Even if you are not planning on attending the Unitarian Universalist Association’s General Assembly in Fort Lauderdale this year, the following planned public witness event that demands fairness for all families may move you to make the drive just for the following event.  I hope you will hear more of this and plan on attending or seeing how to get involved in Fort Myers through the church.

(excerpted from a letter by the Revs Naomi King, Susan Leslie, and Gail Tapscott:)
June 17, 2008

At this year’s General Assembly, the UUA is sponsoring a public witness event on Valuing ALL Families–Standing on the Side of Love with Immigrant and Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Families.  The event is being cosponsored by the UU Church of Ft. Lauderdale, River of Grass Unitarian Universalist Congregation, the UU Legislative Ministry of Florida, Interweave and DRUUMM.  Equality Florida, Fairness for All Families, and the Florida Immigrant Coalition have also endorsed the event and will have speakers. It is on Friday, June 27 from 5:00-6:30 in Stranahan Park in downtown Ft. Lauderdale. Shuttle buses will be going to and from the Convention Center.  See: http://www.uua.org/documents/aw/080627_witness_flyer.pdf.

Along with a statement and prayer from President William Sinkford and personal testimonies from BGLT and immigrant families, we will be asking people to support the “Vote No on 2” campaign in Florida to defeat the ballot initiative that would constitutionally eliminate recognitions, rights, and benefits for domestic partners.  In fact, the amendment will ban all recognition and benefits for unmarried couples, straight and gay. It will block civil unions, domestic partnerships and repeal existing protections and family benefits relied upon by millions of Floridians.  [See
http://www.votenoon2.com/ <http://www.votenoon2.com/&gt; ]  The UUA is a sponsor of the “No on 2” effort and we and we know many of you are working to defeat this amendment too.

We are also working to extend recognition and support to immigrant families, widening the circle of inclusion and standing on the side of love and justice.  Rev. Abhi Janamanchi will be calling on participants to support family-based comprehensive immigration reform and the Citizen Child Protection Act that gives judges discretion to stop deportations of non-citizen parents.

… Nadine Smith, Executive Director of Equality Florida will talk for a few minutes about why we need to defeat the effort to amend the Florida constitution.  She will be followed by Rev. Naomi King who will invite UU clergy to demonstrate their support by pledging to work to defeat the ballot initiative.  We will acknowledge that Unitarian Universalists have worked in every state to support all families and marriage equality and are doing so now in Florida at this crucial time.  This way our folks not from Florida will be included and we will not be portrayed as “outside agitators”  either.  President Bill Sinkford’s remarks will also address the issue broadly. Rev. Gail Tapscott will be welcoming people to the event and emceeing it as well.

In faith,

Rev. Gail Tapscott, Minister, UU Church of Ft. Lauderdale
Rev. Naomi King, Minister, River of Grass Unitarian Universalist Congregation
Susan Leslie, UUA Director for Congregational Advocacy and Witness