Tuesday, January 6, 2009

New Group, OUT, Forms

From their press release:

January 5, 2009

Tampa–Leaders of several local lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and allied organizations announced the creation of a statewide federation of organizations: Organizations United Together, Inc. ("OUT"). OUT Spokesperson Karen Doering explained that, “OUT's mission is to connect and empower local organizations to share resources, skills and information, forging statewide strength in order to achieve equality and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Floridians.” Several local organizations with successful track records have already joined the new federation, including Sarasota Equality Project, SAVE Dade and the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council. The leaders of Florida's local LGBT organizations will be invited to attend OUT's next meeting in Orlando on January 24, 2009.

"Local organizations that join the federation will retain their own autonomy and self-governance, and will have the opportunity to cooperate on statewide projects which interest them," said C.J. Ortuno, Executive Director of SAVE Dade. "For several years, local LGBT organizations have been working together informally on common issues such as human rights ordinances and domestic partner benefits. OUT will provide a network to continue this work and to unite on important statewide projects, such as passing a statewide antidiscrimination law, repealing the ban on gay adoption, and defeating the discriminatory charter amendment to be considered by Gainesville's voters on March 24th."

"OUT will work hand-in-hand with national and state organizations such as the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, HRC, Equality Florida and others," said Michael Shelton, President of Sarasota Equality Project.

Cathy James, board member of Securing Our Children's Rights (SOCR), a Tampa-based organization dedicated to repealing Florida's ban on gay adoption, added, "There has never been a more critical time for local groups to work together."

"As Tip O'Neil used to say, 'All politics is local,’" said Rand Hoch, President of Palm Beach County Human Rights Council. "After the passage of Amendment 2, the leaders of several local LGBT organizations around the state acknowledged the need for better communication and cooperation. Fostering strong local organizations will ultimately help us achieve success on statewide issues."