Elder Law Section, FAWL support gay adoption lobbying Elder Law Section, FAWL support gay adoption lobbying Senior Editor The Bar’s Elder Law Section and the Florida Association for Women Lawyers have become the latest organizations to endorse the Family Law and Public Interest Law sections’ request to lobby for the repeal of the Florida law that bans gays from adopting.The FAWL executive council at a recent meeting endorsed a resolution supporting the two sections, which want both to repeal the gay adoption ban and adopt a best-interest-of-the-child standard.The Elder Law Section Executive Council decided at its October 4 meeting to support the two sections’ request to push their position at the legislature.The matter is pending before the Bar Board of Governors, which exercises a general oversight of lobbying by sections. The two sections presented their case to the Bar Legislation Committee in August, but the committee tabled the matter with members saying they were concerned the matter raised deep philosophical differences among Bar members.Under Bar policies, sections, which have voluntary membership and dues payments, are given wide latitude on subjects they wish to lobby. Those positions must not contradict a Bar-wide legislative position, and must not create deep philosophical divisions among Bar members. The sections must also make it clear they are representing only themselves and not the Bar as a whole.Legislation Committee members said they were not concerned with the propriety of repealing the ban on gay adoptions and having a best-interest-of-the-child standard, but were worried that the repeal issue could create deep philosophical divisions. Members suggested the two sections approach other sections for their views and support their contention that seeking the repeal would not produce deep philosophical divisions.The Public Interest Law and Family Law sections had planned to take their case to sections during the Bar’s General Meeting, but that was postponed because of hurricanes, and most sections did not meet during the rescheduled meeting.Evan Marks, chair of the Family Law Section, said the two sections have sent letters to other sections asking them to look at the issue.“Our goal is not to get every section to say that the gay adoption law should be repealed, although if they did, that would be wonderful,” he said. “At the very least we would like the sections to say this is not so divisive within a substantial section of The Florida Bar as to prohibit the Family Law Section from lobbying.”Marks said he was happy that FAWL and the Elder Law Section had acted. He noted the section executive council not only supported PILS and the Family Law Section lobbying the issue, but concluded that the issue was not divisive of Bar members. Both section actions were by unanimous vote.The Family Law Section has posted information about the issue at its Web site, www.familylawfla.org. The date includes 11 major organizations, from the American Medical Association to the American Psychiatric Association, that support gay adoptions.Marks said he doesn’t think the gay adoption issue is any more divisive than the Bar’s support a few years ago of merit appointments for all trial judges and its recent vote to oppose Amendment 3 — which limited contingency fees in medical malpractice actions — on the November 2 ballot.He also noted that as this News went to press, the Young Lawyers Division Board of Governors was scheduled to debate the issue, and make a recommendation for the Board of Governors’ December meeting.So far, although several individual lawyers have contacted Bar leaders and written letters to the editor in the Bar News, no legal organization has voted to oppose the two sections’ requests, Marks said.Aside from the Elder Law Section and FAWL, the two sections’ efforts have also been endorsed by the Equal Opportunities Law Section and the Bar’s Legal Needs of Children Committee. November 15, 2004 Gary Blankenship Senior Editor Regular News
Statewide — Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) today announced 40 Indiana Main Street programs will receive a portion of $200,000 through Taking Care of Main Street. This is a new program providing operational support for Indiana Main Street organizations impacted by COVID-19.The goal of this program is to support Indiana Main Street organizations that provide leadership and services to the businesses and members, using the Main Street Approach, with special attention to organizations that have been significantly impacted by COVID-19. Eligible expenses could include salaries, administrative fees, space/equipment rental, or staff development and training. Below is a summary of how the Main Street organizations from Southeastern Indiana plan to use the $5,000 funding they each received: Madison Main Street Program plans to update the Madison Main Street web page with a new space for business materials, event and workshop plans and registrations, grant information and applications, real estate listings, sponsor and donor recognition, interactive maps for business locations and inventory, community press releases and staff and business training.Main Street Brookville Inc. will use the funding to coordinate programming and provide technical assistance to help transition to an online platform by helping build a business’s website integrated with merchant services. In addition, grant funds will be used to help sustain operational costs.Main Street Greensburg will use the money to fund the salary of a new part-time assistant.Main Street Shelbyville will use their funding to bridge a gap left by the loss of sponsorships, memberships, and event income. The funding will help with continued promotion and facilitation of programming such as COVID-19 survival webinar with the Indiana Small Business Development Center (ISBDC), the Downtown Highlights series, and for the administration of the downtown grant programs.