Super bitch Anita Bryant led a successful campaign in 1977 to overturn a Dade County ordinance that prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. In 1998 the ordinance was reinstated, and citizens voted to keep it in 2002. Anita and her views seem silly now. Since the gay rights movement of the '70s, America has generally become more accepting of homosexuals, or at the very least, in Sarah Palin's own words, "tolerant."
So, why in 2008 is Florida entertaining the idea of amending its constitution to ban gay marriage and any equivalent (aka civil unions)?
Recent polls show the proposed Florida Marriage Protection Amendment has the support of 55% of voters, only 5% from the 3/5 threshold it needs to reach to take effect. The Florida Red & Blue organizations has compelling reasons why the amendment is stupid, least of which is that we already have four different state laws banning gay marriage.
But let's be honest, much like the discrimination ordinance, even if this thing passes we're going to find ourselves amending the constitution again to undo it some time in the future. Conservatives want to pretend initiatives like this will turn the tide on gay tolerance, but the flood gates of fairness are open, and these hateful little attempts at dams won't hold up for long.
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Passing this bill would be a step backward. Other States are taking a step forward. In 10 to 15 years states other than Mass., Cali and Vermont will offer gay marriage and civil partnerships and we'll find ourselves scrambling to rewrite the constitution so we an important part of our population doesn;t leave for greener pastures.
Having an open, tolerant, diverse society is important to economic and cultural growth (and in Miami's case, they're increasingly intertwined). It was the gays, remember, who were credited with turning South Beach around. We don't want to find ourselves in a position where Florida is forced to overturn not just laws, but an amendment put into place through the lingering ignorance of an electorate a decade or so earlier. And if this passes, there's no doubt that's exactly what we'll be doing.