LGBTQ groups gather in South Florida to announce Gillum for Governor endorsements

By : Jeremy Williams
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MIAMI | Three LGBTQ organizations—one local, one statewide and one national—gathered at the CIC in Miami Sept. 24 to jointly announce their support for Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum in his bid to become Florida’s next governor.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) joined with Equality Florida, the state’s largest civil rights organization, and SAVE, a South Florida LGBTQ advocacy group, to commit working together to secure full equality for Florida’s LGBTQ community, according to an HRC press release.

Gillum, who was on hand to accept the organizations’ endorsements, was joined on stage by HRC President Chad Griffin, Equality Florida Executive Director and CEO Nadine Smith and SAVE Executive Director Tony Lima.

“The stakes this election couldn’t be higher, and the choice for Florida voters couldn’t be clearer,” said Griffin. “HRC is proud to endorse Andrew Gillum’s campaign to become the next governor of Florida because he is a proven pro-equality leader who will represent all Floridians—not just those who look a certain way, speak a certain way or love a certain way. As we mobilize the millions of ‘Equality Voters’ across Florida, we look forward to working with Andrew Gillum as governor to chart a new path forward for the Sunshine State.”

HRC Rising, a campaign started by the group in 2017, works to identify and mobilize LGBTQ and community-allied voters for the midterm election. In Florida, HRC Rising has identified nearly 700,000 LGBTQ voters and over 3.2 million LGBTQ-allied voters, or what the campaign calls “Equality Voters.”
Smith touted Gillum’s record as the mayor of Tallahassee, calling him a longtime champion for LGBTQ Floridians. She agreed that this election is a game-changer for equality in the state.

“Gillum stands with us to protect marriage equality and secure statewide nondiscrimination protections,” Smith said. “In Florida, elections are won or lost by 100,000 voters or less. We intend to deliver that margin for our champion, Andrew Gillum.”

Smith went on to say that Equality Florida Action PAC, the group’s political committee working to end discrimination against LGBTQ Floridians, is launching the largest LGBTQ campaign ever in a Florida gubernatorial race.

“Of the millions of pro-equality supporters in Florida, we are targeting nearly 500,000 for whom LGBT equality is a litmus test issue. We will use direct mail, calls and digital outreach to reach unlikely voters and show the stark contrast between the candidates,” said Smith.

Gillum’s Republican opponent in the governor’s race, former Florida Congressman Ron DeSantis, has been called the anti-LGBTQ candidate. He received a score of zero on the HRC’s Congressional scorecard.

DeSantis has also been a vocal supporter of President Donald Trump.

Gillum expressed how honored he was to receive the support of all three organizations when he took the stage. “As mayor, I’ve stood up for the LGBTQ community and demanded equal rights when others refused.

As governor, I will continue to fight to ensure that Florida is a welcoming place for all people, where everyone receives the rights and respect they deserve,” he said.

Gillum also took time on stage to talk about is openly gay brother.

“My brother, who I was closest to growing up came out to our family, and had to literally move across the country before he could feel accepted again. He’s in the state of California now, and I will tell you that it was a difficult time for all of us, to see my brother leave us. But I want you to know something – we’re going to create a state where people don’t have to flee to feel important and accepted. We are going to create a state where you can be in your own skin, love who you want to love, be welcomed, be supported and be protected under the color of the law,” Gillum said.

The general election is Nov. 6.

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