Saturday, January 19, 2013

Fight over domestic partner registry in Hillsborough could give Terry Kemple something new to do

Posted By on Sat, Jan 19, 2013 at 12:03 PM

Terry Kemple
  • Terry Kemple
Listed in many stories this week about Pinellas County's vote to offer a domestic partner registry is the fact that while seemingly every major local government in the Tampa Bay area has created A DPR in the past year (including Tampa and St. Petersburg), Hillsborough County remains a holdout.

But could that soon change?

This weekend the Tampa Bay Times' Bill Varian is reporting that County Commissioner Mark Sharpe (who has steadfastly stood with his conservative colleagues during his eight years on the board in not supporting any legislation that would benefit the LGBT community) has placed an item on next Thursday's agenda introducing the concept.

Commissioners Les Miller and Kevin Beckner support the concept, but that leaves passage of such a measure up to the four other Republicans on the board. As we've often reported, Hillsborough County has the distinction of being the largest county in Florida that doesn't include gays and lesbians in its human rights ordinance, as well as having the temerity to never remove from the books a 2005 ordinance banning gay pride events.

As any and every reporter covering this issue has to do, Varian went to his Rolodex and looked up David Caton and Terry Kemple, two of the most prominent critics in Hillsborough of anything that might reek of equal treatment for the LGBT community.

In the case of Kemple, last seen losing out for a run for Hillsborough County School Board last fall with a platform that mainly consisted of Muslim-bashing, the opportunity to oppose this measure could give him something to do until he decides to run for another office.

Last week the Christian conservative sent out an email to his supporters asking them to choose the next race where he can offer his platform.

After talking with my wife and with the man who helped me get so many votes in the last election, I've set a goal:

If 500 people encourage me to run then I'm going to do it!

So please "Reply" to this email, send me a card, call me or talk with me in person to let me know what you think.

Based on your response these are the things I'll be considering:

In the School Board races where I could run, Stacy White is the board member from my local district and he's doing an excellent job.

There's also a county-wide seat up for election where April Griffin is the incumbent (she's rumored to be seeking a seat on the County Commission).

At the County Commission where Al Higginbotham is my local Commissioner (District 4), he terms out so I could run for that open seat.

Mark Sharpe is county-wide and he also terms out so I could run for that open seat.


Cl eagerly awaits Kemple's decision.

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