Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Sad Day for Florida

Lost among all the euphoria about the election is the fact that the Hate Amendment was passed in Florida (and two other states). While this law will eventually be shot down as unconstitutional at the federal level, we can't wait for the long legal process as our only efforts to achieve the dream of equal rights for LGBT citizens.

Obviously, the focus of this blog will change a bit. Now we will focus on battling the agenda of conservative anti-gay Floridians and Americans and the people who buy into their agenda. We will document the effects of Florida's Amendment 2 and similar legislation and highlight politicians and organizations on both sides of the battle for equality for LGBT citizens in Florida and beyond.

If you are interested in joining us in this battle, send me an e-mail at quinnelk@hotmail.com

We have much work ahead of us.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Why They're Wrong, Part 13

That claim that "traditional" marriage was between a man and a woman is nonsense:


The recent California court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage has elicited a new round of warnings about the threats to “traditional” marriage. Marriage, say foes of the ruling, has always been a union of one man and one woman, with procreation as its central purpose. And Christianity in particular has historically surrounded marriage with sacred ceremonies, reserved for those who understand its solemn meaning, they contend. Compelling either church or state to accept the validity of same-sex unions would force these institutions, in defiance of tradition, to condone marriages of which they disapprove.

But these arguments rest on a misunderstanding of the unique legal and religious history of Western marriage. It is true that Western law and religion have long held that marriage must consist of one man and one woman. But this represented a profound break with tradition. The most commonly preferred model of marriage through the ages (and the type of marriage mentioned most often in the first five books of the Old Testament) was not one-man, one-woman, but one-man, many-women: polygyny. Even where polygyny was not the norm, a man whose marriage did not produce a child was traditionally allowed to either divorce his original wife or add another wife or concubine to his household.

The establishment of monogamy required the Church to deny that procreation was central to the definition of marriage. In fact, one of Christianity’s major innovations was its insistence that a marriage remained valid even if the couple could not reproduce. The church would overturn a marriage if the man was impotent, but not if one of the partners was sterile.

This principle became the foundation of subsequent Anglo-American law. English and American courts traditionally voided a marriage if a person was incapable of sexual intimacy and had hidden this from his or her partner. But they never made the validity of a marriage dependent on the ability or willingness of a couple to reproduce. As a New York court ruled in 1898, “it cannot be held, as a matter of law, that the possession of the organs necessary to conception are essential to entrance to the married state, so long as there is no impediment to the indulgence of the passions incident to this state.” The ability to have sex, not to reproduce, was the primary foundation of marriage in Western religious and secular traditions alike.

Nor did Christianity insist that marriage be approved by church or state. Here the Church was hewing to an even older tradition. In most ancient societies, marriage had been a private contract between two families. If the parents agreed to the match, that confirmed its validity. Those individuals who, for whatever reason, could marry without consulting their parents did not need anyone else’s permission. Long before Christianity arose, the Roman state incorporated this principle into its legal system. In the Roman Empire, if a court had to decide whether a marriage was valid and whether the partners or children were subject to the rights and duties attached to marital law, it did so on the basis of the couple’s intentions. If a couple regarded each other as husband and wife, and neither was a slave, their marriage was deemed valid.


Supporters of laws like Amendment 2, it seems, have trouble telling the truth about anything. They either don't know or don't care about actual facts.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Good News in Amendment 2 Fight

As Waymon Hudson at Bilerico Florida reports, its headed to court:


Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Mary Barzee Flores has granted the request of Florida Red & Blue, the group behind the SayNo2 Campaign to defeat Amendment 2, for a hearing to require the sponsors of Amendment 2 (Florida4Marriage) to disclose the donors to the non-profit Florida Family Action and for an immediate halt to advertising paid for with these secret, illegal funds. The hearing will take place Monday, November 3 at 4:00 p.m.

The hearing will look into the illegally shielded campaign donations of Florida4Marriage that were funneled through a non-profit organization called "Florida Family Action", which was created by John Stemberger (who also runs the campaign for Amendment 2). Based on public finance reports filed yesterday, 55 percent of all spending in support of Amendment 2 - more than $1.1 million in total - comes from donors being illegally shielded from the public by the "yes" on Amendment 2 campaign through purposefully funneled money.


I only wish this could've happened quicker so more Floridians could've learned about the dirty, underhanded, and probably illegal, campaign run by the supporters of the Hate Amendment.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Right-Wing Dirty Tricks

Conservative anti-gay crusaders will stop at nothing to pass Amendment 2 and Proposition 8 in California. Yesterday in the last few days of fundraising in both states, early voting in Florida and the last few days of the election, a coordinated cyber attack knocked out the websites of both campaigns fighting these hate-filled laws. SayNo2 was down for about two and a half hours. The point was to prevent people from making campaign contributions and learn about the lies and misrepresentations the hate amendment sponsors are pushing, but are being opposed by honest, law-abiding, truly American citizens in Florida and California.

Even more dirty tricks are being used in Florida as Waymon Hudson at Bilerico Florida shows:


Dirty tricks, money funneling, and lawsuits- oh my! My investigation into the misdeeds and dishonest campaign tactics of the backers of Florida's Amendment 2 just keeps getting nastier and more disturbing...

I reported earlier about Florida Red & Blue, the group behind the SayNo2 Campaign to defeat Amendment 2, filing a lawsuit in Miami-Dade Circuit Court asking a judge to force the group campaigning for Amendment 2 (Florida4Marriage) to disclose all of its donors and stop airing its TV ads. This came after a formal complaint with the Florida Election Commission asking for an investigation into Florida4Marriage illegal campaigning tactics.

In emails obtained exclusively by the Bilerico Project Florida, the proof of these money funneling activities is shown. And it turns out the dirty tricks and donor hiding goes a lot further than we previously thought...

...

We already knew John Stemberger, the head of Florida4Marriage, has sent emails detailing how donors could illegally skirt campaign finance reporting laws by funneling money through a non-profit organization, Florida Family Action, which he appears to have established for just that purpose.

...

Of the total contributions to Florida4Marriage.org at last reporting (approximately $1,500,000), roughly 52% came from Florida Family Action.

Most recently, Florida4Marriage reported an in-kind contribution of $350,000 from Florida Family Action for the purchase of advertising. This is odd, since the ads all say "paid for and approved by Florida4Marriage", not Florida Family Action. In fact, at least three media outlets- WTSP Tampa, WTVT Tampa Bay, and WKMG Orlando- have confirmed that the name of the organization for which the purchases were made is Florida4Marriage.org although no direct expenditure from the campaign account for these media buys has been reported.

It seems illegal identification of ads goes along with the dirty money expenditures...


Tactics like this continue to prove that the backers of the hate amendment (and Prop 8 in California) don't really care about right or wrong, they only care about winning, no matter what the tactics and no matter what the effects on tax-paying American citizens.

From the Blogs

Equality Florida: South Florida Caribbean News says Vote NO on Amendment 2!

Equality Florida: Miami court decision may affect a law barring gays from adopting

Equality Florida: Marriage Amendment "Divisive" and "Underhanded"

Pam's House Blend: Florida's Amendment 2: The Lessons from Michigan

Pam's House Blend: Florida Chicanery

Pam's House Blend: The Insanity of John Stemberger: Going Down the Rabbit Hole in Florida

Monday, October 27, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Citizen Interviews on Amendment 2

Nicole:



James:



Legend Killer:



Kenneth:

Monday, October 20, 2008

"No one's loving commitment is a threat to my marriage"

There really isn't any way to say it better than this:


On Saturday night two women who belong to the house of worship I attend made a lifetime commitment to each other in front of about 200 friends, relatives and fellow congregants.

It was a moving ceremony, followed by a joyous reception.

Their loving bond is no threat to anyone's marriage.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

More Dirty Tricks In Amendment 2 Campaign

Via Daily Kos, check out these two very similar ads...

Florida's Amendment 2:



Arizona's Prop 102:



As Mark K In Tucson Arizona points out:


The first ad from Florida says at the end paid for and sponsored by "Florida4marriage.org." and the Arizona ad is paid for by yesformarriage.com supporting Prop.102.

