Sunday, March 29, 2009

Big Gay Rights Victory In Florida


Last week equal rights celebrated a hard fought, well-earned victory in Gainesville, Florida. Voters turned back an anti-gay measure right-wing reactionaries were trying to pass, 58-42%. The week before, one of the student organizers, John Brushwood, gave DWT a preview of the action. Last night he recovered from the week-long victory party and wrote us a note to let us know that they again vanquished the right in Gainesville, birthplace of Tom Petty, Less Than Jake and Against Me and home of the country's third largest university. (In November Alachua County helped deliver Florida to Obama with a devastating 22% loss for McCain.)

Anyway, John, along with his compadres, Garrett Gardener and Eric Conrad, reports that "We crushed amendment 1 by 16 points, and the student vote quadrupled compared to the last city election. It took us a lot of hard work but by using the same tactics we used in '08 and focusing on the solidly progressive but typically low turn out student precincts, we ended up with record breaking results. Our on campus precinct 31 voted 88.27% no. The highest of any precinct in the city. It also cast the second highest total amount of no votes."

The wingers tried to push the amendment as though it were about preventing men from being able to invade women's restrooms but the "No On One" campaign successfully portrayed it for what it always was: an attempt to roll back equal rights for gay people and turn them into second class citizens. Much of the campaign apparatus used to defeat amendment 1 was leftover from the Obama campaign. John and many others will now get down to work electing the only progressive in Florida's U.S. Senate race, Dan Gelber.

The right, of course, isn't giving up. Under the banner of failed and disgraced House Speaker Newt Gingrich's anti-gay crusade, they're whining that by demanding equal rights, gays are imposing their "will on the rest of us." Gingrich is trying to forge a bond between right-wing religionists and the banksters who feel generally very put upon right now because people don't want taxpayer money to fund multimillion dollar bonuses. This is what's left of the GOP.

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