Hmmm, so we just got back from that promised BIG MEETING between Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs and LGBT leaders (most notably, the Orlando Anti-Discrimination Ordinance group and all the folks that implies), and we're kind of scratching our chin about the whole affair. First of all, no media was allowed into the meeting, just county staff and a certain John Dowless. Dowless worked on the Jacobs campaign AND used to run Florida's Christian Coalition; he's also been "outed" before, which puts him in that weird gray void of self-loathing, we presume (wink). Anyway, when the LGBT coalition emerged, there was a lot of talk about a "productive meeting" and further promises of additional meetings, but there was also a transparent disappointment to be read from the gay faces. Jacobs is apparently sticking to her line of not creating a "special status" for anyone in county law, even though she sort of just did that when she passed domestic partner benefits for county staffers. It's all very confusing in that kick-the-can-down-the-road-until-everybody-is-exhausted kind of way, but the fact that there is still a dialogue means that gay leaders are "hopeful" for now.
In related news, Jacobs has been on a rampage trying to manage her message. She's dressed down several journalists for their coverage of the issue, and has specifically named this journalist, according to one source. (Her office has tried to obtain our recordings of an interview we did with her; we refused). It all gives a blurry hue to her campaign promise of transparency, but who are we to judge, right? Anyway, we'll have a further update on the issue in next week's issue. Until then, we'll hang on to this "hope" that this isn't all smoke and mirrors.