Thursday, November 11, 2010

Your Vote Counted!

While many voters across our nation opted to sit out this election, Palm Beach County's LGBT voters — and our allies — responded overwhelmingly to the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance voter identification, voter education, early voting, absentee ballot and get-out-the-vote campaigns. As a result, 19 of the endorsed local candidates were elected or re-elected.

These LGBT-supportive public officials include U.S. Congressmen Ted Deutch and Alcee Hastings, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, State Senator Ellyn Bogdanoff, State Representatives Mack Bernard, Joseph Abruzzo, Mark Pafford, Jeff Clemens and Irv Slosberg, County Commissioners Paulette Burdick, Jess Santamaria and Priscilla Taylor, Port Commissioner Blair Ciklin, School Board Members Debra Robinson, Jennifer Prior Brown and Marcia Andrews, Circuit Court Judge Lisa Small, County Court Judge Marni Bryson and Lake Worth City Commissioner Suzanne Mulvehill.

Congratulations to all of these individuals – and rest assured, the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council will be in touch!

Thanks go out to the volunteers on the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance who spent countless hours screening and interviewing candidates over the past six months – as well as to all of our supporters who worked tirelessly on the various campaigns.

On behalf of the Council's Board of Directors, thank you once again for your participation in the electoral process.

With the election behind us — and not another one on the horizon for several months — the Council will now refocus our work towards ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression through education, advocacy, direct action, impact litigation, and community outreach.

For more than a decade, Florida Atlantic University professors Alan Barsky and Fred Fejes (among others) have been seeking to have the school's nondiscrimination policies specifically prohibit discrimination based sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. In addition, they have been asking FAU to provide domestic partner benefits for FAU employees. The Council was called in to assist in these efforts in 2006.

Dr. Barsky reports that progress is now being made at FAU under the leadership of recently inaugurated President Mary Jane Saunders. We are very optimistic that the nondiscrimination policies will soon be updated. With regard to domestic partnership benefits, FAU currently is exploring models used by University of Florida, Florida International University and other state universities.

The Council also is working with the Village of Wellington, the Town of Palm Beach and the City of Palm Beach Gardens on extending the full range of domestic partnership benefits for their employees.

As always, we will keep you informed of our progress.

Rand Hoch
President and Founder

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