Florida Definition of Marriage, Amendment 2 (2008)

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The Florida Marriage Amendment, also known as Proposition 2 and The Marriage Protection Amendment, was a proposed initiated constitutional amendment to the Florida Constitution that appeared on the November 4, 2008 ballot in Florida. In order to pass, the amendment required a 60% majority of those voting in the election.

The ballot language said, "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."

Proposition 2 was the 29th citizen-initiated measure to appear on a Florida statewide ballot.

Election results

Amendment 2 (2008)
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 4,645,602 62.1%
No2,833,05237.9%

Election Results via: Florida Department of State Division of Elections

Background/Specifics

Other states

Voters in twenty-six other states have passed constitutional amendments prohibiting same-sex marriage. Two others states, Arizona (Proposition 102) and California (Proposition 8) also had proposed amendments on the November ballot.

Existing statutes in Florida

Two existing Florida statutes prohibit same-sex marriage:

  • Florida Statute 741.212(1) defines marriage as the legal union between one man and one woman and provides that the term "spouse" applies only to a member of such union (FL. Stat. 741.212(1),(3)).
  • Florida also adopted a Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1997 which was codified as Florida Statute 741.212.

Judicial language

The amendment as written included a clause prohibiting judges from overturning the law. This was a response to what happened in Massachusetts, where a judge overturned that state's law banning same-sex marriage.[1]

Support

Supporters included:

On Sep 30, a group of church leaders from around the country met outside the Miami-Dade County Courthouse to show their support of Amendment 2. In general, Florida's religious community was strongly in favor of the measure.[5]

Arguments in favor

Notable arguments made in support of the measure included:

  • Supporters say the amendment would protect children by ensuring that only the form of marriage between a man and a woman would ever be celebrated in Florida.
  • The Florida statute that already provides for a single form of marriage could be overturned by a court on constitutional grounds.
  • As the campaign heads into its final week, the main argument supporters of the proposition are making is that if the amendment fails, school children could be indoctrinated in the gay lifestyle.[6]

Opposition

Opponents included:

Arguments in opposition

Notable arguments made in opposition to the measure included:

  • The petition as acting as bait for the Presidential election in order to draw out conservative voters; there is already enough legislation in place currently.[10]
  • Health care and pension benefit plans which cover unmarried couples, even heterosexual older couples, living together and which are now legally valid may be adversely affected.
  • Article I of the Florida Constitution, known as the Declaration of Rights, establishes rights, but this amendment would instead limit the right to marry.
  • There are already other Florida Laws that expressly prohibit homosexual unions, so this amendments purpose is much larger than that and if passed will be used to restrict all relationships that are not a legal marriage under Florida's Statutes.
  • Opponents say that elderly people in the state who, after being widowed, have subsequently chosen a domestic partnership in order to retain certain benefits, will be adversely impacted by the measure.[11]

Financing the opposition

Amendment 2 was one of three ballot measures that appeared on November ballots around the country to ban same-sex marriage. Of these, the highest profile battle surrounded California Proposition 8. According to Stephen Gaskill, a spokesperson for Florida Red and Blue, the focus on the California measure complicated fundraising efforts for those fighting Florida Amendment 2.

Gaskill said, "Certainly if the California effort was not underway, it would be easier for Florida to raise money — that’s just a reality."[12]

Opponents file October lawsuit

Lawyers for the Florida Red and Blue amendment opposition group filed a lawsuit on October 28 to force the pro-amendment group to disclose its donors and take their TV ads off the air. The lawsuit seeks:

  • The identification of donors to two groups, the Florida Family Action and the Florida Family Policy Council. These groups are headed by John Stemberger and are linked to the political campaign committee, Florida4Marriage, that put the initiative on the ballot.
  • Florida4Marriage did not itself pay for a recent burst of pro-amendment TV advertising; rather, F4M (which is required to disclose its donors) reported an in-kind donation from the Florida Family Action group. That group says it is not required to disclose its donors; the lawsuit challenges that contention.

Shortly after Florida Red and Blue announced the filing of the lawsuit, Stemberger issued a press release criticizing the group for avoiding the issue of gay marriage in its anti-Amendment 2 campaign and instead raising concerns about the proposal’s impact on domestic partnerships between both straight and gay couples, particularly seniors.[13]

Polls

See also Polls, 2008 ballot measures.
Month of Poll In Favor Opposed Undecided
September 2008 55 percent 41 percent 9 percent[14]

Newspapers

Florida's newspapers, according to one source, were united in their opposition to the amendment ("...every single daily newspaper in Florida has taken a position against Amendment 2").[15]

Path to the ballot

The initiative was able to collect enough signatures in order to qualify for the 2008 general election.[16] This was done by volunteer circulators gathering 92,000 signatures, roughly 7,000 a day, in order to ensure the qualification of the measure.[17]

See also

Articles

External links

Basic information

Supporters/materials

Opponents/materials

References

  1. Herald Tribune: "Amendment banning same-sex marriages closing in on ballot spot in November 2008," Nov. 5, 2007
  2. Christian Newswire: "Marriage Leaders Blast Opponents for Deception and Scare Tactics," Dec. 13, 2007
  3. Washington Blade: "Florida Gov. announces support of amendment 2," August 6, 2008
  4. 4.0 4.1 Florida Baptist Witness: "African-American pastors rally in support of marriage amendment," Sep 26, 2008
  5. Miami Herald: "Church leaders unite to back gay-marriage ban," Oct 1, 2008
  6. Palm Beach Post, "If Amendment 2 fails, backers say kids will be led into 'gay lifestyle'", October 22, 2008
  7. Christian Newswire: "Marriage Leaders Blast Opponents for Deception and Scare Tactics," Dec. 13, 2007
  8. News Press: "Florida marriage amendment intrudes in private matters," Nov. 19, 2007
  9. News-Press.com: "ACLU urges opposition to marriage amendment," March 23, 2008
  10. Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation blog: "South Florida Press Critical of Upcoming Ballot Initiative," March 6, 2008
  11. Emory Wheel, "Get your grandma to support gay marriage"
  12. Washington Blade: "Calif. draining money from Fla. amendment fight," July 18, 2008
  13. Palm Beach Post, "Amend 2 opponents file lawsuit as tensions over gay marriage flare", October 28, 2008
  14. News-Press.come: "Poll: Most Florida voters support gay marriage ban amendment, but not enough for passage," Sep. 8, 2008
  15. An open letter to opponents of Amendment 2
  16. Edge Boston: "Anti-Gay Fla. Initiative Will Appear on Nov. Ballot," Feb. 3, 2008
  17. The Bulletin: "Florida Puts Marriage Amendment On Ballot," Feb. 4, 2008

Additional reading