Jeff Delmay, who served as a plaintiff in the lawsuit that led to the first same-sex marriages in Florida, has been named Co-Chair of Equality Florida’s Board of Directors. His 3-year term begins immediately.
He and his husband Todd Delmay made a name for themselves in the South Florida LGBT community when they were one of the six plaintiffs to sue for marriage equality in the state and won.
"When you participate in something as historic as we did, you really get excited about the idea that one or two voices can make a difference," Todd Delmay previously said.
The couple got married January 5, 2015 in Miami-Dade when the ban was lifted. They became some of the first gay men to marry in the state.
"We wanted to set an example for our son [Blake]. He's sort of understanding it now that we're married and having this celebration," Delmay previously said. "It's an exciting time, with our lives changing and business growing. We're just like everybody else now."
Jeff and his husband Todd first became active with Equality Florida as plaintiffs in the organization’s lawsuit, Pareto v. Ruvin, January 21, 2014, to secure marriage equality in Florida, according to a media release.
“Today the majority of Floridians stand with us as we take this historic step toward marriage equality in the Sunshine State,” said Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida. “These couples have been embraced by their families and communities, but every day, Florida laws are denying them the protections and dignity that every family deserves. These harmful laws are outdated and out of step.”
Jeff has served on the board since 2016 and accepted the new leadership role during their board meeting in April, according to the media release.
“As a gay black man in an interracial marriage and raising our adopted son, I feel that my family is protected in our community largely due to the tireless efforts of Equality Florida. I’m excited to do my part in helping other LGBTQ+ individuals and families experience the same," Jeff said.
Smith in the release said Jeff has played a direct role in helping to secure legal protections for Florida’s LGBT community, and that his dedication and understanding of how Equality Florida carves out victories despite challenging environments makes him a perfect choice for co-chair.
Now, in his new role as co-chair of the Board, Jeff is not only helping to navigate the organization during a global pandemic but also ensuring Equality Florida remains a leading voice on issues of racial violence and systemic racism.
“People who know of Equality Florida, know that this is a very powerful, caring and diverse organization that has been practicing what it preaches since its founding in 1997. Being named co-chair is just another example of how Equality Florida is focused on lifting up the voices of all Floridians and recognizing leadership skills in Black and Brown communities,” said Jeff in the same release.
As nationwide demonstrations in support of Black lives continue, Jeff hopes the LGBT movement in general fully commits to combating racial violence and injustice.
“It starts with understanding that the fight for full LGBTQ equality includes ending white supremacy and embracing anti-racism. It means lifting up the voices of Black trans women and ending the epidemic of violence against them. It also means we must act. And one of the most impactful actions we can take is voting,” Jeff said. “This November is one of the most important elections of our lifetime and we have the chance to shape the future of this country. I am honored to be co-chair of Equality Florida and participate in the extraordinarily important work they do for our state’s LGBTQ+ community.”
In the media release, it notes Jeff has also been involved in the community at large, working extensively with the National LGBTQ Task Force and The SMART Ride.
Jeff and his husband own and operate Delmay Corporation, which provides its software, event management and consulting services to meeting and event organizers. Jeff is a graduate of Johnson & Wales, where he studied hospitality management. After graduating, he enjoyed a 12-year career working for a few hotels in Miami.