So how then two state issues can have the same video, audio but with a slightly altered script? Are Floridian's paying for Arizona's ad or vice versa. According to the campaign finance reports for yesformarriage.com (Arizona Proposition 102), a firm called Design4 Advertising, with the address given of 106 N. Collins St., in Plant City, Florida, has received a total of $2,309,000 (with the last installment on 8/29/08) for "communications - advertising." When one searches for this firm on the Internet nothing turns up but if you Google, "Design4" and "Marketing," the following turns up for this firm: "Design4 Marketing Communications," eighteen years of applying modern media to a timeless message in service to national Christian ministries, public policy organizations and issue advocacy groups," and are located at 106 N. Collins St., in Plant City, Florida. This is the only page on this website.

So how then can two different campaigns, similar issue, two to three time zones apart have the same ad, if proponents of such measures are donating?


I'm not sure who is supposed to investigate things like this, but it appears an investigation is warranted.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Our Story: Why We Say No to Amendment 2

Another great ad opposing Amendment 2...

Bob Graham Opposes Amendment 2

Yet another reason to love the former governor:


Florida’s popular former Governor and U.S. Senator Bob Graham has announced his opposition Amendment 2. He joins more than 200 prominent leaders and organizations on Florida Red & Blue’s Advisory Board against the so-called “Florida Marriage Protection Amendment.”

Renowned for his trademark “workdays,” ranging from serving as a busboy and a construction worker to a railroad engineer or a teacher, Graham served as Florida’s governor from 1979 to 1987 and as the state’s U.S. Senator from 1987 to 2005, notably as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Since retiring from the Senate, Graham now concentrates his efforts on the Bob Graham Center for Public Service at his undergraduate alma mater, the University of Florida.

“The law of Florida defines marriage as an institution between one woman and one man,” said Graham. “It is not necessary to amend the state constitution to say it again. However, the words of Amendment 2 go beyond redundancy. They would terminate legal rights of unmarried couples, including elderly couples. Heterosexual domestic partners would lose health, pension, and visitation rights with potentially unanticipated, very negative consequences. Floridians know the laws and their rights today - Amendment 2 is too big a risk for our future.”

Why They're Wrong, Part 12

Waymon Hudson brings us news of the latest ad from the pro-Amendment 2 crowd:



Their big push is:


...built on the lie that Amendment 2 does "only one thing - defining marriage as a union of a man and a woman" and "no one loses benefits."


But what about the actual wording of the Amendment, that says:


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.


This ad ignores they key part of the Amendment, the "substantial equivalent" language, which clearly goes beyond marriage (hence the word "or" before it) and we all know that similar laws in other states have denied and taken away rights. Amendment 2 supporters won't come out and say this because they know they'll lose if they do, so they lie. Shameful.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fourteen Major Florida Dailies Recommend Voting "No"


Amendment 2, the so-called Marriage Protection Amendment, needs to garner 60 percent of the vote to pass but the more significant point spread deciding its fate may be 14 to 0. That's the current count of major Florida newspapers recommending readers vote "no" on the amendment versus newspaper editorials urging its adoption.

This past weekend the Miami Herald and the Sarasota Herald Tribune joined the Daytona Beach News-Journal, Florida Times-Union, Florida Today, Northwest Florida Daily News, Ocala Star Banner, Orlando Sentinel, Palm Beach Post, St. Petersburg Times, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, South Florida News-Press, Tallahassee Democrat and Tampa Tribune in opposition.

In its recommendation, the Miami Herald noted, "The amendment threatens the property rights of elderly people who live together for convenience, economics and safety… The amendment doesn't protect marriage and threatens many lifestyle choices."

On its opinion pages, the Sarasota Herald Tribune urged readers to vote no arguing “…Amendment 2 would be a monument to exclusion and a barrier to tolerance."

"This amendment will undermine the ability of people in Florida to protect themselves."


Financial expert Suze Orman, named by Time magazine earlier this year as one of The World's 100 Most Influential People, is urging Florida voters to vote no on Amendment 2, the so-called Marriage Protection Amendment.

The CNBC financial advice show host and New York Times mega bestselling author of such books as Women & Money points to the dangerous consequences passage of the amendment could have on women's rights and financial security.

"My life's work has been to help people, particularly women, take responsibility for their own financial security," Orman said. "This amendment will undermine the ability of people in Florida to protect themselves."

Written in vague and undefined language, Amendment 2 could have dramatic consequences for Florida’s committed adults who form domestic partnerships, including unmarried seniors, eliminating their ability to share important health care and pension benefits.

Noting the possible consequences of the amendment's passage on seniors, Orman said, "Many seniors choose not to marry again to keep financial benefits such as pensions from earlier marriages. Passage of Amendment 2 could threaten these essential resources that help them stay out of poverty."

A two-time Emmy Award winning television host, Orman is a certified financial planner™ professional who directed the Suze Orman Financial Group from 1987-1997, served as Vice President of Investments for Prudential Bache Securities from 1983-87, and from 1980-83 was an Account Executive at Merrill Lynch.

"We thank Suze Orman for adding her voice to that of Florida CFO Alex Sink and other financial leaders who recognize the negative financial impact the amendment could have on this state and its citizens,” said Michael Kenny, deputy campaign manager of Florida Red & Blue, the bi-partisan, statewide organization running the SayNo2 campaign opposing Amendment 2.

Michael Schiavo On Amendment 2

We all remember the Terri Schiavo case, where Republicans in Florida and Congress proved they care nothing about family values, the sanctity of marriage, the rule of law or the right to privacy. Many of the same people are promoting the so-called "marriage protection" amendment in Florida. Terri's husband rightfully takes aim at the hypocrisy:



Visit Progress Florida and sign the pledge to vote against Amendment 2.

Monday, October 13, 2008

From the Blogs

Pensito Review: Florida’s Marriage Protection Amendment: Why Invite the Government Into Private Matters?

BlueHerald 2.0: Say No to Florida’s Amendment 2

Ybor City Stogie: Say No 2 Florida's Amendment 2

Incertus (Brian): Speaking of Amendment 2

Deep Something: Courage In The Face of Hate

Pensito Review (Trish): Sykes: Don’t Blame Gays for Your Marriage Being Effed Up

Incertus (Brian): Mike Mayo on same-sex marriage

Pam's House Blend: FL: Orlando Magic's owner gives $100K in support of marriage amendment

Andrew Sullivan: Sex Advice And Marriage Equality

Queerty: Floridian Activists Release "No On 2" Commercial

Joe.My.God.: Say No 2 Hate In Florida

Towelroad: Towleroad Guide to the Tube #371

PageOneQ: Florida's No On 2 campaign releases new commercial

Nightlifegay: Vote No On Amendment 2

Penguins Judge: What does amendment 2 say?

St. Pete Council Afraid to Take A Stand

You can do better than this:


Former City Council member John "Jay" Lasita asked the council to adopt a resolution Thursday against Amendment 2, the so-called gay marriage ban before voters this November.

It didn't go over very well. Not one council member supported putting the resolution to a vote.

Council members, even those who oppose the measure, said voters could take the resolution the wrong way.


If you are bigots, come out and admit it. If not, stand up and do the right thing.

Connecticut Does the Right Thing

Bark Bark Woof Woof:


Connecticut State Supreme Court Overturns Ban on Same-Sex Marriage...

This is great news. That makes three: Massachusetts, California, and now Connecticut.

Stand by for the usual howls from the Orcosphere about "activist judges" -- who were just doing their job -- and you can bet that this will be injected into the presidential campaign if it hasn't been already as I type this. And I have a feeling this ruling will be used on both sides of the campaign here in Florida on Amendment 2.

But the march to equality for all citizens goes on, and all the consternation and monkeyhouse from the homophobes only proves that we are on the way.

Doing the Right Thing


Cities of West Palm Beach and Lake Worth Commissions oppose Amendment 2, the so-called "Florida Marriage Protection Amendment."

Following the City of West Palm Beach Commission’s vote on October 6, Mayor Lois Frankel said, "West Palm Beach was the first city in Florida to provide domestic partner benefits for families of city employees. This policy has served our City well, without controversy or detriment. The passage of Amendment 2 would be a step backwards in the advancement of the health and security of Florida's citizens."

