CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT BANNING SAME SEX MARRIAGE COMING TO FLORIDA? - Mitch Perry

11/10/04

Governor Jeb Bush weighed in on the explosive issue of same sex marriage yesterday, saying he MIGHT support a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage if the courts open the door to such unions in Florida.

It was his strongest statement yet on the issue and came the same day that the Florida Baptist State Convention in Jacksonville unanimously agreed to seek a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

Bush said he thinks the state's Defense of Marriage Act prohibits gay marriages, but he might back putting a constitutional question on the ballot if court rulings force the issue.

But the Governor admitted he thought the Legislature would enthusiastically back a constitutional move to ban same-sex marriages if conditions change.

Democratic Minority Leader Ron Klein said he didn’t think there is any need for such an Amendment (roll tape#1 o.q. “anything we need to do�)

The Reverend Jay Dennis is pastor of the First Baptist Church at the Mall in Lakeland, and led the Florida Baptist Convention which concluded Tuesday. He said that when the issue of calling for a Constitutional Amendment banning same sex marriage was introduced, there was nobody dissenting (roll tape#2 O.Q.�constitutional amendment�)

Gay Rights groups said that the Governor’s comments make it appear likely there will be an Amendment banning same sex marriage….Brian Winfield is a spokesman for the Tampa based group, Equality Florida (roll tape#3 O.Q.� year or two years�)

Last Tuesday, 11 states had the issue of banning same sex marriage on the ballot. In all 11 states, the measure passed easily….Legal challenges already have been filed against such bans in several states.

.Some gay rights activists have accused Florida of being one of the most anti-gay states in the nation, generally in reference to its policy on not allowing gays to adopt children. WMNF asked The Revered Jay Dennis, why didn’t Florida have such an Amendment on THIS year’s ballot? (roll tape#4 o.q.�definition of marriage�)

Last week’s election has been marred by journalism proclaiming “Values� as the deciding factor in 3 ½ million more Americans votes being registered for George W. Bush over John Kerry……The Reverend Dennis concurs (roll tape#5 o.q.�every vote counted�)…..Not surprisingly, and with increasing evidence, Equality Florida’s Brian Winfield disagrees that Gay Marriage was the reason John Kerry wasn’t elected last week (roll tape#6 o.q.� that saved the President�)

Florida made history as the first state in the nation to ban gay marriages in the 1970s amid a controversial campaign by singer Anita Bryant.

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