The Countdown to the Election is On!
|Written by Ian Maloney on October 17 2012|
With just 3 weeks left until Election Day (Tuesday, November 6); it’s crunch time, family. In the past four years, we in the gay community have fought hard to overcome setbacks, garner support from our allies, and push our elected officials toward giving our community their full support. However, as active as we have been, our enemies, and those who want to strip our civil rights, have been working just as hard to push us back in the closet and deny us the equality we are entitled to.
In four states, there are ballot initiatives to allow gays and lesbians to get married. Voters in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington State will have the chance to become the first states to allow same sex marriage through voting initiatives. Don’t hold your breath that it will pass in our favor in all four states, but the polls are looking good in several of them, despite our country’s pathetic record on voting for gay rights. Every single example of states voting on our rights has led to victory for opponents of gay rights and gay marriage. It’s a shame that in the land of the free and home of the brave, where the basic right of citizenship is the “right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” we are still fighting for basic human rights. Surprisingly, this year, many professional athletes have “come out” in favor of gay marriage. From the San Francisco Giant’s It gets better video to the Baltimore Raven’s Brendon Ayanbadejo’s support of marriage equality in Maryland, the pro’s are beginning to realize that they can help us win the fight for equal rights. If you have friends in the states mentioned above, do us all a favor and give them a call and make sure they are informed about the issues on the ballots in their states. In some cases, the wording is a little tricky, so make sure to remind them to find out if they should vote yes or no ahead of time. In all four states, the ballot questions can be found through a simple Google search.
Here at home in Florida, the gay marriage amendment didn’t garner enough signatures to make it on the ballot. (WTF? It only needed 676,811 signatures to make it.) I am guessing that LGBT organizations are concentrating the fight to states where they think there’s a better chance of winning, but C’mon people, let’s bring the fight to Florida. We are, after all, the second largest (population) LGBT state in the nation. Think of all the tourist dollars we could bring in if everyone could get married on our beautiful beaches.
Despite the lack of a marriage ballot issue in Florida; this year there is no shortage of referendums on our ballot. Plan on brining your reading glasses with you when you go to the polls (AND YOU WILL VOTE, DAMN IT!) because, besides all of the political candidates you will have to choose, there will be 11 proposed changes Florida’s Constitution on the ballot. These 11 ballot initiatives add 2,428 words (yup, we counted) to the ballot and will take most voters more than 10 minutes to read. Although there are no issues that specifically mention us homos by name, there are several that will have an effect on us. In the coming weeks leading up to the election, we will provide some coverage of all of the ballot issues here in Florida. This week we will take on the very first issue on the ballot.
Issue 1: CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTARTICLE I, SECTION 28Health Care Services (Read: Block Obamacare)
This amendment is a wordy attempt to block “Obamacare” in the sunshine state. Despite the fact that the Affordable Health Care Act was passed AND was pretty much ripped from the Republican Party’s own playbook, red states all over this land, including our very own, have tried to come up with ways to make sure the new law doesn’t go into effect there. This amendment would strip the penalties for not purchasing health insurance as stipulated in the Affordable Healthcare Act AKA Obamacare.
Equality Florida has not taken a position on this issue; however the Dolphin Democrats and the Log Cabin Republicans, LGBT political groups on both sides of the political spectrum have weighed in on the proposed amendment, and of course they disagree on how we should vote. The Log Cabin Republicans of Miami’s Co-Director Mimi Planas stated in an email to Hotspots; “It is my opinion that we vote YES on this Amendment in order to STOP the Federal Government from forcing any citizen to purchase insurance...” On the other hand, the Dolphin Democrats’ president Tim Ross posted on Facebook that the Broward County Democratic Party suggests a NO vote on ballot issue one. He linked to a document that stated: “Florida has the second highest number of uninsured citizens in the United States. The Broward Democratic Party supports the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, emphasizing access for all and control of costs”
Voting registration has already ended in Florida, so if you haven’t signed up, you are too late. (And Shame on you) But, you can check with your county’s Supervisor of Elections website for an easy search to see if you are already registered. Early voting starts Saturday October 27 all across Florida. With such a lengthy ballot and voting process this year, there are sure to be dreadfully long lines on Election Day, so haul your ass down to the polls early, and VOTE.