Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Activist faces felony charges for distributing flyer

Last Sunday I had the opportunity to spend time with Nadine Smith, executive director of Equality Florida. I've known Nadine for a number of years, and consider her one of the leading voices in the nation for LGBT civil rights.

Nadine is a thoughtful, and almost disarmingly soft spoken activist. Her strentgh is apparent to anyone who spends a few minutes in her company, but I can honestly say that in the 10 years I've known her I've never once heard Nadine raise her voice.

This is the major reason I find it hard to believe she is facing felony charges in connection with a peaceful demonstration at a Largo, Florida, city council meeting.

Nadine was there in support of former city manager Steve Stanton, who was dismissed from his job after telling supervisors of his plan to transition from MTF.

From Pam's House Blend ... always steamin'

Nadine was arrested for simply attempting to hand a piece of pink paper to someone who had requested it. The paper was a flyer that said "Don't Discriminate."

If you live in Florida, contact the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney’s Office and ask them to investigate the incident and immediately drop the charges against Nadine.

The nation's two leading LGBT organizations have come to Nadine's defense:
“We condemn this outrageous and unprovoked attack on one of our community’s leading advocates,” said Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. “This directly associates the Police Department of Largo with the appalling bigotry expressed by the hundreds attending the poisonous hearing attacking an outstanding public servant, Steve Stanton. We honor Nadine’s courage and dignity through this ordeal.”

“HRC joins the Task Force in condemning these actions by Largo police. Arresting a community leader for simply handing out a flier is disgraceful,” said Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign. “The city’s bigoted action against Steve Stanton was shameful in and of itself; its treatment of a citizen standing in support of Stanton is doubly appalling. We hope actions are taken immediately by city leaders to remedy both intolerable situations.”
For more about Nadine Smith visit the Equality Florida web site.

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