Polls: Vote Close for Traditional Marriage; Supporters Want Constitutional Strength Behind Marriage Law

By Pinkham, Paul | The Florida Times Union, October 13, 2008 | Go to article overview

Polls: Vote Close for Traditional Marriage; Supporters Want Constitutional Strength Behind Marriage Law


Pinkham, Paul, The Florida Times Union


Byline: PAUL PINKHAM

Florida law already recognizes marriage as joining only a man and a woman, but supporters say a marriage protection amendment to the state constitution is necessary to leave no room for judicial interpretation.

Opponents of Amendment 2 on the Nov. 4 ballot contend, however, that it would lead to a significant erosion in rights and benefits for millions of Floridians.

According to a Quinnipiac University poll last month, the Florida Marriage Protection Amendment is supported by most Floridians, but maybe not enough to meet the 60 percent threshold required to change the constitution. The poll, which had a 2.6 percent margin of error, found support for the amendment at 55 percent.

"The polls continue to tell us it's a very tight race," said Derek Newton, campaign manager of Florida Red and Blue, an organization formed to defeat the ballot initiative.

Mathew Staver, chairman of the Orlando-based Liberty Counsel and author of the amendment, said the initiative was prompted by legal challenges to Florida's existing "defense of marriage" law. Though those lawsuits failed, Staver said it was enough to convince supporters to try to make the law more airtight.

"All it takes is one judge to eliminate marriage with the stroke of a pen using a judicial activist approach to the constitution," Staver said. "Children do best when they're raised with a mom and a dad, and I think that it's fundamentally important to stabilize marriage."

The amendment defines marriage as the legal union of one man and one woman, and invalidates any other union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent. …

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