If you've been on Facebook in the past 24 hours, you've surely noticed the explosion of people using a red version of the Human Rights Campaign's logo to express their support for gay marriage as the U.S. Supreme Court hears two potentially landmark cases. That's very nice and all, but the Supreme Court is, by design, not particularly swayed by the public. And unless its ruling in the Prop 8 case is surprisingly wide (which very few watchers expect), the decisions will do nothing to immediately help gay couples in Florida.
However, their are currently bills in both the Florida State Senate and House that would create a statewide domestic partnership registry. Like every other year they've been introduced, they're likely to die a quiet death in committee.
In a less insanely partisan world the bills would pass easily.
According to a new poll, a whopping 75 percent of Florida voters support at least civil unions for gay couples, including a majority of Republicans. Though, PPP notes "when asked about the specific domestic partner bill that was recently introduced in the Florida legislature though 60 percent of voters said they had no opinion, with 23 percent supportive of and 17 percent opposed to it. Those numbers mostly reflect the average voter not paying much attention to the legislature."
Almost one-third of Floridians already live in municipalities that offer domestic partnerships, so it shouldn't be a stretch to extend those very basic protections statewide.
So let your state lawmakers know you are paying attention.
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You can find your state senator here. Just put in your Zip Code and their phone number and an email link should pop up immediately. Similarly, you can find your state Representative by putting in your address here.
As for the status of the specific bills, the Senate version is currently assigned to the Committee on Children, Families and Elder Affairs. The membership of that committee is here.