Fort Lauderdale Commissioners Approve Marriage-Equality Resolution

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From our media partner Sun Sentinel - FORT LAUDERDALE In a symbolic gesture on Tuesday, city commissioners approved a marriage-equality resolution urging state leaders to take action to legalize same-sex marriage.

While the measure doesn't change the fact that the state's Constitution bans gay marriage, supporters of the resolution said it was critical for Fort Lauderdale officials to make clear their opposition to that ban.

The city has become a marquis destination for gay tourists and is home to one of the state's largest gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender populations.

"If we're truly going to be an All-America city, we have to be a city for all Americans," said Commissioner Dean Trantalis, referring to the national award the city won over the weekend.

The victory was not a foregone conclusion and the result was not the unanimous endorsement supporters had desired.

The commission voted 3-2 to approve the resolution. Commissioners Trantalis, Bobby DuBose and Bruce Roberts supported the resolution, while Mayor Jack Seiler and Vice Mayor Romney Rogers opposed it.

Rogers, whose voice cracked as he spoke, said he didn't run for office "to be on the right side of history," but because of his love for the community.

"Certainly I'm in favor of equality. But I believe marriage is a sacred covenant," Rogers said.

Seiler said he was an early supporter of domestic partnerships and civil unions for the LGBT community.

"On this issue I have not changed my position. I remain committed to civil unions with full benefits," Seiler said.

But those concepts are nothing more than "separate but equal," one speaker said, something that "doesn't fly" anymore.

Only a couple of speakers opposed the resolution.

Jordan Pearl said polygamy and incest marriages would follow if same-sex marriage is legalized.

"You're mocking the beliefs of the religious community. You're mocking the Bible," Pearl said. "You're saying that God, Moses and Jesus are wrong."

About 30 people spoke in support of the resolution.

"We deserve this dignity," resident Chad Thilborger said. "It's time that you actually recognize who we are for and what we stand for."

Many said they had been forced to marry out of state or were planning weddings elsewhere because of Florida's ban. They said it was an economic issue as well, because the state was passing up all that wedding business.

Geph Scarr said is getting married on Labor Day, but he and his fiance are going to Mexico City because they can't tie the knot at home.

"We could be having our wedding right here in Fort Lauderdale," Scarr said. "We're missing out on that possibility."

From our media partner Sun Sentinel


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