Patricia Keon is the clear choice to lead Coral Gables as a thoughtful, competent, and compassionate leader
We are disappointed to learn that Coral Gables candidate for mayor Vince Lago denounced efforts by Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart’s leadership to address the issue of racism in the United States in a letter signed by parents and alumni of the school. Vice Mayor Vince Lago was co-endorsed by SAVE Action PAC for Coral Gables Mayor along with Commissioner Pat Keon. However, the latest news report in the Miami Herald draws a stark contrast between the two candidates. Last year the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor brought forth the critical need to address racism in our nation. This systemic crisis has caused many compassionate citizens, leaders, captains of industry, and heads of government to dig deep into what can be done to denounce racism and to take on a deliberate anti-racist agenda.
The letter to the school leadership states that the school’s efforts to address racism were incompatible with its Catholic foundation. However, we find that perspective to be contradictory with the values to uphold human dignity. Furthermore, racism and anti-LGBTQ perspectives are intertwined and the advancement of one community can’t prevail without the other as a matter of basic human rights.
We applaud the leadership of Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart which is part of the global Network of Sacred Heart Schools. Their philosophy has five goals:
- Educate to establish a personal and active faith in God
- Educate to establish deep respect for intellectual values
- Educate to establish a social awareness which compels one to action
- Educate to establish the building of a community with Christian values
- Educate to establish personal growth in an atmosphere of wise freedom
Educational institutions are the sacred spaces for enriching the minds of our youth. Schools tackling systemic racism are helping to end the harms of that legacy in our country. If anything the leadership at the school took action with a deep sense of compassion and responsiveness to the social issues that engulf our community and country. The school leaders took their guiding principles to heart and put them into action. To separate the need to address racism from Christian values is a perverse and inhumane preservation of the injustice. Vice Mayor Lago’s decision to sign on to this letter makes clear that Pat Keon is the best choice for Coral Gables Mayor.
Election Day is April 13th. To volunteer to help Get OUT the Vote, sign up at www.save.lgbt/action. To learn more about our endorsements and your local elections visit our Election Center at www.wevote.miami.
We have started a special project to document SAVE’s history. The SAVE History Project was created to develop a record of the milestones that SAVE has achieved since its founding in 1993 as well as some of the preceding activities that took place leading up to its formation. We want to include a list of the individuals involved as volunteers, members of the board of directors, and staff who have all significantly contributed as leaders in helping to enact landmark legislation to advance equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community in South Florida.
TELL US HOW YOU WERE INVOLVED
If you served on the staff or on the board, click on this link to tell us how you were involved. This will help us compile the names and roles of people that have contributed to advancing and improving the lives of people that are LGBTQ in South Florida. Click here to submit your name.
DO YOU HAVE MEMORABILIA TO SHARE?
In your box of memories, you may have pictures, documents, invitations, stickers, etc. We would love to include those items in our project. If you would like, we will return what you share with us. All the items will be scanned or photographed so that they can be included in the final project. If you provide photographs, please provide the names of the people in the photo if possible. To submit items, follow these instructions:
To mail materials:
Send to SAVE (History Project), 1951 NW 7th Avenue, Ste 600, Miami, FL 33137.
Mark “Return” or “Keep” so that we know what to return to you. Kindly provide a return mailing address.
To email materials:
We need your help. Florida House Bill 1475 seeks to prohibit trans students, particularly trans girls, from participating in sports by forcing trans children to prove their gender despite already living as their authentic selves. HB 1475 is incredibly invasive and demeaning to trans students who just want to play sports just like their peers. The legislation would require any dispute of the student's biological sex to be resolved by a health care provider by examining "the student's reproductive anatomy".
Hate filled bills like HB 1475 have popped up in 25 states this year after Trump blew the conservative dog whistle last month at CPAC. As a resident in House District 115, we need your help, and we need it quickly.
HB 1475 is headed to its final committee stop as soon as next week after being fast-tracked by conservative leadership. Your State Representative, Vance Aloupis, is still undecided on how he will vote. Rep. Aloupis is a member of the House Education and Employment Committee that will hear this hateful bill next. We have already reached out to Rep. Aloupis as a SAVE Action PAC endorsed candidate. But we know he’s keenly attuned to hearing from his constituents.
We need you to take action so Rep. Aloupis knows his constituents like you are against this bill and that you support trans students (Below are sample messages for you to use):
- Call Rep. Aloupis’ office and leave a message.
- Email Rep. Aoupis’.
- Share this Facebook post to engage your friends and neighbors online.
- Call, text, or email at least five friends and neighbors that live in the district to do the same.
It’s up to us to protect trans youth. Please take action now.
Call Rep. Aloupis’ office and leave a message:
Tallahassee Office: 850-717-5115
District Office: 305-270-6530
Hi Rep. Aloupis, my name is ________. I live at _______ and I vote. I am calling to urge you to vote no on the anti-transgender athlete bill HB 1475. Transgender students deserve the same opportunities as everyone one else including playing sports at school and being part of a team. My phone number is ________. Thank you.
- Be polite but firm.
- If you are a parent let him know.
- If you are a person of faith let him know.
- If you are a conservative let him know.
- If you are an athlete or parent of an athlete let him know.
Email Rep. Aoupis’:
Go to https://www.save.lgbt/email_rep_aloupis to be directed to Rep. Aloupis’ online portal for emails. Be sure to include your address so that he knows you live in his district. Personalize the letter as much as possible.
Dear Rep. Aloupis,
I am writing you today to urge you to vote no on the anti-transgender athlete bill HB 1475, and I am concerned that you have not yet publicly come out against this bill.
