President's Message - Post-Primary Election Update - August 29, 2018
August 29, 2018
Since 1988, the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance (PBCHRCVA) has interviewed close to one thousand candidates for public office. As a result of our successes in electing LGBTQ-supportive candidates, throughout Palm Beach County it isillegal to discriminate against LGBTQ people with regard to employment, housing and public accommodation. In addition, conversion therapy is banned throughout the county. Moreover, there are now more than 125 local ordinances, resolutions, collective bargaining agreements and policies that provide Palm Beach County's LGBTQ residents and visitors equal rights, protections and benefits. A complete list can be found by clicking here and selecting the "Laws & Policies" tab.
Unlike other organizations that just send out questionnaires and make recommendations based on whether and how candidates respond, PBCHRCVA does research and conducts face-to-face interviews with candidates. 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.
We use our candidate screening process to educate candidates, make endorsements and take action to elect people who will take steps to change laws and policies to provide equal protection, treatment and benefits for the local LGBTQ community. While the process is time consuming, it gives us the best opportunity 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.
As part of our mission, we have been working diligently for decades to identify LGBTQ and LGBTQ-supportive residents, get them registered to vote, encourage them to get involved in campaigns, and ensure that they vote in every single election.
This year there have been more PBCHRC-supportive volunteers than ever before participating in our voter identification, early voting, vote-by-mail and get-out-the-vote campaigns. Additionally, a record number of our supporters have been volunteering in more campaigns than ever before. So, it comes as no surprise that LGBTQ and allied voters turned out in record numbers in the August Primary Election.
As a result of these efforts - and your participation - the following candidates endorsed by PBCHRCVA were victorious at the polls yesterday:
Lauren Baer, candidate for U.S. Congress Congressman Alcee Hastings Congressman Ted Deutch Andrew Gillum, candidate for Governor Sean Shaw, candidate for Attorney General Nicole "Nikki" Fried, candidate for Commissioner of Agriculture State Senator Bobby Powell State Representative David Silvers State Representative Matt Willhite State Representative-elect Tina Polsky James Bonfiglio, candidate for State Representative Marybel Reinoso Coleman, candidate for Circuit Court Judge Michael McAuliffe, candidate for Circuit Court Judge Gregg Weiss, candidate for County Commission Palm Beach County School Board Member Debra Robinson Boca Raton Mayor Scott Singer
In addition, it is possible that Andy Thomson, our candidate for Boca Raton City Council, may prevail in the event there is a recount in this extremely close race.
Many of the PBCHRCVA-endorsed candidates who were victorious yesterday still face opposition in the November 6 General Election. Key offices, including races for the U.S. Senate, Governor, Attorney General, Chief Financial Officer and Commissioner of Agriculture, will be decided on November 6, 2018. Therefore, we must continue our efforts to ensure that the people who are elected to office understand the unique concerns of the LGBTQ community. A complete list of the candidates endorsed by the PBCHRC Voters Alliance - including those whom already have been elected (or re-elected) - can be found by clicking here.
Between now and the General Election, PBCHRCVA will continue to send out information. If you do not receive our e-mails, please go to pbchrc.org, scroll down to "STAY INFORMED. GET THE LATEST NEWS FROM PBCHRC" and sign up.
If you have not yet signed up to Vote-by-Mail, just click here to apply for your Vote-by-Mail ballot to be delivered to your voting address. It takes less than 5 minutes! You also can 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 here for the Supervisor of Elections website.
CONVERSION THERAPY BANS
BEING CHALLENGED IN FEDERAL COURT
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 assistPalm 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.
SAVE THE DATE - JANUARY 19, 2019
FOR PBCHRC'S WINTER FÊTE
On Saturday night, January 19, 2019, PBCHRC supporters will gather at the West Palm Beach home of contemporary art collector Jeff Ganek to honor West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio at our annual Winter Fête. Sponsorships, which include a pair of tickets and invitations to a VIP pre-party are $2,500. Individual tickets are $250. More details will be provided in the upcoming months. To become a sponsor or to purchase tickets, click here.
At PBCHRC's request:
The City of West Palm Beach will be installing LGBTQ Pride Rainbow Crosswalks at a location to be determined.
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.
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
This paid electioneering communication, which is independent of any party, candidate or committee, is produced, sponsored and paid for by the The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance.
The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance.
The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, Inc. is dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. The Council promotes equality, through education, advocacy, direct action, impact litigation, and community outreach.