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

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.