The Dade County gays rights ordinance was narrowly re-instated in 1998 by a 7-6 vote, and this time survived a repeal effort by the Christian Coalition in 2003.
That victory did not mark the end of the fight for gay and lesbians rights locally or nationally. Although the 110th Congress may take them up, no progress has been made on hate crimes legislation or a ban on workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation. The “Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell” policy remains in effect for the military.
Same-sex marriage emerged as the social conservatives rallying cry against gays. The Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 and repeated, albeit unsuccessful, congressional votes on a constitutional amendment limiting marriage to heterosexual couples kept the issue on the front burner.
Vermont, Connecticut and New Jersey have legalized same-sex civil unions, and only Massachusetts allows gay marriage. Twenty six states have approved gay marriage bans in the last few years, and only in Arizona was such a proposal turned down by voters.
Florida still bans adoption by gay and lesbian couples—a ban instituted within a week of the repeal of gay rights amendment. A referendum to put a ban on same-sex marriage in the state constitution—a legislative ban was enacted a month before the repeal vote—may be on the ballot in 2008 if a petition drive succeeds. Early polls show a statistical tie between those supporting the ban and those opposing it. The struggle continues. BACK TO FIRST PANEL