Signs of progress

The movement for equality moved ahead on two fronts last week, including a new website and look for Florida Red and Blue, one of the groups opposing the anti-gay marriage referendum on the November ballot.

Florida Red and Blue launched SayNo2, emphasizing the impact of Amendment 2 not only on same-sex marriages but also on civil-union benefits for heterosexual partners. The political committee said, "With SayNo2, our message will be simple: Say No 2 taking away existing benefits and legal protections; Say No 2 hurting Florida's seniors who are unmarried by choice; Say No 2 eliminating shared health care and pension benefits; Say No 2 someone else deciding who can visit you in the hospital; Say No 2 more government intrusion into our private lives."

SayNo2's strategy mirrors the strategy of the only prior effort to be successful in turning back anti-gay marriage forces, a Nov. 2006 vote in Arizona. That campaign appealed to straights and gays alike by emphasizing the dangers of a constitutional restriction on equal rights. The website is at SayNo2.com.

In Pinellas County, commissioners are examining an ordinance that would protect gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals against discrimination in housing, employment and public places. (The ordinance doesn't cover transgendered people, something that human-rights activists bemoan.)

While there is opposition to the ordinance, and foot-dragging by some commissioners who are on the ballot this year, the human-rights expansion moved forward last week toward an April 22 public hearing.

Check the "What you can do" section of fixitnowtampabay.com for more information on how you can contact Pinellas County Commissioners and reach Florida Red and Blue.

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