I've been together with my partner, and love of my life for 29 years. We will celebrate our 30th anniversary, in January of 2009, by traveling to California or Massachusetts to be married. Although our home state of Florida, will not recognize our marriage as a legal union, in our hearts it will be for us. For the past twenty years or so, I've been actively involved in the struggle for Equality for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender, (GLBT), American citizens. And in the fight to end Intolerance, Hatred and Hate Inspired Violence directed against GLBT people and other minorities in the states, as well as countries around the world.
I'm the Executive Director of Pride Tampa Bay, (PTB), which is a GLBT pro-rights and anti-hate activist organization. On the Board of Directors of Winter Pride Tampa Bay, a non-profit organization, that stages Tampa's annual "Pride in the Park Festival" held every February. PTB is also a member of the Matthew Shepard Foundations, "Erase the Hate Campaign.",
PTB is most proud to be one of the 250 other group and organization that are coalition members of the Fairness For All Families, (FFAF) "Vote No on 2" campaign. FFAF and its coalition members are dedicated to defeating Florida's mean-spirited "So-Called Marriage Protection Amendment." Amendment 2 supporters claim their sole intent is to amend our states constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman, as husband and wife, which Florida law already does, They adamantly deny the amendment would adversely effect any and all existing rights and benefits that the states domestic partner registries presently offer. However, Amendment 2's carefully crafted wording would in fact go much further than just reiterating existing Florida law banning same-gender marriages. As we saw in Michigan, it's clear Amendment 2 would permanently prevent an future possibilities of Civil Unions, as well as open the door to repeal existing domestic partnership policies. Florida has approximately 360,000 citizens registered as domestic partners, of which only 40,000 are same-gender couples. Which shows most registered in domestic partnerships are opposite-gender couples, with the majority of them being our senior citizens. We must not allow our states constitution to be hijacked by the religious right to advance their personal agenda or allow them to strip any rights that Floridians have now. Gay marriage is and will remain illegal in Florida whether Amendment 2 passes or not. The fact remains, our senior citizens and other same-gender couples have the most to lose if it does. So, I would ask that you "Vote No On 2".
MY DREAMS & GOALS:
My life's goal is to see the day that GLBT Americans are protected equally and share the same equal benefits, protections and rights that all other Americans enjoy and are protected by law. And the day comes where no one need be ashamed of themselves, live in constant fear and be able to be proud of the life that God has given them.
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