Commentary: Elections marred by gay marriage ban

This editorial appeared in The Miami Herald.

Florida's elections officials can give themselves a collective pat on the back. Other than some minor glitches and aggravations, the millions of Floridians who voted on Election Day found it straightforward and easy.

The lines at many polls were long, but that comes with a huge turnout for a historic presidential election. Most voters seemed to accept that they would have to wait. So this year there was no Flori-duh. Voters and election officials got it right.

The outcome of the constitutional amendments on the ballot was a mixed bag. On the positive side were proposals for: waterfront properties to be appraised based on current use; tax breaks for land conservation; and, possibly, not taxing improvements on homes made more resistant to hurricanes.

It was a disappointment, though, to see that the state Constitution now will enshrine the denial of rights for homosexuals, lesbians and other couples. Voters approved Amendment 2, which bans same-sex marriage. No Constitution should support discrimination, yet that is what this amendment does.

The idea that gay marriage threatens the institution of heterosexual marriage is a false argument that has gained traction around the country. Vague language in Amendment 2 could harm unmarried heterosexual couples who live together for economic reasons. It could make it more difficult for unmarried couples to be each others hospital advocate. And it could be used to force local governments to deny benefits to gay and straight unmarried couples.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Miami Herald.