The Lake Worth City Commission also passed a resolution October 7 strongly opposing Amendment 2.

"Lake Worth provides health insurance for the domestic partners of city employees," said Lake Worth City Commissioner Dave Vespo. "Unless Florida voters defeat Amendment 2, health insurance and other benefits could be taken away from the families of our employees."

Both resolutions were introduced at the request of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council.

"It is not just public employees who will be hurt if Amendment 2 is not defeated," said Palm Beach County Human Rights Council President Rand Hoch. "Amendment 2 may needlessly place our seniors at risk as well."

Tony Perkins Rears His Ugly Head



Among the other lies in the video, Perkins says: “Amendment 2 does one thing and one thing alone. It defines marriage as a union of one man and one woman.”

The Florida legislature says otherwise: "(The Amendment) adds a new prohibition for unions that are ‘the substantial equivalent' of marriage. The amendment provides no definition for the phrase ‘substantial equivalent thereof,' which lends to the ambiguity of the wording of the proposed amendment."

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Do the Rights Thing

Fight Amendment 2:

Thursday, October 9, 2008

First Ad Up from Say No 2

154 Lawyers Oppose Amendment 2


Fellow Floridians:

We, the undersigned Florida attorneys, sign this letter to publicly share our concerns about the vague language and potentially damaging consequences of the proposed Constitutional Amendment 2 and urge our fellow Floridians to join us in opposing its inclusion in the Florida Constitution. Amendment 2 is called the “Florida Marriage Protection Amendment” and is often referred to by the media as a “gay marriage ban.” The proposed amendment is:

"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."

Florida Law Already Prohibits Same-Sex Marriage

References to ‘marriage protection’ or ‘gay marriage bans’ are misleading as four existing Florida statues [FS 741.212 (1), 741.212 (2), 741.212 (3) and 741.04] already define marriage as the union of a man and a woman or otherwise prohibit the creation or recognition of ‘same-sex marriages.’ The legality or recognition of ‘same-sex’ unions in Florida will be no more or less illegal in Florida regardless of the outcome of the proposed amendment.

Ambiguity in Amendment Language Will Likely Result in Unanticipated and Serious Economic and Legal Repercussions

Our chief concern is the section of the proposed amendment which states: “…no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized.”

We agree with the 2006 report of the Florida Legislative Office of Economic and Demographic Research (EDR) which concluded: “The amendment provides no definition for the phrase ‘substantial equivalent thereof,' which lends to the ambiguity of the wording of the proposed amendment.”

Adding such vague, untested and undefined language is likely to deliver unanticipated repercussions and could substantially alter our state both economically and legally. Quoting the EDR report on Amendment 2 again, it warns, "Depending on actions taken by the Legislature, the courts, and Florida businesses, financial obligations between individuals are expected to change in complex ways…”

Potential Loss of Existing Legal Protections and Benefits for All Floridians.

* Alimony: In 2005, the State Legislature adopted new law designed to prevent a loophole where a former spouse receiving permanent alimony opts to cohabitate with a new partner rather than remarrying and continues to receive permanent alimony. Under this relatively new divorce law, a former spouse’s alimony obligation may terminate if the recipient spouse enters into a “supportive relationship” with another person. Florida case law defines a supportive relationship as one that provides “support equivalent to marriage”. Clearly, “support equivalent to marriage” is dangerously similar to “substantial equivalent to marriage”. The portion of Florida Statute 61.14 recognizing a relationship providing “support equivalent to marriage” could be held unconstitutional under Amendment 2. As a result, every former spouse who is either Court Ordered or who signed an agreement to pay permanent alimony could be required to continue paying alimony despite the fact that the receiving spouse has found a new partner. At the very least, these individuals will face a costly Court battle trying to uphold their agreements and to terminate their alimony obligations.

* Domestic Violence Protection: Other potential impacts include using Amendment 2 as a defense to domestic violence on an unmarried partner (a similar amendment was used as a domestic violence defense in Ohio). Quoting the EDR again, "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."

* Private Property Arrangements and Estate Planning: Without examining every potential consequence in great detail, it is possible that Amendment 2 could also have profound implications on the ability of citizens to share property or pass on assets, establish trusts or other legal arrangements or even remarry. Especially likely to be impacted by this outcome are Florida’s senior citizens and retirees who remain unmarried by choice and share pension benefits or other government benefits they have earned.

* Domestic Partnership Registries: This vague and broad language could also risk termination of the several established domestic partnership registries which are currently accessible to millions of Floridians. These registries allow unmarried Floridians to share benefits or other protections such as hospital visitation, burial rights and health care benefits. The non-partisan and independent EDR report again sites this concern in finding: “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."

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 to the undefined language in the proposal. Even if every warning and potential outcome proves unfounded, the years of uncertainty and sheer legal expenses would be costly and unnecessary. As attorneys, our legal education and experience make us hesitant to support the vague and untested language in Amendment 2. Adding such a provision to our Constitution is unwise, especially when adopting the amendment will not alter our state’s current laws banning ‘same-sex marriage.’

As Floridians, we are concerned by the range of impacts Amendment 2 could have on us and our neighbors. It’s simply not worth risk that Amendment 2 could take away existing legal protections and benefits from even a single Floridian.

Accordingly, we strongly oppose the adoption of Amendment 2 and ask our legal colleagues and all Florida voters to join us in speaking out and voting against this dangerous provision. With regards and thanks for your attention.

Ramon Abadin
Lawrence Abramson
David Ackley
W. Cleveland Acree, II
Angie Angelis
Mary Merrell Bailey
Greg Baldwin
Patricia Baloyra
Lori Barkus
Jeff Battista
David Jay Bernstein
Margaret Bettenhausen
Garry Bevel
Brian Bilzin
Michael Birnholz
Edward Blaisdell
Jonathan Blecher
Stacy Borisov
Susan Bozorgi
Rutledge Bradford
Mark Brandt
Nancy Brodzki
Kenneth Bryk
Jeffrey Buak
Peggy Smith Bush
O. Kim Byrd
Taysha Carmody
Jerry Chasen
Edward Conrad-Waggoner
Leslie Cooney
Eric Copeland
Penelope Crandall
Earl Crittenden
Chad Cronon
Thomas Cushman
Talbot D'Alemberte
David da Silva Cornell
Patrick Daugherty
Jacqueline Kelley Davis
Shelbi Day
Deirdre Dibiaggio
Roger Dodd
Karen M. Doering
Michael Dolce
Robert Dougherty
D. Michael Elkins
Sarah Engel
Michael Feiler
David Finkelstein, Attorney and CPA
Beth Fountain
Fredrick "Rick" Freedman
Rick Freedman
Ellen Freidin
Jaime Generazzo
Judd Goldberg
Michael Gongora
David Goroff
Mark Grant
Sandra Greenblatt
Ron Gunzburger
Robert Hasty
William Hill
Donald Hinkle
Mary Hoftiezer
Patrick Howell
Yosbel Ibarra
Harry Jacobs
Russell Jacobs
Kathryn Kasprzak
Ken Keechl
Kristyne Kennedy
Georg Ketelhohn
Robert Kohlman
Judith Koons
Joel Kopelman
Jeremy Korch
John Kozyak
Benedict P. Kuehne
Edward Lack
Stephan Lampasso
Shawn Libman
Peter Lichtman
Joanne Linley
Lisa London
John Lord, Jr.
Sheryl Lowenthal
Wallace Magathan
Chris Mancini
Shana Manuel
David Marko
Lee Marks
Yery Marrero
Michele Martin
Natalie Maxwell
Liz McCausland
Blaine McChesney
Nicole McLaren
Carrington Mead
Mary Meeks
Jeffrey Miller
Richard Milstein
Sa Mollica
Regine Monestime
Michael Morris
Gregg Morton
Anthony Niedwiecki
Anne O'Berry
Lynn Overmann
Patsy Palmer
Marshall Pasternack
Andrew Patten
Richard Pettigrew
Laura Pichardo
Lorene L. Clemans Powell
Sam Rabin
Brett Rahall
Oliver Ramos
Patricia Rathburn
Mycki Ratzan
Gary Resnick
Philip Richardson
Miriam Richter
Joel Robrish
Robert Rossano
John Ruffier
John Ruffier
Mauro Santos
David Schauer
Scott Schlegel
Warren S. Schwartz
Mark Scott
Joseph Seagle
Larry Smith
Scott Sokol
Neal Sonnett
Kelly Spegon
Robert Spohrer
Helen Spohrer
Carey Stiss
Kimarie Stratos
John Sumberg
Matthew Tabakman
Jeremy Thompson
Jonas Urba
Matthew Walker
Philip Wallace
Peter Wallace
Roberta Watson
James Weinkle
Patricia Welles
Crystal Whitescarver
Mitchell Widom
Marva Wiley
Camille Worsnop

