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COLUMN

Happytown

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Anyway, while we were on the phone with Planned Parenthood of Greater Orlando CEO Sue Idtensohn on Feb. 3, picking her brain for a suitable reaction (there were a few: PPGO does not receive Komen funds; there is nothing “duplicative” about the services the organization does provide in breast screenings; of the 1,976 screenings performed last year at PPGO, only 4 percent required a mammogram follow-up), news came across the transom that Brinker had apologized for her decision and that Komen would continue to fund Planned Parenthood. Moving target!

“It’s been good for us in kind of a perverse way,” Idtensohn said, pointing out the flood of donations – including a $250,000 pledge from New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg – and support the Komen fracas has spawned. “It’s actually given women a voice and they’ve been able to see their opinions count.”

Now, whether that momentum will continue to help the organization as it fights off attacks on reproductive freedoms from state legislatures and Congress alike remains to be seen.

“It’s a huge catalyst,” says Idtensohn, who is set to retire at the end of March. “When women were reading about this online, they got so pissed that they called their elected officials. That tells me that there really is power in the movement.”

Speaking of pinkish backlashes, you might recall our reporting last week on the Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs-shaped speed bump that gay activists ran into at their Jan. 26 meeting with the mayor about a countywide domestic-partnership registry (“Dissolving partnership,” Feb. 2). Well, on Feb. 3, the Orlando Anti-Discrimination Ordinance Committee shot off an eight-page screed to the mayor and county commissioners rebuffing the white noise that they encountered in the meeting.

In our story, we reported the presence of Jacobs’ consultant John Dowless – a noted right-winger with issues – though we were told that he was just there to listen. Turns out, according to sources who were allowed in the room (the media was not), Dowless wasn’t just a silent observer, but rather a sort of bully who threatened to wield his influence over the other commissioners should the OADO continue to push the mayor for a domestic-partnership registry.

In its letter to the county, OADO chides the mayor for her lack of transparency, her collaboration with anti-gay political insiders and, perhaps most importantly, her refusal to define “domestic partners”in Orange County for fear of it being in violation of her beloved gay-marriage-banning Amendment 2 (this, even though she voted to make “domestic partner” benefits available to county employees).

“We reject the idea that naming and defining ‘domestic partners’ in an Orange County DPR is in violation of Amendment 2 and caution you and your legal team to do your due diligence before taking a position with such far-reaching implications,” the letter reads. “No one, including yourself and your legal advisors, has found legal grounds for denying these protections to the families of your own employees. We are deeply concerned that you could argue against those same protections for all citizens of Orange County.” Jacobs will have one more meeting with OADO on Feb. 20 (no media, again!) before a heated board discussion on Feb. 21. Do you hear that crack? You’re about to fall.

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