Transgender kids, like other students, deserve the same chances to learn teamwork, sportsmanship, leadership and self-discipline, and to build a sense of belonging with their peers. When we tell transgender girls that they can’t play girls’ sports—or transgender boys that they can’t play boys’ sports—they miss out on this important childhood experience and all the lessons it teaches.
Schools across the country know that transgender students, like any student, thrive when they’re treated with dignity and respect. When school officials recognize that a transgender girl is a girl during the school day, but then treat her as if she’s a boy when sports practice starts, it’s hurtful to the student and disrupts the school’s policy of treating all kids fairly.
HB 1475 is an overt attack on transgender students. I urge you to vote no.
Share on Facebook post to engage your friends and neighbors online:
Here is the link to the Facebook post. Please share it and tag your friends and neighbors that support equality.
Help protect transgender students and stop HB 1475. I just called and emailed our Representative, Vance Aloupis (@VanceForFlorida), to urge him to vote NO, and I need you to do the same. HB 1475 is an overt attack on transgender students and would essentially ban transgender students from playing sports in school. Visit www.save.lgbt/stopHB1475 for talking points and sample emails.
Call, text, or email at least five friends and neighbors that live in the district to do the same:
Hi <<Name>>, I reach out to help protect transgender students and stop HB 1475. I just called and emailed our Representative, Vance Aloupis, to urge him to vote NO, and I need you to do the same. HB 1475 is an overt attack on transgender students and would essentially ban transgender students from playing sports in school. Visit www.save.lgbt/stopHB1475 for talking points and sample emails.
The passing of the Equality Act yesterday was bittersweet for us. While we celebrate that the bill passed and it will now advance to the Senate, we are disappointed that a handful of our South Florida members of Congress collectively voted against the bill to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination.
We thank Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, Congressman Ted Deutch and Congressman Alcee Hastings for voting in favor of the Equality Act and for continuing to be champions for the community.
In a stinging surprise, Congressman Mario Diaz Balart flipped his vote by voting against the Equality Act when in 2019 he voted in favor. It is important to note that the language in the bill was the same this year as it was then. Moreover, former Miami Dade County Mayor, Congressman Carlos Gimenez who previously championed LGBTQ protections at the local level also voted against the bill along with Congresswoman Maria Elvira Salazar. We condemn these votes. Diaz Balart and Gimenez have effectively ransacked their pro-LGBT record.
Unfortunately, the dissemination of misinformation is the currency of today’s political environment. In our meetings with elected officials and in listening to the debate on the house floor, it was clear that opponents to the bill were concocting a false narrative about the Equality Act’s impact on the Freedom of Religion and woefully overstating its effect on existing constitutional protections.
Understanding Religious Freedom and the Equality Act
It is critically important that we educate and share with everyone how the Equality Act embraces freedom of religion.
Firstly, the freedom of religion is important to all of us. It is one of our nation’s most sacred and fundamental values. That is why it is already fully protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution, and the Equality Act does nothing to lessen those protections. LGBTQ leaders, activists, and citizens have no desire to undermine existing protections for people of faith under the Constitution or existing laws.
Moreover, The Equality Act does not require clergy to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies. No church or clergyperson can ever be compelled to perform a marriage ceremony, and that includes marrying same-sex couples. Churches and clergy should be free to practice and preach as they see fit, and the Equality Act does not change that.
The language of the Equality Act maintains existing religious exemptions currently afforded under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, providing reasonable exemptions for religiously affiliated organizations and educational institutions that are not open to the public. These exemptions strike precisely the same balance between religious freedom and equal treatment of all people that currently exists under our federal nondiscrimination laws.
We find that many concerns related to religious exemptions are resolved by the existence of the co-religionist exemption and ministerial exception, and the Equality Act leaves both intact. The ministerial exception allows religious organizations total autonomy regarding whom they hire to teach and spread their religion. This exception applies to employees of religious organizations who perform job functions such as teaching scripture, leading prayers, or religious songs, or otherwise sharing religious doctrine. Houses of worship and religiously affiliated organizations are permitted to make hiring and firing decisions for these positions that align with their church doctrine and are not required to comply with local, state, or federal nondiscrimination laws for those jobs.
For example, a Catholic Church cannot be held liable for refusing to hire female priests. Additionally, a religious school may be able to fire or refuse to hire an LGBTQ teacher if their job description includes teaching the faith. The Supreme Court recently ruled in the Our Lady of Guadalupe case that two religious schools were exempt from discrimination claims (one for age and the other for disability discrimination) because of the ministerial exception, so that exception has been applied quite broadly. The co-religionist exemption further allows religious organizations to prefer or only hire or rent to those who are members of their religion.
Regarding the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), there is a misconception about the impact of the Equality Act on the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. This stems from extreme messaging to promote misinformation. The Equality Act does not repeal or undermine federal RFRA. Instead, it clarifies how RFRA originally was intended by Congress to be applied. The Equality Act restores original Congressional intent to ensure that RFRA can continue to be used as a shield to protect people of all faiths against government overreach, and not as a sword to discriminate against people of minority faiths and others. In fact, courts have generally ruled that RFRA cannot excuse discrimination against LGBTQ people and others and the Equality Act simply confirms this. Furthermore, the Equality Act expands the rights of people of faith by expanding the places of public accommodation where religious discrimination is prohibited.
Fundamentally, protecting people from discrimination is about the Golden Rule - treating others as we want to be treated. That is why many people of faith support these protections; not despite their religious beliefs, but because of them. LGBTQ people are our friends, neighbors, family members, and coworkers. They work hard, support their families, and pay taxes. The Equality Act would ensure that LGBTQ people have the same rights and protections as everyone else - no more, no less.
Yours in service,