Charges filed against Miami antigay petitioners
BY Advocate.com Editors
August 21 2002 12:00 AM ET
Miami special prosecutor John Aguero filed formal charges Monday against three men accused of fraudulent practices in a petition drive to repeal Miami-Dade County, Fla.'s 1998 pro-gay nondiscrimination ordinance. Christian Montoya, 17; notary public Ralph Patterson, 76; and Anthony Verdugo, 40, leader of the local Christian Coalition and a board member of antigay group Take Back Miami-Dade, were arrested last week and released from jail. A fourth person, not yet identified, was expected to turn himself in Tuesday.
The documents filed Monday allege that Montoya falsely claimed to have witnessed the signatures of up to 19 people on seven petition forms. He is charged with seven counts of false swearing, a third-degree felony. He is scheduled for trial October 2.
Verdugo, who is charged with one count of false swearing, is accused of wrongly claiming to have seen at least one person sign a petition. Patterson is accused of illegally notarizing his own signature, a third-degree felony.
Rosa Armesto de Gonzalez, an attorney representing the three, said the arrests are politically motivated. "I find it outrageous that in a democracy they try to silence political opposition with bogus charges," Armesto said. "This is the work of the homosexual, bisexual, and transsexual mafia that wants to destroy our families and take away the right of every Dade County citizen to vote," Armesto told reporters outside the juvenile justice center in Miami, where she had entered a not guilty plea for Montoya. "There is no proof that anything wrong was done."
- Boy Scouts Vote to End Discrimination Against Gay Youth
- WATCH: What Happens When a Gay Boy Scout Comes Out to His Camp Leader
- Transgender High School Senior Skips Graduation Over School's Transphobic Policy
- Canada Lifts Lifetime Blood Ban on Gay Men — But There's a Catch
- Giants Pitcher Jeremy Affeldt Shares His Evolution on Homophobia
- We Love Liberace Now Even More Than 30 Years Ago
Sign Up For Email Updates
- Theater WATCH: How Billy Porter Becomes Kinky Boots Drag Diva 16 min 4 sec ago
- Entertainment News Debbie Reynolds: 'We All Knew He Was Gay' 40 min 30 sec ago
- World News Ugandan LGBT Activists Arrested While Protesting Media Censorship 54 min 54 sec ago
- The Wedding Channel WATCH: Flash Mob Gay Marriage Proposal in Central Park 1 hour 6 min ago
- Women Cannes is Abuzz About Blue is the Warmest Color's Explicit Lesbian Sex Scenes 1 hour 28 min ago
- Sports Giants Pitcher Jeremy Affeldt Shares His Evolution on Homophobia 1 hour 55 min ago
- Youth Disney Exec Named Head of GLSEN Board 2 hours 51 min ago