Florida's marriage amendment passed despite being outspent by an estimated margin of 3-to-1 and despite a campaign by opponents to make the debate about anything but "gay marriage." The victory ended a three-plus-year effort that began with the collecting of signatures to place it on the ballot.
"Once again the people of Florida have spoken," said John Stemberger, chairman of Florida's Yes2Marriage.org. "They have voted for the common sense of marriage as the union of one man and one woman."
Gathering election night at Orlando's First Baptist Church of Central Florida, several hundred supporters of Amendment 2 watched cable news network election results, while carefully monitoring the votes on the marriage amendment coming in from across the state. By the time it was safe to declare victory at around 11 p.m. Eastern, about two dozen supporters sang the Fanny Crosby hymn, "To God be the Glory," and closed with a time of prayer led by Clayton Cloer, pastor of First Baptist Central Florida and leader of the effort to rally pastors to support the amendment.
The victory in Arizona means that every state that has placed a marriage amendment on the ballot eventually has passed it. The 2006 amendment failed, 52-48 percent, mainly because opponents successfully changed the debate away from "gay marriage." That was not the case this time, because supporters tweaked the amendment so that it banned "gay marriage" only and left the issue of same-sex civil unions for another day.