I Apologize For Triggering Division

From Shelli Freeland Eddie

BY SHELLI FREELAND EDDIE SRQ DAILY SATURDAY PERSPECTIVES EDITION SATURDAY JUL 4, 2015

I apologize to Equality Florida, my supporters, and the entire community, for expressing my faith's views on same-sex marriage in a way that triggered, among some, feelings of division, intolerance or betrayal. That was not my intention. The Supreme Court's ruling last month legalizing marriage for same sex couples nationwide has sparked many conversations among people of faith who, like me, are grappling with how we reconcile the decision with the teachings of our faith. 

My intent with the email on June 30 was to add clarification to the Equality Florida survey I completed. The survey format did not provide me an opportunity to completely express my views on these serious topics. 

The recent 5-4 Supreme Court decision on same sex marriage represents the division in the U.S. on this issue. We need to continue to have healthy conversations about this issue. As a person of faith, I struggle with same sex marriage on religious grounds; however, this will never interfere with my duty and privilege to represent all the people of my district—ensuring fairness and their constitutional right to equal protection under the law. 

As a sworn officer of the court (attorney) and elected official, I will always defend equal protection under the law, for all citizens, which includes both the Supreme Court’s recent decision on marriage equality, along with the decision in Roe v. Wade—protecting a woman’s right to a safe and legal abortion, under the care and consultation of her physician. 

I regret that my statements have created doubt amongst some regarding my credibility and trust as an elected official, and I will continue to work diligently to serve the people in a manner that moves our city forward, and restores their confidence in my abilities as a commissioner.

Shelli Freeland Eddie is a Sarasota City Commissioner

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