Florida voters tonight made their state the 28th to install in its constitution a definition of marriage limited to one man and one woman, with Arizonans and Californians following suit.
In Florida, the Yes2Marriage.org organization stepped up to lead the battle to protect traditional marriage.
With most precincts reporting, the proposal won 62.1 percent of the vote, to 37.9 percent opposed, according to state officials.
In Arizona, the campaign by YesForMarriage.com revealed high support for traditional marriage in that state, also. Supporters of traditional marriage totaled 56 percent, while opponents of traditional marriage totaled 44 percent.
The California constitutional amendment supported by ProtectMarriage.com that defined marriage as one man and one woman won 51.9 percent to 48.1 percent.
The issue was addressed in a Knights of Columbus poll shortly before the election. The poll, surveying more than 1,700 Americans across the nation, found 70 percent said they would support a candidate who opposes same-sex marriage.
Only 30 percent polled supported legalized same-sex marriage, and nearly four in 10 opposed any legal recognition whatsoever of same-sex couples, including civil unions.
In Florida, supporters of traditional marriage fought off a last-minute attempt by an organization called Florida Red & Blue to challenge the vote in court. A judge rejected the case from the organization, which has been described as a front group for homosexual activists.
“From the beginning, advocates of same-sex marriage have tried to keep the people from voting on the marriage amendment,” supporters of traditional relationships said in a statement.
The ACLU filed suit in 2005 seeking to block the amendment, the supporters noted, and Mathew Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel and dean of Liberty University School of law, argue at the Florida Supreme Court, which ruled 7-0 in favor of the amendment.
Campaign spokesman John Stemberger said the campaign battled vandalism, stolen signs and even a police officer threatening to arrest petition signature collectors during the course of the campaign.
“I think this shows the vast majority of people in Florida support marriage as one man and one woman,” he said.
He said opponents focused on scare tactics in trying to persuade voters to allow a multitude of definitions for marriage
“If they tried to discuss the merits of whether gay marriage is in the best interest of children and family and the common good, they’ll lose. And they know that,” said Stemberger, president and general counsel of the Florida Family Policy Council. “They’re having to refocus the debate on some other scare tactic, like telling people they are going to lose their benefits.”
In Arizona, supporters emphasized the importance of having such a definition in the state constitution.
“There’s a big difference between a law (also known as a statute) and a constitutional amendment. A law or statute can be easily changed by politicians or activist judges; a constitutional amendment cannot,” said a statement by YesForMarriage.org. “Three courts – Massachusetts, California, and Connecticut – have overturned state marriage laws! This shows that marriage can be redefined by judges unless the people define marriage in the state constitution.”
The Arizona group said Proposition 102 “simply defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Everyone has the right to live as they choose, but no one has the right to redefine marriage for all of society.”
The California ballot measure gained impetus when the state Supreme Court ruled in May that state officials had to create “marriage” for homosexuals, even though one of the dissenting justices warned that the decision itself could be used later to justify polygamy and incest.
In Justice Marvin Baxter’s dissent to the majority opinion in California, he called the majority logic “legal jujitsu” that “oversteps judiciary power.” And he raised the specter of chaos soon to come.
“The bans on incestuous and polygamous marriages are ancient and deeprooted, and, as the majority suggests, they are supported by strong considerations of social policy,” he wrote. “Our society abhors such relationships, and the notion that our laws could not forever prohibit them seems preposterous. Yet here, the majority overturns, in abrupt fashion, an initiative statute confirming the equally deeprooted assumption that marriage is a union of partners of the opposite sex. The majority does so by relying on its own assessment of contemporary community values, and by inserting in our Constitution an expanded definition of the right to marry that contravenes express statutory law.
“Who can say that, in 10, 15 or 20 years, an activist court might not rely on the majority’s analysis to conclude, on the basis of a perceived evolution in community values, that the laws prohibiting polygamous and incestuous marriages were no longer constitutionally justified?” he wrote.
The California court ruling came by a single vote, 4-3, concluding excluding homosexuals from “the designation of marriage” is not necessary.
California voters, in 2000, adopted Proposition 22 by a significant margin, establishing in state law the definition of marriage being only between one man and one woman.
However, the high court simply ignored what the voters had determined because it could by the stroke of a pen overturn state law.
California Assemblyman Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, said, “With the passage of Proposition 22, the voters of California agreed that marriage is ‘between a man and a woman.’ PERIOD. The court’s decision … is further proof that some activist judges value their own beliefs over the will of the people.”
State officials later modified state-required forms for marriages, replacing the terms “Party A” and “Party B” with “bride” and “groom,” and even rejected the application of one couple that wrote in the traditional “bride” and “groom” terms.
“Many thought we couldn’t go any
lower,” said Brad Dacus of the Pacific Justice Institute, which is working on the case. “We discovered actually we can.”
In 2006, seven states saw voters reject the idea of “gay marriage” by implementing constitutional amendments that protect the biblical concept of holy matrimony.
“When you look at the country as a whole, it’s obvious where Americans stand on marriage. But the battle is not over. The opposition will continue to attempt to bypass the will of the people,” said Glen Lavy, senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, told WND at the time.
Voters in Colorado, Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin all adopted such amendments in 2006. Colorado voters went even one step further, emphatically rejecting a referendum that would have allowed the extension of benefits to “domestic partners,” a plan that would have created an “alternate marriage” plan for homosexuals.
That brought the total heading into today’s votes in the 2008 race to 27 states that have approved a constitutional amendment to protect traditional marriage.
During 2005, Texas and Kansas voters approved marriage protection amendments, and in the sweep of the 2004 vote, 13 states took the same action, including voters in Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Utah, Michigan, Ohio and Oregon who did so on the same night. Missouri and Nevada also voted for the plan. Five other states had done so in earlier elections and another two dozen states have taken the same action, but by statute, not constitutional amendment.