ORLANDO -- A proposed amendment to the state constitution that would ban gay marriage will not be on the ballot in November. A coalition made up primarily of conservative religious organizations failed to obtain the necessary number of petitions by the 5 p.m. Wednesday deadline.
Coordinators of Florida4marriage.org staged a frantic effort in the past several weeks to obtain the required 611,009 petitions, but the final number tallied by the Florida Division of Elections on Wednesday evening was 455,730, well short of that.
The inability to gather the needed petitions means that Florida will not join the 11 states that passed similar amendments in 2004. However, the signatures collected are valid for four years, and organizers vowed to continue to collect petitions and put the amendment before Florida voters in 2008.
However, the language of the amendment must still be approved by the Florida Supreme Court, which has not yet ruled on it and may forego a ruling because it will not be on the ballot this fall.
The Rev. Jay Dennis, pastor of First Baptist Church at the Mall in Lakeland, began the effort in November 2004 when he introduced a resolution supporting a constitutional amendment at the annual meeting of the Florida Baptist Convention. On Tuesday, when it was apparent the initiative would not succeed this year, Dennis said that pastors should have provided stronger leadership.
"It's a credibility issue. If a pastor can't stand up and say marriage is between a man and a woman, he has no business in the ministry. Some pastors are afraid to take a stand," he said.
Not surprisingly, most of the funding came directly from the Florida Republican Party. Read the whole sickening report on the determined efforts by religious and political operatives -- whatever their reasons -- to deny others the basic rights they themselves take for granted:
I suggest the Rev. Dennis and likeminded holier-than-thou "Christians" spend more time studying the Sermon on the Mount, and less time fighting to impose their own questionable dogma on families who present no threat to them, their families, or their religious practices.
Does anyone, Christian or non-Christian, believe for a minute that Florida's anti-gay coalition -- "primarily of conservative religious organizations" -- has anything to do with the teachings of Christ?
Luke 10: 25-28 (KJV):
- And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, "Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"
- He said unto him, "What is written in the law? how readest thou?"
- And he answering said, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself."
- And he said unto him, "Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live."