In Florida this election year, “Yes2Marriage,” a non-profit group, uses the same tactic of citing Bible verses in order to discriminate against homosexuals, as White supremacists argued for segregation.
The 14th Amendment in the U.S. Constitution states, “No state shall make or enforce any law,” that … “deprive of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”
The comment refers to the controversial Amendment 2, the “Marriage Protection Act,” which read, “In as much 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.”
The second part of the amendment has some lawmakers worried, “…no other legal union that is treated as marriage or…equivalent…shall be valid or recognized.”
Randy Kammer, an attorney and vice president for regulatory affairs and public policy for Blue Cross Blue Shield, told the St. Petersburg Times, “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.”
This statement affects heterosexual relationships as well who have not legally married.
On SayNo2.org, the Web site for Florida Red & Blue, a non-profit group out of North Miami, Fla. who opposed Amendment 2, found all unmarried Floridians who are seniors or young adults sharing benefits with another person will be impacted. The Web site states Domestic Partnership benefits are already offered at over 50 percent of Fortune 500 companies.
A Domestic Partnership Registry is a formal agreement that two individuals are in a committed relationship regardless of sex, and will receive economic benefits and certain rights.
The Florida Red & Blue Group said, “these benefits would be placed at risk, if not outright abolished, if this amendment passes.” Those against the amendment say under Florida law the rights to end-of-life decisions and simple hospital visitations will be un protected if it passes.
This could lead to challenges for domestic partnership benefits offered by local schools, governments and businesses. Employers would no longer have to recognize domestic partnership registries in their county. On the Florida Red & Blue Group’s web site SayNo2.com, 150 lawyers have signed a warning of the amendment’s legal ramifications on benefits.
Amendment 2 is more than just a “gay marriage ban,” all unmarried Floridians will be impacted by this amendment.
Even though amendment supporters insist it will only reaffirm the existing ban on same sex marriage, the amendment is deliberately vague, leading to many interpretations and potential negative consequences.
The League of Women Voters has also endorsed the SayNo2.com campaign. The LWV of Florida believed that all life partners should be able to advocate for their loved ones in “health care settings and participate in end-of-life decisions.” Voting “no” on Amendment 2 would move Florida forward with California, Massachusetts, and Connecticut instead of backwards on the last acceptable form of discrimination.
Floridians must decide whether to allow another form of injustice or to uphold the constitution by granting equal rights to all citizens.
Caryn Wilson is a sophomore newspaper journalism student from Charlotte, NC. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.