Anita Bryant should be happy that her legacy of hate is alive and well in the Sunshine State: Florida legislators have tabled a bill that would have created a domestic-partnership registry for same-sex (and opposite-sex) couples.
State Sen. Eleanor Sobel, (D-Hollywood) introduced SB 196, the Families First Act, to the Florida Senate Committee on Children, Families and Elder Affairs. It would have granted some, but not all, the legal privileges of marriage—including hospital and prison visitation, end-of-life decision-making and burial arrangements.
Many Florida areas already offer domestic partnerships—including Orange County, Broward County, Key West. Tampa, Miami, Orlando and Clearwater—but obviously a statewide registry would eliminate a lot of confusion and red tape.
LGBT advocacy groups are disappointed but not deterred by the news: “We will call on those who say they would support a different version [of the bill] to keep their word and help craft an amendment that provides these essential protections,” said Nadine Smith of Equality Florida.
Others, however, are thrilled the bill is bogged down in committee: The anti-gay Florida Family Association claimed that “homosexual activists are essentially using Families First, i.e. Domestic Partnership Bill SB 196, to legalize same-sex marriage in Florida.”
FFA president John Stemberger tweeted that Families First was a “stealth gay-marriage bill.”
Just remember those words the next time someone tries to explain that they believe gays and lesbians should be treated equally but that they’re against marriage equality.