Proposed amendment to the Florida Constitution, which will appear on the ballot this November:
BE IT ENACTED BY THE PEOPLE OF FLORIDA THAT:
A new section for Article I is hereby created to add the following:
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.
I have so many objections to this amendment that I’m not sure where to begin.
Sorry, I lied. I know exactly where to begin. (There’s a great blog post and discussion here, if you’re interested.)
This is a horrible amendment. It not only eliminates the possibility of gay marriage laws (either by statute or case law), but it also makes a more conservative domestic partner law impossible. If that were not bad enough (and it’s more than bad enough), it also could undermine the rights of unmarried, heterosexual couples. Companies could be banned from allowing unmarried couples to purchase health insurance (unless they both work for the same company, and are willing to pay for two separate policies). Domestic partner registries (which allow partners to stay with loved ones before and after surgery in the hospital) could be in jeopardy.
This amendment isn’t just about protecting marriage, whatever that means. It’s about setting aside a group of people, making them second class citizens, and punishing them. Incredibly, it’s saying the status quo isn’t nearly intolerant enough.
Think of the last part of the amendment language “… no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized.” Imagine how this broad language could be interpreted by conservative justices. Think of the slippery slope this amendment puts us on. Say these two words to yourself: “institutionalized persecution.” Think about what that means. Ask yourself if the amendment rises to this level, and even if you think it doesn’t, ask yourself if you want the final word on state law to head in this direction.
It’s probably no surprise that I find the unabashed, wide reaching bigotry of the proposed language chilling. If you live in Florida, I hope you’ll join me in voting NO in November.