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Florida Lawmakers Just Defeated A Domestic Partnership Bill In The Year 2013

by David Badash on February 19, 2013

in Civil Rights,Discrimination,News,Politics

Florida lawmakers today actually could not bring themselves to vote for a domestic partnership registry bill — not a same-sex marriage bill, not even a civil unions bill, but a domestic partnership bill. This is, last I checked, the year 2013, not 1978. Domestic partnerships have been available in various states and elsewhere around the world since California began them in 1979.

Disgusting doesn’t even come close to this travesty. For those lawmakers who voted against this bill, they should be reminded that there are many heterosexual couples who would opt for a domestic partnership over a civil marriage.

Here’s the response to today’s vote from Equality Florida’s Nadine Smith:

Dear Friend,

Earlier today the Florida Senate Committee on Children, Families and Elder Affairs tabled a bill that would have provided domestic partnership protections for gay and unmarried straight couples.

Committee democrats spoke in favor of the bill, while Republicans Nancy Detert, Thad Altman and Miguel Diaz del la Portilla indicated they would support a version that provided fewer rights.

“People from around the state gave compelling testimony on the need for protections. It is disappointing that the bill was not moved forward,” said Nadine Smith. “We will call on those who say they would support a different version to keep their word and help craft an amendment that provides these essential protections.”

Thank you to Senators Sobel, Braynon, Clemens and Thompson for voting in favor of the Families First bill. These senators stood up to ensure that Florida truly put all Families First.

Bi-partisan support came from elected officials across the state, they include: Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer (D), St Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster (R), Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn (D), Kissimmee Commissioner Cheryl Grieb (D), Orange County Commissioner Jennifer Thompson (R), Gainesville Mayor Craig Lowe (D), Orange County Comptroller Martha Haynie (R), Miami Beach Mayor Matti Herrera Bower (D) and Largo City Commissioner Michael Smith (D). Former elected leaders are weighing in too. Former Orange County Commissioner John Martinez (R), former Gulfport City Council member Bob Worthington (R) and  former Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti.

Equality Florida will continue to pursue Domestic Partnership Rights with our allies across the state and work toward a day when Tallahassee shows leadership on this issue. To stay up to date on how you can help, please visit out blog at


Nadine Smith

Here’s what the president of the Florida Family Policy Council said via Twitter minutes ago:


Fortunately, a few heartwarming tweets from Democratic state senator Jeff Clemens:


And this, which he retweeted:


The New Civil Rights Movement rarely covers news about civil union and domestic partnership bills, because we originally came into being to advocate for marriage equality. We believe that while civil unions and domestic partnerships afford important, albeit incomplete protections, they are also a way for lawmakers to avoid full marriage equality. In short, separate and different is not equal.

But voting against them is an act from the stone age.

Also, you should know The New Civil Rights Movement is working on an important related story, which we’ll break tomorrow morning, so we thought some background was appropriate.

Our hearts, however, go out to the good people fighting the good fight in Florida.

Image via Wikimedia

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{ 1 comment }

DenguyFL February 20, 2013 at 12:41 pm

This was a fool's errand from the start and Nadine Smith and Equality Florida know it. In 2008, the Florida passed a constitutional amendment that states, "This amendment protects marriage as the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife and provides that no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized." She was head of Equality Florida then as she is now. Domestic Partnerships, Civil Unions, marriage, whatever we try to call something would be thrown out by Florida's Supreme Court and rightly so (for the record: I am for our relationships being recognized, it just isn't feasible through the a legislative bill).

This is not the way to effect change in Florida. It would have made some members of our community that didn't know ot was unconstitutional feel good until it was ruled unconstitutional and we are back exactly where we started. The only course of action is repealing that amendment and that will take action outside of Tallahassee. action in the hearts and minds of all Floridians since there is no chance in hell the legislature will repeal it. That is not something Nadine Smith and Equality Florida is comfortable or even shown themselves capable of doing.

Until Equality Florida and the rest of Florida's own "Gay Inc." look at itself and evaluate what Florid needs now, we the LGBTQ+ community in Florida are the losers.

Aside: I know Prop 8 was the bigger story I know, but Amendment 2 should not have been entirely off "your radar" as you like to put in posts.

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