Equality Florida Institute will present its highest honor, The Voice for Equality Award, to Congressman Ted Deutch at the organization’s 16th Annual Equality Florida Broward Gala on Sunday, November 11th at Pier Sixty-Six Hotel & Marina in Fort Lauderdale.

The Voice for Equality award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated personal commitment, sacrifice and courage to work towards LGBTQ equality.  Recent past recipients include Greg Louganis, Martina Navratilova, Jim Obergefell, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Jazz Jennings.  

Equality Florida CEO Nadine Smith said, “Ted Deutch is a staunch supporter of equality in Washington and a most worthy recipient of The Voice For Equality.

Currently serving his 5th term, Congressman Deutch has always been a stalwart ally, and in 2017 he showed tremendous leadership impacting millions of LGBTQ Americans: He introduced the landmark LGBT Equality Bill to include protections based upon sexual orientation and gender identity and expression in the Civil Rights Code of 1964 and he introduced The Ruthie and Connie LGBT Elder Americans Act to improve services for LGBT seniors. Recently, he called for the current administration to restore the policy that provides visas to same-sex partners of foreign diplomats. Congressman Deutch is also Chair for the LGBT Aging Issues Task Force and Vice Chair for The Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus.

As Congressman Deutch states, “…you should be able to look to your government for equal protections, not fear state-sanctioned persecution. As a proud friend and ally, I pledge to use my voice and vote to demand full equality for the LGBT community.

Florida Blue, a recipient of the 2nd annual Florida Business of Equality Award, has maintained a stellar reputation as an inclusive and affirming place to work and do business and never hesitates to promote that value from within or in partnership with Equality Florida as a charter member of Equality Means Business and an active participant in its Advisory Board. In addition to being a significant financial supporter of Equality Florida’s programs, Florida Blue has stood shoulder to shoulder with the organization on major policy initiatives–in Tallahassee, testifying on behalf of the Florida Competitive Workforce Act, and as a leading and visible member of the Jacksonville Coalition For Equality.

South Florida Gay News and publisher Norm Kent will receive the Media For Equality Award.

A highlight of the gala will be the annual State of the State address by Equality Florida’s co-founder and Deputy Director, Stratton Pollitzer. He will highlight the achievements of the past year and present the course for the work yet to be accomplished. The evening, emceed by NBC Miami reporter, Jamie Guirola, includes the fanciful feathered fashions of L’illusion du Plumage, sumptuous culinary offerings, delicious cocktails, a live and silent auction, musical entertainment by Oriente! and Broward Center Artist in Residence, Tammy Holder, as well as dancing with DJ Karin Ward, ensuring a truly memorable and fun evening for all.

The annual fixture, presented by PNC Bank for the sixth consecutive year, attracts more than 500 community, business, political and student leaders. The Gala takes place on Sunday, November 11, from 5:30-9:00 pm in The Crystal Ballroom at Pier Sixty-Six Hotel & Marina, 2301 SE 17th St, Fort Lauderdale, 33301. 

A number of reduced priced tickets are available for those of limited means and there are volunteer opportunities for those who wish to give the gift of their time. For tickets or further information on sponsorships, please go to or contact Row Iliescu at or 305-335-2102.