The power of No 

Will Hillsborough commissioners who voted against the domestic partner registry feel the heat from voters?

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But he also says that forming the bipartisan group OADO (Orlando Anti-Discrimination Ordinance Committee) was crucial. “This was a group that’s taken it on ourselves to be the leaders on getting the passage of such ordinances.”

Equality Florida has recently created a Web site ( to build an online directory of pro-equality businesses across the state. Nadine Smith says the effort to engage businesses to pass DPRs will redouble now, “because it certainly is the right thing to do and we can make that argument and we can win.”

For Kurt King, the owner of Ybor City restaurant Hamburger Mary’s, the issue is hardly academic. Two years ago his partner Larry was ill at Tampa General Hospital, and three times he said he had to leave the hospital and return to his home to obtain the Power of Attorney form that allowed him to make medical decisions for his partner.

During one of those occasions, after he’d gone to his Valrico home and back, he discovered his partner was no longer in his hospital room.

“His room was empty, his belongings were in the trash can … and it took me an hour to find out where he was at.”

At the end of Tuesday night’s town hall meeting, the more than 50 activists in attendance came up with a strategic plan to rally businesses, faith-based groups, USF officials and the commissioners themselves to reverse their vote. Whether it will be enough could answer the question about where the county is in 2013.

The goal, Smith said, is for Hillsborough County to “stop embarrassing us, and embarrassing itself, and actually catch up with the rest of the region and the rest of the state.”


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