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COLUMN

Happytown

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OK, it's official: We are sick of writing about this. We shouldn't have to explain to Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs (or anyone at all) why domestic partnership – or gay marriage, for that matter – is an essential right, a civil right and just fucking right.We'd like to say a personal “I hate you, too” to the 53 percent of Floridians that are still against gay marriage, according to a recent report by Florida Center for Investigative Reporting (also, we kinda wanna make out with President Barack Obama for “evolving”on the issue).

On May 9, Jacobs finally released her version of Orlando's already kinda tepid Domestic Partnership Registry, naming it the Health, Education and Life Protection (HELP!)ordinance, which hardly codifies same-sex couples because it doesn't even mention them. When we cornered Miss Republican Jacobs on the issue back in January, her position dilated with her pupils to make it clear that this shouldn't even be a gay issue at all: even though it's been gay advocates pressuring her on it, spending their time meeting with her on it, doing all of the legal research for her, pissing in her wind. But the cruel slap here is that the county is putting this up for hearing on May 22 (just in time for GayDays!) in an effort to make it look like it is a pink olive branch.That, dear readers, it is not.

“The HELP ordinance will provide rights to all residents in the county,” Jacobs said in a May 10 press release. “This creates a vehicle for widows, widowers, seniors and friends to designate a support person to stand by them in times of need and speak for them when they can't speak for themselves. We believe this will be the most comprehensive and inclusive ordinance in the nation.”

Hello, friend! Though Jacobs claims that the move “effectively expands the city's registry across the entire county,” that's not really the case. In fact, among the other complaints critics leading the crusade for a mere pittance of respect for gay couples have, there are these: The county ordinance negates the recognition of LGBT folks as families and basically removes the term “domestic partners” and makes them into amorphous “support/designating persons”; it's quite possible that this little lexicon-laceration might require a designating person – who may be dead, mind– to provide information on their support person on-site; it sucks and it's confusing to provide different rights from city to county; Jacobs yanked her promise for enforceability by legal means only accessible to the county (the county promised its registry would have stricter remedy provisions than the city's, as does its human rights ordinance); the clarification of the term – or lack thereof – “domestic partner” means that any other benefits offered to domestic partners are not recognized in the county ordinance. This is exactly what Teresa Jacobs started out with while canoodling with neocon John Stemberger (or his cohorts, like John Dowless, who used to lead the Christian Coalition of Florida and now consults with Jacobs), and this is exactly what Jacobs shat out last week.

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