Great news: Late Friday night, the Division of Elections certified the Florida Marriage Protection Amendment for 2008 ballot. Our efforts paid off in large part due to John Stemberger, State Chairman of Florida4Marriage.org, who sponsored the amendment and worked tirelessly to gather the needed signatures in a short time period.
Late last night the Florida Division of Elections announced that the Florida Marriage Protection Amendment is now certified for the November 4, 2008 ballot with a total of 649,346 petitions. Within the last two weeks, 92,000 petitions were collected in order to exceed the 611,009 required before the February 1 deadline.
In December, the Florida Division of Elections web site reported that more than enough petitions had counted and verified by the Supervisors of Elections, but then indicated in January that approximately 30,000 of the petitions were thrown out causing a shortage of approximately 22,000 petitions. With only two weeks remaining, groups and individuals all over the state rallied to collect more signatures to meet the February 1 deadline.
If the enthusiasm for the ballot is any indication, Florida should be able to pass this amendment and become the 45th state that protects marriage in either Constitution, Statute, or both. Only Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, and Rhode Island do not currently have statutory or constitutional language preserving the traditional understanding of marriage.