Saturday, August 25, 2018

President's Message - August 5, 2018

August 5, 2018

Since 1988, the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council (PBCHRC) has worked diligently to elect LGBTQ-supportive candidates for public office. For three decades, we have worked with these public officials to enact laws, ordinances and policies to provide equal treatment and equal benefits for the LGBTQ community.

On August 28, Florida voters will select candidates for federal, state and local offices. For the past several months, the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance (PBCHRCVA) has been interviewing and endorsing candidates, registering new voters, encouraging early voting and voting-by mail, and doing everything possible to ensure that LGBTQ voters turn out in record numbers in support of our endorsed candidates.

We often are asked just how we select the candidates we endorse. Unlike other organizations that just send out questionnaires and make recommendations based on whether and how candidates respond, PBCHRCVA does research and holds face-to-face interviews with candidates. While the process is time consuming, it gives us the best opportunity to make endorsement decisions and to help elect candidates who not only understand and support our issues, but (with the exception of judicial candidates) also will be advocates on behalf of the LGBTQ community. Thanks go out to PBCHRC Secretary Rae Franks for her work on coordinating the candidate interviews.


As shown on the PBCHRC website's "Endorsements" page, PBCHRCVA endorses candidates who support LGBTQ initiatives and privacy rights. Endorsements of candidates are made upon consideration of:
  • How a candidate has voted on LGBTQ issues, and 
  • How a candidate has supported the Palm Beach County LGBTQ community. 
All Palm Beach County residents who are registered to vote as of July 30 are eligible to vote in the August 28 primary election; however, not all of the candidates we have endorsed will appear on your individual ballot. 


If you have signed up to Vote-by-Mail, your ballot for the August 28 primary elections will be arriving soon - if it has not yet arrived. If you have a standing request to Vote-by-Mail and you have not received your ballot, please call the Office of the Supervisor of Elections at (561) 656-6200.

If you have not yet signed up to Vote-by-Mail, it's not too late!  You can sign up to receive a ballot in the mail at any time up to 5:00 p.m. August 22.  You also can go one of the Supervisor's offices to request (and even fill out a ballot) through August 28

Signing up to Vote-by-Mail is easy. Click here. And  you can quickly apply for your Vote-by-Mail ballot to be delivered to your voting address. It takes less than 5 minutes!  You can also call the Office of the Supervisor of Elections at (561) 656-6200 to request a Vote-by-Mail ballot.  Please remember to request for "All As Permitted." If you want your ballot sent to an address other than your registration address, you will need to complete a written application with a signature. Click herefor the Supervisor of Elections website. 
Be sure to sign and date your Vote-by-Mail ballot return envelope!  Return postage in Palm Beach County is $1.21 (or just use 3 First Class/Forever stamps).  Instead, you may hand-deliver your ballot to any of the Supervisor's offices. (For locations, click here. Ballots MUST be received by 5:00 p.m. August 28

Early Voting starts Monday, August 13 

Palm Beach County has 15 early voting sites, open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. starting Monday, August 13 through Sunday, August 26.  Any Palm Beach County  resident who has registered to vote by July 30 registered PBC voter may vote at any of the Early Voting sites.  To see a list of the of the Early Voting sites, click here.

Between now and the November 4 General Election, PBCHRCVA will continue to send out information.  If you do not receive our e-mails, please go to, scroll down to "STAY INFORMED - GET THE LATEST NEWS FROM PBCHRC" and sign up.

Your votes do make a difference!


On August 4, more than 230 PBCHRC supporters partied the night away at our biennial Summer Soirée, which was held at the National Croquet Club. Thanks to the generosity of our underwriters, every dollar raised from individual ticket sales will go to support PBCHRC initiatives and projects.  

Special thanks go out to Sandy James Fine Food & Productions,  the National Croquet Club and Sutka Visual Design for making the evening magical.

The 2018 Summer Soirée underwriters are:

James Berwind and Kevin Clark
Kaci and Andy Bloemers
Bill Bone
Ocean Ridge Mayor James Bonfiglio
Mauricio Busa and Barry Hayes
David Cohen and Paul Bernabeo
Christopher Caneles and Stephen Nesbitt
Cornerstone Solutions
Palm Beach Town Council Member Lew Crampton
Bill Eberhardt
Congressman Mark Foley
Charlie Fredrickson
Michael Grattendick and Chip Freeman
Howard Grossman, MD
Daniel S. Hall
The Law and Mediation Offices of Rand Hoch, P.A.
Tony Jaggi and Don Watren
West Palm Beach City Commissioner Keith James andLorna Anderson
Ken Keffer Catering
Wood Kinnard and Alberto Arias
Wayne Lewis
Ross Meltzer and Victor Figueredo
Mittleman Eye (Michael Fowler and David Mittleman)
National Croquet Club
Senator Bobby Powell
Scott Robertson and James Swope
West Palm Beach City Commissioner Paula Ryan
Sandy James Fine Food & Productions 
Arthur T. Schofield, P.A.
Trent Steele
Sutka Visual Design
Don Todorich - Corcoran Group R.E
Scott Velozo and Stephen Mooney
AJ Wasson and Randy Christensen
Gregg and Rebecca Weiss
Fred Zrinscak

Thanks also go out to PBCHRC volunteers Alex Heathcock, Steven Licari, Ben Siegel and Tom Valeo, who checked people into the event.



The Liberty Counsel, an anti-LGBTQ hate group, has filed suit in federal court against Palm Beach County and the City of Boca Raton, seeking to nullify their bans on conversion therapy for minors.  The lawsuit is virtually identical to the one the Liberty Counsel filed last December against the City of Tampa. Similar lawsuits have been filed for years, and not one has succeeded in overturning a conversion therapy ban. In fact, on four occasions , the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear cases challenging the bans.  However, as the Supreme Court turns further and further to the right on social issues, the Liberty Counsel is seeking another chance to allow therapists to abuse LGBTQ children through conversion therapy.  

The Southern Poverty Law Center and the National Center for Lesbian Rights, two of PBCHRC's allies who were instrumental in our efforts to enact the eight conversion therapy bans in Palm Beach County, will be filing a "friend of the court" brief in the lawsuit to assist Palm Beach County and the City of Boca Raton in their defense of this lawsuit.

As it takes a long time for these cases to work their way through the federal courts, it would be unusual for anything significant to happen in the near future.  But rest assured, PBCHRC will keep you informed as legal developments occur in the case.


At PBCHRC's request: 
  • Last month, the Royal Palm Beach Village Counsel adopted an LGBT-inclusive civil rights resolution.
  • The Ocean Ridge Town Council is in the process of finalizing the language for an LGBT-inclusive civil rights ordinance prohibiting discrimination throughout the town.
  • The City of West Palm Beach is implementing a citywide requirement for equal access to sex-segregated facilities. 
  • City Commissioner Kelly Shoaf is working with the West Palm Beach municipal staff to implement an anti-bullying program.
  • City Commissioner Christina Lambert is working to secure annual funding from the City of West Palm Beach for initiatives to assist LGBTQ seniors.
Finally, having accepted a new position as director of development for a hospital in Broward County, PBCHRC Board Member Marcie Hall has tendered her resignation,so that she may devote her full attention to her new job. Marcie was instrumental in having the City of Delray Beach enact both an LGBT-inclusive civil rights ordinance and a ban on conversion therapy. We wish Marcie the best in her new career!

For 30 years, the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council has worked diligently on behalf of the LGBTQ community. With your support, we will continue to do so in the years to come - and we will keep you posted on our progress!

Judge Rand Hoch (retired),
President and Founder

No comments:

Post a Comment