Vote No On 2 Campaign's Fan Box

Thursday, January 31, 2008

THE NEWS-PRESS Editorial: Marriage amendment breeds bias


Marriage amendment breeds bias
Originally posted on January 31, 2008

We need stronger families, including traditional married couples and other kinds of families, in our state and nation.

But the Florida Marriage Protection Amendment will do nothing to further that goal.

The News-Press Editorial Board opposes the amendment. If the measure receives enough signatures by Friday, it will be on the November ballot. It will need 60 percent of the vote to pass.

This gay marriage ban employs the blunt instrument of a constitutional amendment to deal crudely with an issue that should be left to our elected lawmakers - who have already limited legal marriage to heterosexual couples.

Here's the ballot language:

"This amendment protects marriage as the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife and provides that no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized."

So, it not only denies gays and lesbians the right to legal marriage, but bans even civil unions, which could allow same-sex couples the legal rights of married couples. It could even limit the rights of unmarried heterosexual couples.

If this amendment should pass, our constitution will be used to discriminate against a whole class of innocent citizens, to diminish human rights rather than expand them.

Family is more important than ever, but it takes many different forms today.

People of good faith may oppose gay marriage, but they are being used by this campaign to punish gays and lesbians in the false belief that this somehow strengthens traditional marriage.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Saint Pete Times Editorial: Crist wisely ignores the extremists

Crist wisely ignores the extremists
A Times Editorial
Published January 7, 2008

Our sensible "live and let live" Republican governor has done it again, governing from the middle rather than allowing himself to be dragged into the ideological extremes of his party. Gov. Charlie Crist is telling those who are intent on pushing a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage that he isn't interested in their cause. He has the serious business of the state to attend to.

Florida is facing skyrocketing property insurance costs, a housing market meltdown, reduced state revenues and educational challenges as far as one can see. These are issues commanding the time and attention of the governor and the public. A mean-spirited constitutional amendment that essentially repeats what is in state law is about the last thing this state needs. A campaign to ban same-sex marriage will only serve to polarize Floridians, distracting the state from the serious challenges ahead.

The so-called Florida Marriage Protection Amendment is ill-advised beyond the intolerance it communicates to gay and lesbian Floridians. The language does not just outlaw same-sex marriage; it prevents the recognition of any "substantial equivalent" to marriage as well, meaning civil unions and possibly domestic partnerships.

Under the amendment, Florida's cities and counties that maintain domestic partnership registries may have to shut them down, with those couples possibly losing health and other partner benefits. The Florida Legislature's Office of Economic and Demographic Research says that terminating these registries could mean additional costs to county-run hospitals when patients no longer enjoy the insurance coverage once provided by their domestic partners.

Registered partners also typically have rights to visit each other in the hospital and make health care decisions for one another. Elderly heterosexual couples could be particularly impacted if they aren't married in order to protect their Social Security payments.

Supporters of the amendment claim to have enough valid signatures for it to get on the November ballot. Passage would require at least 60 percent of total votes cast.

Yet, since 2004, when anti-same-sex marriage fervor gripped this nation and initiatives passed in 11 states, opinion polls indicate that the public cares little about the issue relative to other national concerns such as the Iraq war and health care. Maybe the governor's refusal to play along will marginalize the demagogues. And maybe the governor's leadership will encourage Floridians to follow their better instincts and grant their fellow citizens the freedom to "live and let live."

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