Legislators Hold First Town Hall Meeting Addressing LGBT Issues
It was standing room only in Wilton Manors City Hall. The room buzzed with enthusiasm fueled by this summer’s Supreme Court rulings striking down the Defense of Marriage Act and also allowing federal benefits for domestic partners.
Along with seven of her colleagues, State Senator Eleanor Sobel promised she would continue to push for similar movement in Florida.
“How do we get to progress in the state of Florida", asked Sobel. "We’ll just keep fighting.”
Community members advocated for state-recognized gay marriage, legal name change provisions, and other issues facing the LGBT community.
Most discussion revolved around statewide legislation currently in the works.
The Domestic Partnerships Act would grant legal protections, such as hospital visitation and inheritance rights, to individuals in domestic partnerships.
The Florida Competitive Workforce Act would add new language to the state’s existing civil rights code, making it illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Stratton Pollitzer is deputy director of civil rights organization Equality Florida.
“We think victory is truly within our reach", Pollitzer said. "We go into session now with a lot more hope that we can achieve a truly bipartisan solution for equality.”
Eight counties, including four in South Florida, have created domestic partnership registries. But domestic partnerships are not recognized on a state level.