Target: President of the Florida Senate Don Gaetz
Goal: Propose to the Florida Legislature an amendment to the Florida Constitution defining marriage in a non-discriminatory fashion
Since 2008, the state Constitution of Florida has defined marriage as a contract between one man and one woman. This language is obviously discriminatory, and is the primary obstacle to same-sex couples having their marriages performed and recognized in Florida. Now is the time to capitalize off of the recent tidal wave of support for equal marriage rights and propose such an amendment to the voting populace of Florida.
Fortunately, all it takes to amend the Florida Constitution to use less discriminatory language (e.g. defining marriage as a contract between any two consenting adults) is a proposal by the Florida Legislature followed by a public vote in which 60 percent or more of voters approve the amendment. While this is the most efficient manner in which the Florida Constitution might be amended, it is also possible to propose an amendment via voter initiative (which is rarely successful) or by petitioning the Attorney General of Florida, who will head a Constitutional Revision Committee in 2017. Of course, there is nothing stopping supporters of equal marriage rights from doing all three.
In a recent poll by the appropriately named “Public Policy Polling” committee, only 23 percent of Florida voters were decidedly against gay marriage. This poll was conducted in March, before the Supreme Court’s historic decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act, and many expect that the number of supporters would be significantly higher if the poll was conducted today.
Now is a historic time for marriage equality in the United States. Same-sex marriage is receiving an unprecedented amount of support all across the nation. Demand that the Florida State Legislature take the preliminary steps in granting same-sex couples the same rights as others in Florida.
Dear President of Florida State Senate Don Gaetz,
Since 2008 the Florida state Constitution has defined marriage as a contract between one man and one woman. This language is clearly discriminatory, and should be amended to grant same-sex couples equal recognition. The State Legislature has the power to propose such an amendment, and doing so would be a historic step for equal marriage rights in both Florida and the rest of the United States.
As lawmakers, the members of the Florida Legislature are of course aware that marginalizing a group based on sexual orientation is both highly unethical and deeply antithetical to the founding principles of the United States. Now is the time to make up for years of repression and abuse by taking the first steps towards a brighter, more egalitarian future.
photo credit: Me via Wikimedia Commons