Why Should I Vote NO?
Plenty of reasons. Here's just a sampling:
It throws the legal rights and protections of all unmarried couples in jeopardy.
Many counties in Florida offer domestic partnership rights and benefits to unmarried couples, both straight and gay. Many government employees, including some who work for public universties, receive the same. These benefits include sharing health care plans and hospital visitation rights.
This amendment puts these rights and benefits in danger (see how here) because of the ambiguous language of the amendment. Here's the truth: nobody knows for sure what will happen to domestic partnerships if this amendment passes. Yes2Marriage, the group backing the amendment, is trying to say that domestic partnership benefits aren't at risk. They're lying.
It contributes to the ostracism and stigmatization of the gay community.
One of the defining characteristics of humanity is the love we have to offer. The passage of this amendment is tantamount to a statement saying that the love between two gay people isn't valid or worthy of recognition, and that's not just wrong -- it's dehumanizing. The love all of us have to offer to each other is precious and beautiful, and while it's okay to have a debate about gay rights, it is cruel and utterly repugnant to try to delegitimize that love.
In short: you question someone's love, you question someone's humanity. And when you question someone's humanity, it becomes a lot easier to justify ostracizing, stigmatizing, harassing, and threatening them. The people of Florida should not be in the business of enabling, even unintentionally, bullies and tormenters.
It shamelessly exploits religous faith as a political tool and a divisive weapon.
Yes2Marriage has been targeting Christians to rally support for the amendment. They quote scripture in political ads, they offer "sample sermons" for pastors on their website, and until recently, they sold "Church Action Kits" for $275 (PDF) to churches. The exploitation of something as sacred and personal as faith for political gain at the expense of the entire gay community is reprehensible.
This does nothing to advance the message of compassion and love in the Bible. Instead, this needlessly divides people, advances the unfair and inaccurate stereotype that all Christians are intolerant and bigoted, and pushes people further away from Christianity and God.
It ignores the lessons learned from the civil rights movement.
We've been here before. Dire warnings about marriage being under attack and the foundation of society being assulted. A group of people being accused of undermining traditional values. The denial of equal treatment for that group of people. And the systematic mockery, harassment, and dehumanization of them that takes generations to even begin to reverse.
The legacy of the black civil rights movement in this country did not end with Brown v. Board of Education, the erasure of Jim Crow laws, or our society's gradual shift away from racism. The lesson of the movement was "never again to anyone," not just "never again to a particular race." We do a disservice to the memory of those who fought bravely for equality and dignity if we aren't able to do the same today.
It allows government intrusion into our personal lives.
Why would we allow the government to dictate who two consenting adults can love and how they choose to express that love? Is that really a precedent we want to set?