Florida, California voters approve gay-marriage bans

A ban on gay marriage, which is already illegal in Florida, looks like it will be enshrined in the state Constitution.

The Florida Marriage Protection Amendment is one of four constitutional changes that appeared headed for approval with 95 percent of statewide precincts reporting. The others are tax breaks for land conservation, working waterfronts and homeowners who install hurricane shutters or solar panels.

An amendment that would have allowed community colleges to raise tax money locally, and another that would have removed an obsolete state law prohibiting foreigners from owning property in Florida, looked like they wouldn't muster the 60 percent vote needed for approval.

The marriage protection amendment defines marriage as a bond between straight couples and renders invalid any other union that is "treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent.''

Opponents view that language as a threat to domestic partnerships, arrangements recognized by some local governments in Florida which ensure access to shared health insurance benefits and hospital visitation rights for gay couples and unmarried heterosexuals.

''The master plan of our opposition is social engineering to make sure homosexuals have no rights,'' said C.J. Ortuño, Executive Director of SAVE, Miami-Dade's largest gay rights group.

Supporters of the amendment claim that gay marriage devalues the nuclear family and deprives children of the benefits of growing up with a traditional mom and dad.

The measure was leading with 62 percent of the vote.

California voters also appeared likely to return to their state constitution a prohibition on same sex marriage.

Read the full story about Florida's measure at

The story on the California ban can be foundat