TVC: Florida's DOMA is Insufficient, Marriage Amendment Needed

Florida Governor Jeb Bush said this month that he believes the state doesn’t need a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage because it already has such a law. But one conservative says he is wrong to hold that position.

Florida newspapers reported Bush saying that he believed the Florida’s Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is sufficient to protect marriage between a man and a woman.

In a Nov. 19 statement, Traditional Values Coalition Chairman Rev. Louis P. Sheldon said Bush is “is naïve to think that Florida’s Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) will protect his state from liberal activist judges or homosexual-inspired lawsuits designed to undermine traditional marriage.”

Florida is one of 37 states in the nation to enact DOMA, a law defining marriage between a man and a woman and giving states the right to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages sanctioned in other states.

Bush’s comments came days after Florida Baptists approved a resolution calling for a state constitutional ban on same-sex marriages. The resolution urges state lawmakers and citizens to put together a ballot initiative that defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Bush said he would reconsider the amendment if a court struck down DOMA.

But Sheldon suggests action needs to be taken before DOMA is overturned.

“Governor Bush is apparently waiting for the horse to be stolen from the barn before he puts a lock on the barn to secure the horse from thieves,” said Sheldon.

“The time to protect marriage is now—before DOMA is challenged and overturned by activist judges. If the liberal Florida Supreme Court decides that DOMA is unconstitutional and imposes homosexual marriage upon Florida, it will be too late to amend the constitution,” he said.

Sheldon referred to the legalization of same-sex marriages by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court as an example of judicial activism. “Now, the people are trying to play catch up to defend marriage—but it may be too little, too late. The activist court had already destroyed traditional marriage in Massachusetts,” he explained. “This can’t be allowed to happen in Florida.”

He also cited two other examples of DOMA challenges in the nation, including Washington and Oklahoma, and pointed to the recent election trend of states pushing for constitutional marriage amendment.

“Voters all over the U.S. realized that they must defend marriage by amending their state constitutions. Eleven states voted to do so on November 2,” said Sheldon. “And, nine more states are planning on doing so. It is clear that DOMA laws are insufficient to protect us from homosexual activists. Governor Bush must support a constitutional amendment now—before it’s too late.”

Sheldon added that a “federal constitutional amendment is also needed to defend marriage.”