Our friend Ned Flaherty has written a 7-part investigative series on what’s going on with marriage equality in Florida, and has graciously allowed us to repost it here. Below is part 6. You can find all 7 parts of the series at the New Civil Rights Movement.
Part 6 of 7: Promising the Impossible
Republican political operatives are about to give anti-LGBT hate groups just what they crave: a lopsided defeat for gay rights in the deepest South. NCRM’s 7-part investigative series reveals how progress toward marriage equality in other states is threatened by current events in Florida.
On 26 June 2013, an Equal Marriage Florida (EMFL) press release claimed that the constitutional amendment would “guarantee the freedom to marry.” Several weeks later, an EMFL Facebook video claimed that the amendment initiative is a “guaranteed freedom to marry.” The image above, taken from EMFL’s Facebook page, states the same.
Neither claim is true.
The proposed amendment guarantees nothing. It would repeal only the constitutional ban on same-gender civil marriage; the statutory ban would continue, because, in Florida, only lawmakers can repeal laws.
No Florida lawmaker dares to propose full marriage rights. Even Democratic lawmakers refuse to suggest anything beyond domestic partnership. After 18 straight years of GOP control, 63% of Florida’s lawmakers are Republicans who vow they’ll never repeal the current marriage ban, and whose party vows to ban equal marriage nationwide. So, even if EMFL collects one million signatures, and even if it spends six million dollars, and even if marriage appears on the ballot, and even if 60% of the voters pass it, the only result would be that lawmakers gain permission to do something which none of them want to do, and which the party to which 63% of them belong has vowed never to do.
Full marriage equality has been adopted in 18 states (CA, CT, DC, DE, HI, IA, IL, MA, MD, ME, MN, NH, NJ, NM, NY, RI, VT, WA), and cases are pending in the federal appeals courts for 3 additional states (NV, OK, UT). But no prior campaign was ever as secretive as Equal Marriage Florida is. Among many unanswered questions, the oldest four still echo the loudest.
* Is Dr. Vanessa Brito aware that passage won’t guarantee any marriages?
* Did she create EMFL to pour profit into her now-defunct consulting firm?
* Was she duped into running a campaign that others know will fail?
* Did fellow Republicans engage her to run a stealth campaign?
Tomorrow in this investigative series: Part 7 of 7: Prognosis
Ned Flaherty is an LGBT activist currently focused on civil marriage equality, and previously on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal. He writes from Boston, Massachusetts, where America’s first same-gender civil marriages began in 2004. He suffered a childhood exposure to Roman Catholic pomp and circumstance, but the spell never took, and he recovered.
Here’s the list of the 7-part series:
Part 1 – LGBT Groups Oppose Equal Marriage Campaign
Part 2 – Leaders Retreat
Part 3 – Counts for Workers, Signatures, and Dollars
Part 4 – Party Plans
Part 5 – Haters Wait With Bated Breath
Part 6 – Promising the Impossible
Part 7 – Prognosis