Honoring Jim Obergefell as a Voice for Equality Honoree
Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six
Sunday, November 15

LGBT civil rights supporters from across South Florida and further afield are welcome to attend the upcoming thirteenth annual Broward Gala, hosted by Equality Florida and presented by PNC Bank. A special person and a special business will be honored at this year’s gala. It will be held at the Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six (2301 SE 17th St., Fort Lauderdale) BrowardGala_flyeron Sunday, November 15, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

This year, over 600 LGBT rights supporters will be attending, and when they enter, they will be greeted by friendly waiters and waitresses passing around sumptuous hors d’oeuvres. After getting something to eat, there will be a few drink stations where people can enjoy water, soft drinks, beer, wine and spirits. Lenard Rutledge will be playing jazz music for much of the evening, starting things off at 6 p.m. and playing through to the awards ceremony. Music will be provided later on by celebrity DJ Karin Ward as people are welcome to partake in a dance party on the hotel terrace.

Equality Florida Chief Executive Officer, Nadine Smith, will kick off the evening’s speeches by giving the audience the annual “State of the State” address. This address consists of all the triumphs that Equality Florida experienced in the past year, such as marriage equality, and also outlines how far we still have to go to achieve full equality and what is being done to fight sudden dangers, such as the “religious freedom” bill filed by the state representative from Sarasota County.

Nadine will also introduce the award honorees. There will be one Voice for Equality Honoree and one Equality Means Business honoree. The Voice for Equality Award is given out annually at each Equality Florida gala, recognizing someone whose courage, passion and unwavering commitment moves all of us closer to full equality. The Equality Means Business Award recognizes a business who has been particularly steadfast in their support of the work Equality Florida accomplishes and the ideals it espouses.

BrowardGala_JimObergefellThe Voice for Equality Honoree who will be recognized at this year’s Broward Gala is Jim Obergefell. A realtor by trade, he became an accidental activist when he married his partner, John Arthur, in 2013 in Maryland. Obergefell and Arthur had been partnered for 21 years prior to their marriage. They became legally married partly due to Arthur’s ALS diagnosis, which was slowly killing him. The state of Ohio (where the couple lived) failed to recognize their marriage as valid, so the couple sued to ensure Obergefell would be listed as surviving spouse when Arthur died. This fight lasted two years, went to the Supreme Court, and John Arthur died before it was resolved, but the result of the case led to marriage equality across all 50 states. Equality Florida said of Obergefell, “[He is a] true champion who moved and inspired us all when he stood with pride and unwavering determination and demanded that his marriage to John Arthur be fully recognized.”

The Equality Means Business honoree who will be recognized at the Broward Gala this year is Wilton Drive favorite Rosie’s Bar & Grill. Equality Florida calls Rosie’s “the iconic restaurant and meeting place…where everyone knows your name. Owners Cliff Mulcahy and John Zieba exemplify the spirit of giving back to the community by constantly hosting, supporting and participating in innumerable charitable events and causes, including LGBT rights.”

Tickets are priced at $150 per person, with sponsorship opportunities available for people or companies for as little as $500. If you are interested in sponsoring the Broward Gala, please call Row at (305) 335-2102 or e-mail her at row@eqfl.org. To buy your tickets to the gala, please call (813) 870-3735 or go directly to the Equality Florida website at eqfl.org/browardgala. There will be no paper tickets; names will be held at the entrance and verified against a master list. 

Hotspots Media Group, which includes Hotspots Magazine, Genre Latino Magazine, and Mark’s List, is honored to be a local sponsor of the Equality Florida Broward Gala. If you’d like to learn more about Equality Florida, visit their website at eqfl.org.

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Mike Halterman
Mike Halterman has been the editor of Hotspots Central since its launch in July 2016. He joined the Hotspots Media Group family as editor of Hotspots' South Florida magazine in June 2013. A former "40 Under 40" honoree in The Advocate magazine, Mike lives in the Tampa Bay area.