Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Gainesville, Florida, Rejects Amendment to Permit Discrimination Against Gays

And speaking of laws that protect folks against discrimination due to sexual orientation, check out Jim Burroway’s “It’s Not Okay to Fire Folks Just for Being Gay” at Box Turtle Bulletin today (here).

Burroway is commenting on the decision of voters in Gainesville, Florida, yesterday to reject an amendment to the Gainesville city charter that would have legalized firing gay people or denying housing to gay people. The amendment went down in defeat by a resounding 58% to 42%.

The mysterious group pushing this anti-gay initiative, Citizens for Good Public Policy, has put a statement on its website conceding defeat and decrying the “out-of-town money and influence” that allegedly caused Gainesville voters to reject homophobic discrimination (here).

Which is curious—the claim that Citizens for Good Public Policy was somehow subverted by out-of-town money and influence, I mean. Given that last May, the Thomas More Law Center announced it was providing pro bono legal assistance to Citizens for Good Public Policy (here). The Thomas More Law Center of Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Unless maps have changed since I last studied geography, Ann Arbor is a long way from Gainesville. It’s about as “out of town” as you can get, if you live in Gainesville, FL. The Thomas More Law Center founded by Tom Monaghan (here and here), with thick ties to right-wing Catholics and right-wing political activists around the nation . . .

With supporters like that, you’d think Citizens for Good Public Policy might think twice before playing the out-of-town influence card. But as long as we’re going to bring that card to the table, I would be very interested in seeing a list of donors to Citizens for Good Public Policy—that is, if the state of Florida would begin to honor its current governor’s call to let the sun shine in when initiatives like this come before the public from mysterious groups whose origin and funding is not ever quite made public.