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 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 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



Legend Killer:


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 "" and the Arizona ad is paid for by 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 (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:

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 21

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,, 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!"


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?