Sunday, October 19, 2008

'No' On Florida Amendment 2

"It's difficult to imagine a more pernicious, mean-spirited, or fundamentally satanic idea than that embodied in Amendment 2."
The hot-button issue on the Florida ballot this November is known as proposed state constitutional "Amendment No. 2." Strictly speaking, this is not just an "anti-gay rights" referendum. It's aimed at everyone who has an affinity relationship with another person -- same sex or not -- unless sanctioned by a Government-issued marriage license.

Florida law, for good or ill, already intrudes on the personal privacy of its citizens -- and sojourners through the state -- by expressly prohibiting the legal recognition of gay marriages. Florida Statute 741.212 states:
Marriages between persons of the same sex entered into in any jurisdiction, whether within or outside the State of Florida, the United States, or any other jurisdiction, either domestic or foreign, or any other place or location, 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, either domestic or foreign, or any other place or location, are not recognized for any purpose in this state.
Amendment 2 effectively would expand that ban by declaring all relationship unions invalid unless they are between one man and one woman who have a marriage license. Here is the proposed amendment language:
Florida Marriage Protection Amendment

"Inasmuch as a 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."
What are the practical implications of this amendment? For openers, all common law marriages and other affinity relationships between a man and a woman likely would be declared null and void, along with same-gender relationships (whether sexually intimate or not).

If, for example, you are an older widow sharing your golden years with another woman or a man who is not your state-sanctioned spouse you'll be out of luck when one of you wants to visit the other in the hospital or include them as a dependent under an available health insurance plan.

Come to think of it, some nuts might even want to endanger the south Florida custom of "early bird specials" for anyone who can't produce an official marriage license. Have a little lawsuit with your salad?

As the Florida legislature's own Office of Economic and Demographic Research in late August warned [doc format], among other things:
  • If domestic partnership registries are deemed substantially equivalent to marriage, their termination could place registrants at risk of losing specified rights and benefits, such as those related to health insurance. The fiscal impact is indeterminate.
  • A loss of revenue may occur if domestic partnership registries are terminated. There would be a reduction in local revenue resulting from the elimination of registration fees associated with the registries.
  • * * * If the amendment has the effect of encouraging marriages (between one man and one woman) that were previously common law marriages, there may be a minor increase in the revenues from marriage licensing fees. The fiscal impact is expected to be minor.
  • Revenue from the domestic violence surcharge may be affected. By invalidating any union or “substantial equivalent thereof,” this amendment could be raised as a defense in domestic violence cases, resulting in fewer domestic violence convictions, causing a decrease in revenues for the Domestic Violence Program. The fiscal impact is indeterminate, but probably minor.
  • Costs of litigation may increase. Although the current statutes have been litigated and upheld, the initiative contains language different from the statutes, which could lead to increased litigation involving both public sector and private sector entities and individuals. The fiscal impact is indeterminate.
  • There may be varied effects on the costs of public services and benefits. Depending on actions taken by the Legislature, the courts, and Florida businesses, financial obligations between individuals are expected to change in complex ways that will probably result in increased costs of providing public services and benefits in some cases and reduced costs in others. The fiscal impact is indeterminate.
  • Some local governments that currently extend health insurance and other benefits to domestic partners may be impacted by this amendment. The net fiscal impact is indeterminate.
It's difficult to imagine a more pernicious, mean-spirited, or fundamentally satanic idea than that embodied in Amendment 2. It is challenging enough to find a loving partner in this world. What kind of religion would posit a god who punishes those who manage to do it, just because they didn't pay for a government-issued marriage license?

A Republican god, it seems. Turns out, a prime purpose behind Amendment 2 is to use it "as a political tool to drive ultra-conservative voters to the polls." According to opponents of Amendment 2, "The Florida Republican Party is the single largest contributor to the initiative ($300,000) and State GOP Chair Jim Greer bragged that the amendment "will help turnout."

So, add to the list of objections one more: Amendment 2 is being cynically promoted for partisan political purposes, not for anything relevant to its merits.

We're voting "no" on Amendment 2, just as the couple shown below will be doing. We urge everyone who values the integrity of the Florida ballot referendum process to vote no, too.

1 comment:

Gidg said...

Honey, before you go knocking "religion" (I think you mean Christianity, but since "god" isn't capitalized, I'm not sure)...perhaps you should actually read the book that they get their views from. Apparently there are a lot of people out there who have never read the Bible, but seem to think they're experts on it. (If you have a Bible, check out the marriage laws in Numbers & Deuteronomy.) If you'd read it, you'd find out that there were far worse punishments for homosexuals and people who had sex outside of marriage (much less those who were living together) than the "freedoms" this law "takes away." The problem is that we all think that we live in a free society which should mean that we should be "free to do whatever we want"...but where does that stop? When does something become morally wrong? How do we know that stealing is morally wrong? Or murder? You've got to have some sort of definition...and since this country was founded on Judeo-Christian values (check out the Feclaration of Independence...all of the founding fathers were church-going Christians), it would make sense to stick with what has worked for over 200 years.

What doesn't make sense is the accusation that God is a Republican God...I don't see it that way. He has no party affiliation. He was there long before the parties were ever in place. Just because one party tends to attract Christians because of their conservative stances (most of which line up with what the Bible teaches) doesn't mean that He is for the Republicans. After all, He let a Democrat win this time...who is most certainly NOT a Christian based on how the Bible says a Christian should think, act and behave...It's called fruit. You can't get an orange to grow from an apple tree.

God doesn't find pleasure in punishing people who find someone to love. He actually doesn't require you to follow his laws. But He does want you to because that's how He designed marriage, and He knows how it works best. God isn't punishing you for finding someone loving... But if you found someone loving who is willing to commit to you, then why haven't you made the commitment of marriage? I do intend to stay with them permanently, right? So what would be the difference if you got a piece of paper that says you're married...I'm sure it's not because you can't afford it.