An initiative to ask Florida’s citizens to ban gay marriage in the state will be voted on in November. It was the only one of more than fifty proposed ballots to get the required 611,009 signatures.

A state constitutional amendment requires the approval of 8 percent of Florida voters who cast ballots in the last Presidential election.

All signatures must be presented to state officials on February 1st at 5pm. The gay marriage ban ballot was certified with 649,346 signatures.

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

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

There is already a ban on same-sex marriage in Florida.

Two weeks ago revised numbers showed that Florida4Marriage.org was 21,989 signatures short of the required 611,009.

The Fairness for All Families campaign held a “Primary Day of Action” to educate Florida voters about the harmful consequences of the “marriage protection amendment.”

Barbara A. DeVane, Board Member of the Fairness For All Families Coalition and Florida Alliance for Retired Americans, said:

“After four years of signature gathering the only surprise is how narrowly it seems they reached the minimum requirements.

“As a broad-based coalition of state, local and national organisations, Fairness for All Families will continue to educate voters and mobilize volunteers across the state.

“Many of our seniors rely on domestic partnership benefits that could be taken away by the so-called “marriage” amendment.

“Also at stake are other basic employment and health care benefits from local governments and businesses received by thousands of families including police, firefighters and other municipal employees.

“We should strengthen, not take away family protections. It is wrong to single people out and vote on the fundamental rights of others.

“They have struggled to place this on the ballot because Floridians are learning just how intrusive and harmful this amendment is for our families.

“We are confident that fair-minded Florida voters will vote no at the polls in November.”

Last month the national chairman of National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People, the oldest civil rights group in America, joined the Fairness for All Families campaign.

Julian Bond, described as “an icon in the civil rights movement for nearly 50 years” and long time national Chairman of the NAACP, will serve on the honorary Board of the campaign, joining former US Attorney General Janet Reno.

The campaign is a coalition of more than 200 organisations and community leaders representing seniors, business leaders, consumer groups and social justice organisations.

“It is divisive. It’s harmful. It does not bring people together. It drives them apart,” Mr Bond said of the proposed constitutional amendment.

Floridians will vote on the amendment on Election Day, November 4th.