“Voter’s Speak Out” Tour Schedule

Hit one of these local events to learn what you can do to help fight with Amendment 2:


Tallahassee
Thursday, October 9 at 11 a.m.
Florida Press Center
336 E. College Ave.
Tallahassee, FL 32301

Jacksonville
Monday, October 13 at 10:30 a.m.
Florida Coastal School of Law - Atrium
877 Baypine Rd.
Jacksonville, FL 32256

Gainesville
Monday, October 13 at 2:00 p.m.
Santa Fe College
Center for Innovation and Economic Development
530 University Ave.
Gainesville, FL 32601

Orlando
Tuesday, October 14 at 10:45 a.m.
Marks Street Senior Recreation Complex (Maple Room)
99 East Marks St.

Tampa/St. Petersburg
Wednesday, October 15 at 11 a.m.
Sunshine Senior Center
330 5th St N.
St. Petersburg, FL 33701

Naples/Ft. Myers
Thursday, October 16
TBA

West Palm Beach
Monday, October 20 at 1 p.m.
Palm Beach Community College
Duncan Theatre Stage West
4200 Congress Ave.
Lake Worth, FL 33461

Miami
Tuesday, October 21
TBA

Recent Updates

From Florida Red & Blue:


The Mayor and City Commission of West Palm Beach voted unanimously on Oct. 6. West Palm Beach was the first city in Florida to provide domestic partner benefits for families of city employees.

City of Miami Commission voted on September 11, three weeks after Miami-Dade County officially opened Florida’s largest registry for domestic partners.

The Broward County School Board voted on September 9, in a resolution that noted “the loss of domestic partner benefits could cause great harm to the education of the children of Broward County, as many BCSB employees would be forced to leave Florida and seek employment providing said benefits.”

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, the state's largest health insurer, opposes Amendment 2 predicting a major impact on its ability to provide benefits.

The Hispanic community is making its voice heard and prominent leaders who have declared their opposition to the Amendment include: City of Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors; Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a senior member of the Florida Congressional Delegation; Luis Garcia, Jr., member of the Florida House of Representatives; and Miami-Dade Commissioners Bruno Barreiro and Carlos Gimenez.

Live Amendment 2 Town Hall This Tuesday

Location: Your living room. Seriously. check out the details here. Sponsored by ACLU and hosted by Derek Newton of Florida Red and Blue.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Wisdom from the Other Side

From comments at the News Herald:


However, I do feel that homosexuality is not natural, and part of being human, like all species, is to procreate, thus carrying on our existence. Still, I feel that enough humans will follow their natural, primitive instinct, and indulge in normal sexual relations, such that we should not be threatened by self genocide, or a STD epidemic.

...

Passage of this law enforces the Utilitarianism philosophy of "the greatest good for the greatest amount of people." Can any society survive while penalizing the majority of it's citizens for the benefit of a small minority?

...

While I agree homosexuals can raise heterosexual children, their view of the world is twisted. The have social adjustment problems that can't be fixed. Heterosexual children will socially reject them due to their homelife in many cases.

...


It is bad enough that homosexuals have taken over the entertainment industry and every day we are subjected to programs that promote homosexuality as a perfectly normal, moral way to live.

...


Marriage is not a civil law. It is religious law. Government records marriage. It did not nor can it ever redefine it. It is an absolute violation of the Constitution. The Bible is the ultimate authority on marriage and it is very clear where homosexuals stand on the issue.

...

In voting yes on Ammendment 2, you are ensuring the moral values of America have a chance of survival.

...

We are going to protect our children from the influence of homosexuality being presented as a perfectly legitimate normal lifestyle. Years and years of research on this issue have shown that it is a life choice made early in life.

Voices: Clay Harris

Hard to argue with this:


Beware, as well, unintended consequences. If Amendment 2 had the effect of forbidding employers from voluntarily extending rights to unmarried couples, as it well could be, that will only mean that jobs that could have come to Florida will go to other jurisdictions that do not discriminate. It's a competitive world.

And I suspect that it will take only one tragic story of a visiting couple who are legally hitched somewhere else - Canada, say, or several U.S. states and many European countries - being refused hospital visiting rights as a matter of law to deal a huge blow to the tourism industry. But it will be in the constitution by then and the damage will be difficult to undo.

Doing the Right Thing

UCF student senate opposes Amendment 2.

Voices: Naples News

Great argument:


The heaviest coconut we can find goes to Florida officials who wrote the titles and summaries of the constitutional amendments on the Nov. 4 ballot.

...

Then we go back and look, and see that those readers are absolutely correct. “Florida Marriage Protection Amendment”? Please.

And then we wonder why anyone can be so cynical about government — even the voting process.

Voices: Charles W. Smith, Bonifay

From the News-Herald:


There is no way any other person's sexual orientation can affect my marriage and I cannot perceive how it could affect any other person's marriage. "Marriage" is a relatively weak institution and what one makes of it has become the private, personal business of every couple, not subjected to any outside "influence" or scrutiny.

"Marriage protection" is just being used as a smoke screen for legalizing the perpetual mindless persecution of individuals because of their personal, private business - their sexual orientation. The freedom of all of us will never be secure so long as the freedom of any of us is being violated by mindless bigotry and prejudice. I consider my freedom to pre-empt the mindless bigotry of those promoting this persecution.

Awesome New Website

Florida Clergy for Fairness, a group of religious leaders opposing Amendment 2, with organizational statements and sample sermons. Excellent!

More Opponents of Amendment 2

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida:


Amendment is, "going to have a major impact on our ability to provide benefits for domestic partners, and we're opposed to anything that gets in the way of providing benefits"

Most Florida insurers and public employers — including Humana, United Health Care and the University of Florida — said they're unsure of Amendment 2's affect or believe a court will ultimately decide.

But the head of the state's largest health insurer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, was pretty blunt in her assessment.

"It's going to have a major impact on our ability to provide benefits for domestic partners, and we're opposed to anything that gets in the way of providing benefits," said Randy Kammer, an attorney and vice president for regulatory affairs and public policy.


Bentley Lipscomb, Florida's First Secretary of Department of Elder Affairs:


The ramifications of this misdirected amendment could hit seniors particularly hard. Many seniors who are widowed do not remarry because, if they do, they risk losing essential pension benefits or they fear that a new marriage might upset estate plans for their adult children.

This amendment threatens to strip away essential health and family protections unmarried seniors count on to care for themselves and their loved ones.


Tallahassee Democrat:


This is the only amendment initiated by a citizens' group, Florida4Marriage.org, and it would ban gay marriage and all civil unions. It also puts at risk health insurance and other benefits extended to domestic partnerships that are publicly recognized as the "substantial equivalent" of marriage regardless of the age, gender or sexual orientation of the parties…. We urge you to vote No on Amendment 2.

The Real Impact of Florida's Amendment 2

Anthony Niedwicki is beginning a new series on Amendment 2 over at Bilerico Project Florida. Check it out:


Over the next few weeks before the election, I plan to do a series of posts analyzing the potential legal meaning and impact of the language "substantial equivalent" to marriage. I will detail how similar language in other state marriage amendments has been treated legally and politically to show if and how the lessons from these other states will apply to Amendment 2.


There's more, you should read it now.

Ray Seaman Speaks on Amendment 2

From Denver, the Progress Florida activist fights Amendment 2 at the DNC (video from Campus Voice):

Sunday, October 5, 2008

What Now?

