Hate and Bigotry Pass in Florida

Florida’s Amendment 2, the dangerous and deceptive “Marriage Protection” Amendment, has passed.  A supermajority of Floridians, 62% (4,662,558) versus just 38% (2,851,598), has decided that our state needs to enshrine hate, bigotry, and homophobia in our state constitution.

And my heart breaks.  I woke up today in Florida with fewer rights than I went to bed with.

Even more frightening is the vague wording of the Amendment that has passed- the words “substantial equivalent thereof“- which many fear will be used by the intolerant, hate-filled right to strip away the most basic protections of the LGBT community (and all unmarried Floridians), like hospital visitation, healthcare, and domestic partnerships.

But Amendment 2 is not the only act of bigotry Florida showed last night…Not only did Florida choose to add hate language, voters also failed to remove outdated, racist language from the state constitution.  Voters rejected Amendment 1, an anti-discrimination measure designed to repeal a 1926 law that allowed the Legislature to ban Asian immigrants from owning land.  It failed 52% to 48%.

So to sum it up- Florida failed to take out racist, hateful language and added more in.

It is a sad day in the Sunshine State.  How did we get here as a state and as a nation?  How have reached a point where we can vote to deny even the most basic respect and rights of people.  

I thought I had prepared myself to lose.  I knew this was an uphill battle- that the hard work that I and so many others had done might not pay off.  We had a huge task- the amendment was bankrolled by the religious right- including Florida Family Action, Focus on the Family, the Florida Catholic Conference and the Florida Baptist Convention- and the Florida Republican Party, which gave well over $350,000 to the fight (take note, Log Cabin Republicans- that is your party).  

But I didn’t know it would feel like this.  I had no idea that this would cut me to the core.  I thought it would feel like an intellectual loss, another setback in the fight.  But this is personal.  This loss, this voice of a majority that has decided to attack me and my relationship, is more painful that I can put into words.

I know we have more hard work ahead.  We will have to roll up our sleeves and fight the zealots who will try to take away more of our rights.  There will be nasty court cases- with more nasty, homophobic rhetoric- as the same people who claimed this wouldn’t affect domestic partnerships try and steal even these few rights.  We will stand and fight.  We will keep going.

But today, I mourn.  I mourn not just our political loss, but the loss of respect and pride I had in our people.  I mourn that those around me have so much hate in their hearts that they would actively vote to strip away my rights.  I mourn that today I am less a Floridian than my neighbor.  

I mourn that hate has won in Florida.

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