Dear Representative _________________,
I, _____________________, strongly urge you to OPPOSE the discriminatory HB583 proposal currently under consideration in the Florida House of Representatives.
HB583 would criminalize access to public facilities for transgender Floridians. HB583 is a misguided, mean-spirited, and incendiary bill which targets transgender Floridians just for being who they are. It's not who we are as Floridians, and per the U.S. Constitution, it's not who we are as Americans.
If passed, HB583 would be unconstitutional, and furthermore it would invite all types of frivolous litigation by those looking to use the measure as a means to discriminate against not only transgender Floridians, but also those who refuse to discriminate against them.
HB583 would be a disaster for our state, driving away visitors and hurting our economy which depends so much on opening our arms to the world's tourists.
For the above stated reasons, and additionally for many more reasons not stated here, I urge you to OPPOSE HB583.
By working together, we can make Florida a better place for everyone. Thank you for your consideration.
13 = the number of U.S. states where you still can't marry the person you love.
When we began the journey to freedom back in March of last year by filing suit against the State of Florida, we never believed we could achieve what we did in just ten short months.
But it happened: together with eight couples, one widow, the ACLU of Florida, and supporters like you, we brought the freedom to marry to Florida this January.
Gays and lesbians have had the freedom to marry for only a few short months here in Florida, but it feels like our court victory was ages ago. Yet sadly, a lack of freedom is the reality for millions of Americans living in the 13 states that still won't allow them the freedom to marry the person they love.
Marriage is a right. The Constitution guarantees us as Americans the right to marry who we love, regardless of who we love -- and we should all have the opportunity to do so, no matter who we are.
Today, our allies will argue before the U.S. Supreme Court that every American deserves the freedom to marry.
SAVE is honored to have been invited by Freedom to Marry to join fellow marriage plaintiffs from Florida and across the country this week in Washington, DC. We were proud to raise our hands at the Ready for Marriage reception last night when Freedom to Marry President Evan Wolfson asked for plaintiffs to stand up:
It's only because of support from people like you that we've been able to come this far in the fight for the freedom to marry in all fifty states. I can't thank you enough for everything you've done to help SAVE fight for South Florida's LGBTQ community over the years.
With your continued support, I'm confident that come this June, the Supreme Court will hand down a ruling granting every single American, from sea to shining sea, the freedom to marry. And I'll be proud to stand with you as we celebrate that victory, and going forward, defend our hard-fought wins.
Thank you again for all that you do.
God bless America,
Tony Lima, Executive Director
From State Representative David Richardson:
In a historic vote today, the Florida Senate approved an adoption bill I originally amended in the Florida House of Representatives to repeal the discriminatory gay adoption ban that was added to law thirty-eight years ago.
While the courts ruled this provision unconstitutional a few years ago, I have been told there was still some discrimination on this issue. The bill now goes to Governor Scott's desk for review, and I hope he will sign it quickly.
I want to thank the bipartisan coalition in the Florida House and Senate that voted to pass this important legislation. I want to give a special shout out to Senator Don Gaetz who was a champion for the adoption bill, including the amendment repealing the gay adoption ban.
Make no mistake, I would not have been able to accomplish this action with out the help of so many other representatives and senators. I too appreciate the help of SAVE and others in helping me win this historic change -- SAVE staffers and volunteer advocates met with key lawmakers to make the case for equality under Florida's adoption laws.
For the past two years, SAVE has honored me for my efforts at its annual Champions of Equality awards reception. Now, I'd like to return the favor by asking you to join me again this year on Friday, May 8 as SAVE honors three leading lights as its 2015 Champions of Equality. Buy your tickets here. >>
The work SAVE does to support pro-equality advocates like me is only made possible by grassroots supporters like you. By attending Champions of Equality, you can support both SAVE SAVE and our community leaders. I hope you will join me on May 8. Buy your tickets today. >>
Thank you for your continued support for advocates like me and organizations like SAVE.
State Representative David Richardson
Florida's 113th State House District
SAVE and SAVE Foundation are proud to announce today their 2015 Champions of Equality to be honored May 8 at the local LGBT advocacy organization’s tenth annual awards reception and gala.
