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Rights Fight

With legal protections for gays and lesbians in Broward and Miami-Dade counties under attack by concerted referendum efforts, 20-year-old Christine Lane, an Ontario native now studying economics at the University of Miami, has decided to protect the whole state in one fell swoop. A fundraiser this weekend, at $10 per person, gives people the opportunity to help the cause and meet the people behind the scenes.

Shortly after Lane's partner was discriminated against in her job late in 1999, Lane and a couple of their friends sat down to talk about it. The result of that discussion was FOUNDERS (Floridians Organized and United for a New Definition of Equal Rights), the mission of which is to add sexual orientation to the Florida State Civil Rights Act, which affords protections and legal remedies for discrimination based on race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, handicap, and marital status.

If that sounds like a good idea to you, bring your $10, cash or check, to Tattletales Bistro in Margate at 5 p.m. Saturday. The donation will get you two drinks, appetizers, and the live music of A Girl Named Chuck.

Lane says her group has already made some progress. "A couple of Florida state senators have been very supportive, and we are hoping to get the bill authored and introduced into the House by the next legislative session," she says. "Statewide that would take care of the local problems we have in Broward and Miami." She adds that FOUNDERS is donating 50 percent of the proceeds from the event to the Broward group Americans for Equality. Lane also sits on its board.

"I am very passionate about defending the Broward County Human Rights Ordinance," the young activist says. "I believe it will affect the outcome of the state drive."

While FOUNDERS is fairly new, so far it seems to be attracting strong support. At a recent gay-pride event, the group distributed some 6000 fliers, while 265 people left their names on a mailing list, and a few gave money. "People are very passionate about this issue and are willing to come out and lend their support," Lane says.

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Karen Dale Wolman

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