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US: Florida LGBT groups launch effort to repeal state ban on equal marriage

Joseph McCormick June 19, 2013
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Two LGBT rights groups in the US state of Florida have launched a joint effort to begin to reverse the state’s ban on equal marriage.

Equality Florida and Freedom To Marry, today launched the Get Engaged campaign, which aims to secure equal marriage for same-sex couples in the state.

In November 2008, 61% of voters in the state approved Amendment 2, which bans equal marriage in the Florida constitution, reports the Miami Herald.

Nadine Smith of Equality Florida said: “Florida has changed dramatically since 2008, when just over 60 percent of voters embedded marriage discrimination into the constitution. In fact, Florida is a leader in the south, with 54 percent of voters in support of marriage for same-sex couples. In fact, only 23 percent of Floridians now oppose gay couples having all the rights and benefits of marriage.”

Smith went on to say she was not sure if the campaign would push for a question of equal marriage at the 2014 ballot.

John Stemberger, who ran the 2008 Amendment 2 campaign to ban equal marriage from his law firm, said he did not see the campaign as a threat.

“There’s not much that can be done. The people of Florida have spoken in an active, direct democracy, in a supermajority, and have codified the amendment into Florida law,” he said.

“We would love to engage in some kind of discourse. To the extent that the polls have been moving against us, it’s because we haven’t had the opportunity to air our arguments in the public square. I would love to see some kind of formal debate or panel discussion that’s civil, in a neutral setting, without people ganging up screaming at you.”

Nine US states, and Washington DC currently allow equal marriage, and it will become law in Rhode Island, Delaware and Minnesota in the summer.

The US state of Maryland in November 2012 became the first state to legalise equal marriage by means of a popular vote back in 2012. The law came into effect on 1 January 2013.

Washington and Maine also legalised equal marriage in referendums in those states on the same day.

The US Supreme Court is expected to rule on two cases surround equal marriage, in the next two weeks, potentially making a groundbreaking ruling for equal marriage in the state of California, and the whole of the US.



More: Americas, Civil partnerships, equal marriage, gay marriage, gay wedding, lesbian marriage, lesbian wedding, marriage, marriage equality, same sex marriage, Same-sex wedding, US, wedding

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