Election 2010 - What Does it Mean for LGBT Equality?
The 2010 election in Florida has been deeply disappointing with one tremendous exception. The defeat of a number of our champions means a tougher road ahead, but we have a long history of facing these challenges and we've made progress despite the tough odds.
One Very Big Victory - Fair Districts
Despite the disappointing losses at the polls yesterday, our state is moving in the direction of equality. Record majorities of Floridians now stand with us on nearly every issue we fight for. But the reason this support has not always translated into victories at the ballot box is that Florida's voting districts are drawn to dramatically favor the party in power which leads to extremism. Amendments 5 & 6 will forever change how districts are drawn in Florida and will create a much more balanced government that actually reflects where our state stands on LGBT issues.
We've been a proud part of the Fair Districts coalition for over two years, first helping to collect the hundreds of thousands of signatures to put the issue on the ballot and then helping to spread the word about why everything we work for depends on Fair Districts. This is a chance that comes along just once every ten years and ultimately will have a bigger impact on our work than any other contest on yesterday's ballot.
Our elected leaders may propel us or stymie our progress but they cannot stop our forward march. Full equality is inevitable as long as we continue to stay in the fight.
Equality Florida was born in 1997 as the legislature took a hard turn to the right and anti-equality Governor Jeb Bush took office. We headed to Tallahassee at a time when others had given up hope. We know what it is to organize in hostile territory. We know how to carve out victories against the odds.
No civil rights movement is without setbacks. We have seen incredible victories in the last year and there are still many more to come. The decades-old adoption ban was toppled; we elected the first gay mayor ever in north Florida; the City of Kissimmee passed domestic partnership benefits; Leon County passed non-discrimination protections; Hillsborough County protected LGBT students; and public opinion has never been higher on our issues.
And despite the heartbreaking losses yesterday, we also elected many champions who will need our support more than ever as we move forward. (Click here to see a complete list of Equality Florida Action PAC's winning candidates).
Thank you to all of those who volunteered, contributed, or just educated themselves about candidates and issues and then let their voice be heard with their vote.
We share the disappointment you feel today but we will never stop believing that full legal equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community is already assured. Our job is to hasten its arrival.
Your Equality Florida Team