Tomorrow is the last day to register new voters for this year's election. Now that everyone is done with that, what should we be focusing on next?

Amendment 2. This is really one of the most important potential new laws we've faced in a while, both in the symbolic negative effects of enshrining hatred in the Constitution and in the literal negative effects of taking rights away from Floridians both gay and straight.

Not only that, this is something we can have an affect on and this is one we can win. Recent polls have the Amendment in the 57%+ range, which would mean it would fail, but the numbers have been steadily rising. That means it's going to be a matter of people like you and me getting the word out to as many people as possible that this Amendment is wrong and it is bad for Florida.

What are you going to do about it?

Friday, October 3, 2008

More Wisdom From the Other Side

From the Tampa Tribune:


The primary backer of the amendment, Orlando lawyer John Stemberger, discounted these arguments, calling them "a bunch of baloney."

The Florida Supreme Court has ruled that Amendment 2 concerns the "single subject" of marriage, he said. "It will not affect domestic partnerships. ... That is a fraudulent and dishonest argument."


This is a misuse of both the law and of the word "fraudulent." Stemberger must be a great lawyer. I can picture it now...

John Stemberger, Esquire, giving his opening argument in defense of a man accused of murder: "The prosecution's case is a bunch of baloney. The defense rests."

The Jury: "Fire up Old Sparky!"

Fin.

And there's that part of the Amendment that says:


no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized.


The "substantial equivalent" language would clearly include domestic partnerships, which are designed to be a substantial equivalent of marriage.

Wisdom from the Other Side

Reader comments at TBO on Amendment 2:


If God wanted same-sex couples to be "married," he would have made them able to co-create. Gay is just wrong, morally and ethically.


I don't think this is an appropriate use of quote marks or the word "ethically" (That was an appropriate use of quote marks). And I think this guy co-created the word "co-create."


Just say "No" to fizzags.


Amendment 2 supporters, these are the people that agree with you...

Buddy Dyer and Orlando Doing the Right Thing

Offering benefits to same-sex city employees. Good job.

Why They're Wrong, Part 11

When you can win on the facts, go with logical fallacies, like the slippery slope:


The Boston Globe recently reported that “a number of scholars are seeking to shore up friendship in a surprising way: by granting it legal recognition.” The article posits a couple of different ways this could be done. One is “on a case-by-case basis—eligibility to take time off to care for a sick friend under an equivalent of the Family and Medical Leave Act, for example.”

Yet another might be “an official legal arrangement between two friends, designating a bundle of mutual rights and privileges.” The article points out that such arrangements are already permitted in Hawaii. In any case, the idea would be that friends could get the kind of rights and benefits traditionally granted to married couples.


So far, so good. Just a statement of the facts in the situation. It's all downhill from this point:


This was bound to happen. You see, the relentless push for benefits for same-sex partners has eroded the status of marriage in our society. Instead of being honored as the bedrock of healthy families and civilization, marriage has come to be seen as just one more relationship, no different than any other, with no particular benefits, and no more deserving of privileges than any other.


Problems in this paragraph: "bound to happen" (slippery slope), "the relentless push" (lack of attribution, false info), "eroded the status of marriage" (slippery slope, false info), "bedrock of healthy families and civilizations" (false hyperbole), everything after "marriage has come..." (false info, slippery slope). Marriage is fine. Name me one point in history when more people were married than right now. Name me one bill proposed by any legislator that would end marriage. Name me one straight person who was turned gay because a gay couple got married. I'll wait.


So if a same-sex couple can have benefits, why can’t two friends? Why couldn’t a whole group of friends?


Good questions. Why not? If you can't figure out the answer to this one, don't worry, he doesn't give it to you. You're on your own.


Already this line of thinking has created some ludicrous situations. A couple of years ago, University of Florida employees wanting to qualify for domestic partner health benefits had to pledge that they were actually having sexual relations with their partner! The irony is hard to miss. The same people that have clamored for years for the authorities to stay out of their bedrooms; and they’re now creating situations where employers are forced to intrude.


Nonsense. No employer is ever forced to pry into their employees private lives, they chose to do that. Besides, the reason that UF did this was because of budget shortfalls, the type of thing that could be avoided if Republicans and gay-marriage opponents hadn't destroyed the economy and the budget. In fact, since all the research I've ever seen says the top reason for divorce is financial stress, then it's obvious who the real threat to marriage is -- economic conservatives.


The result would be not to make friendship stronger, but to continue to make marriage—and all of society—weaker. And, not to mention, government far larger than we could tolerate.


The "make marriage and society weaker" argument is a tired one used over and over without the slightest bit of logic to back it up, but the "larger government" argument is just plain out there. He's actually arguing that if gay people get benefits and friends can get benefits, that would necessarily lead to more government intrusion into people's lives and bigger and more expensive government. I can't real dissect that one any further because it's so ludicrous as to be mind-bogglingly scary that this man gets to write in a public forum.

What Is the NAACP Thinking?

Allowing a hate group to speak at their convention?

What's next, giving "Blacks for the Confederacy" a workshop?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Michael Craven Piles Up the Logical Fallacies

This article is full of them, but I'll just highlight a few:


Indeed, in Sweden the out-of-wedlock birthrate is 55 percent, Norway is 50 percent, Iceland is approaching 70 percent, and in Denmark 60 percent of firstborn children are born out of wedlock. So what? you ask. So cohabitation has replaced marriage, big deal; men and women are still having children, only without the formality of a marriage certificate. What’s the problem? According to Dr. Kurtz, studies in these countries demonstrate that these unmarried families break up at a rate two to three times that of married couples. This has only exacerbated the welfare state that is unparalleled in Scandinavia. Kurtz points out that “no western nation has a higher percentage of public employees, public expenditures, or higher tax rates than Sweden.”


Craven makes no case whatsoever about why any of these things is even remotely negative. There is no evidence that out-of-wedlock births have any significant negative effects on children. If handled correctly, there's no evidence that any long-term damage is done to children whose parents break up. There's also nothing inherently negative about public employees or public expenditures. And a higher tax rate itself is not particularly negative, especially if you have fewer costs to pay.


All of the Scandinavian countries mentioned embraced de facto same-sex marriage, beginning with Denmark in 1989. The out-of-wedlock birth rates mentioned experienced their most dramatic increases in the decade following the acceptance of SSM in these countries.


Confusion of correlation and causation. What other factors might have contributed to the rise in out-of-wedlock births. He makes a clear point to show that not that many gay people married. And it's unlikely that gay couples were having a whole heck of a lot of out-of-wedlock births. And he still shows no harm caused by an out-of-wedlock birth.


Kurtz concludes by saying, “This suggests that gay marriage is both an effect and a cause of the increasing separation between marriage and parenthood. As rising out-of-wedlock birthrates disassociate heterosexual marriage from parenting, gay marriage becomes conceivable” In essence, SSM is simply the extreme and final step in a culture’s descent from absolute monogamy.


What an incredibly extreme, hate-filled and illogical slippery slope that is. Because gay marriage has an effect (it doesn't say how big or small the effect is) on the separation between marriage and parenthood, culture has reach the bottom of a final descent from absolute monogamy? Complete and utter nonsense. There was never any country where absolute monogamy existed in the first place and the millions upon millions of people are still getting married, so obviously, we have reached the bottom of the slippery slope that doesn't exist.


While the sky may not have fallen, effects that have historically taken generations to produce have already begun to manifest within just twenty years of the acceptance of SSM in Scandinavia, the first nations to risk their future on this perilous social experiment.


Seriously, how insane do you have to be to actually argue that the countries of Scandinavia are going to be destroyed because a few thousand gay people got married?

Catholic Conference Lies About Marriage

"Marriage makes babies"


The conference’s statement spoke of the importance of marriage for society and said that, while “cultural differences have occurred” in marriage, “what has never changed is that marriage is the ideal relationship between a man and a woman for the purpose of procreation and the continuation of the human race.”


This isn't even remotely true. Historically, polygamy dominated much of the world. And it's certainly true that people that get married, but don't have kids, are still married by tradition and law.

The Real Point Behind Amendment 2...

