We all know from past disappointments that Florida can be an important factor in national politics. Everyone in the country is familiar with hanging chads, Teri Schiavo, and other issues that have catapulted the Sunshine State into the national spotlight. We've also seen the impact of Florida when it comes to LGBT issues- things like Anita Bryant, Mayor Naugle, adoption bans, and many other setbacks. But this year Florida has the chance to make a huge difference in both the Presidential race and the arena of LGBT rights.
The LGBT community in Florida is flexing its political muscle like never before this election cycle. Strong GLBT democratic groups like the Dolphin Democrats of Broward County in South Florida and the Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus are organizing huge "Get Out The Vote" efforts for both Barack Obama and the fight against Amendment 2, the dangerous "Marriage Protection Amendment" that would not only ban same-sex marriage but also repeal domestic partnership registries with its vague, broad language.
Both efforts are leading to what many are predicting to be a record-breaking turnout in November.
With its 27 electoral votes, it is no surprise that the Obama campaign is focusing on Florida. They are pouring resources, over 200 staffers and dozens of campaign offices around the state, into Florida to turn out the voters for Obama. They are also working closely with local and state LGBT democratic groups, lending resources and volunteers in the fight against Amendment 2.
The excitement over Obama's campaign and the fight against Amendment 2 are creating a surge of new membership and volunteers to many groups around the state. Both campaigns are feeding into each other, especially since Obama came out early to denounce Amendment 2 while John McCain has come out in support of it, further showing LGBT Floridians and their fair-minded allies the importance of working to get Obama elected.
Both campaigns could help each other make history in Florida. The Obama campaign is bringing in new voters, many younger and more progressive, who will most likely vote to defeat Amendment 2. The same is also true for the SayNo2 Campaign, which is galvanizing the progressive community to stand up and fight for the rights of all Floridians by defeating Amendment 2, which will bring out more voters for Obama.
This is the year when Florida can finally redeem itself from its dark past. We can move forward by electing a President who stands for the equality of all Americans and defeating an amendment that would strip rights away from families in our state. We are in a historic time- on a historic battlefield- that could tip the scales for not only our state, but the entire country- especially LGBT Americans.
(crossposted at LGBT for Obama)