September 26, 2005

Gay marriage ban: ballot bait in the sunshine state

The push for a gay marriage amendment in Florida strikes some as extraordinarily political because the state has banned gay marriages since the 1970s. Amendment supporters say it's necessary to enshrine the change in the state's constitution. "We do not want to wait until there is a fire before we install sprinklers," reads the Web site. "It is wisest to be pro-active and establish marriage as a matter of constitutional law before activist judges seek to strike (the state's gay marriage law) down."

If history in other states is an indicator, Catholic and evangelical churches backing the amendment will mobilize parishioners to vote. Generally supportive of Republican candidates, the increase in voters due to the gay marriage amendment could affect close elections for seats ranging from the governor's office to the U.S. Senate to local legislative races.

The group pushing the amendment, Florida Family Action, is led by John Stemberger, an Orlando lawyer. He said the group is not trying to influence other races.

But Stemberger authored one of last year's most strident political moves as a supporter of U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez.

During a bitter primary fight, Stemberger was behind a direct mail flyer carrying the approval of Martinez's campaign that called conservative candidate Bill McCollum a man who would "appease the radical homosexual agenda." The attack brought scorn from other Republicans, but Martinez defeated McCollum in the primary.

"This is our moment in history. This is like our civil rights movement," Stemberger said.
Ledger article: Gay marriage vote may shift election
See also: Crusaders to ban gay marriage give false testimony
Cartoon: Cartoon Work

No comments: