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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.

Yes2Marriage's untrue "facts" are in these brown boxes.

Then our response appears below.

Amendment 2 does one thing and one thing alone.
Amendment 2 does one thing and one thing alone. It defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman, but it does not prohibit the government or private companies from extending benefits to whoever they wish. The Florida Supreme Court has ruled that Amendment 2 concerns the “single subject” of marriage and simply takes the existing state marriage law and places it into the constitution having similar effect. See, Opinion to the Attorney General, 926 So. 2d. 1229 (2006). Most amendments do something new. Amendment 2 does nothing new but simply protects something longstanding, something precious, and something beautiful.

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.

Amendment 2 allows the people of Florida and not activist judges to decide how marriage is defined.
In Massachusetts and now in California, activist judges have re-written marriage laws and ignored the will of the people by legalizing same sex marriages. There is a national movement to do this all over the country which is why 27 states have passed state constitutional amendment to protect marriage. In the next six months, four of the seven members of the Florida Supreme Court will be replaced by Governor Charlie Crist completely changing the make up of the Florida high Court. What happened in California could easily happen here in Florida over the next year. Amendment 2 protects the definition of marriage from activist judges.

"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.

Amendment 2 will not take away any existing rights or benefits from anyone.
Amendment 2 does not take away any rights or benefits from Florida’s domestic partnerships or any other shared living arrangement. Homosexuals already have full contract rights under Florida law and access to estate planning tools just as every other citizen. Amendment 2 does not affect these existing rights.

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.

Amendment 2 protects our children.
Amendment 2 protects our children from being taught in public schools that same-sex marriage is the same as natural marriage. If same sex marriage is legalized in Florida, public schools will be forced to teach your children and grandchildren that homosexual marriages are equal to marriages between a man and a woman. Since homosexual marriage was legalized in Massachusetts, public school teachers are now being forced to teach this very thing. NPR Interview, Massachusetts Schools Weigh Gay Topics, September 13, 2004.

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?

Amendment 2 gives children the best chance for both a mom and a dad.
While we will always have death, divorce and other circumstances that may prevent the ideal, the best arrangement for children is to have both a married mother and a father. Single parents do the best job they can but a vast body of social science research clearly tells us that children are always happier, healthier and better adjusted when raised by a married mother and father.

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. is a project of HUMAN DECENCY NOW.
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