Debate on Amendment Two at Suncoast Tiger Bay Club

04/04/08 Arielle Stevenson
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The Honda Grand Prix in St. Petersburg wasn't the only race going on, the race for Amendment Two was the topic of discussion at today’s Suncoast Tiger Bay Club meeting at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club.

Amendment Two is looking to gain votes in order to ban gay marriage in the state of Florida. Debating the amendment was Nadine Smith of Equality Florida and Chair of Fairness for all families, a coalition of more than 200 groups against the amendment.

Defending the amendment was John Stemberger, an Orlando attorney and president of Florida for marriage. He says marriage is the part of the natural order and should only be between a man and woman.

The amendment states: “Inasmuch as marriage is the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife, no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized.”

Smith says this amendment relates to those legal unions that are “the substantial equivalent thereof,” couples that are unmarried but have families and receive health insurance or other benefits.

Stemberger says a danger of this amendment not being passed is what he calls the undermining of the institution of marriage.

But smith says the Florida Marriage Protection Amendment does not protect marriage at all.

Stemburger says he was offended by Smith’s comparison of the gay rights movement to the civil right movement.

Voters will decide on this issue in November.

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