Two South Florida Cities Pass Ordinances in Favor of Equality
by Joshua Head
Miami Beach, FL – January 28, 2010 --- This month marks the passage of two very
important pieces of pro-equality legislation in Miami-Dade County.
In a press release from SAVE Dade, we learn that the
City of Miami Beach
unanimously passed a revised and strengthened Human Rights
Ordinance. We learned
also that the City of South Miami passed a Domestic Partnership Ordinance.
On January 13, 2010, the ordinance passed by
the City of Miami Beach strengthens the language and enforcement
mechanisms against discrimination in the city.
The passage of this ordinance was more than a year in the making
when back in 2008 the City tabled a vote on it.
The South Miami ordinance passed on January 14th
extends access to health insurance to domestic partners to city
Dade worked very close with the Miami Beach City Attorney’s
office and former Commissioner Victor Diaz, who sponsored the
strengthens the language, enforcement mechanisms, process of
complaint and legal access to the law of the City’s ordinance and
mirrors the best modern state anti-discrimination laws in the
country. The most
significant outcome of the process was the establishment of the
Miami Beach Human Rights Commission.
Because there is still no state or federal law preventing gay
or transgender people from being fired from their jobs or otherwise
discriminated against in Florida, the Commission will serve as an
enforcing and advisory body of the Human Rights Ordinance.
Businesses that violate the ordinance will be reprimanded
and, according to the press release, repeat offenders could be
stripped of certain licenses necessary to continue doing business,
such as a liquor license.
The City of South Miami’s Domestic Partnership
Ordinance marks the city’s first pro-GLBT legislation since it was
incorporated in 1927.
The Ordinance was co-sponsored by South Miami Mayor Horace G. Feliu
and City Commissioner Valerie Newman.
It passed the second reading with additional support by
Vice-Mayor Brian D. Beasley.
Velma Palmer and Lew
Sellers voted against the Ordinance and this should be
considered when these two are up for relection in the future.
After Amendment 2 was adopted in 2008, Florida
remains one of 29 states in the nation that have constitutionally
banned same-sex marriage, and one of 19 states that do not recognize
gay or lesbian relationships in any form. Domestic Partnerships are
the only current form of recognition offered to gay and lesbian
couples on a local level.
"We thank the City of South Miami Commissioners
who voted for the ordinance along with the Mayor in recognizing that
the families of all city employees deserve fair and equitable
treatment," said SAVE Dade's Executive Director, C.J. Ortuno. The
City of South Miami joins the City of Miami, North Miami, Miami
Beach, and Miami-Dade County, which have all passed similar Domestic