Miami-Dade voters defeat anti-gay amendment

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MIAMI -- The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau joined with gay rights groups in breathing a sigh of relief this week after an amendment that would have repealed a local law protecting people from discrimination based on their sexual preference was defeated 53% to 47% during a Sept. 10 ballot.

Had the law had been overturned, "it would have sent the wrong message" and there could have been repercussions for travel to the Miami area by the gay and lesbian market, William Talbert III, president and chief executive officer of the visitors bureau, said.

"The GMCVB is very happy that the people of Miami-Dade County have spoken," he said.

"This vote against discrimination allows us to say to the gay and lesbian community -- without any question -- that Greater Miami warmly welcomes you."

Meanwhile, the amendment's backers, Take Back Miami-Dade (an amalgam of groups including the Christian Coalition), was heartened by the close vote, and it plans to circulate petitions once again in order to place the issue on a future ballot, a spokesman said.

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