“It was great,” Lorna Bracewell, a
gay activist with Join the Impact Florida, said about a rally and
march held Monday in support of three pro-gay bills currently being
debated in the Florida Legislature.
About 1,000 people stood under the
threat of rain outside the Capitol building chanting familiar gay
activist slogans such as “What do we want? Equality! When do we
want it? Now!” and “Gay, straight, black, white; marriage is a
Students from Florida State University
and young people made up the bulk of the crowd. Several hundred
students marched about three-quarters of a mile from the FSU campus
to the Capitol grounds chanting “GLBT you can't take my rights from
The memory of slain gay rights activist
and politician Harvey Milk lingered in the air as his nephew Stuart
Milk took the podium. Milk joked that his uncle, known to be
melodramatic, was manipulating the weather to enhance the drama of
“[Stuart Milk] got to this moment
when he was sharing a personal memory of Uncle Harvey, how he used to
say 'Diversity is the medicine the world needs to cure its ills', and
as he was saying this the sun broke through,” Bracewell told On
Top Magazine. “It was inspiring, but so cheesy. Like if it
happened in a movie we would all roll our eyes and groan.”
Also speaking was Martin Gill, the
forty-seven-year-old man at the center of Florida's gay adoption ban.
Late last year, a Miami-Dade circuit court judge said the ban was
“unconstitutional” and had “no rational basis” in her 53-page
order that allows Gill and his partner to legally adopt the 4- and
8-year-old half brothers they have raised since 2004. The state
appealed the ruling and it appears the Florida Supreme Court will
likely decide the matter.
“It doesn't matter how good a parent
you are, if you're gay or lesbian, you cannot be considered for
adoption in this state,” said Gill. “That is shameful.”
Senator Nan Rich, a Democrat from
Weston, has introduced a bill that would repeal the 1977 prohibition
and another that would grant judges the discretion to determine
adoptions solely on “the best interests” of the child.
The rally, called “Rally in Tally,”
was organized by Equality Florida with the goal of shoring up support
for three bills before the Legislature: A domestic partnership bill
introduced by Democratic Senator Eleanor Sobel, Senator Rich's gay
adoption bills, and a gay and lesbian protections bill that would add
sexual orientation and gender identity to the classes of people
protected in the areas of employment, housing and public
accommodations in the state.
Bracewell credited social networking
sites such as Facebook for the event's large turnout. And she said Join
the Impact Florida is currently working on a campaign that targets
donors of the yes-to-marriage campaign, the November 4 measure that
banned gay marriage in the state, with a reminder postcard.
“The postcard will have a very simply
graphic on it and a quote from scripture,” Bracewell said, adding
that the group had not settled on the specific text.
“It is to remind them that that
donation they made and that support they gave affected the lives of
real people,” she added.
Of the three bills, gay activists say
the gay protections bill holds the most promise.
On the Net: Join the Impact Florida is