Florida Amendment 2 – Voter’s Guide

I’ve held off for a long time writing about Florida Amendment Two, in part because the issue seems so polarized for reasons that can be counterproductive to reasonable, rational debate.

I do have a position on it, however, and I feel like the time has come to make it known. Before I do so, here are a couple of fundamentals just for the sake of covering the facts and making them abundantly clear.

Facts on Amendment Two

First, here’s the text of Florida Amendment 2:

“In as much as marriage is the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife, no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized.”

Secondly, let’s make it clear. The amendment is deceptively simple. It defines the word “marriage” by the historic, traditional definition of the term as it relates to monogamous heterosexual legal union.

Now for some thoughts:

  • It is ludicrous for Amendment Two — or any amendment of its kind — to ever be required.
  • But this is precisely why I believe it is important that Florida passes Amendment 2.
  • Setting aside all the rhetoric representing “left” or “right,” it is critical that this amendment be passed because it puts a stop to the disgusting trend of undermining the law simply by redefining terms.

In case you’re new to this particular strategy, it happens when lawmakers or courts (judges) — or anyone else, for that matter — decide to push a particular agenda in a less-than-forthright manner. They decide to substitute a “new” or “modern” definition for a term whose meaning has been long established so that they can cause existing laws or established legal framework to come to mean something quite different than intended.

For the record, I am in favor of creating an environment that addresses the legal needs of today.  It is dangerous, however, to do so by this method. Essentially any law or legal traditon, including any right — whether property right, moral right, or civil right — is subject to being eroded or stolen when we resort to “redefining terms.”

So, for those who believe in the fundamental rule of law, this amendment is important.  Send a message loud and clear to the judges and others attempting to influence legislation that we, as Americans, will not tolerate underhanded methods that bypass the legal means to bring changes to our laws.

Amendment Two, if passed, will send this message.

The Bottom Line on Amendment 2

I urge you to vote for Florida Amendment 2.  Let’s bring the complex legal issues that are raised by the debate around Amendment Two before the legislative bodies that have jurisdiction and handle them as intended by the Florida Constitution — not by circumventing them through semantics.

9 Replies to “Florida Amendment 2 – Voter’s Guide”

  1. Jessica says:

    “Almost seven million Florida adults are unmarried, including over 860,000 who are living together with their unmarried partners.

    Who gets hurt in the long run?

    Anyone whose families and caring relationships extend beyond their legally married spouses. The mean-spirited discrimination amendment locks FL into a hierarchy of relationships, unfairly privileging marriage and penalizing the great diversity of families that we live in.”

    Alternatives to Marriage, 501c3

    Rethink your perception of Amendment 2! Instead of voting yes, vote NO, Nov.4th!

  2. David G. Johnson
    David G. Johnson says:

    Hi Jessica,

    Thanks for posting and for sharing your opinion.

    Unfortunately, your stance only serves to confirm the reasons why defining the relationships of the “unmarried” as marriages is not a valid way to address the legitimate legal needs of the people you describe.

    Those issues need to be brought into the public debate and handled by valid legal means — not by simply attempting to redefine a term for your own use. Since even you can admit that they’re not “married,” you’ve only added legitimacy to my argument.

    Solve their legal needs? Yes. Do it legitimately. This is why Amendment 2 makes sense and needs to be passed.

  3. Jessica says:

    My point David, is that ALL relationships, regardless of marital status should be legally recognized. Do you not not feel all individuals should be able to care for their loved ones? This country should not be attempting to deprive people of necessary protections, benefits and responsibilities. Is it fair to consider some relationships legitimate and some not, just based on whether or not they have a marriage contract? Family Equality is at stake here, not just the progression of LGBT rights, in the context of marriage.

    My final argument is, every individual should be legally allowed to marry, though no individual should be FORCED to marry to receive benefits, rights, and responsibilities married couples get. This is why ALL Floridians must vote NO for Amendment 2!

  4. David G. Johnson
    David G. Johnson says:


    Once again, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Fundamentally, the relationships you call to mind need to be addressed in the context of our legal system. I have no desire to remove protections, benefits and responsibilities… quite the contrary: those can only exist when provided for through proper legal grounds.

    The equality issues you raise speak directly to the issue that is at stake here. The relationships would not be changed in any way legally by the passage of Amendment 2 (nor by its failure to be passed).

    In George Orwell’s Animal Farm, you may recall that equality was agreed upon by everyone. But then the pigs came along and said, “All animals are created equal, but some are more equal than others.”

    What they did was undermine the rights of some by redefining the term “equal.” What you don’t realize — regardless of the LGBT rights you mentioned — is that by utilizing the tactic of redefining terms, every right — civil rights, rights to freedom, even all rights contained within the US Bill of Rights and other Amendments to the US Constitution — are jeopardized when something can be altered by simply giving an old accepted word a new meaning.

    No one is being forced to marry. What they’re being forced to do is make a legitimate legal case and mount a legitimate campaign to obtain the sought-after rights. If their case is valid, then the due process (as determined by the documents and laws that govern this great land) will see to it that the rights are granted.

    If the argument isn’t valid, then those rights will not be granted.

    But this is why we have established procedures… so that the rule of law will remain, not be undermined.

    This is why Amendment 2 must be passed — for the protection of ALL citizens.

  5. Jessica says:

    How can Amendment 2 protect ALL citizens? Gay marriage will be prohibited in the state constitution, obviously making it even more difficult to reverse in the future. The same opportunities must be granted to every individual, whether you are talking about marriage, or just legal recognition. The state of Florida will be able to legally ignore all other relationships that will continue to exist outside the constructs of marriage. Why must marriage be the only option? The rights and protections provided by Domestic Partnerships will probably be stripped away, despite the term still being in existence. Also, if Amendment 2 is passed, one can assume Florida will keep same-sex couples from adopting and becoming foster parents. I am sure married different-sex couples will continue to have that advantage over unmarried couples as well.

    The passing of Florida’s Amendment 2 will not protect American citizens. It will determine who deserves rights and who doesn’t. I fear voters will fail to understand the danger this Amendment poses for the future of Florida by Nov. 4th. This will harm ALL unmarried people.

  6. David G. Johnson
    David G. Johnson says:


    It is clear that you’re focused on achieving your agenda, which is why you’d be willing to jeopardize the rights of all of us by circumventing legal due process.

    An amendment such as Florida’s Amendment Two doesn’t determine who deserves rights and who doesn’t. It determines who is “married” and who isn’t.

    Obtaining rights for unmarried people should be accomplished in a legitimate way. That is the issue. Period.

  7. Jessica says:

    Why do you think the government should have a say in who can marry and who can’t?

    And what do you feel will be the legitimate way for unmarried people to attain rights?

  8. David G. Johnson
    David G. Johnson says:


    Now you’ve hit upon the crux of the matter.

    It is activists like you who are trying to change the definition of marriage. The government has nothing to do with it. For someone who wants people to remain “unmarried,” you seem awfully interested in getting them married.

    Unmarried people already have rights. Your posturing of this question makes it sound as though we’ve reduced them to slaves. If they wish to be treated differently before the law, then questions need to be brought before the appropriate legislative bodies — just as is the case when any situation or group feels as though there is an injustice.

    Changing the concept of a centuries-old institution and suddenly giving it new meaning so that you can avoid the public debate involved sets dangerous precedents in our society.

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