December 14th, 2007 07:53 EST
Florida Marriage Protection Amendment
Marriage Leaders Blast Opponents for Deception and Scare Tactics
TALLAHASSEE, Fl., www.Florida4Marriage.org representatives in Tallahassee today announced that the Florida Marriage Protection Amendment has exceeded the number of verified petitions to qualify to be on the November 4, 2008 ballot.
"Today, the people of Florida have spoken. And they will speak again in November of 2008. Their message will be timeless and clear--Marriage is the union of one man and one woman," said Orlando Attorney John Stemberger, State Chairman of the Florida4Marriage.org Campaign. "This is the next critical milestone in the effort to protect the institution of marriage in Florida," he commented. "A super majority of Floridians believe, and the research clearly indicates, that children do best when raised by a mom and a dad."
On December 12, 2007, the Florida Division of Elections Website indicated that marriage amendment petitions had been verified throughout the 67 counties of Florida. This accomplishes the final legal requirement to place the marriage amendment on the 2008 ballot so Floridians can decide how marriage will be defined in their state.
Opponents of the Florida Marriage Protection Amendment have already begun to disseminate false and misleading information about the amendment. The primary group opposing the amendment is the so- called "Florida Red and Blue" committee. In a recent interview on Tampa's Fox 13 "Your Turn" show, Campaign Manager, Derrick Newton disingenuously stated with a straight face, "We do not have an opinion on gay marriage." Masked as a bi-partisan coalition, Red and Blue's board and donors are actually made up almost exclusively of democrats, left wing groups and gay rights activists. In contrast, according to our research, marriage amendment petitions were signed by a wide and diverse group of Floridians with approximately, 35.1% democrats, 49.2% republicans and 15.6% independents and other parties.
Amendment opponents are attempting to argue that the marriage amendment could take away benefits from senior citizens and other persons in Florida who might be registered with domestic partnerships. "All of these arguments are utter nonsense. Shame on them for such intellectual dishonesty," said Stemberger, who publicly blasted Red and Blue at the press conference. "They know from the 27 others states whose citizens passed marriage amendments, that if they debate homosexual marriage straight up, they will loose. Shame on them for such desperate tactics in trying to scare Florida's most vulnerable and precious citizens - our seniors."
The text of the amendment has been approved by the Florida Supreme Court and would constitutionally prohibit polygamy, group marriage and same sex marriages. The amendment clearly does not interfere with any of the existing domestic partnerships in Florida which grant only a small set of rights. Florida courts have already ruled on very similar issues. Arizona, the only state to loose a marriage amendment, did so because homosexual activists did not discuss gay marriage but switched the debate by scaring senior citizens into thinking the measure would strip them of benefits. Stemberger said, "Gay- rights advocates in Florida are now trying to use this same pathetic tactic here in Florida but it is not going to work. This time --we are ready for them."
Special thanks was given to the hundreds of thousands of volunteers, churches and pro-family groups which helped collect and process this historically unprecedented number of petitions. Supporters are encouraged to continue gathering signatures until the last week in January of 2008 because opponents have publicly announced challenging the amendment with a lawsuit if the number of petitions collected is merely close to the goal of 611,009 and does not exceed the number significantly.
Video clips from the above mentioned Tampa Fox News Show debating these issues can be found online here.
For more information contact: 407-251-1957 or go online for the lastest information at www.Florida4Marriage.org