Don’t Amend Tampa Bay Holds Valentine's Day Event by Mitch E.Perry

02/10/06

Tomorrow in Tampa’s Lowery Park, the group Don’t Amend Tampa Bay will hold what they call a Valentine Day of Action Rally, which will coincide with similar Freedom to Marry Week of Action rallies and events to be held across the country within the next week.

The events have been held for the past 3 years, ever since the Massachusetts Supreme Court allowed same sex marriages in that state. Zeke Fread , is Director of Don’t Amend Tampa Bay, He says tomorrow’s event will be more low key than in the past 2 years, because a similar event will be held next Tuesday,Valentine’s Day (ROLL TAPE#1 O.Q.�As we usually do�) The “Phyllis�, referenced is the Reverend Phyllis Hunt, from the Metropolitan Community Church in Tampa.

Supporters of same sex marriage in Florida cheered last week when efforts to place a Constitutional Amendment on this November’s ballot that would ask voters to ban same sex marriage failed to qualify for lack of enough signatures.

However, the organization behind the effort, says they will continue gathering signatures for the 2008 election. Again, Zeke Fread (roll tape#2 o.q.�single subject law�)

But depending on the Florida Supreme Court to knock out such an amendment is no sure thing. During oral arguments this past Wednesday, Justices indicated they found it difficult to see how the proposed amendment violated the single subject requirement.

Chief Justice Barbara Pariente literally said that to the ACLU attorney arguing that the amendment should not be allowed. Pariente also disgarded arguments that a poll shows Floridians against same sex marriage, but in support of civil rights for same sex couples (roll tape#3 o.q.�valid constitutional amendment�)

In addition to tomorrow’s event, Zeke Fread is involved with Winter Park Tampa Bay 2006, which will takes place on February 25th , also at Lowery Park. Fread says it’s Tampa’s effort to have a serious event for Gay Pride to match the much bigger festivities held in June in St Petersburg (roll tape#4 o.q.� on the 25th�)

Both events take on renewed intensity for the local gay community in the aftermath of the Hillsborough County Commission’s vote against gay pride events last June. Although the LGBT community in Hillsborough has held a number of events in protest of that vote, politically nothing has really changed since last summer. But Don’t Amend Tampa Bay’s Zeke Fread insists that the movement has changed minds and hearts in the past year, and as an example, provides this anecdote (roll tape#5 o.q.’make this a better world�)

Again, tomorrow’s Don’t Amend Tampa Bay’s Annual Valentine’s Day of Action takes place from noon to 4 Pm at the picnic shelter at Lowery Park in Tampa.

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