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after an amendment that would have repealed a local law protecting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,
"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