Antigay activist caught in media awards flap

BY Advocate.com Editors

August 23 2002 12:00 AM ET

With a vote on whether Miami-Dade County, Fla., should keep its antidiscrimination protections for gay men and lesbians just weeks away, the leader of an effort to repeal the law is the subject of a controversy involving Latino media figures and gay rights groups, according to the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel.

Eladio Jose Armesto, spokesman for Take Back Miami-Dade, a coalition of groups urging voters to repeal the law, is expected to be recognized next month by the Hispanic Media 100 Awards, an event created by a private company in Colorado to honor Spanish-language journalists and media owners. Now in its second year, the program, created in association with the public-relations firm PR Newswire, will take place in Miami on September 20--10 days after Miami-Dade voters go to the polls to decide whether to keep legal protections for gays and lesbians on the books.

On Tuesday the media watchdog group Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation urged its members and other gay rights advocates to insist that Event Concepts Inc., the company sponsoring the awards, withdraw the honor from Armesto. "He's called people homosexual extremists and pedophiles," Beth George, the alliance's Southeast spokeswoman, said of Armesto. "This was too big of an issue for us not to continue pursuing it."

Chris Day, CEO of Event Concepts Inc., would not comment on GLAAD's request. "We remain completely apolitical and recognize people's ability to have divergent opinions," Day said. "Of course, we don't support any type of prejudice at all."

Tags: World

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