Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Equality Wins in Gainesville

Voters in Gainesville, Florida, yesterday defeated a referendum similar to the one that Montgomery County almost faced last year, an attempt to relegalize discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The Gainesville referendum was even worse than ours (or as the Citizens for Responsible Whatever would say, "even better") as it took away rights for gay as well as transgender people and made it illegal in the future for the city to protect rights for groups not protected by state law.

The good guys won. The bad guys lost.
Gainesville, Fla. — Voters in Gainesville, Fla., went to the polls yesterday and decided to keep a city law banning discrimination among gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered residents would remain on the books.

After all the votes were tallied 58 percent of the voters in Gainesville voted to keep an anti-discrimination law geared at preventing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The vote marked the end of a hard fought campaign on both sides of the issue.

The debate began last year when the city commission voted to revise Gainesville’s anti-discrimination law to include transgendered residents. Those who are transgendered are born one sex, but for one reason or another identify with the opposite sex.

While the impact of the law protected individuals from employment and housing discrimination, it also gave the green light for the city’s approximately 100 transgendered residents to use a restroom of their choosing; a move the inflamed residents.

Critics of the ordinance claimed it created a dangerous precedent because its language was vague and open to interpretation.

“This clause opens a dangerous legal loophole,” said Mark Minck, Chairman Citizens for Good Public Policy, in a comment posted to the organization’s Web site. “Because of the ordinance’s vague wording, any man can legally gain access to facilities normally reserved for women and girls simply by indicating, verbally or non-verbally, that he inwardly feels female at the moment. This is the unfortunate, unintended consequence of this poorly drafted ordinance.” Florida Voters Keep Gay Rights Law

These are almost exactly the same words out local Maryland shower-nuts used. Wouldn't you like to get your hands on the playbook they all read from? Down in Gainesville they even used the "predators and pedophiles in the women's showers" tactic, just like our nuts.
The inclusion of transgendered residents into the ordinance threatened Gainesville’s entire nondiscrimination policy in regards to sexual orientation and gay rights activists charged the motivation behind the assault had nothing to do with restrooms.

“This is about attacking the gay, lesbian, bisexual community and repealing protections that are in place,” Joe Saunders, a spokesman for Equality is Gainesville’s Business, told The Associated Press.

Earlier this year a friend traveling through Florida called on his cell phone to say, "You might be interested in this. Did you know that down here they have a new law that anybody can use whatever bathroom they want?" Somehow, in a drive through town, listening to the radio, he had absorbed the propaganda point as absolute fact, and was passing it on. As as matter of fact, I was interested in this, and we had a bit of a conversation about it.

But that's how it works. They don't fight with facts and logic, they plant the seed of a scary idea and let you believe it is absolute truth, then build a promotion based on frightening images. Even in our county, where gender identity discrimination has been outlawed for months now, the shower-nuts still argue that the law will result in men going into ladies restrooms and locker-rooms, as the Gainesville nut in this news story says, "simply by indicating, verbally or non-verbally, that he inwardly feels female at the moment." It hasn't happened, but they keep repeating the point -- why? Not because there is a fact behind it, or any logic, but because it is scary. It would be scary if perverted men hung around in ladies rooms, and the more they can focus your mind on that scary image the more likely it is that you will vote to keep discrimination legal.

Well, congratulations to the people of Gainesville for doing the right thing. I know it can get a little rednecky down there, this wasn't a done deal by any means. A special round of applause should go out to the group Equality is Gainesviille's Business, who led the campaign to beat the referendum. We know from our own experience that this is dirty hard work, but they dug in and won an important fight.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yay for Gainesville. It turns out not to be a conservative place, but is a typical college town, home of the Hated Gators (University of Florida).

In other news, the Vermont Senate approved Same-gender marriage for their state, by a vote of 26 to 4, which I would think would be a veto-proof margin. I don't know when the Vermont house will be voting.


March 25, 2009 12:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great news for Gainesville!

Even more great news--but this time for our schools:

"In an historic first, GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard and a delegation of students and teachers met with Education Secretary Arne Duncan yesterday to discuss the importance of anti-bullying efforts to the Administration’s education reform agenda.

Secretary Duncan affirmed a commitment to make schools safe for every student, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression."

Check it out here:

March 25, 2009 1:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gainesville, Florida.

A safe place for gays to ride around in golf carts tricked out to look like Rolls Royces.

Who wouldn't want to visit?

Most people, I think.

March 25, 2009 7:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You´re a complete mess, AnonBigot.

You have the right to have that´re wrong, but you have that right.


March 25, 2009 9:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"A safe place for gays to ride around in golf carts tricked out to look like Rolls Royces."

I completely don't get the reference. Can you explain, or at least translate into Latin?


March 26, 2009 8:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just hope the CRG folks are sleeping better these days knowing that folks got to vote on a gender identity bill. I'm sure they must be feeling that democracy has been served.

Have a nice day,


March 26, 2009 9:09 AM  

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