Will Florida Ever Pass Same-Sex Marriage? 60 Percent Amendment Threshold Means It Could Take Awhile

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If Floridians went to the polls today, literally this very day, there's a pretty good chance at least 50 percent of voters in the state would support gay marriage. Unfortunately, that still wouldn't mean there'd be gay wedding chapels popping up in Wilton Manors and South Beach by the end of the year. You need 60 percent to pass a constitutional amendment in Florida, which means the state could still be at least a decade away from seeing marriage equality.

A Quinnipiac poll from December 2012 showed that 43 percent of Floridians supported same-sex marriage. Forty-seven percent still opposed the idea. Twelve percent remained undecided.

A more recent Public Policy Polling survey from last month showed a slightly more favorable result. Thirty-eight percent of Floridians supported same-sex marriage, 37 percent supported civil unions, and only 23 percent flat-out opposed any legal recognition of same-sex unions. Two percent were "not sure." (A quick note to pollsters: Stop including civil unions as an option. Now that there is a big difference between civil unions and actual marriage thanks to the repeal of DOMA, there's not likely to be much effort or money put into passing civil unions anymore.)

So maybe an optimist might think, Well, all you've got to do is flip 60 percent of those civil union supporters to full-on marriage supporters, and you've got your 60 percent overall. Maybe the 2014 amendment Equal Marriage Florida is pursuing an attainable goal. After all, Rick Scott will be up for re-election. His Republican support at this point is lukewarm at best, and Democrats are eager to see him go, so it's possible you could see a more liberal-leaning midterm electorate than usual.

New York Times math whiz Nate Silver isn't that optimistic, though.

Yesterday he released a projection of gay marriage support across each state. He projects that by 2016, 52.9 percent of Floridians would support gay marriage. Florida and Virginia would be the first two Southern states where a majority would support gay marriage.

Unfortunately, we need that 60 percent. Silver projects that in 2020, 59.3 percent of Floridians would support gay marriage, at least according to polls. So according to him, only sometime in the 2020s would a state amendment legalizing gay marriage in Florida become a slam dunk.

However, Silver admits his projections might not be perfect.

"It's also possible, of course, that the Supreme Court decision could somehow kick-start public support for same-sex marriage, causing it to accelerate faster, or that the recent spate of Democratic and Republican politicians coming out in favor of it could do so," he writes.

Whatever the case, Floridians passing an amendment is a lot more likely than the legislature doing anything about it. We're talking about the legislative body that ignored a domestic partnership bill and instead passed a meaningless bong-banning bill this session, and with gerrymandering, it's unlikely Democrats will control either house anytime soon.

Doom-and-gloom projections or not, one activist is already taking a crack at a new amendment. Vanessa Brito has begun gathering signatures with the goal of hitting a million by February.

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19 comments
dr.judymeissner
dr.judymeissner

THERE ALREADY IS MARRIAGE EQUALITY IN FLORIDA!

 I am amazed how some individuals just love to spew hate and disinformation. I am equally amazed how these same individuals can so shameless disrespect and hate the will of the people of Florida democratically expressed at the ballot box in a fair, reasoned, open and democratic vote. Floridians already overwhelmingly and democratically voted for Marriage Equality when they approved the Florida Marriage Equality Amendment in 2008. 

In Florida, everyone has an EQUAL right to get married under the same, objective, EQUAL terms and conditions as EVERYONE else. Because this same, objective, EQUAL criterion applies EQUALLY to everyone in Florida, it is completely false to assert that there is any discrimination whatsoever. 

When will they stop agitating, and find time to understand that they simply do not have the right to invent their own subjective, private definition of Marriage, nor their own subjective, private definition of Equality, nor their own subjective, private definition of Male or Female? When will some people stop the hate and find time to respect the will of Florida’s people? When will they get over it???

Tanya C Davis
Tanya C Davis

maybe if this state stops electing bigoted Rupublicans.

chipahoy
chipahoy

sorry, i am 21 and cant imagine being a pitcher or a catcher for a man's thing....ugggh. no thanks.  and lesbos, well, what can i say, frustrated in love, misery loves company.....

chipahoy
chipahoy

yawn, double yawn, who cares?

Xoo Toth
Xoo Toth

If the State can make money off it you bet they will

Charles Solano
Charles Solano

The more and more shit of this state keeps going backwards the more I start thinking I should move somewhere else. Backward right wing racist prejudice conservatives are the one holding back this state instead of advancing towards a modern culture. Glbt want to get married because their in love well let them, raises our economy. Other states are taxing on legalizing let it happen here, raises our economy...

Kelvis Del Rio
Kelvis Del Rio

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is one of the few advocates we have on our side on in Florida. I'm not a republican, but she has a transgendered son and has been progressively fighting for gay rights since she voted for DOMA, which we all remember was signed into law by Bill Clinton, a democrat!

Barbara Behrens
Barbara Behrens

Florida should allow LGTB! Aren't we in America! Freedom for all under the constitution , to chose their life style.

Crystal Gi
Crystal Gi

I'll never understand how two people in love and getting married will affect anyone's daily lives. Live and let live

Rachel Weaver
Rachel Weaver

Florida has so many ignorant people, it is just sad, but hey those old ass ignorant ass people will die sometime, and maybe our children will have a better Florida.

Phil Ramirez
Phil Ramirez

if it's only to cater Republicans' relatives, maybe (look at Ileana Ros!!).

Carlos Cnotez Rodriguez
Carlos Cnotez Rodriguez

thats cuz floridas fucking wack as hell when it comes to politics this shit is soo fucking backwards the entire country is legalizing weed and we here banning pipes...shouts out to all these old white ppl that still think its the 1930s...

Chard Beauregarde
Chard Beauregarde

There's a lot of racist fundie assholes north of WPB county line...

chipahoy
chipahoy

without repopulation, well all die out....LOL. Next, the pedopeliacs, "beastialiacs," and necropheliacs  will want their rights....Then we can change the acronym to LGBTNPB. Oh, i forgot to add the inanimates, so now we have to add an "I." where does it end?

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