Florida Family Action mailer offers “voter alert” on “gay rights” push

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Florida Family Action is emailing Jacksonville voters, offering its support to “City Council candidates [who] oppose granting special rights based on ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity’ and support Natural Marriage and Religious Freedom.” The message also opposes candidates who support what the group calls “gay rights” legislation.

The group’s “voter guide” lists the city council candidates who have vowed to stand against the tide of history as it relates to gay rights: At Large candidates Kimberly DanielsTheresa GrahamGeoff Youngblood, and Sam Newby, along with district candidates Mike AnaniaAl FerraroJames NealisRyan TaylorMatt SchellenbergReggie GaffneyPat Lockett-FelderReggie Brown, and Doyle Carter.

The Democrats in that group — Daniels, Gaffney, Lockett-Felder, and Brown — are interesting for various reasons.

Daniels and Brown have a close working relationship, and they are allied on many issues. Daniels, a minister immersed in a nasty divorce, has benefited from the wise counsel of her colleague on personal and professional issues throughout this term, including last week when she had a dispute at an early voting location.

Lockett-Felder, meanwhile, is remembered for a previous stint in council, when she put her likeness on an obelisk, along with the names of 56 other “legends.”

Gaffney, likewise, is an interesting case. He’s done a lot of behind-the-scenes work for U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, including helping to facilitate the Quick Picks process in years gone by. He is no stranger to scandal either. Despite his historic association with Brown, she endorsed George Spencer in the District 7 race against him.

The really interesting document from Florida Family Action, though, is the mailpiece they sent out that details their positions.

Asking “where’s the proof of discrimination,” the mailer contends that such proof doesn’t exist in “any meaningful sense,” adding that supporters of anti-discrimination legislation argue that “Jacksonville is a place of intolerance and bigotry and that you’re part of the problem!”

Going further, the mailer contends that proposed “gay rights” legislation would “compel Jacksonville’s citizens to violate their religious beliefs” and that such legislation would “redefine ‘male’ and ‘female’.”

The mailer reiterates its support for the candidates in the email, while listing the candidates who have been endorsed by the Northeast Florida LGBT Leadership PAC as the ones to avoid on the ballot.

The mailer also makes the claim that legislation would “make every business owner and employer in Jacksonville a target for a lawsuit” and that an anti-discrimination ordinance is the “most radical legislation ever introduced in Jacksonville.”

Jacksonville voters should be “alarmed” by such an ordinance because it “strips the concept of ‘gender’ of any logical or practical meaning,” “denies the existence of ‘male’ and ‘female’ as legally, biologically, and Biblically understood,” and “protects gender ‘expression’.”

If such an ordinance were enacted, the mailer contends, a message would be sent to “children, adolescents, and teenagers that they should be questioning their gender.”

Will this classic “think of the children” argument work? Time will tell. Well-connected, socially conservative local Republicans believe (even hope, in some cases) that this mailer could help decide a few very close council races, in which socially liberal Republicans (Anna BroscheMichelle Tappouni, and Aaron Bowman) are running. The gap between social conservatives and market conservatives is real in Jacksonville, and pervades races up and down the ticket.

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A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


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