...is clear in quotes like this from WorldNetDaily:


Florida's Amendment 2 stands out for banning both homosexual marriage and "civil unions".


It's not about marriage, it's about making sure that homosexuals are second-class citizens that have no rights and WorldNetDaily -- an extremely conservative site -- applauds Florida's Amendment for going farther than those in other states.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

From the Blogs

Perez Hilton: Floridians: Vote and Say No to 2!

Pushing Rope: Thought of the Day

Pensito Review: Anti-Gay Activists Outraising Marriage Supporters in California

Ybor City Stogie: Gay-Marriage Ban On Florida Ballot Generates National Attention

Pushing Rope: Orlando Sentinel Against Amendment 2

BlueHerald 2.0 (Question Girl): Florida’s Amendment 2

Pushing Rope: Say No 2 Video Contest

Incertus (Brian): Killing Amendment 2

United Against Amendment 2

City of Hollywood Mayor Peter Bober Says No To Amendment 2


City of Hollywood Mayor Peter Bober opposes Amendment 2. He joins more than 200 prominent leaders and organizations on Florida Red & Blue’s Advisory Board against the so-called “Florida Marriage Protection Amendment.”


Where do they stand

Monday, September 22, 2008

Citizen Interviews on Amendment 2

Tori:



Charles:



Carlin:



Kane:

Orlando Sentinel Opposes Amendment 2

Story here:


What it would do: Memorialize marriage as a "legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife . . ." But it also declares that "no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized."

Good idea or bad idea? Bad idea. This amendment does more than just target homosexual unions. It puts all manner of domestic partnerships at a possible disadvantage. For example, after a similar measure passed in Michigan in 2004, the state's Supreme Court ruled that public institutions could no longer offer health and other benefits to domestic partners of the same sex. Many institutions found a way around the ruling, but why put people in Florida at risk? Besides, state law already restricts marriage to a man and a woman, and Florida doesn't recognize gay unions performed in other states. This measure seems more like a cynical attempt to bring out the conservative base in a presidential election year.

Our recommendation: Vote No.


Good to see the Sentinel on the right side of an issue...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Say No 2 Campaign Launches Make Your Own Commercial Contest

From Bilerico Project Florida:


Florida's SayNo2 Campaign against the dangerous and deceptive Amendment 2 has just announced a contest to create your own commercial against Amendment 2! They will be picking the top user-generated commercials to blast out on all of their social networking sites like MySpace, Youtube, Facebook, and more! We will also be posting some of the videos here on Bileirco-Florida!

We all know that if passed, Amendment 2 would take away existing benefits from all unmarried Floridians. The amendment would hurt all Floridians by taking away important domestic partnership benefits (like hospital visitation, pensions, and insurance). This massive government intrusion also puts the government where it doesn't belong - regulating the personal relationships of Floridians.

That's why the campaign needs your help! They want you to create a short commercial saying why you will Say No 2 Amendment 2 in November. Visit their website at www.SayNo2.com to get information and see all the reasons why everyone should VOTE NO on Amendment 2! Contest details after the jump!
Apple iTunes

Here's what you need to know:

•The videos should be under 4 minutes in length

•It can be anything- a song about the consequences, your personal story about how this amendment would affect you, anything!

•Upload the videos to YouTube and send them the link at their MySpace account (http://www.myspace.com/flredandblue).

•Tell your friends and spread the word!

•The winners will get to see their videos on their sites, as well as receive a "SayNo2" Prize pack with t-shirts, buttons, and other campaign goodies!

So get creative and get involved! We need everyone to help out in the fight against this dangerous and deceptive amendment!

6 Reasons to Say No 2

Why You Should Oppose Amendment 2:


Taking Away Benefits
Amendment 2 could take away existing benefits from all unmarried Floridians

Hurting Seniors
Amendment 2 could force seniors to choose between important benefits like sharing health care and important government benefits.

"Gay Marriage" Bait & Switch
Amendment 2 claims to ban "gay marriage" but Florida already has multiple laws banning same-sex marriage

Massive Government Intrusion
Amendment 2 puts the government where it doesn't belong - regulating the personal relationships of Floridians

Hiring Expensive Lawyers
Amendment 2 could force unmarried Floridians to hire expensive private lawyers just to protect their basic legal rights

Dramatic Consequences
Amendment 2 could take away job benefits from university employees and be used as a defense to domestic violence - as in other states which passed similar amendments

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Younger Generation Gets It

From The Advocate:


Furthermore, more than two thirds of respondents under the age of 35 say that same-sex couples should receive the same recognition and benefits as heterosexual couples; less than 40% of those older than 35 agree with the younger age group.


Bigots beware, your numbers are shrinking and while you may delay progress, you can't stop it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

From the Blogs

Pushing Rope: Miami Mayor Manny Diaz Against Amendment 2

Bark Bark Woof Woof: Hardwired

Pushing Rope: LGBT Update

Monday, September 15, 2008

Daytona Beach News-Journal Opposes Amendment 2

From their editorial:


While Amendment 1 aims to fight bigotry, Amendment 2 -- placed on the ballot by citizen initiative -- would foster prejudice. Even worse, it's deceptively worded so as to hide its true scope. Voters should see through this cynical ruse to draw ultra-right voters to the polls in a high-stakes presidential election year.

The amendment bills itself as "marriage protection." Its supporters say it's meant to keep Florida from being forced into recognizing unions between same-sex partners. Malarkey -- state law already bans same-sex unions in four different statutes, using language that has withstood legal challenge in other states.

But the real problems with this amendment go further than supporters are willing to admit. Legal analysts say it could be used to block companies that provide benefits for unmarried partners -- regardless of whether such unions are homosexual or heterosexual. It would needlessly tangle "Golden Girl"-style arrangements that allow seniors to share living accommodations while preserving inheritance rights for their descendents, and could also complicate child-custody arrangements for thousands of unmarried parents in Florida.

This amendment is heartless and pointless. The main beneficiaries: Attorneys who would reap fees from the endless litigation this amendment could spawn.

· RECOMMENDATION: No on Amendment 2.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Democrats United Against Amendment 2

As well they should be...

Word for the Day: Fairness

Daily Challenge

Okay, let's get to work. With only a few more than 50 days left before the election, we have a lot of work to do. If you aren't sure what to do, here are some strong suggestions I have for you:

1. Fight Amendment 2. If you didn't know, we have a blog dedicated to fighting the false "marriage" protection push from the religious right, The Hate Amendment. Link to it. Read it. Do what you can to learn more about the amendment and spread the word. Learn more about the amendment in Tuesday's video edition of the Word of the Day.

2. Get people to sign petitions for FairDistrictsFlorida.org. This is one of the biggest fights we should be engaging in right now. We get overly focused on the elections in front of us, but we need to keep the big picture in front of us. If you haven't done so already, download and sign the petitions. Tell your friends. Link to FairDistrictsFlorida.org.

3. Help Doug Tudor and other candidates who are being undercut by Debbie Wasserman Shultz. Call her at 202-257-3422 and demand she explain her "Don’t pull that populist stuff with me" quote to Tudor and ask her why she isn't doing more to help Florida's progressive Democratic challengers. It's her job. Read more about it...

Learn more about all three of these stories in last week's video edition of The Countdown.

California CPA and APA on Gay Marriage

From the legal brief filed against California's gay marriage ban attempts:


In Re Marriage Cases concludes that the law restricting the use of the term "marriage" did indeed violate both (1) the state constitutional right to marry and (2) the state constitutional guarantee of equal protection of the laws. The court held that the constitutional right to marry, which has long been recognized by California court decisions, is not limited to opposite-sex couples, despite the long tradition of allowing only such couples to marry. Looking at the substantive grounds for protecting marriage because of its importance to society and the individual, the court concluded that those reasons apply with equal force to same-sex couples as to opposite-sex couples, and therefore the constitutional right to marry covers the former as well as the latter. The court also concluded that denying the label "marriage" to same-sex unions while extending that label to opposite-sex unions impairs the same-sex couples' fundamental right to marry, because it denigrates their unions as being of lesser value, despite the existence of the same substantive rights.

