- Published on Sunday, 20 July 2008
- Written by ACLU Florida
November is fast approaching and Floridians are facing sweeping attacks on their civil liberties and human rights. We have never faced such a far-reaching collection of proposed constitutional amendments. One threatens to take away basic rights of both straight and gay unmarried couples (proposed Amendment #2) and two others (Amendments #7 & #9) would eliminate Florida's strong commitment to separation of church & state and religious freedom language, and require government funding of religious programs.
In the coming months you will hear more on these proposed constitutional amendments and how you can help defeat them.
Today we are taking a brief look at proposed Constitutional Amendment #2. The time for you to act is now!
This amendment, on which Governor Charlie Crist has been quoted saying "It's not an issue that moves me . . . I am more of a live and let live kind of guy," is one of utmost importance to all Floridians, whether straight or gay.
In July, you have an exclusive opportunity to get directly involved with the ACLU's work to protect the rights of all Floridians. We will be touring the state to provide speaker training on proposed Amendment 2, the so-called "marriage protection" amendment.
This far-reaching proposed amendment puts government where it does not belong -- in the role of regulating the personal relationships of adults. It would also change Florida's constitution, an action that should not be taken lightly and should be reserved only for improving governmental policies, something this amendment does not do.
The proposed amendment, dubbed the "marriage protection amendment" by its supporters, goes beyond the existing ban on gay marriage in Florida and threatens existing basic rights of unmarried heterosexual domestic partner couples, including seniors. Among the key rights that will be vulnerable are:
- Employee healthcare plans offered by public employers to domestic partners; and
- The authority of one domestic partner to make medical decisions for the other in the event of an emergency.
According to census figures, 89% of all registered domestic partners in Florida are heterosexual couples. Firefighters, teachers, librarians, bus drivers and other government employees will lose their right to health care for their domestic partners -- these are your neighbors and family members.
Many organizations and citizens' rights groups have united to oppose this amendment, and we need your help to spread the word in your community about the harmful effects (including the unintended consequences) this amendment would have, if passed.
Join us in July to learn more about the harmful effects of the proposed amendment and become an official ACLU speaker in our "Vote No on 2" campaign. Register for the training or to volunteer for the campaign by choosing the appropriate contact below.
- Naples -- July 19th from 2-4PM at Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Greater Naples, 6340 Napa Woods Way, Naples, FL.
- Pensacola -- July 21st from 5:30-7:30 PM at the Downtown Branch of the West Florida Regional Library, 200 W. Gregory Street, Pensacola, FL.
- Panama City -- July 20th from 1-3 PM at Gulf Coast Medical Center Training Classroom (located in the HR building behind the hospital), 449 W 23rd street, Panama City, FL.
Thank you for your continued support, and we hope to see you at one of the trainings!