State loses two LGBT activists

State loses two LGBT activists

The State of Florida lost two long-time LGBT activists within a week of each other. Rusty Gordon, a proud lesbian, feminist and LGBT activist from West Palm Beach, died on Oct. 27 at the age of 67. Former Democratic State Representative Marshall Stanton Harris, who opposed Anita Bryant’s anti-gay adoption law in the 1970s, passed away on Nov. 9.

Gordon was a music producer who founded the Whimsey Political Clearinghouse in South Florida, with a focus on women’s studies and LGBT issues. She also helped found the Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus, and was named Chair Emeritus last year, after having served as the Caucus’ vice president for many years.

Gordon lost a long battle with progressive supranuclear palsy and died with her partner at her side.

According to Andrew Harris, Marshall Harris’ son, the former lawmaker died of cancer at his home in Coral Gables. Funeral services were held Nov. 11 for the 77-year-old Harris, a lawyer who served in the House from 1966 to 1974. He chaired the Appropriations Committee and helped change the state’s school funding formula to give urban areas more money.

Harris was former Attorney General Jim Smith’s running mate in the 1986 gubernatorial election, but the pair lost in the Democratic primary. In the 1970s, Harris gained notoriety when he opposed anti-gay activist Anita Bryant’s successful campaign to overturn a Miami-Dade County ordinance outlawing discrimination against gays and lesbians.

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