Turning to equal protection, the court found that limiting "marriage" to opposite-sex couples discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation. In an important ruling of first impression, the court found that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is subject to the high hurdle of "strict judicial scrutiny" under the California constitution, under which the state must establish that the discrimination is necessary to achieve a compelling governmental interest. The court found that this standard was not met. Of significance, it rejected the state's argument that preserving the traditional definition of marriage by excluding same-sex couples is a compelling state interest, particularly in light of the stigma and harm to same-sex couples and their families from this discrimination.


Sound logic and constitutional law here. Eventually, when our Supreme Court is run by people who actually care about the law and not partisan/ideological nonsense, they'll rule the same way.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Crist Ambivalent About Amendment 2

Governor Charlie Crist sounds a bit ambivalent about the Hate Amendment:


“I’ll support it, I’ll vote for it, move on,” the governor said of the Amendment 2 gay-marriage ban in an interview during a trip to tour flood-damaged areas in Central Florida. “It’s not top-tier for me, put it that way.”

When asked if he’ll spend time plugging Amendment 2, Crist said, “I don’t think so. I think I will campaign for candidates much more extensively — Sen. McCain.” The governor also reiterated his position of precluding the Republican Party of Florida from spending money to support the gay-marriage ban.

Common Sense Prevails (As Does the Constitution)

Florida just got a little bit better:


A Monroe Circuit Court judge has ruled Florida's 31-year-old gay adoption ban "unconstitutional" in an order that allows an openly gay Key West foster parent to adopt a teenage boy he has raised since 2001.

Declaring the adoption to be in the boy's "best interest," Circuit Judge David J. Audlin Jr. said the Florida law forbidding gay people from adopting children is contrary to the state Constitution because it singles out a group for punishment.


Hopefully, this will be upheld and Florida will leave Mississippi as the only state to still enshrine this particularly insidious form of hate in law.

Hatemonger Mat Staver freaked out as a response:


Mathew Staver, founder and chairman of the Orlando-based Liberty Counsel, a conservative advocacy group, called the ruling "absurd."

"State and federal courts have already addressed the constitutionality of Florida's law, and both have upheld it," Staver said. He said Audlin "has no authority to disobey state and federal court precedents."


Wait..I thought these people favored states' rights?

Broward School Board Does the Right Thing

Bark Bark Woof Woof:


Concerned that a ban on gay marriage would mean losing employees or getting slapped with lawsuits, the Broward School Board on Tuesday voted unanimously to oppose a proposed constitutional amendment.

''It's just the right thing to do,'' said board member Jennifer Gottlieb, who brought the issue to the board after learning of the potential fallout from a member of the school district's diversity committee.

Opponents of the proposed Marriage Protection Amendment say it could have wide-ranging effects such as preventing businesses from extending health benefits to those with unmarried partners.

''I don't know how [the Marriage Protection Amendment] is protecting marriage,'' board member Eleanor Sobel said.

''The language is very vague.''


Other local governments should do this as well.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Wildcard for 9/9

Today's Florida Progressive Radio show will be focused on what people can do between now and election day. One of the key topics will be Amendment 2. Listen live from 2:00-2:15.

Vote Early Against Amendment 2

It doesn't count, but this poll could help sway people's opinions so go vote!

Miami Mayor Manny Diaz Opposes Amendment 2

Good to hear:


Mayor Diaz announced his opposition to Amendment 2 today in a press release where he said, “Amendment 2 won’t protect anyone’s marriage or solve any problems at all,” Mayor Diaz said. “Even worse, the way it’s written, it could actually take away important benefits like health care from people who are not married.”


See the full list of opponents & supporters of Amendment 2

Word for the Day: Hate

Our regular new daily video diary takes on hate in politics and Amendment 2:

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Countdown for 9/5

The Countdown is back! And this time it's a video! Seriously! This is a development so big it requires at least four exclamation points! Today's topics include the DNCC, Amendment 2, redistricting, Sarah Palin and Charlie Crist, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Doug Tudor. Check it out!

The Countdown for 9/5

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Hiatus Over

Took a short break while attending the Democratic National Convention. Now that I'm back and rested, expect posting at this blog to really pick up between now and election day. If you'd like to help fight Amendment 2, send me an e-mail at quinnelk@hotmail.com

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Failure to Pass Amendment 2 = Armageddon

Seriously, this is what the religious right is saying gay marriage will lead to armageddon. (Never mind that gay marriage is already illegal in Florida). There's a lot of fun stuff in the e-mail they sent about the issue, but here are some highlights:


Over the next two days, I have much to share, but the basic message I need to convey this week is simple: The next 90 days will determine the future of marriage in our nation.

With now less than 90 days remaining before the November 4 elections, the future of marriage hangs in the balance, not only in California, but in the rest of the nation as well. "[T]he Armageddon of the culture war," is how Chuck Colson referred to the Prop 8 campaign in California. Or as Don Wildmon of the American Family Association explained, if we lose in California, "it will open the floodgates for same-sex marriage in all the other states."

...

The next 90 days will be pivotal in determining the future of marriage in the United States. With decisive victories in California, Florida and Arizona, we have the opportunity save marriage in those states and at the same time send a strong message to courts and politicians across the country.

Renneisen Says He Opposes Amendment 2

Despite signing petitions to get Amendment 2 on the ballot congressional candidate Paul Renneisen says he opposes Amendment 2:


"I did sign the petition to get it on the ballot so it can be voted down," Renneisen said. "I didn't sign a petition supporting the amendment at all. I signed a petition to put it on the ballot."

"There are a lot of [gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender] individuals who feel we have an opportunity in this year of change [to] defeat this," he said, adding that he would vote against the proposal to add the state's law banning same-sex marriage to the Florida Constitution.


I'm inclined to take Paul's word for this one, but the explanation sounds a little weak to me. It would be quite easy for someone to think that signing a petition on behalf of getting Amendment 2 on the ballot is an implicit support of the Amendment. And if it passes, which is in the realm of possibilities, then won't this signature (and those of his family) have helped make the new law reality?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

If Amendment 2 Passes

Here are some of the potential consequences:


Similar amendments in other states are being used to take away benefits from public employees (Kentucky, for instance), and dissolve domestic partnership registries used to provide health care benefits and pensions (in Michigan).

Broward and Palm Beach Counties and the cities of Tampa, Gainesville and Miami Beach, among others, offer Domestic Partnership Registries. Most Florida universities and more than half of Fortune 500 companies offer Domestic Partnership benefits. These benefits would be placed at risk, if not outright abolished, if this amendment passes.

Every unmarried Floridian will be impacted by this amendment - especially divorced or widowed seniors and public employees who, under existing programs, can share some benefits such as hospital visitation privileges and health care coverage without being married.

Interesting

Congressional Quarterly suggests that the Defense of Marriage Act may be repealed if Obama wins the election. Good. That unconstitutional abomination never should've passed in the first place.

Why They're Wrong, Part 10

And editorial in right-wing rag the Washington Times has this to say:


California did more than just legalize same-sex marriages in June. Its decision has the potential to threaten one of America's greatest freedoms - religious liberty - by ruling that sexual orientation is a matter of discrimination.


Bad grammar aside, the logic in this one is ridiculous. People like this seem to think that religious liberty applies only to their side. What about the liberty of religious people who support people of different sexual orientations? Besides, anything can be "a matter of discrimination." You could, if you chose to, discriminate against people named Bob. Or people with brown shoes. Or people who drink Vault (and seriously, you should discriminate against people who drink Vault). The point is that discrimination based on who a person is, and not based on their actions, is wrong and violates the entire purpose of a democratic country.

Martinez Opposes Amendment 2

Just had Mayor Raul Martinez, who is running against Lincoln Diaz-Balart in Congressional District 21, on Florida Progressive Radio. He said that he is going to vote "No" on Amendment 2.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Wasting Money

Think of all the good works that could be done with this kind of money?

Mercury News:


The fight over Proposition 8, the gay marriage ban, has drawn nearly $9 million in donations. Both sides predict they'll raise considerably more before voters go to the polls in the Nov. 4 general election.


At least another $3 million has been raised around Florida's Amendment 2. This one is even worse:

Pandagon:


AFA said it has put aside money over the years so it would have the funds to meet whatever need might arise. The $500,000 for ProtectMarriage.com came from those savings, it said.


