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Fort Lauderdale Commissioners Approve Gay Marriage Resolution

In what at one point had a bleak outlook turned into a symbolic victory for Fort Lauderdale's LGBT community when commissioners approved a marriage-equality resolution Tuesday night.

The measure, sponsored by openly gay Commissioner Dean Trantalis, is nonbinding and asks Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature to make gay marriage in Florida legal.

As they had indicated before the vote, Mayor Jack Seiler and Vice Mayor Romney Rogers opposed the resolution.

But it passed in a 3-2 vote, with Commissioners Trantalis, Bobby DuBose, and Bruce Roberts supporting it.

Hours before the vote took place, things didn't look very promising.

Gay activist Michael Rajner sent out an email predicting that the resolution will go down in a 3-2 defeat, thanks mainly to Seiler's saying he would oppose the resolution because he deemed it too controversial.

"I spoke with Mayor Seiler, who is opposed to the resolution and stated that he will be voting against the item," Rainer's email said. "I also spoke with Commissioner Bobby DuBose, who would not articulate his position but voiced an objection to the resolution as being too controversial."

There were also about 40 speakers at City Hall who openly opposed the resolution.

One speaker, Jordan Pearl, said the inevitable result of same-sex marriage being legalized would be polygamy and incest marriages.

"You're mocking the beliefs of the religious community. You're mocking the Bible," Pearl said via the Sun Sentinel. "You're saying that God, Moses, and Jesus are wrong."

As for Seiler, he has shown support for civil unions with full benefits. But activists and same-sex advocates believe it's not enough to support just civil unions.

Trantalis received applause when he spoke up.

"We recently were designated an All-American city," he said. "Well, if we're gonna truly be an All-American city, we have to be a city for all Americans."

Since gay marriage was made illegal in Florida in 2008, voters have dialed down their antigay marriage stance. Last March, a Public Policy Poll said 75 percent of Florida voters now support gay marriage.

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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph

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