My name is Jan Lowe. I am a graduate student, activist, and political junkie. In 2010, I married my wife, Denise in Greenwich, Connecticut. Because we live in Florida, where same-sex marriage is outlawed, we were forced to leave the state in order to be married. When we returned to our home in Gulfport, even though we carried a marriage certificate, we realized if one of us were involved in an accident, the other would not be notified, because we would not be recognized as the next of kin. Additionally, we could be barred from seeing each other if we were in the hospital, even though in several states in the country, we are legally married.
In early 2012, I approached one of the members of our City Council, regarding the creation of a Domestic Partner Registry for the city of Gulfport. While most of the Council members were very supportive, we did encounter some resistance from other Council members, and a few residence. Since Gulfport has a Human Rights Ordinance or HRO(which protects against discrimination due to sexual orientation) in place, many thought the DPR would be a slam dunk. We found out very quickly, simply having a HRO in place would not provide a guarantee of passage for the DPR. As a result of the resistance, we mobilized our community, both gay and straight, and packed the city council meetings. Additionally, we received local television coverage as well as print media attention. When we finally secured passage of the DPR, we made history in Pinellas County, becoming the first city in the County to pass such an ordinance. Gulfport is a very small community, and this too added to the significance of our accomplishment.
As a result of my experience with the creation of the DPR in my city, I, and several others involved in the campaign, continued on to assist the city of St. Petersburg, Florida in the passage of their DPR. I have created this interactive website to offer general advise with a process that has proven successful in recent campaigns for Domestic Partner Registries (DPR) in cities and counties in the state of Florida.
I have worked as an activist in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered (LGBT) community for many years. Prior to my LGBT activism, I spent ten plus years as a Union activist, where I was involved in many national negotiations with Verizon as a representative with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).
During my activism, I have been exposed to numerous campaigns; some successful and some not. However, with every failure there are lessons to be learned. Some of the campaigns I have been involved with throughout the years are: