The recent dispute over a cancelled appearance by Rep. Allen West, R-Fort Lauderdale, in an LGBT-friendly Broward County community has inspired the creation of a new organization, the Coalition for Fairness & Equality, and a new invitation to West “to address the community in his own words, and meet with his constituency.”

The Coalition will hold a “public forum and rally” at 6 p.m. Mon., Aug. 8 at Wilton Manors’ City Hall Square. West was originally scheduled to address the Wilton Manors Business Association that same day. The organization cancelled his appearance this week due to outrage over what opponents call West’s “offensive language” toward the LGBT community.

Read the Coalition for Fairness & Equality announcement in full:

A group of concerned citizens, representing the diversity of the South Florida community, has come together and formed ‘The Coalition for Fairness and Equality (CoFFE)’ The group emerged as a response to the cancellation of Congressman West’s speaking appearance in Wilton Manors. The purpose of CoFFE is unifying, not dividing; bringing together the community and its supporters, through open discussions with our elected officials.

The cancelled closed-door meeting with Congressman West has led us to host an event, not in the darkness of a closed room, but in the bright sunshine of Wilton Manors, accessible to all, without qualification or inhibitions on dialogue and debate.

With the aim of education and promoting equality and fairness, we have extended an invitation to Congressman West to join us and address the community in his own words, and meet with his constituency.

This public forum and rally will be held on August 8 at 6 pm, at City Hall Square, 2200 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors, FL 33305. One of our organizers and speakers will be L. Stuart Milk, the nephew of the late San Francisco gay rights activist, Harvey Milk, who has become an activist in his own right and maintains a South Florida residence.

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