Waymon Hudson

"Family First" Check-off Signed into Florida Law

Filed By Waymon Hudson | June 11, 2008 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: ACLU, Amendment 2, Charlie Crist, Family First, Florida, Mark Merrill

Florida's Governor Charlie Crist quietly signed into law a bill that allows a private Tampa-based group to solicit money from Florida drivers on official state forms. He signed the bill giving Family First the opportunity to ask drivers to donate $1 every time they apply for a driver's license, car tag or renewal. Family First will be listed on the back of the forms along with groups that promote manatee protection and blindness prevention.

But who is Family First (as if you couldn't guess by the name)? Their mission is listed on their website as:

The mission of Family First is to strengthen the family by establishing family as a top priority in people's lives and by promoting principles for building marriages and raising children.

Translation: Family First actively promotes religious-based "traditional" marriage. Its founder, Mark Merrill, has been an outspoken critic of marriage equality and a funder for the so-called "Marriage Protection" Amendment on Florida's ballot in November, as well as other anti-LGBT laws and protections around the state.

The bill, sponsored by Republican Mike Fasano of New Port Richey, passed the Senate on a 21-15 vote. The American Civil Liberties Union called on Crist to veto the bill, saying it violated the separation of church and state. Guess who Crist sided with?

So now people can help fund anti-LGBT initiatives with the check of a box at the DMV. This is hardly an example of the "live and let live" attitude that Crist claims to live by.


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They're taking money away from the manatees! That's horrible! Manatees, unlike the narrow definition of marriage, are something that need to be protected!

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | June 11, 2008 11:07 PM

Just when I thought no one could be worse than Jeb Bush. They keep growing up like weeds in the garden.

Legitimied bigotry and state sanctioned discrimination.

I feel your pain, Waymon. Here in Indiana you can buy a fucking license plate that says, "In God We Trust."

To get around the law, they didn't make it a specialty plate that would benefit an org (like the Kids First, or a college, or the performing arts tag) - instead it's an "option" equal to the regular plates. You can get it for free - no extra charge!

But the license branch wasn't telling people there was an option and was just handing it out. Now everywhere you look rednecks and hillbillies are driving around showing off how much they love God while tailgaiting, speeding and generally acting like asses.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | June 12, 2008 9:00 AM

But Bil, the plate is such a lovely compliment to the NRA sticker, and that little bobblehead in the rear window, and the broken tail light.

My guess is that the ACLU might challenge this --- and although the ACLU lost here in Indiana re the "In God We Trust" plates, they might win in Florida since this is specifically a fund-collection mechanism and Family First might be seen as an organization with clear political ramifications.

OTOH, the Boy Scouts got away with it, too ...

Yeah, a T friend of mine who also happens to be athiest, went to the local license bureau in Indiana to tag up a car they'd bought at auction. The people at the bureau were really pushing the "IN GOD WE TRUST" plates, and finally my friend had to say, out loud, "I DON'T BELIEVE IN A GOD. I DON'T WANT A TAG THAT SAYS I TRUST GOD ON MY CAR." When handed the ugly green grass tag Indiana was using last year, the woman said "May God save your soul." Kentucky had a plate like that ready to go, but it was denied in the state legislature.

Government should have nothing to do with religious organizations. Period. It's bad for the religious organization, bad for the state, and insulting to those who's tax money would support a faith-based institution.

I have "Spay or Neuter Your Pets" tags on my vehicles. If they pass this God tag thing in KY, I'll sticker over the pet, with "fundie" instead. And I believe in God. How about those who don't, in any state?

I'm sorry you all are so offended you have to have an option to donate one dollar to help families. I'm sad to see where this country is headed