Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Bishop among LGBT Group Endorsements; Group Was Galvanized by Defeat of Human Rights Ordinance in '12

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Bishop among LGBT Group Endorsements; Group Was Galvanized by Defeat of Human Rights Ordinance in '12

Article excerpt

Byline: Rhema Thompson

A newly-formed gay-rights political group endorsed Republican mayoral candidate Bill Bishop, supervisor of elections contender Tracie Davis and more than a dozen city council candidates whom organizers say expressed support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

The nine-member Northeast Florida LGBT Leadership PAC, which filed with the Duval County Supervisor of Elections earlier this month, announced their endorsements Tuesday on the steps of City Hall.

"Our PAC was organized for one purpose to identify, support and assist in the election of candidates for office in Jacksonville who value the civic contributions made by the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community," said PAC vice chairman Jimmy Midyette. "...We have not had a place at the civic table."

PAC chairwoman Carrington "Rusty" Mead said the candidates were selected for the statements they've made in support of expanding the city's controversial human rights ordinance.

The ordinance currently provides anti-discrimination protection in housing, employment and public accommodations on the basis of race, sex, national origin, and disability, but does not provide protection on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. A measure to expand the ordinance was rejected by city council members in a 17-2 and 10-9 vote in 2012.

"You will find in some of the city races we have made co-endorsements, and that's because both candidates had made a statement that leads us to believe that they are strong supporters of an inclusive ordinance to support LGBT people," Mead said.

Midyette and Mead declined to say how much the group has raised so far, stating they have just begun fund-raising efforts.

The leadership PAC is the latest in a growing list of LGBT political committees weighing in on this year's race following the 2012 defeat of the proposed city human rights ordinance.

"Obviously, with what happened in 2012, we've seen a bit of an evolution in both the community and in the resources that we have in the community to direct political causes," Midyette said.

Earlier this month, the Log Cabin Republicans, a statewide organization of gay and lesbian conservatives, announced their endorsement of Bishop and city council candidates Anna Brosche, Aaron Bowman, Greg Anderson, Michele Tappouni and Jim Love. …

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