Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Florida Marriage Amendment Sets Sights for 2008 Ballot

Florida4Marriage.org stated that it will move forward to place the Florida Marriage Protection Amendment ("Marriage Amendment") on the ballot in November 2008. As of February 1, the Florida Department of Elections reported that it has 456,363 certified signatures. A new law in Florida now requires (1) 611,009 signatures for citizen initiatives, and (2) these signatures must be submitted and verified by February 1 of the year in which the proposal is placed on the ballot. Prior to this year, signatures could be gathered almost up to the time of the election. Also, prior amendments required only 488,722 signatures.

Comparing the results of the Marriage Amendment with three other initiatives, two which obtained enough signatures and one which did not, revealthe broad grassroots support for the proposal. An amendment to Apportion Districts spent $2,732,081.26 to obtain 653,425 signatures; a Redistricting Amendment spent the same amount but fell short with only 406,844 signatures; and a Tobacco Education Amendment spent $2,017,724.10 to obtain 645,620 signatures. By contrast, the Marriage Amendment spent only $189,432.77 to obtain 456,363 signatures. Most of these signatures came within the past 8 weeks.

While the broad-based coalition supporting the Marriage Amendment sought to place the initiative on the 2006 ballot, the leaders of the organizations are encouraged by the enormous momentum that built in just 8 weeks. In the 10 days prior to the deadline, the Department of Elections updated its website to reflect over 200,000 additional signatures. At this rate, the Marriage Amendment will soon be certified for the ballot in 2008.

Mathew D. Staver, President and General Counsel of Liberty Counsel, will present oral argument before the Florida Supreme Court on Wednesday, February 8 at 9:50 a.m. ET to address the "single subject" requirement of the Marriage Amendment. Every voter initiative must address a single subject and must be reviewed by the Florida Supreme Court before it appears on the ballot. The Marriage Amendment addresses the single subject of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

This event moves us one step closer in placing the Florida Marriage Protection Amendment on the ballot. Let the people decide this most important matter of marriage.