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Pro-hate bill defeated in Gainesville, Florida
Pro-hate bill defeated in Gainesville, Florida
Human rights groups celebrated the overwhelming rejection, 58% to 42%, of Charter Amendment 1 in Gainesville, FL on March 24. The referendum would have eliminated the nondiscrimination protections that Gainesville extends LGBT people by requiring the city's nondiscrimination ordinance to conform to the state's nondiscrimination laws, which do not cover sexual orientation or gender identity.

The Gainesville Charter Amendment was the first vote on civil rights and equality for LGBT persons in Florida since the passage of Amendment 2, the so-called Marriage Protection Amendment, in November, 2008.

"This is a great day for Gainesville. & While the opposition rooted its campaign in lies and scare tactics, fair-minded Gainesville voters knew that Charter Amendment 1 was really about discrimination," said Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund.

Supporters of Charter Amendment 1 waged a misleading, fear-based campaign for over a year. "Gainesville voters turned out in record numbers and said no to discrimination," said Shelbi Day, staff attorney for ACLU of Florida's LGBT Advocacy Project, who was on the ground in Gainesville working with the local group opposing Charter Amendment 1. " Gainesville voters overwhelmingly rejected a fear-based campaign of lies and misinformation and stood up for protection from discrimination against LGBT people. Voters sent a clear message that the discrimination stops right here, right now."

"This is an important victory for equality, for the proposition that people deserve to be judged based on their merits, and should not face discrimination simply because of who they are," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "Gainesville voters saw past the deception and scare tactics used by proponents of Amendment 1 and made clear that Gainesville rejects discrimination against any of its residents, including Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender people."

Gainesville Mayor Pegeen Hanrahan added, "As Mayor, I am extremely pleased that Gainesville voters chose to reaffirm that discrimination has no place in our city. Many thanks to Equality is Gainesville's Business and the hundreds of tireless volunteers who represented the true values of Gainesville. These volunteers demonstrated the diversity and expertise within our community, representing such groups as the NAACP of Alachua County, the Human Rights Campaign, the ACLU of Florida, the University of Florida Student Senate and others."

A broad coalition of groups came together to defeat Charter Amendment 1, including the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund, Equality Florida, the ACLU of Florida, the Human Rights Campaign, the National Center for Transgender Equality, Lambda Legal, National Center for Lesbian Rights, GLAAD, SAVE Dade, Organizations United Together (O.U.T.) and UM (University of Miami) for Equality, UF Students for Change, Planned Parenthood of Florida, Gainesville Area NOW and Judy Levy NOW.

Courtesy of media sources.

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