When people look at the Florida ballot, their eyes glaze over as they come to the constitutional amendments. That’s understandable. The ballot is laughably long.
But the Florida amendments matter — at least they do to the people who are spending millions trying to sway your vote.
Take Amendment 8. It’s titled “Religious Freedom” and it would bar the government from denying funds to organizations or institutions based on “religious identity or belief.” The proposal also strikes the current state ban on using state money “directly or indirectly in aid of any church sect or religious denomination, or in aid of any sectarian institution.”
The Archdiocese of Miami is all in on this one. It has donated $84,195 in support of the amendment, according to an analysis by the Florida Center for Investigative Journalism, which looked at the money lining up for and against each of the 11 amendments. The archdiocese’s sister dioceses in St. Pete, Orlando and Palm Beach have each also kicked in tens of thousands of dollars. Knights of Columbus, the Catholic fraternal organization, forked over $100,000.
And yet, that’s tip-jar money compared to what opponents of the measure are pushing into the pot. The ACLU of South Florida dug deep, anteing up more than $180,000 to fight Amendment 8. Something called The Public Education Defense Fund (an arm of the Florida Education Association, says FCIR) has outdone the ACLU, throwing in a cool $1 million.
More from the Herald's Issues and Ideas and Casey Frank here.