South Florida Says No to Marriage Equality on Ballot in 2014
Marriage equality won’t work as a vote - so South Florida figures it’ll just sue the bastards.
In a "Joint Statement on the Fight of Marriage in Florida," eleven prominent LGBT groups in South Florida disjointed themselves from a movement calling for marriage equality to land in voters’ hands this coming election season. The joint statement is in response to a new group, Equal Marriage Florida, that recently launched with the aim of putting marriage to a vote, either in 2014 or 2016.
Already the group has gathered more than 48,000 signatures. They need 68,000 to get the attorney general to review the language and approve an amendment for consideration. Then they need 680,000 to get that amendment on the ballot.
"It all depends on the variables that occur from state to state. You need 60 percent of voters to approve a constitutional amendment [in Florida]. We don’t feel we have enough time to change that many minds," Michael Bath, events director and spokesperson for National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, told SFGN.
"You’re talking about educating a lot of people in a very short amount of time - which costs a lot of money."
The Pride Center’s CEO Robert Boo said that fighting for equality through the courts has a track record of success, and has its own side effects.
"As we go along we can start changing the public opinion in the more conservative areas of the state. We need to gain some traction," Boo told SFGN. "We’re seeing that work in other states." "Realistically, do I think we’re going to win the whole state on a ballot? Absolutely not."
While the presidential election in 2016 might be better timing, Bath concluded, it doesn’t mean it’ll ever be good timing.
"We believe that the timing is premature, because the intensive work that would make victory possible has not been done and that a failed effort would set us back at a time of tremendous momentum," the statement reads. It was endorsed by:
• ACLU of Florida
• Aqua Foundation for Women
• LGBT Visitor Center
• Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce
• The Alliance for GLBTQ Youth
• National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
• Our Fund, Equality Florida
• Pride Center
• Safe Schools South Florida
• Pridelines Youth Services
• Greater Fort Lauderdale Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce
The statement declares that the groups would rather fight for equality through the courts.