A resolution urging Florida to allow same-sex couples to marry was adopted by Fort Lauderdale commissioners by the slimmest of margins Tuesday, following a last-minute lobbying push from the local LGBT community.
"We recently were designated an All-American city. Well, if we’re gonna truly be an All-American city we have to be a city for all Americans," Commissioner Dean Trantalis, who proposed the resolution, said to applause.
Hours before the meeting, it didn’t look like the symbolic statement had the votes to pass. So members, residents, professionals, clergy and businesses mobilized at City Hall to speak.
"I got calls today from California, Colorado, New York, New Jersey, Orlando, all wanting to know if our chamber was going to step up and step up to the plate," Chad Thilborger, the chair for the Gay and Lesbian Business Exchange said.
Supporters’ biggest fear if the resolution failed was the economic impact. According to the Convention & Visitors Bureau, there are currently 150 LGBT owned businesses in Broward County. Last year there were 1.2 million visitors who spent $1.4 billion dollars, most of that in Fort Lauderdale.
“My fear from an economic impact point of view would have been a Florida boycott with tourism as well as with businesses," Thilborger said.
Of the more than 40 speakers, two were against the resolution primarily for religious reasons.
"Yet no one said, ‘Hmm, well those polygamists they should be allowed to get married. No one said that brother and sister that love each other they should be allowed to get married," resident Jordan Pearl said.
Rabbi Noah Kitty, "To have a religious objection against same sex marriage is certainly you're right and if you have that objection I suggest you don’t marry someone of the same sex."
The resolution narrowly passed 3-2. The mayor was among those voting no, saying he supports civil unions.