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ACLU, 11 major LGBT groups in South Florida: A failed referendum effort would be major setback

More: Gay-rights coalition: Now is not the right time to put same-sex marriage on Florida ballot


I've just received "A Joint Statement on the Fight for Marriage In Florida" on behalf of the ACLU of Florida, Aqua Foundation for Women, the LGBT Visitor Center, Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, The Alliance for GLBTQ Youth, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Our Fund, Equality Florida, The Pride Center, Safe Schools South Florida, Pridelines Youth Services and the Greater Fort Lauderdale Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce:

As organizations that work together for LGBTQ equality and justice, achieving our right to marriage is a top priority. There is a strong coalition of local, state and national organizations actively planning and executing a strategy to capitalize on the recent Supreme Court decisions.

We are writing to clarify that our organizations are not affiliated with the recently declared efforts to put a marriage amendment on the ballot in 2014. We believe that the timing is premature, because the intensive work that would make victory possible has not been done and that a failed effort would set us back at a time of tremendous momentum.

In consultation with state and national legal and political experts, we believe that the fastest path forward involves shifting public opinion and charting a strategy to achieve victory through the courts.

We are investing our time in these strategies. Nearly 500 couples have signed up as plaintiffs for a potential lawsuit. A ballot measure should be a last resort, not a path taken hastily. And a deep investment would be required to lay the groundwork for success, especially in our state where a 60% majority is required to amend the constitution.

We are not closing the door entirely on a future ballot fight. Fundamental rights by their very nature should not be subject to a public vote. But in a state with a hostile legislature and a challenging legal path, we must consider the possibility of returning to the ballot box to undo the harm. The timing and resources needed to win must be a part of the strategy.

We must enlist thousands of marriage equality advocates to join a public education campaign aimed at shifting public opinion in our favor. Our success will determine if and when it would make sense to return to the ballot and will strengthen the chances that a legal challenge will prevail.

Addendum from Rand Hoch, president of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council:

The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council came out in opposition to the referendum on the day we became aware that signatures were being gathered.


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The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council came out in opposition to the referendum on the day we became aware that signatures were being gathered.

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