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Sarasota News Leader August 23, 2013 Page 48 Indeed. While the demise of DOMA has invigorated marriage equality supporters, both the Florida Constitution and state law prevent gays and lesbians from marrying here, and the state lacks comprehensive protections against discrimination in housing and employment. Locally, while municipalities such as Sarasota, Venice and Holmes Beach have embraced the concept of domestic partnership registries, Shelin has encountered resistance with the boards in both Manatee and Sarasota counties. "I often wonder about the composition of our County Commission," he says. "Domestic partnership registers have been around for 20 years." And then there's the recent controversy over Venice's Casa Di Amici, a condo that has drawn national headlines for a new rule banning unmarried couples. "Sorry gays," the Miami New Times quipped. According to attorney Dan Lobeck, the Casa Di Amici board was scheduled to meet Thursday (after The Sarasota News Leader goes to press) to consider repealing the ordinance. "The restriction, although legal under local, state and national laws, was inadvertent and was not intended by Association leaders to discriminate against gays or other unmarried couples," Lobeck wrote in an email sent out Wednesday. Ken Shelin. Contributed photo tivists need to build a winning coalition first. Equality is also considering a lawsuit that might overturn the restriction. But all that work means more money is needed, and that's where November's gala comes in, as well as next week's reception and another party scheduled for Sept. 14. The gala will cost you $100; next week's reception is free. In addition to work on those fronts, EqualiDOMA is dead, but much work remains. ty has launched a new campaign called Get Engaged! which seeks to build support for a The Equality Florida Host Committee kickoff push to overturn the ban on same-sex mar- party starts at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. riage in the state constitution. It may be a few 28, with "drinks and nibbles." The event will years before that becomes reality, Shelin says. be hosted by Northern Trust, 1515 Ringling Amending the state constitution requires 60 Blvd., Sarasota. For more information about percent approval from the electorate, and ac- Equality Florida, visit %

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