Vote No On 2 Campaign's Fan Box

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Florida Today: Don't fall for the hoax

Our view: Reject the bigotry
Florida Today, 2/10/2008
View article on Florida Today

Don't fall for the hoax.

Backers of a proposed constitutional amendment now on the November ballot say the sanctity of traditional marriage is at stake if voters don't pass a ban on gay marriage.

That's baloney.

Same-sex marriage is already illegal in Florida, and there is no threat of legislative action in Tallahassee to change that.

If anything threatens traditional marriage it's a high divorce rate and disappearing social taboos against bearing children out of wedlock -- problems a gay-marriage ban won't affect.

Worse, the gay-marriage ban attempts to slip bigotry into the state constitution under the guise of Christian values. But its intent is to harm and punish, solely on the basis of whom an individual chooses to love or live with.

Worse again, it puts at risk all unmarried Floridians' guarantee of equal protection under the law.

Here's why:

The broad language of the amendment says: 'Inasmuch as marriage is the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife, no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized.'Behind the jargon, the proposal wouldn't just prohibit gays from marrying, but also from entering into civil unions that confer certain legal rights -- such as to hospital visitation.

It could also strip them of benefits such as health care coverage many employers offer workers in domestic partnerships, gay or straight, and their dependents.

That's discrimination, pure and simple.

And it has already happened in states where constitutional same-sex marriage bans are in place.

In 2007, a Michigan court ruled the state's amendment meant employers such as cities or universities couldn't provide health care benefits to unmarried domestic partners.

Those benefits are also being challenged in Kentucky and Ohio.

Florida's large population of seniors -- some of whom depend on shared benefits from domestic partnerships -- could also see that safety net struck down in court if the gay-marriage ban passes.

That's why former Florida Department of Elder Affairs Secretary and past AARP President Bentley Lipscomb opposes the ban.

So do Florida NAACP President Adora Obi Nweze and NAACP national chairman and civil rights leader Julien Bond, who understand the amendment would trample the two great promises upon which the country was founded:

The Declaration of Independence's assurance everyone is created equal and the U.S. Constitution's guarantee all will be treated equally under the law.

Despite those violations of historic American principles, White House advisor Karl Rove successfully used gay-marriage bans as a wedge issue to draw hard-core conservatives to the polls in some states in 2004, helping to give President Bush an edge.

The same low-road strategy is at work behind this ballot amendment. The Florida GOP has supported it to the tune of $300,000.

Voters should look beyond the deceptive packaging of the 'Florida Marriage Protection Amendment' and see it for what it is:

A harmful political stunt that would sully the Florida Constitution with anti-gay prejudice, which is the last socially acceptable form of bigotry in America.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Palm Beach Post Editorial: Same ol' same-sex ban

Same ol' same-sex ban
Palm Beach Post Editorial
Wednesday, February 06, 2008


From Florida Statute 741.212 (1):

"Marriages between persons of the same sex entered into in any jurisdiction ... domestic or foreign ... or relationships between persons of the same sex, which are treated as marriages in any jurisdiction, whether within or outside the State of Florida, the United States, or any other jurisdiction ... or any other place or location, are not recognized for any purpose in this state."

From Florida Statute 741.212 (2):

"The state, its agencies, and its political subdivisions may not give effect to any public act, record or judicial proceeding of any state, territory, possession, or tribe of the United States or of any other jurisdiction ... domestic or foreign, or any other place or location respecting either a marriage or relationship not recognized under subsection (1) or a claim arising from such a marriage or relationship."

From Florida Statute 741.212 (3):

"For purposes of interpreting any state statute or rule, the term 'marriage' means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the term 'spouse' applies only to a member of such a union."

And just for good measure, Florida Statute 741.04 (1) prohibits any judge or clerk of the court from issuing a marriage license "unless one party is a male and the other party is a female."

All that restrictive language should be enough to reassure even the most skittish Floridian that gays and lesbians won't be exchanging vows or trying to transfer a marriage. But no. Last week, the Department of Elections confirmed that a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Florida will go on the November ballot. To Article I, the Florida Marriage Protection Amendment would add: "Inasmuch as marriage is the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife, no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized."

So there. Same-sex marriage wouldn't just be illegal; it would be unconstitutional, beyond the power of some future namby-pamby Legislature or court that might want to turn parts of Florida into Cape Cod or San Francisco. Of course, it also would be the first part of the constitution to restrict rights, not grant them. It would make the Florida Constitution a document that protects pregnant pigs but not human beings who want to be part of what people who will vote for this amendment describe as the foundation of society. It could make things tougher for Florida companies trying to recruit employees. It won't deal with insurance costs, the tax system or the real-estate market, which are the state's real priorities.

Instead, it will create a noisy, well-financed distraction as Floridians vote for president. The state's future depends on many things. This amendment isn't one of them.