Shirley Gibson Accepts Anti-Gay Group's Endorsement, Promises to "Review" Gay Rights Ordinance
Despite the Christian Family Coalition's regular habit of hurling hate-fueled messages towards the LGBT community and tirelessly working to strip gays of even the most basic rights, spineless local politicians desperate for any vote continue to legitimize the group by courting its members.
Miami Gardens Mayor Shirley Gibson is currently running to unseat incumbent Miami-Dade County Commissioner Barbara Jordan, and over the weekend accepted the group's endorsement. In return, she promised to "review" Miami-Dade's human rights ordinance that protects gays from discrimination.
The CFC and its founder and executive director, Anthony Verdugo, have taken the reigns of Anita Bryant's Miami anti-gay crusade. In 2002 Verdugo unsuccessfully lead a group trying to repeal a Miami-Dade ordinance that protects gays against discrimination in housing and at the workplace. The CFC website's "Homosexual Agenda" section is filled with all sorts of homophobic "alerts." Among other things, they've even called Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen an "an arrogant, anti-Family, homosexualist extremist."
That didn't' stop Gibson, a registered Democrat running for the nonpartisan county commission, from accepting a joint endorsement from the Christian Family Coalition and the Catholic Cultural Fund according to the Herald's Gay South Florida blog.
According to Steve Rothaus, Gibson promised to "seek a cost review of Miami-Dade County's human rights ordinance, which protects gays and lesbians from discrimination in work and housing, and also provides health benefits for same-sex and opposite-sex partners."
Though, Gibson pulled of some mighty doublespeak about the ordinance.
"My personal opinion is, if we're looking at the fact that Dade County already has it, then I'm not going to go take it away," Gibson said, adding she wouldn't "initiate" a repeal.
Right, she just wants to lead a review of the law. This is an ordinance, we should point out, that is supported by the vast majority of Miami-Dade citizens. When Verdugo lead an effort to repeal it in 2002, 56 percent of voters decided to keep it on the books. That was ten years ago, and if anything, acceptance of the LGBT community has only grown since then.
Perhaps no county's basic gay rights ordinance has a history filled with as much controversy and contention, but its been on the books for 14 years now. Citizens have already voted to keep it there. It's settled law, so why the hell would anyone waste time and money to seek a "cost review" of the law?
Sadly, Gibson isn't the only local politician who's played dangerous, spineless politics trying to court the group. Mayor Carlos Giminez spoke at one of the group's events in May despite squeaking out a win in the mayoral election thanks to his support from the gay community.
Local politicians should be careful with dealing with the CFC. It may not be worth it, anyway. Verdugo say it represents more than 100,000 local voters. Their Facebook page, though, has all of 19 likes.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Miami New Times' biggest stories.