The money going to fight these bans is legitimate, we can and should donate money to fight hatred and bigotry. But hundreds of millions of dollars has been raised and funneled to endorse hatred in the name of Jesus, something he certainly would've objected to. Go reread the words of Jesus. He never mentions anything about homosexuality. He does, however, talk about poverty a lot. How much of the poverty problem we face be fixed if this money were spent there instead?

Tax Exempt Status?

If churches are going to openly advocate for or against political ballot initiatives, aren't they violating the guidelines of their tax exempt status? Recent reports of the Mormons and Catholics coming out against gay marriage brings into question the legitimacy of them receiving tax benefits the rest of us can't get when we're actually following the law...

Monday, August 18, 2008

Rick Santorum Gets It Right For Once

From a fund-raising e-mail:


This is a ruling which, if left undisturbed, means that Protestants, Catholics, Jews and Muslims who see marriage as the union of husband and wife, and view sexual activity as best confined to marriage so defined, are in the exact position as racists under California law.


Exactly. People who hate others simply because of their sexuality are EXACTLY like people who hate others simply because of their race. There is no difference.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Republican Dirty Tricks

Why is it that it seems that everywhere that conservative Republican hatemongers pursue gay marriage bans, they resort to dirty tricks to get the job done? (Arizona is the latest). Is it because they know that they are simply promoting hate and that they don't really have any logic behind any of their arguments? We know that. Do they secretly know it, too?

(Update: Republican dirty tricks in California, too, as they try to lie to the public about their Amendment).

Mass Does the Right Thing

Governor Deval Patrick signed a repeal of a law preventing most same-sex couples from out of state from getting married in the state. This helps pave the way for a constitutional challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act on the constitutional grounds that it violates the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the Constitution.

From the Blogs

Equality Florida: Creepy Video from Amendment 2 Backers

Friday, August 8, 2008

Story of the Day

The most talked about story on the Florida blogs last week was the hate from Darryl Rouson. Here's what people said...

Equality Florida: Panelists Challenge Rouson

Change in Tallahassee: McKenzie-Rouson Race Getting Dirty

FLA Politics (FL55voter): Dem FL State Rep's Homophobic Comments on YouTube

Brevard Young Democratts Do the Right Thing

The Brevard Young Democrats oppose the Hate Amendment. Congratulations to them for publicly taking the correct stand.

Shame on Paul Renneisen

Congressional Candidate Paul Renneisen (and his family) signed petitions in support of Amendment 2. That is shameful, hateful conduct and he should be repudiated for it. No Democrat can support Amendment 2 and claim to be a Democrat, progressive, liberal or real American.

Equality Florida Endorsements

The following state and local candidates have been endorsed by Equality Florida because they meet the following:

*1. They must be Champions of LGBT equality
*2. They must be running strong in competitive races.
*3. In particular, we support qualified, openly LGBT candidates who can bring a vital perspective and much-needed voice to the political debates that impact our lives.

The endorsees are:

*Mark LaFontaine, State House, District 92
*Ken Gottlieb, State Senate, District 31
*Charles McKenzie, State House, District 55
*Kevin Beckner, Hillsborough County Commission, District 6
*Darden Rice, Pinellas County Commission At-Large, District 3
*Chris Smith, Senate, District 29
*Betty Reed, State House, District 59
*Kevin Rader, State House, District 78
*Kenneth Thurston, State House, District 94
*Evan Jenne, State House District 100
*Richard Steinberg, State House, District 106
*Robin Bartleman, Broward School Board, District 9
*Bryan Caletka, Broward County Commission, District 7
*Beverly Gallagher, Broward School Board, District 2
*Adriane Reesey, Broward Supervisor of Elections
*Richard Saltrick, Broward School Board, District 1
*Caroline Tesche, Circuit Court Judge, Hillsborough County, Group One
*Evelyn Langlieb Greer, Miami Dade School Board, District 9
*Martin Karp, Miami Dade School Board, District 3
*Susan Bucher, Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections
*Shelley Vana, Palm Beach County Commissioner, District 3
*Janet Clark, Pinellas County School Board at Large 1

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Crist Continues His Hateful Ways

Governor Charlie Crist continues his push for the VP spot:


Also on Monday, Crist said he supported Amendment Two which would constitutionally ban gay marriage in the state. Such unions are already illegal in Florida and Crist has previously shied away from the issue, saying he has a "live and let live" attitude.


Less "live and let live," more "live and let die."

I say John McCain should go ahead and pick Charlie. It guarantees McCain won't make it to the White House and it'll do serious damage to Crist's image as a "winner" going into the 2010 governor's race.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Even A Stopped Watch Is Right Twice A Day

Ileana gets one right. Here she is on the Hate Amendment:


“In Florida, the term marriage is already defined as a relationship between a man and a woman. Amendment 2 will involve the government in our personal lives by dissolving locally recognized domestic partnerships, endangering the legal rights of unmarried couples, and weakening business responsibilities such as healthcare and retirement benefits.”


Her reasoning is pretty lame, but at least she's on the right side of the issue.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Dan Gelber on Amendment 2

Gelber isn't a big fan of the Hate Amendment:


The amendment would do much more than prohibit gay marriages (which are already prohibited by law): it would also prohibit other legal unions that are the substantial equivalent of marriage.

It is also not clear whether this prohibition would apply only to gay couples or to others, such as two citizens living together to increase their social security benefit or to get health insurance. It would likely prohibit the business practice of allowing domestic partners (even heterosexual ones) to obtain benefits (health insurance for example), which happened in Michigan and Kentucky after similar amendments passed.

Given Florida’s health care and education crisis, and all the many challenges facing our state, I’m not quite sure why this topic is even on the ballot. To learn the many reasons why you should oppose this amendment visit www.SayNo2.com.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Another Problem With the Status Quo on Gay Marriage

Gay divorce may currently be impossible.

Why They're Wrong, Part 9

Another one on the "definition" front. This time a guy is trying to say that gay marriage proponents are trying to redefine the word family. He says that ALL dictionary definitions of the word family include "children" as a required part of being a family. Not according to the very link he provides tothe American Heritage Dictionary. Definition 1b is:


Two or more people who share goals and values, have long-term commitments to one another, and reside usually in the same dwelling place.


I don't see anything having to do with children in that definition, do you?

The title of his "article" is even worse: "Dehumanizing Marriage." He's actually explicitly saying that gay people aren't human. Once again, opposition to gay marriage has nothing to do with the smokescreen of legal or traditional arguments they put forth. It's all about hatred of gay people and using them as a scapegoat in order to drive conservative turnout.

Shouldn't More of Our Unions Be Doing This?

The California Labor Federation is opposing its state's version of Amendment 2 (Amendment 8). Shouldn't all of our labor organizations be doing this as well?


"I understand the power of the state labor federation," said Smith who once served as California's labor secretary. "I suspect this is the first time that any state federation has ever engaged in one of these battles."


Shouldn't Florida be the second?

Miami Beach Does the Right Thing

The Miami Beach City Commission did the right thing and voted unanimously to oppose Amendment 2. Why?


Miami Beach is one of a growing number of government entities to establish Domestic Partnership Registries which offer specific rights and benefits such as hospital visitation and emergency decision making to unmarried partners. Amendment 2 threatens these registries by prohibiting the state from recognizing anything that is "treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof."


Opposing Amendment 2 is something all the cool kids are doing (including the League of Women Voters, the NAACP, Florida's Professional Firefighters and the Florida Education Association). Shouldn't you be doing it, too?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Terrible Ad

I hope the Yes on 2 people keep doing ads like this one:



Why? Because it is pretty insulting. It specifically endorses religion in government and implies there is something wrong with you if you think otherwise. It explicitly endorses creationism. It also portrays marriage as only about children -- therefore women are only about bearing children. It insults single parents -- regardless of the reason why they are single. So, even if your spouse died, this ad still implies you can't be a good parent. This ad appeals to people who already hate gay people, but I doubt it convinces a single person to vote for Amendment 2. Too bad they didn't waste more money on it.