Best spokesperson for marriage equality

Nadine Smith

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When I heard there was going to be a Hurricane Nadine this season, it seemed very appropriate — because Nadine Smith, the executive director of Equality Florida, is a kind of quiet storm. Unfurling perfectly phrased arguments that seem all the more fierce because of her soft, measured delivery, she demolishes her opponents before they know what hit them. I saw this first-hand recently when she participated in a CL-hosted RNC panel on gay marriage; sharing the dais with a Republican lesbian, Smith argued her points so convincingly that I swear she got her GOP panel-mate to reconsider whom she’d vote for. Floridians who’ve heard Smith speak eloquently for equality already know how effective she can be, and this year she expanded her national profile with a TEDx video that launched her Refuse to Lie campaign, a crusade to get married LGBT couples to check off “Married” instead of “Single” when given the chance — on, say, their income tax returns, federal definitions be damned. I’d love to see Smith take on Romney/Ryan someday; she’d blow through their cockamamie logic so devastatingly, they’d be crying for FEMA relief.

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