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Fact-checking the Lies
Yes2Marriage, the group principally backing Amendment 2, put together a Fact Sheet about the amendment. Unfortunately, it contains several stretches of the truth. Prevarications. Instances of dissembling.
Okay, fine. They're lying.
We've corrected their falsehoods. Download the fact sheet from their website (PDF), then follow along below.
Then our response appears below.
This is a lie that they're also repeating in TV commercials. If the only thing Amendment 2 did was define marriage, it would begin and end with the phrase "a marriage is the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife." Instead, it continues with the statement that "no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized." (More about this here.)
And just because the amendment deals with a "single subject" doesn't mean it can't have multiple effects -- and to try to imply otherwise is cynically dishonest sleight-of-hand trick.
"The people of Florida" vote for the governor, who appoints justices. Additionally, "the people of Florida" get to vote whether or not to keep (or "retain") Florida Supreme Court justices -- first after about two years, then every six years thereafter. In contrast, Massachusetts doesn't have any retention votes for justices, and California only has retention votes every 12 years.
So, "the people of Florida" have a huge say in the makeup of the Florida Supreme Court. This whole "activist judges" argument doesn't really work, and it especially doesn't work in Florida.
This is a lie: nobody knows for sure what would happen to the rights, benefits, and legal protections for domestic partnerships and other unmarried couples, and if it passes, we probably won't know until the first legal challenge takes place. The language is clearly ambiguous, and we don't need to create a legal tangle for no real reason.
And the argument that "homosexuals already have full contract rights" is insincere and misleading: not everyone has the money or resources to hire a lawyer to draw up legal contracts for every possible relationship contingency.
This requires astounding leaps in logic to even consider -- there's no evidence that public schools in Florida would be "forced" to teach anything if gay marriage is legalized in Florida, and a NO vote on Amendment 2 isn't a vote for legalizing gay marriage. And the unspoken implication here -- they're going to unload "gay" propaganda on our kids! -- is ridiculous: students learn about non-traditional families (those with single parents, multiracial parents, and so on) in an age-appropriate manner, and there's no reason to think that would change.
But even if we follow this logic: this argument essentially says that our children and grandchildren might be taught to treat other people's families with respect and decency. That's a bad thing?
This is a brazen, flagrant lie: The American Psychological Association says that "[n]ot a single study has found children of lesbian or gay parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents" and that "the evidence to date suggests that home environments provided by lesbian and gay parents are as likely as those provided by heterosexual parents to support and enable children's psychosocial growth." (It's on the APA website here.)
It's one thing to state one's opinion on gay parenting. But it's another to lie by pointing to a non-existent "vast body of social science research" to bolster your claims.
It's almost expected that political ads contain misleading statements and lies, and that's wrong. But lying for the purpose of fomenting fear and paranoia against a group of people elevates this to the level of immorality. We can have this debate -- we just need to keep it honest.