The battle to protect traditional marriage continues. Today, I want to specifically target a state marriage initiative that needs the help of friends from across the nation. In a moment, I’ll tell readers how they can help, but first allow me to report what is going on.
An organization known as Florida4Marriage.org is the sponsor of the Florida Marriage Protection Amendment. It has filed a 45-page brief with the Florida Supreme Court in preparation for a voter initiative to be placed on that state’s 2006 ballot. Florida4Marriage.org is represented by Liberty Counsel president and general counsel, Mathew D. Staver, and Mary McAlister, litigation counsel.
The amendment states: “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.”
Since our nation has no federal marriage amendment, states continue to wrestle with this issue through ballot measures. To date, not one state has voted in favor of granting marriage rights to homosexuals. Last November, voters in 11 states unanimously (and overwhelmingly) turned away efforts to authorize same-sex marriage. But the effort continues.
Mat Staver says that in Florida, prior to being placed on the ballot, amendments to the state constitution must be reviewed by the Florida Supreme Court to ensure that they address a single subject and that the title and summary are clear and unambiguous. The Court cannot address the substance of the language.
However, several organizations – including the American Civil Liberties Union, National Center for Lesbian Rights, Equality Florida and the AFL-CIO – have joined together in a brief to oppose the amendment by seeking to “inject unfounded fear designed to mislead the public,” Mr. Staver says.
“They erroneously argue that the amendment will strip unmarried same-sex couples of all legal protections,” he said, noting that similar false allegations (“scare tactic arguments”) have been rejected by courts in Louisiana, Kentucky and Massachusetts.
Mr. Staver stated, “The Florida Marriage Protection Amendment will enshrine in the state constitution what has been true since Florida was a territory – marriage is the union of one man and one woman. Same-sex marriage advocates know that when the people have the opportunity to vote, they overwhelmingly uphold marriage between one man and one woman. Their only hope is to misrepresent the facts and derail the amendment.”
In essence, the ACLU and the other groups want to take away the people’s right to vote.
Thankfully, the folks at Florida4Marriage.org and the Florida-based Liberty Counsel are upholding traditional marriage.
The organization states: “We wish to see marriage established as it was intended by nature, biology, tradition and just common sense – between one man and one woman. Gay-identified persons should have all the same rights as everyone else in a free society. However, no one has the right to redefine natural marriage and then force that definition upon the rest of society.”
The organization needs our help getting the Florida Marriage Protection Amendment on the ballot. This amendment can be downloaded at www.Florida4Marriage.org.
This Sunday, Sept. 25, Florida churches of all denominations will be participating in Marriage Protection Sunday, collecting signatures of people wishing to sign the marriage petition.
I am urging everyone reading this column to forward it to friends or loved ones (registered voters) in Florida who will sign their name on this petition. Mat Staver tells me that they need to get 611,000 signatures, but they are shooting for 800,000 (anticipating that some people will sign who are not registered voters and some duplicates will occur). They have now collected 100,000 signatures, so they are hoping to get momentum going very quickly.
I am also urging all of my pastor friends in Florida to participate in the Marriage Protection Sunday – this Sunday! More information can be obtained at www.Florida4Marriage.org (and many copies of the petition can be run off there).
This is a battle worth winning and we must band together to protect traditional marriage.