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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

'Gay marriage' ruling could affect Florida

Florida opponents to a proposed ban gay marriage ban say a Michigan court ruling  invalidating benefits for same sex-sex partners provides a strong justification to defeat the measure.

"This should be a major, bright red warning sign to Florida voters. If you don't want to take away existing protections and benefits, don’t vote for Amendment 2," Heddy Pena, a member of Florida Red and Blue group running the SayNo2 campaign, said in a news release.

Today, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled 5-2 that the state's 2004 ban against gay marriage also blocks domestic-partner policies affecting gay employees at the University of Michigan and other public-sector employers. The decision affirms a February 2007 appeals court ruling.

According to Florida Red and Blue, Florida has at least a dozen domestic partnership programs recognized by public entities including the City of Tampa, Broward County, MonroeCounty, City of Miami Beach and the City of Gainesville. Florida’s largest county, Miami-Dade, is due to vote on a domestic partnership benefit plan this month. 

John Stemberger, a leader of, said the opposition is using scare tactics and that the proposed constitutional amendment is narrowly drawn as to not affect domestic partnerships.

"Michigan's language was extremely broad," Stemberger said.  "I’m not sure a domestic parternship is the best public policy, but we're not opposing them.

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 10:56am]


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