In Memory Of Pastor Gary Debusk, KnowThyNeighbor Florida Who Must Still Be Watching Out For Us
Florida Anti-Gay Amendment In Trouble
(Miami, Florida) Backers of a proposed amendment to bar same-sex marriage in Florida are scrambling to find 20,000 signatures to get the measure on November's ballot after the Secretary of State announced Monday that a counting mistake put them well short of the required 611,000 signatures needed.
Last month the Secretary of State's office said that Florida4Marriage collected 612,192 names, a thousand more than was required.
Then questions arose about the state's electronic voter system and it was determined the system was miscounting petition signatures. Petition drives must submit signatures to counties which then verify, tabulate and send the totals electronically to Tallahassee.
Secretary of State Kurt Browning ordered counties to retabulate the results and send the results using paper forms to his office.
Monday Browning announced there had been a massive error in Dade County.
Browning, said the new count showed that election officials in Miami-Dade had ''double-counted'' some 27,000 paper petitions.
With two weeks until the deadline for submitting signatures it is unclear if Florida4Marriage will be able to make up the 20,000 name shortfall.
The amendment says, "Inasmuch as marriage is the legal union of only one man and one woman, no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized."
Florida4Marriage attempted to have the measure placed on the 2006 ballot but fell short of the required number of signatures. Under Florida law Florida4Marriage, was allowed to continue to add names to the petition in a bid to get it on the 2008 ballot.
Last year it was discovered that the state GOP was bankrolling Florida4Marriage. (story)
An investigation by the St. Petersburg Times into funding for the Florida4Marriage has found that of the $193,000 that had been raised by the group $150,000 came from a single donor - the Florida Republican Party.
Opponents of the amendment say it could be used to cancel domestic partner benefits throughout the state, for both gay and straight couples.
Joining LGBT rights groups in fighting the proposal is a straight ally, Florida Red & Blue.
The organization boasts both Democrats and Republicans among its members. It amassed more than $1 million to battle the proposed amendment in its first 60 days.
Florida Red and Blue spokesperson Stephen Gaskill said if passed by voters the amendment would nullify partnership laws in Broward County, Miami Beach, Key West and West Palm Beach that allow both same- and opposite-sex couples to receive hospital visitation rights and health insurance benefits.
Even if Florida4Marriage manages to make up the shortfall in signatures passing a constitutional amendment in Florida has a higher bar than in most states. It must be approved by 60 percent of voters.
The MassEquality Corporation's First Initiative, "Jumping the Broom" Garners Sharp Criticism From Members of African-American Community
According to a recent Boston Globe article, MassEquality's reach-out to explain gay marriage to the Black Community is being strongly criticized from not only the expected religious standpoint but from a point of view of the integrity (or lack there of) behind the initiative.
The Reverend Irene Monroe, a very outspoken Black, lesbian minister and same-sex marriage advocate has called MassEquality's effort a "token gesture." She said that MassEquality should have been speaking to the Black Community all along, tying same-sex marriage to the need to strengthen family bonds. And she was quoted in the Boston Globe, "The tension around class is so sharp here in this community, this issue (same-sex marriage) is one more way in which it happens. To think of us as an afterthought is not a perception, it's a reality."
BayWindows also published a letter from an African-American woman which sharply criticized MassEquality, "Jumping the Broom," and it's failure regarding minorities. Though this letter was published in BayWindows "print" edition one week after MassEquality voted itself to continue, this very poignant letter failed to be posted on-line, Download thank_you_but_no_thank_you_mass_equality.pdf.htm.
KnowThyNeighbor has also criticized MassEquality for scrambling to find reasons to continue its existence and I believe "Jumping the Broom" to be one of them. We all as LGBT leaders need to first look inwardly and own that we as a whole have not done a very good job in reach-out and inclusion of minorities even within our community itself. And I am not talking in terms of same-sex marriage, though can anyone name the Black on Black Goodridge Plaintiff couple?
But the point being here is that maybe we should ask members of the LGBT in the Black Community and other communities of color what they feel is important from our leadership instead of our leadership "reaching out" to explain the importance of same-sex marriage to them. I am sorry this whole thing and even my phrasing in this blog feels condescending and patronizing to the Black Community and I apologize. This is not my intent. I think Reverend Monroe hits the nail right on the head in the Boston Globe article. But on a more pragmatic note, I certainly hope that David Wilson and MassEquality are not thinking about bringing its message to the Black Community by asking the Black Community to pay for it. That is my concern.
It is important to understand different perspectives and The Reverend Irene Monroe's webpage and articles found there are not only insightful but a very good read. Check them out. It is time to start thinking about our diverse community as a whole and our individual contributions to it before we continue to propose "initiatives" that may continue to divide us.