Equality Florida, the largest LGBT civil rights advocacy group in the state of Florida, would like to invite you to its annual Key West Gala, which will be held at The Gardens Hotel (526 Angela Street) on Saturday, March 28, starting at 6:30 p.m. and ending at 8:30 p.m.

Hundreds of attendees will enjoy the beautiful backdrop that The Gardens Hotel will provide on this momentous evening. There will be an appetizer buffet and drinks, live entertainment provided by the Love Lane Gang, a presentation of awards for the Key West High School “Tolerance Into Acceptance: Embracing Diversity” essay contest, and a “State of the State” address. In this address, Deputy Director Stratton Pollitzer will outline Equality Florida’s advances for LGBT rights in 2014 and how far we still have to go in 2015.

The Voice for Equality Award will also be given to a special couple, namely Aaron Huntsman and Gala-KeyWest_copy2William Lee Jones, both residents of Key West. On April 1, 2014, Huntsman and Jones, who had already been together for 11 years, filed a request for a marriage license with Monroe County Clerk of Courts Amy Heavilin. Due to the law on the books at the time banning gay couples from marrying, Heavilin had to deny that request. Huntsman and Jones filed a lawsuit and they were both vindicated in court when that specific Florida state law was found unconstitutional. When marriage equality reached Florida on January 6, 2015, Huntsman and Jones were the first couple to get married in Monroe County. Their “heroic and courageous leadership in representing the mission of marriage equality” inspired Equality Florida to honor them with this award.

The dress code for this event is “Key West business casual.” There is no cost to attend this event; however, Equality Florida would appreciate any donations you can make toward the cause. Sponsorships start at $500 for individuals and businesses. For more information on how you can become a sponsor, please call Evie Evers Kling at (305) 296-3267 or e-mail her at

For more information on the Key West Gala, visit Read Hotspots’ interview with Aaron Huntsman from April 2014.