Nadine Smith is a long time LBGT activist here in Florida. She’s part of a coalition of nearly 200 organizations that have banded to oppose Amendment 2 as the Fairness for All Families Coalition. This is the second installment in my review of a recent debate between her and John Stemberger at the Orlando Tiger Bay Club.
In opening statement she makes the point that the Amendment language does not codify the current language making gay marriage illegal, but “takes away legal protections from unmarried couples gay or straight.” Nadine cites census bureau information saying there are 360,000 unmarried couples in Florida with only 40,000 of them being gay couples and senior couples are disproportionately impacted.
She makes the point that the ambiguity in the language will make it likely that domestic partner benefits will be summarily attacked by these same people, and cites the examples in Michigan and Kentucky. In those states, the advocates made the exact same claims, and immediately after the amendments passed, the advocates began litigating against all forms of domestic partner benefits…and real people have lot real benefits in these states.
I suppose one of her best quotes comes when she says that the amendment, “puts government in the way of people taking care of their loved ones.” That really does sum it up. Smith goes on to point out the broader agenda of Stemberger, who is also advocating for the abolition of no-fault divorce. He’s also one of the people that threw himself into the Terri Schaivo case. It’s an agenda designed to say that only marriages are valid relationships, and we should punish people who are not married or cannot get married.
As I’ve previously noted, this whole thing of trying to make it about seniors and unmarried straights is an important message, but Smith sticks only to that message, and doesn’t appeal to peoples basic sense of fairness, nor does she respond appropriately to the whole “harm done to children” argument.