It was a joyous atmosphere last night in downtown Tampa, where GLBT activists gathered to celebrate yesterday's historic Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage. But while speakers talked about having tears of joy when the news came down from Washington, in the next breath they talked about the work that still needs to be done in terms of equality - beginning with the fact that it's still against the law in the Sunshine State this morning for a gay couple to get married.
So when does the battle to repeal Amendment Two, the measure banning same-sex marriage that was passed in 2008? One speaker last night said 2014 was too soon, only because in traditional mid-term elections the electorate is generally more conservative.
But will that be the case next year? Democratic strategists weren't taking that line in the immediate aftermath of last fall's election, in which not only Barack Obama took the state, but also saw rare gains in the state legislature. And with the energy to rid the state of Rick Scott and possibly a medical marijuana measure on the ballot, whose to say that 2014 will be more of the unusual? That said, it would be a large task in terms of money and manpower to get the measure up over the next year, but when is the momentum going to be greater?
In Washington, the U.S. Senate is poised today or tomorrow to vote and approve the major comprehensive immigration reform bill, and it looks like Marco Rubio will be on board. That's led to a major fissure with his base, the Tea Party based in Florida. Yesterday some of those activists warned Rubio not to support the bill, while hours earlier advocates in support of the legislation earlier in the day told the Senator to not lose his nerve.
A major new report on the water quality of the nation's beaches shows none based in Florida, as CL's Terence Smith reports.