The Gay-Straight Alliance at the University of West Florida is taking an active role in the fight against Florida's dangerous and deceptive Amendment 2. Club members have been talking with UWF students and Pensacola residents about the importance of going to the polls on Nov. 4 to Say No 2.
The University paper, The Voyager, carried a great op-ed by student Cody Brooke, where he outlines the various reasons why defeating this amendment is so important. It is amazing to see young students standing up for themselves and their community, especially in parts of the state like Pensacola- which is incredibly conservative. To have these young, strong voices speaking out gives me hope that we have a whole new generation of activists and leaders.
Read an excerpt from the op-ed after the jump...
So who will Amendment II affect? The short answer is everyone. There are over 360,000 people living in Florida who are considered to be in legal unions. Of these relationships, only 40,000 are considered homosexual. Therefore, 320,000 heterosexual Floridians will be affected by the passage of this amendment as opposed to only 40,000 homosexuals.
With more than five million senior citizens 60 years of age and older, Florida is home to more senior citizens than any other state in the country. More than half of Florida seniors collect social security and, of that number, 50 percent would be impoverished without it. Widowed seniors who receive some sort of life insurance pension from their deceased spouse cannot remarry without losing that pension. The alternative, in the event that they meet someone else, is to obtain a domestic partnership.
They are considered to be a legally recognized couple; one of the rights granted to both married couples and domestic partners is that the significant other can speak on their partner's behalf in case of an emergency.
Amendment II could potentially hurt Florida's workforce and economy. Overwhelming majorities of Floridians looking for jobs say that job benefits are their primary reason for taking a job, and that good benefits make them happier with their job. Under Amendment II, many unmarried couples could lose benefits provided by the employer of one partner. This would make finding and keeping employees difficult for Florida businesses. It could also hurt the Florida school system by reducing benefits for teachers who are already underpaid.
Again, thank you to the GSA at UWF for their work and activism. Together, we can defeat this amendment!