I have to share this reflection from my colleague, co-minister in Gainesville, and fellow member of the Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of Florida steering committee. The UULMF is an advocacy arm accountable to the UUA Florida district and to our Florida Unitarian Universalist congregations. We provide resources and tools for state-wide legislative advocacy efforts.

Rev. Garmon says it all here…..re-posted with his permission:

Hello, dear Florida UU Social Justice Leaders,

I just want to celebrate. The cause of marriage equality has taken
such surprising and wonderful steps forward in the last week. Amazing!
It is an unexpected gift for people in power suddenly to be so
astonishingly sensible.

Let the celebrations ring out through our state in all our
congregations. Pop the corks and raise the glasses at our UU committee
meetings, social gatherings — and even our Easter Sunday worship
services! Let us toast the good people of:

(1) Iowa. Iowa! Who’d have ever thunk Iowa!
(a) This is the first state out of the middle of the country — the first
state neither in New England nor on the Pacific Coast — right out of
the heartland — to grant marriage equality. Huge.
(b) the Iowa supreme court’s decision was unanimous. UNANIMOUS!
That’s 7-0. When the Massachusetts supreme court ruled
in favor of same-sex marriage? 4-3. When the California Supreme Court
did the same? 4-3. Connecticut? 4-3. The Iowa court’s startlingly
welcome unanimity
sends a strong message that discrimination is not OK. Also huge.

(2) Vermont. Just 4 days after the news from Iowa, Vermont became the
first state to extend marriage equality through the legislature. This
wipes out the argument that somehow a tyrannical court has been
imposing a depraved agenda on the vast majorities supporting
discrimination. In this case, it was the
people, through their elected representatives, who saw that
discrimination was wrong. And they did so not merely by a simple
majority, but by 2/3rds majorities in each house. In order to override
their governor’s veto, 3 Democrats who had, only a few days before
voted against the bill switched
and voted in favor of overriding the veto (and 1 Republican who had
voted against the bill simply made himself absent for the override
vote.) Again, simply huge.

(3) Washington DC. On the same day that the Vermont legislature
overrode their governor’s veto, Washington DC’s city counsel voted to
recognize the validity of same-sex marriage performed in any state
that allowed them. Big, if not huge — with the potential to become
huge if it ends up bringing the US Congress to act on the issue.

Minds and hearts are changing. The tide shifted this week. It feels as
though a historical corner was turned.

And so we ask: Will Florida be next?

We still have a ways to go yet in Florida, and in the other 28 states
who have enshrined in their state constitutions the limitation of
marriage to one man and one woman.

While it will take years to repeal the constitutional amendment
Floridans approved last November 4, we can also see signs of change in
our home state. We can celebrate this, too. Let us raise us glasses
to:

(4) Gainesville. On March 24, Gainesville voters went to the polls to
vote on an amendment to the city charter. The amendment would have
stripped away protections against discrimination the city council
had adopted. Those protections included nondiscrimination provisions
for transgenders that put Gainesville among the dozen or so more
progressive cities and towns in the nation. Outside interests agitated
to create this charter amendment and campaigned vigorously for its
passage. Yet in the end, Gainesville stood for nondiscrimination —
and by a sizable majority of 58%.

(5) Lake Worth. Susan Stanton, fired in 2007 from her post as city
manager of Largo for being transgender, has been hired by another
Florida city. I learned today that she was named the City Manager of
Lake Worth, selected for the job from a group of 50 candidates.

Friends, after five toasts, we may be starting to feel a bit tipsy. A
sobering reality, however, still lies before us. Throughout most of
Florida, GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender) people can be
fired simply for being who they are. There’s progress in Gainesville
— and important if symbolic progress in Lake Worth — but in most of
Florida transgender people in particular face serious workplace
discrimination.

State Senator Deutch and Rep. Kelley Skidmore are sponsoring bills
that would create a statewide prohibition on the type of
discrimination that cost Susan Stanton her job in Largo. E-mail them
— and your own senator and representative — with your support.

And learn more at Equality Florida’s website:
http://www.eqfl.org. See also:
http://tinyurl.com/susan-stanton .

Let the shouts of our joy mingle with the cries of our commitment.
Let love and justice light our path forward.
Amen,
-Meredith

Rev. Meredith Garmon, PhD
Chair, Steering Committee,
Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry
Minister, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
4225 NW 34th St
Gainesville, FL 32605
352-377-1669 (Fellowship)

Advertisements