SAVE established the Champions of Equality awards reception in 2005 to honor people who have significantly advanced the cause of equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community in South Florida. The event's honorees this year include transgender advocate Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, local trans activist Arianna Lint, and Florida International University President Dr. Mark B. Rosenberg.
Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen made waves late last year by appearing with his mother, Florida Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, for an interview on Miami's CBS4 WFOR in which the two discussed their experiences as the transgender child of a congresswoman and the mother of a transgender child, respectively. Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, born Amanda, is an openly transgender man who currently works for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. His mother Ileana is known for being an outspoken supporter of LGBT rights in the U.S. House of Representatives, and is a founding member -- and currently the only Republican member -- of the LGBT Equality Caucus of the U.S. Congress.
"We know Rigo as our child, whether it’s Amanda or now as Rodrigo," Ros-Lehtinen told interviewer Jim Defede, advising parents of transgender children not to "freak out" and adding that parents should love their kids no matter what, "because that is your child…never reject your child."
Speaking about his coming out as a transgender man -- the son of a leading United States congresswoman no less -- Rodrigo admitted that "no one else may have known," but that he was proud to be "sharing that honesty with other people for the first time." The joint appearance was hailed as a great leap forward for the visibility of the trans community locally and nationally.
SAVE's is proud to honor as its second Champion of Equality this year Dr. Mark B. Rosenberg, who served as served as chancellor for the Board of Governors of the State University System of Florida from 2005-2008, and has served as the President of Florida International University since 2009. During his tenure at the head of FIU, the school has taken a leading role in the movement nationwide to make college campuses more affirming and accepting towards LGBTQ students and applicants.
Under Dr. Rosenberg's direction, FIU founded and expanded its office of Multicultural Programs and Services (MPAS) LGBTQA initiatives, which strives to reduce homophobia and heterosexism on both FIU campuses through education, advocacy, and awareness. The program contributes to an open campus climate that is safe and accepting for all members of the University community regardless of sexual orientation.
Arianna Lint is another transgender activist being honored as a Champion of Equality for her role in increasing the visibility of the trans community as the Director of Transgender Services for Broward County's very own SunServe. Over the past year, she has been a fearless advocate on behalf of transgender rights as one of SAVE's most prolific spokespersons, appearing on multiple occasions before the Miami-Dade County Commission to speak passionately in favor of non-discrimination protections for the trans community.
Arianna also made her mark this February at the National LGBTQ Task Force's Creating Change conference in Denver, where she stormed the stage at the opening plenary address alongside TransLatin@ Coalition president Bamby Salcedo and over 100 activists, demanding representation and employment of transgender individuals by LGBTQ nonprofit organizations. The demonstration generated national headlines and was hailed as a turning point for the trans rights movement.
In addition to the three Champions of Equality honorees, SAVE will induct into its Hall of Champions the HIV/AIDS prevention organization Impulse Group, a project funded in part by AIDS Healthcare Foundation with chapters in eight cities across the globe, including one based in the LGBT destination city of Ft. Lauderdale, and another planned to open soon in China. Ft. Lauderdale chapter director A.J. Alegria will accept the award on behalf of the organization, which SAVE recognizes for its work in raising awareness and reducing transmissions of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections among some of South Florida's most at-risk communities.
“It’s SAVE’s honor to recognize these leaders this year,” said SAVE Executive Director Tony Lima. “In their own ways, Rodrigo, Arianna, and Dr. Rosenberg have all made invaluable contributions to the cause of LGBTQ equality over the past year. And, of course, I’m so proud to have the privilege of recognizing Impulse Group for its work in stoping the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections in the local LGBTQ community.”
This year’s Champions of Equality reception will be held Friday, May 8th, from 6 - 10PM at the lovely Briza on the Bay event space located at 1717 North Bayshore Drive on Biscayne Bay in Downtown Miami. This year’s event will feature music by DJ Maximus 3000 and spirits sponsored by Grey Goose and Bacardi, which will be offering its full repertoire of brands for guests to enjoy at the open bar all night long. Tickets to the event are $150 online in advance and $175 at the door and are currently available for sale at www.championsofequality.com.
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