Change Has Come to Ft. Lauderdale: Out With the Homophobe, In With Jack Seiler

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After six consecutive terms — more than any before him — Ft. Lauderdale’s Hummer-driving Mayor Jim Naugle is out. Despite representing a gay-friendly city, Naugle has battled with queers for much of his tenure, from denouncing gay marriage (“Marriage is a religious institution, and government should define it to be between a man and a woman”) to demanding more single-occupancy public toilets to prevent gay cruising. (Such a defender of society, Naugle once gave an interview about the problems of public gay sex from the car while his daughter was in the back seat.) Naugle earned the ire of everyone from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force to the NAACP. But now, for the first time in 18 years, Ft. Lauderdale welcomes a new man to the job today. That’s Jack Seiler. And he likes us, he really likes us!

Though Ft. Lauderdale’s gay politico hopefuls lost the latest round of elections, Seiler’s takeover of the mayor’s chair represents some good.

On the agenda of Seiler (pictured above, left), a former Florida legislator, is adopting domestic partner benefits for city employees, just like he did while mayor of the smaller Wilton Manors. “Most people support some form of domestic partnership,” says Seiler. “We will look at it but we have to do it in the context of proper timing with respect to budget issues.”

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As for Naugle? We won’t miss the guy.