Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Palm Beach County Commission Votes to Support Marriage Equality

(West Palm Beach, Florida) -- At today's meeting, Palm Beach County Commissioners joined the statewide marriage equality debate by voting 6-1 to sign on to a court brief opposing Florida's constitutional ban on same-sex-marriage. The action was taken at the request of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, a local non-profit organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

Commissioner Hal R. Valeche, a Republican from Palm Beach Gardens, cast the sole "no" vote.

The brief, initially filed by the cities of Miami Beach and Orlando in June, argues that in addition to bringing legal, financial and psychological harm to families, marriage inequality makes it difficult for the governments to recruit talented employees and hurts tourism.
"There should be no room in the Florida Constitution for the discriminatory marriage ban," said Palm Beach County Human Rights Council President Rand Hoch.  "By signing on to the brief, the Palm Beach County Commissioners are acknowledging that the marriage ban is harmful to Floridians and is detrimental to the efficiency and effectiveness of Palm Beach County as a public employer." 

Today's vote puts Palm Beach County on the opposite side of a legal battle in which Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi continues to defend the marriage ban in several pending appeals in state and federal court.  

While several state attorneys general across the nation have declined to spend taxpayer dollars to defend the marriage bans which have been declared unconstitutional, Bondi remains steadfast in her efforts to use public funds to preserve the state's discriminatory ban on same-sex marriages.

In addition to the Cities of Miami Beach and Orlando, Broward and Orange Counties, the cities of Gainesville, St. Petersburg, Tampa and Wilton Manors and the Village of Biscayne Park have also signed on to the brief.

On November 24, West Palm Beach City Commissioners will consider signing on to the marriage equality brief