Home > Politics > Why I Am Voting NO on Amendment 2 in Florida

Why I Am Voting NO on Amendment 2 in Florida

I’m about to cross a personal boundary here…

My intention for this blog was not to use it as a political sounding board, but rather to simply explore my perceptions of the world. However, as this heated election draws closer, I find that I can’t remain silent about my views. 

We attended a rally to oppose Amendment 2 here in Florida, which reads:

“Inasmuch as a marriage is the legal union of 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.” 

Ostensibly, this amendment is intended to provide protection for married people, but it is actually a brazen attempt on the part of the conservative Christian right to create a constitutional amendment to make sure that gay marriage never becomes an option. Who it ends up hurting most are the many senior citizens in Florida who have opted not to marry but rather enter into domestic partnerships for the sake of health care and medical decision-making, as well as ensuring that their life savings are protected. Many state employees including police officers, fire-fighters, and university employees are also affected. This is NOT a protection of marriage.

My old college roommate and I got into an email discussion yesterday, prompted by my sending her a note in support of Obama in response to finding out that she favored McCain. After many long messages back and forth, we came to the conclusion that we are really not so far apart in our thinking, and more than anything else, this is what Americans seem to be frustrated about.

This vast middle class, the majority of our country, is being asked to decide one way or the other as we are dragged farther and farther apart from each other. A discussion that used to be possible across the backyard fence has turned into a shouting match clear across the neighborhood. 

My old friend is a classic conservative, not an extreme one, but would probably fit perfectly through the cut-out at the polling station. She wants our country to look the way it did 50 years ago and on some level, I want that too. It seemed such a bucolic time, and for much of my own life, it was.

But today, the world is different. The past 8 years have been an attempt to convince Americans that we can still have that version of our country and we have discovered that we can’t. It simply doesn’t exist anymore. Perhaps we have given up too much control to the government, expecting it to fix whatever ails us. Our sense of involvement and personal responsibility has melted into a tepid pool of malaise and we find it increasingly easy to blame someone else for our troubles. 

I just walked the neighborhood with my dog, looking for anyone that I could engage in discussion about Amendment 2, since I had pledged at the rally to talk to at least 5 people before election day. I have far exceeded that number and have gotten a charge out of listening to people’s views and finding out how deceptive and divisive this amendment has been. It turns out that many people have been tricked by the amendment, which does absolutely nothing to further protect marriage, since it is already on the books that marriage in Florida is between a man and a woman.

That brings me to one more clarification in my thinking. To me, the original intent of “marriage” as it is defined Biblically, was to provide a stable and supportive atmosphere for the raising of children. Therefore, the stipulations against divorce and remarriage were added so that the covenant could not be taken lightly or unadvisedly. But many of the same people who oppose marriage for anyone other than a man and a woman are the the ones who have not taken their own marriages seriously. They have reaped the benefits after deciding that “I’ll give marriage a try but if it doesn’t work out I can always get divorced”. It seems to me that the people whom marriage really needs to be protected from are those who won’t stay through the hard times, even though they vowed to God that they would.

And what about married couples who do not have children and never intended to have any? If my previous statement applies, that marriage was intended for the raising of children, where do these folks fit in? Are they part of the statistic that says that married people live longer, healthier lives? If so, why is that, if children are not a variable in that equation?

What I understand to be true of relationships in general is that the world is more easily navigated when two people act in partnership with each other. The pressures of everyday life are eased knowing that there is someone to go home to who will share your stories of exasperation, of triumph, who might even give you a foot rub if you’re lucky. Some people function just fine on their own and many participate in the world in meaningful ways, but it strikes me that the implicit, unconditional support of another human being often brings out the best in people. 

Many of us who don’t fit the qualifications of traditional marriage are simply asking to be recognized for who we are in the life of another. We believe that we are strengthening marriage, not weakening it, by helping married people respect their commitment to each other, supporting them in the times that try all of us. We understand the value of commitment and are simply asking to be given the opportunity to prove it. 

So if you value families of all descriptions, when the time comes for this discussion in your state, please know that those of us seeking the dignity of legal recognition of our relationships are in support of marriage, not against it.

Categories: Politics
  1. Mama Nance
    October 28, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    Vote “YES” to more foot rubs! That’s the answer to keeping a good marriage good. Thank you Sweetie for all my foot rubs!!!! Lucky me!!

  2. October 28, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    Very well written! I’m with you 100%. Unfortunately, I can’t make a difference in Florida, but your FL laws recently hit close to home. My gay uncle died in FL, and his partner of 40 years couldn’t authorize any of the arrangements for his remains. It only made a difficult time for him even harder.

  3. October 28, 2008 at 8:07 pm

    And THAT is exactly what this is about…. Dignity and Respect for ALL Americans, just as our founding fathers planned it. They had no intention of quibbling over semantics but simply wanted us to be free from tyranny, especially the religious kind. Issues like this show us just how far we’ve slid backwards, but they also bring out the unspoken beliefs about what is right for all of us. Those of us who are most affected are often not heard and it takes an effort from others who believe in the dignity of all citizens to make a change. Thanks for your support….

  4. Cheryl
    October 29, 2008 at 11:44 pm

    I think there should be a legal term (civil union) and a religious term (marriage) for all couples. If you want to get “married,” find a church and get married. For the legal part of it, a civil union should be mandatory for all couples before the wedding. My husband & I were married in a cove on the Connecticut River by a Justice of the Peace. We tell people we have a civil union (just to try & be cool).

  5. October 30, 2008 at 1:10 am

    Not a bad thought. Even better, have an official “marriage” when it becomes clear that child rearing will be a part of the union. For those who don’t intend to raise children, the official definition of the relationship remains a civil union for legal purposes.

  1. November 3, 2008 at 6:48 pm

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