Florida may vote to ban gay marriage

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A new opinon poll published yesterday indicates that voters in Florida may approve a change to the state constitution to ban marriage for same-sex couples.

The measure, Amendment 2, will be put before them on November 4th, the same day as the Presidential election.

The poll, published in the Orlando Sentinel, found that 56% of likely voters will vote to amend the state constitution to define marriage as “only one man and one woman.”

37% oppose it. The Amendment must receive 60% support to pass.

The 7% who said they were undecided will ultimately decide.

Brad Coker, polling director for Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, told the Sentinel:

“History suggests it will pass because undecided voters have tended to break in favour of gay-marriage bans in other states.”

625 registered voters were polled on Monday and Tuesday.

Florida4Marriage.org’s question on the 2008 ballot calls for an amendment to the state’s constitution regarding civil marriage:

“Inasmuch as marriage is the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife, no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognised.”

Opponents say similar amendments in other states are being used to take away benefits from public employees and dissolve domestic partnership registries used to provide health care benefits and pensions.

“Broward and Palm Beach Counties and the cities of Tampa, Gainesville and Miami Beach, among others, offer Domestic Partnership Registries. Most Florida universities and more than half of Fortune 500 companies offer Domestic Partnership benefits. These benefits would be placed at risk, if not outright abolished, if this amendment passes,” according to No2.com

“Every unmarried Floridian will be impacted by this amendment – especially divorced or widowed seniors and public employees who, under existing programmes, can share some benefits such as hospital visitation privileges and health care coverage without being married.”

A Florida state law already bars gay couples from marrying.

It makes clear that the only marriages the state will recognise are those between a man and woman, meaning that even if a gay couple marry legally in another state, it will not be valid in Florida.

Californians will also vote on a ballot measure to amend their state constitution and ban gay marriage. In May the state’s Supreme Court gave the green light for same-sex weddings.

At present only Massachusetts, California and Connecticut allow gay marriage.