So-called 'Marriage Amendment' barely meets signature deadline


Tallahassee, FL -

After four years of signature gathering, backers of a measure to deny family benefits for unmarried Floridians barely met the requirements to place the so-called "Florida Marriage Protection" constitutional amendment on the November ballot, according to state election officials Friday. Backed by the far right political group Florida4Marriage, the measure has met strong opposition from seniors, employee and consumer organizations and civil rights groups alarmed at the far reaching consequences for thousands of Florida families who risk losing essential benefits if the sweeping restrictions of the amendment become law.

"After four years of signature gathering the only surprise is how narrowly it seems they reached the minimum requirements. As Floridians come to understand that this measure strips away essential family protections, the more they are saying NO to the deceptively named amendment," says Barbara A. DeVane, board member of the Fairness For All Families Coalition and Florida Alliance for Retired Americans.

As a broad-based coalition of state, local and national organizations, Fairness for All Families will continue to educate voters and mobilize volunteers across the state. Many 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. The law should not make it harder for families to take care of their loved ones. 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," says DeVane.

About the Fairness For All Families Coalition

Fairness for All Families is a coalition of over 200 groups that includes seniors, business leaders, consumer groups and social justice organizations that are joining together to oppose a constitutional amendment slated for the 2008 ballot that would strip away existing employee benefits and enshrine discrimination in Florida's constitution. For more information, please visit http://www.FairnessForAllFamilies.org.

- filed Feb. 3, 2008

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