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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Gay marriage ban unncessary, leader says



A Constitutional Amendment to ban gay and lesbian marriage was compared today with amendments prohibiting pregnant pigs and creating high-speed rail.

Patricia Ireland, former president of the National Organization for Women, told  Tallahassee’s Capital Tiger Bay Club that the amendment is yet another example of something that should not be in the Florida Constitution.

"There are more important things that belong in our Constitution,'' Ireland said, noting that passage of the amendment would result in dozens of lawsuits against governmental agencies that now provide benefits for unmarried Floridians.

Orlando lawyer John Stemberger said the amendment is needed to protect marriage from the possibility of future court decisions that might recognize gay marriages. The amendment would put existing law into the state Constitution and guard against polygamy and group marriage, he insisted.

"Children need a mom and a dad,'' Stemberger insisted. "The research is clear. Where ever a mother and father are president social maladies are lower and children are happier and more successful.''

Ireland said the amendment would disrupt the lives of more than 269,000 unmarried Floridians who live together and benefit from legal benefits and rights. She estimated that only 41,000 of them are actually gay and lesbian couples.

A straw poll taken by those attending the lunch saw Tiger Bay members voting four to one against the proposed Constitutional Amendment.

-- Lucy Morgan, Times staff writer

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 1:21pm]


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