Meet The New Leader Of Gay Advocacy Group SAVE

Apr 9, 2014

SAVE's TOGETHER Campaign Kickoff. March 29, 2014.
Credit SAVE

It's the largest advocacy group for gay rights in South Florida and it's once again known as SAVE -- Safeguarding American Values for Everyone.

Twenty-one years ago, SAVE was originally known as SAVE  -- and then it morphed into SAVE Dade.

It was started in 1993 by a small group of people who decided to fight against Anita Bryant’s anti-gay "Save our Children" campaign.

The Bryant campaign helped repeal Miami-Dade’s Human Rights Ordinance, the nation’s first county-wide ordinance that included banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Tony Lima has been at the helm for six months now. He's a previous member of SAVE's board of directors and a former vice president of the Miami Science Museum.

Tony Lima is SAVE's new leader.
Credit SAVE

Lima replaces C.J. Ortuno -- who left last summer to become the executive director of development for the City University of New York law school. 

Ortuno is a straight, married man with a daughter. Lima is not. He says he knew his sexuality from the age of 5 or 6, but he didn't publicly declare he was gay until he was 22 -- and that's after years of dating girls, he says.

"I was always an activist and advocate at heart. I'm passionate about defending people," Lima says. "As a child I was always the defender of the smaller kids or the ones who seemed nerdy or quirky. ... I had my share of fights because of it."

Lima's reasoning  for reverting back to the SAVE name is the increase in work that the group is doing in Monroe and Broward counties, as well as lobbying in Tallahassee and involvement in statewide political races.

"For me, SAVE  just seems like a logical progression," says Lima.

Click below to hear the full interview.