In many ways, South Florida is an outlier from the rest of the Sunshine State. Ideologically, somewhere between Palm Beach County and Orlando, time begins to slow, and then to stand still. If you continue farther north, the clock actually starts ticking backwards, as if Einstein himself were reaching out from the grave to apply the theory of relativity to Florida politics. By the time you reach Pensacola, where abortion doctors are considered target practice, you’ve traveled back to the era of the Scopes Trial.
This is the state whose Republican-dominated legislature passed a Defense of Marriage Act to enshrine discrimination in our law. The idea of those who sponsored it was that the institution of heterosexual marriage faced a threat to its moral underpinnings if gays were allowed to marry their own kind, or if the state were merely to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions. It is noteworthy that an amendment put forward by then-Rep. Lois Frankel (who hails from a South Florida county, of course), which would also deny recognition to any marriage whose parties had engaged in adulterous sex before marrying, was overwhelmingly defeated by the so-called moralists.
This law puts places like Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe and Palm Beach Counties in the embarrassing position of promoting their beachfront scenes as gay tourism destination areas, reaching out with one hand for disposable gay income bucks while administering the stinging slap of discrimination with the other.
Let’s hope this welcome clientele understands that South Florida counties merely live uncomfortably under the same roof as their more reactionary relatives, and that they don’t necessarily agree with the epithets shouted from the porch off the house's northern wing.