Thursday, December 13, 2018

Post-Election Update - November 2018

November 7, 2018 

Across the nation, a  
record number of openly-LGBTQ candidates were elected or re-elected at all levels. 
  • Senator Tammy Baldwin was re-elected to the U.S. Senate.
  • Jared Polis of Colorado became the first openly gay man to be elected governor in the United States.
  • Oregon Governor Kate Brown, the first out LGBTQ governor in history, was re-elected.
  • Sharice Davids of Kansas became the first openly LGBTQ Native American lawmaker in Congress.
  • In addition, a record number of out LGBTQ candidates were elected and re-elected to the U.S. Congress.
  • In Massachusetts, voters upheld non-discrimination protections for transgender people in public spaces.
                                                       Michelle Sylvester

And here in Palm Beach County, an openly-LGBTQ candidate, Michelle Sylvester, was elected to serve on the Soil and Water Conservation Board.

As you know by now, since 1988, the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance (PBCHRCVA) has interviewed close to 1,000 candidates for public office. As a result of our successes in electing LGBTQ-supportive candidates, it is illegal in Palm Beach County 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 130 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 on the Laws & Policies page.

While Palm Beach County's LGBTQ and allied supporters have been "super-voters" for decades, this year we were also "super-volunteers." More PBCHRC supporters were volunteers in political campaigns than at any time in our 30 year history. Our supporters also worked on PBCHRCVA's voter identification, early voting, vote-by-mail and get-out-the-vote campaigns. So, it came as no surprise that LGBTQ and allied voters in Palm Beach County turned out in record numbers in yesterday's General Election.

And while most of the candidates endorsed by PBCHRCVA did exceptionally well in our county, others were not elected due to election results in other parts of the state.

The following candidates endorsed by the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance were elected - or re-elected - to office yesterday:
State Senator Bobby Powell
State Representative Matt Willhite
State Representative  David Silvers 
County Commissioner Gregg Weiss
County Commissioner Robert Weinroth
Port Commissioner Joseph Anderson
County Court Judge Ashley Zuckerman
Palm Beach Soil & Water Conservation Board Member Michelle
Palm Beach Soil & Water Conservation Board Member Eva Webb

PBCHRC congratulates all of these candidates --and sends very special congratulations to Michelle Sylvester, Palm Beach County's most recent LGBTQ resident to be elected to public office!

In three very close races, PBCHRCVA-endorsed candidates remain unsure of their futures, as there could be recounts in these races:
  • U.S. Senator Bill Nelson
  • Candidate for Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried
  • Candidate for State Representative (Dist. 89) Jim Bonfiglio
We'll keep you posted of the results of any recounts!


The City of West Palm Beach has again earned a perfect score on the sixth annual Human Rights Campaign Foundation Municipal Equality Index (MEI) ranking of cities across the United States. 

The MEI examines how inclusive municipal laws, policies and services are of the LGBTQ people who live and work there. Cities are rated based on nondiscrimination laws, the municipality as an employer, municipal services, law enforcement and City leadership's public position on equality.

This summer, the Liberty Counsel, an anti-LGBTQ hate group, 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.
In October, a daylong hearing was held before U.S. District Court Judge Robin Rosenberg on the plaintiff's Motion for a Temporary Injunction. A ruling is expected before year's end and PBCHRC will continue to keep you informed on the status of the case as it works its way through the court system.

  • On Monday night, the Ocean Ridge Town Council enacted an LGBT-inclusive civil rights ordinance prohibiting discrimination throughout the town. Thanks go out to Ocean Ridge Mayor Jim Bonfiglio for his leadership with this initiative.
  • In October, the School Board of Palm Beach County adopted an Equity Policy, to show the Board's commitment to eliminating race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability or socioeconomic status as predictors for academic success.
  • On September 24, West Palm Beach City Commissioners unanimously adopted a resolution aimed at eliminating bullying and harassment in city facilities and at programs the city provides at the Mandel Public Library, as well as at the community centers at Coleman, Gaines, Howard and South Olive Parks. Thanks go out to City Commissioner Kelly Shoaf for taking the lead on this initiative.
  • As one more way to make trans residents feel more welcome, West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio has directed city staff to implementing a citywide requirement for equal access to sex-segregated restrooms. By years end, all single-stall restrooms on city-owned properties will be designated as "All-Gender."
  • West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio and City Commissioner Christina Lambert have begun working with PBCHRC and Compass on initiatives to assist LGBTQ seniors.
  • Within the next few months, the City of West Palm Beach will be installing an LGBTQ Pride Rainbow Crosswalk at a location to be determined.
  • PBCHRC is also working on an initiative to see if the Health Care District of Palm Beach County can provide transition related healthcare services to indigent patients. Health Care District CEO Darcy Davis has directed staff to look into PBCHRC's request and we look forward to hearing from the District in the near future. Thanks go to our Health Care District Commission Cory Neering for his assistance on this project.

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. Scott Rixford will host a VIP Party in Wellington to honor our Benefactors and Sponsors.

Thanks go out to our Benefactors (as of November 6): James Berwind and Kevin Clark, Bill Bone, Mauricio Busa and Barry Hayes, Daniel S. Hall, The Law and Mediation Offices of Rand Hoch, P.A., West Palm Beach City Commissioner Keith James and Lorna James, Wood Kinnard and Alberto Arias, Sidney Lesowitz and Peter Rogers, Paula Ryan for Mayor and Trent Steele.

Thanks also go out to our sponsors (as of November 6): Lee Bell and Fotios Pantazis, Kaci and Andy Bloemers, Christopher Caneles and Stephen Nesbitt, David Cohen and Paul Bernabeo, Cornerstone Solutions, Tom Corrigan and Craig Mitchell, Arlen D. Dominek and A. J. Young, Echo, Diane Freany and Sharon Koskoff, Charlie Fredrickson, Gay Polo League, Michael Grattendick and Chip Freeman, Howard Grossman, MD, Tony Jaggi and Don Watren, Michael Judd and Ben Small. Lou Marotta and Mike Fullwood, Ross Meltzer and Victor Figueredo.
George J. Palladino and Jerrold St. George, Joe Peduzzi for West Palm Beach City Commission, J.P. Sasser, Don Todorich - Corcoran Group R.E, Scott Velozo and Stephen Mooney, and A.J. Wasson and Randy Christensen.

Benefactors ($2,500) will receive four tickets to the event and the VIP pre-party. Sponsors ($1,000) will receive two tickets to the event and the VIP pre-party. Individual tickets are $250. 

To become a Benefactor or Sponsor, 
or to purchase individual tickets, 
please visit our Events Page.

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

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