voter identification, early voting and absentee ballot campaigns. While voter turnout throughout Palm Beach County was only 12%, as a result of our efforts, the turnout by Palm Beach County’s LGBT voters and our allies was significantly stronger. The following candidates endorsed by the PBCHRC Voters Alliance were successful in the August 26 Primary Election:
The PBCHRC Voters Alliance continues to screen, interview and endorse additional candidates who will appear on the General Election ballot. We will keep you posted on our progress through the upcoming months. To keep track of our endorsements as they are updated, please check our Endorsement's page.
To date, the following endorsements have been made for the November 4 General Election:
In addition, PBCHRCVA urges our supporters to vote YES on the following ballot initiatives:
Following up on last months successful campaign which resulted in the City of West Palm Beach enacting the County’s first Equal Benefits Ordinance (EBO), PBCHRC is currently working to persuade the School Board of Palm Beach County to enact a policy to require contractors to provide the same family benefits to employees’ same-sex
spouses and (both same- and opposite-sex) domestic partners as the contractors offer to employees’ legally recognized (i.e. opposite-sex) spouses.
Over the past few months, there have been strong pro-marriage equality rulings from a federal judge and several state court judges in Florida. Yet no marriage licenses are being issued. Governor Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi continue to utilize delaying tactics in their attempts to deny us equal marriage rights. These two obstructionists must be retired from public service. We strongly urge you to make sure that you get everyone you know who is registered to vote in Florida to participate in the upcoming General Election by voting for Charlie Crist for Governor and George Sheldon for Attorney General.
It is important to keep in mind that until the entire state of Florida recognizes same-sex marriages (or until Congress updates applicable federal laws), married gay and lesbian Florida residents will continue to be denied the Social Security and Veterans Affairs spousal benefits which are currently enjoyed by legally married gay men and lesbians living in states which recognize marriage equality.
Until all federal and state civil rights laws become LGBT-inclusive – and until marriage equality is extended throughout Florida – PBCHRC will remain vigilant in its efforts to end discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.
Since 1988, the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council’s activists – all volunteers – have been screening candidates for public office, making endorsements, educating public officials and taking action with the sole purpose of changing laws and policies to provide equal treatment and equal benefits for the local LGBT community.
Working to elect LGBT-supportive public officials has resulted in the enactment of more than 70 local laws and policies which now provide Palm Beach County’s LGBT residents and visitors with both equal protection and equal family benefits.
The Council's current projects include persuading:
In keeping with PBCHRC’s commitment to promoting equality through education, advocacy, direct action, impact litigation and community outreach, PBCHRC Vice Chair Jess Blackman, Secretary Rae Franks and Litigation Chair Trent Steele participated in Lavender Law, the National LGBT Bar Association Conference. (Trent also participated in the Family Law Institute) Lavender Law brings together the best and brightest legals minds in the country and PBCHRC is proud to continue its relationship the National LGBT Bar Association.
Jess and Trent have also been elected to the Board of Directors of the newly formed Florida Association of LGBT Lawyer and Allies (FALLA). In addition, Jess and I will be presenting a seminar on discrimination at “Out of the Closet and In Your Office” -- FALLA’s education conference to be held in Fort Lauderdale next month. PBCHRC is a
conference sponsor. For more information about the conference, visit closettooffice.com.
Finally, PBCHRC welcomes Meredith Ockman to our Board of Directors. Read more about her – and other members - on our Board of Directors page.
Since 1988, the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council has worked diligently on behalf of the LGBT community. Rest assured, we will continue to do so in 2014 and beyond.
Judge Rand Hoch (retired),
President and Founder
This paid electioneering communication, which is independent of any party, candidate or committee, is produced, sponsored and paid for by the The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance.
The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance.
Post Office Box 267
West Palm Beach, Florida 33402