Vote No On 2 Campaign's Fan Box

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Gainesville Sun Op Ed: Looking For Trouble

Gainesville Sun Op Ed

Looking for trouble

Published: Wednesday, October 8, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, October 9, 2008 at 12:20 a.m.

These are uncertain times. The crash on Wall Street has Americans worried about their financial futures. Can we weather this storm and still be able to pass something on to our loved ones and children?

With all this uncertainty, why in the world would Floridians take an action that could even further undermine their financial arrangements? All for the sake of resolving an issue that has already been resolved in this state.

Under Florida law same sex marriages are prohibited. But on the Nov. 4 general election ballot will appear proposed Amendment 2 to the Florida Constitution. It states: "Inasmuch as marriage is the legal union of only one man and one women as husband and wife, no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized."

This is a classic wedge issue, a cynical ploy to divide Floridians against one another in a hotly contested election year.

Beyond that, Amendment 2 is a legal time bomb, ticking with unpredictable and unintended consequences. This thanks to the portion of the amendment that states "no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized."

What does that mean? Nobody really knows.

This week arrived a cautionary letter signed by 154 Florida attorneys, including former state House Speakers Peter Wallace and Richard Pettigrew and former American Bar Association President Talbot D'Alemberte.

"Adding such vague, untested and undefined language is likely to deliver unanticipated repercussions and could substantially alter our state both economically and legally," the letter warns. "While no one can know the full impact of the proposed amendment, litigation will result as vested interests challenge shared health plans, defend domestic abusers or governments seek clarity in the undefined language in the proposal."

The language could have negative impacts on alimony payments, property and estate planning, domestic partnership financial arrangements and domestic violence protections, the letter states. All this for the sake of banning what is already banned by state law.

This is a very bad amendment intended to divide us one against the other. It is sloppily written at best and malicious in intent at worst. In either case, to vote for Amendment 2 is to go looking for trouble.