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MARCH 19, 2003
5:23 PM
CONTACT:  The National Latina/o Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Organization
Ronald Hube , 202-408-5380, ext. 108
National Latina/o Group Supports Florida Rally for Gay Adoption
WASHINGTON - March 19 - Representatives of the Washington, D.C.-based National Latina/o Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Organization (LLEGO) will travel to Tallahassee, Florida, on Thursday for visits with state legislators and a rally supporting adoption by same-sex couples. The events are presented by the Unity Coalition of Miami-Dade, a grassroots advocacy group for Latina/o sexual minorities.

Florida is one of only three states in the country which outlaw adoption by sexual minorities. The Unity Coalition will present a petition to state legislators, signed by about 2,000 people, in support of adoption by gays, lesbians and bisexuals.

"Thousands of children in foster care in Florida cannot be adopted by their caregivers simply because those foster parents are gay," said Herb Sosa, Unity Coalition president. "These children have little to no hope of being adopted. We are trying to secure a better future for these kids."

While in Tallahassee, the Unity Coalition will also lobby for more state funding of HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, a law against bias-related harassment and discrimination in Florida schools, and increased college and university funding for minorities.

Noemi Perez, LLEGO's director of public affairs, and Laura Esquivel, director of public policy and government relations, will attend Thursday's Florida events. "The Unity Coalition of Miami-Dade is doing great work," said Martmn Ornelas-Quintero, LLEGO executive director. "We are happy to participate in the group's efforts to help Florida's children."

The rally and a press conference will take place at noon March 20 at Waller Park on the Florida state capitol grounds. For more information, the Unity Coalition can be contacted at 786-271-6982. A rally was also held this morning in Miami.

The Unity Coalition of Miami-Dade was spawned last year from local organizing efforts for LLEGO's biennial international conference in Miami. LLEGO has since supported the coalition with funding and promotion.

The Unity Coalition and LLEGO helped defeat a referendum in September that would have stripped lesbians, gay men and bisexuals in Miami-Dade County of protection from discrimination. The Unity Coalition also helped attain unanimous passage by the Miami-Dade County School Board on March 12 of a resolution endorsing dignity for all students. Also this month, the Coalition convinced the Miami-Dade County Commission to call for all bars, nightclubs, bathhouses and adult stores to post multilingual signs warning about the dangers of unprotected sex.

LLEGO is the nation's only organization devoted to organizing Latina/o LGBT communities on a local, regional, national and international level. A nonprofit group, LLEGO addresses social, health, and political disparities based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and ethnicity affecting the Latina/o LGBT community. LLEGO is home to various programs providing infrastructure development to Latina/o LGBT communities in the United States and Latin America.


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