Florida Voters Favor Civil Unions, But Want to Ban Them Anyway
What the hell is wrong with voters in this state? A new poll by Mason-Dixon shows that 56% of likely voters support Amendment 2, while only a paltry 37% out right oppose it. (It needs 60% to pass, and that's in the margin of error.)
But here's the strange thing, poll after poll has shown that Floridians are in support of civil unions. The latest to show that is a Quinnipiac University poll released on September 8th showing that only 31% of Floridians said that their should be no legal recognition for gay couples. An overwhelming 62% supported some form of legal recognition (35% preferring Civil Unions to 27% for all out Gay Marriage). That same poll found that 55% of voters supported the amendment. How can some voters say they're voting for CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT that would ban something they just said they supported? It's kind of crazy.
Amendment 2 may be ambiguous, but there's very little ambiguity that Amendment 2 will ban civil unions, too. There's absolutely no question about it. That's exactly what the "no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized" part of the amendment means. Hello.
So what the hell is going on here? For one, the question Qunnipac asked was, "Another proposed constitutional amendment would specifically define marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman, making same-sex marriage illegal in Florida. Do you support or oppose this constitutional amendment defining marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman?" Which doesn't correctly sum up the extent of the amendment.
Also, the majority of mentions of the amendment in the media call it simply "The Gay Marriage Ban." (go ahead, do a search on the Herald or Sun-Sentinel for "Civil Union Ban". At the Herald, Steve Rothause's blog makes the distinction right in the headline, very few other places, like the political blog, do) Florida voters have a lot to consider this election season: Presidents, close congressional races, and seven other amendments. So maybe they're only paying attention to the headlines and sound bites the scream "Gay Marriage Ban" with out fully considering the totality of the amendment.
Proponents of gay marriage say that the difference between civil unions and gay marriage is a semantic one, but obviously semantics count when discussing the issue. So, this is my humble call to newsrooms, pollsters, and even Florida Red & Blue (whose website is full of the questionable effects it may have on domestic partnerships for seniors, but hardly a blip about civil unions) to clarify any time amendment 2 is mentioned that it also bans civil unions. We don't want Floridians to end up witting a ban of something polls show they overwhelmingly support into our constitution. In fact, it makes you wonder why civil unions are currently illegal in the first place.