David Caton can't kill my Obama buzz!

Under normal circumstances, I wouldn't let a guy like Caton get to me; but seeing Barack Obama sworn in as the President of the United freakin' States of America yesterday changed me. I now have something I once prided myself on not having: expectations. I no longer think it is inevitable that the David Caton's of the world will win. I have now seen with my own eyes appeals to reason and justice overwhelm those to hatred and fear. Even Rick Warren, an Evangelical leader who's as homophobic as the next Evangelical leader, is starting to catch on. He prayed yesterday that God would help all of us "to remember that we are Americans, united not by race or religion or blood, but by our commitment to freedom and justice for all."


That being said, I am calling upon all of you that are sick and tired of seeing the anxiety caused by the thought of two dudes doing it being used to deprive you and your fellow citizens of basic civil rights to write to the Hillsborough County Commission in support of extending health benefits to domestic partners of county employees. It may seem a paltry little issue to broad minded folks like us, but, trust me; it is not so to the David Caton's of the world and, if we want change, we have got to start caring as much they do.


Here are the email addresses and phone numbers of all seven Hillsborough County Commissioners. Call and/or write them before they meet to discuss this issue on Thursday (tomorrow) at 9am:


District 1 Rose Ferlita 813-272- 5470


[email protected]


District 2 Ken Hagan 813-272-5452


[email protected]


District 3 Kevin White 813-272-5720


[email protected]


District 4 Al Higginbotham 813-272-5740


[email protected]


District 5 Jim Norman 813-272-5725


[email protected]


District 6 Kevin Beckner 813-272-5730


[email protected]


District 7 Mark Sharpe 813-272-5735


[email protected]


Here's a form letter you can cut and paste if you'd like:


Dear Commissioner,


I support granting health benefits to domestic partners of county employees. I know that opponents of this practice paint it as a threat to Hillsborough County's families and values, but this line of argument is nonsensical. How could providing health care benefits to the families of Hillsborough County's employees threaten those families? How could providing health care benefits to the families of Hillsborough County's employees threaten any system of values that is worthy of the name?


I know you will be responsive to the basic needs of Hillsborough County's families and that commonsense will prevail in the context of this debate.


If you have any questions or concerns, don't hesitate to contact me.


Sincerely,


I'm still totally high from yesterday's inauguration. Hearing a President say things like, "The time has come to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness," got me the kind of buzzed it would take another 8 years of Bush in office to kill.

While I am clinging to my high, I am also starting to remember that there are those among us intent on resisting the ineluctable tide of brotherhood and hope that has come so close to uniting our nation. Take, for instance, David Caton. He's the executive director of the Florida Family Association, one of the organizations behind the passage of Amendment 2, the defeat of a 2008 civil rights bill that would have protected Florida's citizens from being fired or denied housing based on their sexual orientation and countless other less significant but equally ridiculous "accomplishments."

Lately, Caton and his eerily well-coiffed minions are mobilizing to prevent the Hillsborough County Commission from simply researching the possibility of extending health benefits to the domestic partners of county employees. According to a web alert from Caton's organization, to do so would be an unacceptable furtherance of the "homosexual agenda." (Never mind the fact that an overwhelming majority of the persons who would benefit from such an extension would be unmarried heterosexuals.)

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