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Gainesville Voters Reject Discriminatory Effort to Remove Gainesville’s Nondiscrimination Protections for LGBT People
GAINESVILLE, FL - March 25 - The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida applauds Gainesville voters' overwhelming rejection, 58% to 42%, of an effort by anti-gay crusaders that would have repealed protections against discrimination for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in housing, employment, public accommodation, and credit extension services.
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.
For over a year, supporters of Charter Amendment 1 have waged a fear-based campaign that blatantly misled voters about the intent and impact of Charter Amendment 1. "Today 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 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. Voters sent a clear message that the discrimination stops right here, right now."
"Protecting Gainesville's anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people is a significant achievement. I congratulate everyone who worked so hard to help bring about today's victory," stated Howard Simon, Executive Director of the ACLU of Florida. "But let us also remember that this is but one step toward dismantling the barriers to complete legal equality for LGBT people. Tonight, we celebrate. Tomorrow, we go back to work dismantling the many remaining barriers to full equality for LGBT Floridians."The ACLU of Florida, which has approximately 800 members and supporters in Alachua County, including Gainesville, provided significant support to Equality is Gainesville's Business (EQGB), the Gainesville-based political committee created to defeat Charter Amendment 1. A full time ACLU staff attorney was sent to Gainesville for the final six weeks of the campaign, providing important communications and legal support for the campaign. Additionally, the ACLU of Florida mobilized volunteers to phone bank from several of its offices around the state and the ACLU-FL's Northeast Regional Office Director, Benetta Standly, worked to build important alliances for the campaign.