Amendment 2
This amendment protects marriage as the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife and provides that no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized.
Response Votes %
Yes 4,890,883 61.92%
No 3,008,026 38.08%
Valid votes 7,898,909 93.41%
Invalid or blank votes 557,420 6.59%
Total votes 8,456,329 100.00%
Registered voters/turnout 75.18%

2008 Florida Amendment 2 results map by county.svg

Florida Amendment 2 is an amendment made to the Constitution of Florida in 2008. It added Article I, Section 27 to the constitution, which defines marriage as a union only between one man and one woman, and thus bans the creation of similar unions, such as civil unions or same-sex marriage.

Since 2014, the measure has been litigated in court and has been struck down by multiple state courts so far in several counties of southern Florida.

Same-sex marriage became legal in Florida when the decision in the federal case Brenner v. Scott found the amendments banning same-sex marriage (including Amendment 2) to be unconstitutional.[1][2]


Amendment 2 added Article I Section 27 of the Florida constitution. This states:

Inasmuch as marriage is the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife, no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized.[3]

The initiative

The amendment was proposed by means of the initiative process, and went before the voters of Florida in a referendum held on November 4, 2008. Similar proposals were put to a vote at the same time in Arizona (Proposition 102) and California (Proposition 8).

Proposed constitutional amendments in Florida require 611,009 signatures, including at least 8% of voters in the last presidential election and at least 8% of voters in each congressional district of Florida. The initiative was certified with 649,346 signatures and was placed on the ballot on February 2008.[4] 60% of voters were required to pass the amendment in Florida.

A Quinnipiac University Polling Institute poll on September 8, 2008 showed that 55% favored the proposed amendment, while 41% oppose it.[5] "Florida and Arizona joined 27 other states that previously approved such amendments."[6]

The amendment was ultimately passed by a margin of 61.9% in favor and 38.1% opposed.[7] In the Florida 2008 election, Barack Obama voters as a whole voted 57% against Amendment 2 while John McCain voters voted 81% in favor of the legislation. Republican Governor Charlie Crist publicly supported Amendment 2.[8]

Monroe County was the only county to have a majority of the voters reject the amendment by a margin of 1,580 votes.

Amendment 2[9]
Choice Votes %
Referendum passed
4,890,883 61.92
No 3,008,026 38.08
Valid votes 7,898,909 93.41
Invalid or blank votes 557,420 6.59
Total votes 8,456,329 100.00

Comparison to Proposition 8

A similar and more widely controversial ballot initiative in California, Proposition 8, was titled "ELIMINATES RIGHT OF SAME–SEX COUPLES TO MARRY. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT" and summarized accordingly. This description differed from the description of Florida's Amendment 2 in that it referred to a right being removed.[10]

Another difference between Amendment 2 and Proposition 8 was that the latter did not render domestic partnerships unlawful in California,[11] while the text of Amendment 2 made the recognition of civil unions—or other marriage-like relationships for same-sex couples—unlawful in Florida.[12]

Effect of education

A study was done to see the effect of education on the votes.[13] Controlling for other socioeconomic and political factors, for each additional 1 percent of a county's population with a bachelor of arts degree, the study concluded that there was nearly an equal 1 percent decrease in support for Amendment 2. By comparison, every 1 percent increase in a county's black population led to only two-tenths of a percentage point increase in support for Amendment 2. According to one of the study's authors, "Education is so important because it increases exposure to those who are different. Studies show very clearly that the more educated people are the more tolerant they are of differences."

2014 litigation

Since the beginning of 2014, several couples and plaintiffs have sued the state of Florida over the amendment, as part of a larger, concentrated effort by gay rights activists and groups encouraged by the federal Supreme Court's decisions regarding marriage made the previous year. Multiple state lawsuits against the amendment have already been successful so far, succeeding in the amendment being struck down successively in Monroe, Miami-Dade, and Broward counties. On August 5, 2014, a Palm Beach County judge issued a ruling in a case pertaining to a surviving spouse's rights in a specific estate case which resulted in the union of a widow and her deceased wife as the first ever same-sex marriage officially recognized in Florida.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, a Republican up for reelection in 2014 considered vulnerable due to association with Governor Rick Scott, has been a staunch defender of the amendment in court. Critics have pointed to her two previous divorces as a cause for hypocrisy when compared to her statements about the sanctity of marriage. Bondi has appealed all state court rulings thus far, which, as required by Florida law, automatically stays the rulings until the beginning of the appeal process.

The rulings against the amendment have been welcome by gay rights groups, the activist gay community in southern Florida, both Democratic gubernatorial candidates, and it appears a majority of Floridians, as at least one recent poll by the conservative-leaning firm Quinnipiac now shows that 56% of likely voters now favor marriage equality, a near-total reversal since 2008.

Concurrently with the lawsuits and rulings, a governor's race took place in 2014 and both leading candidates had completely opposite views on the issue of marriage. Incumbent Governor Rick Scott is opposed to marriage equality. Former governor and Democratic primary candidate Charlie Crist, who has changed parties since 2008, now supports same-sex marriage and ran on a platform that included giving same-sex couples the right to marry.

See also


  1. ^ Sweeney, Dan (August 21, 2014). "Same-sex marriage ban struck down in Florida federal court". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
  2. ^ Snow, Justin (August 21, 2014). "Federal judge rules Florida same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional". Metro Weekly. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
  3. ^ "Initiative Information - Florida Marriage Protection Amendment" (PDF). Florida Department of State, Division of Elections. February 6, 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 9, 2008. Retrieved November 5, 2008.
  4. ^ "Gay marriage ban gets on ballots". International Herald-Tribune. 2008-02-02. Retrieved 2008-09-14.
  5. ^ "Voters Back Ban On Gay Marriage, But Short Of 60%". Quinnipiac University. 2008-09-08. Archived from the original on 2008-10-27. Retrieved 2008-09-14.
  6. ^ Gay-marriage bans pass in Florida, Arizona. Retrieved November 5, 2008
  7. ^ Brunn, Stanley D., ed. (2011). Atlas of the 2008 Elections. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 258. ISBN 9780742567962.
  8. ^ "Amendment 2 - Not A Black Thing". Archived from the original on 2011-07-11. Retrieved 2008-11-25.
  9. ^ "November 4, 2008 General Election". Florida Division of Elections. Archived from the original on February 19, 2012. Retrieved 2015-01-16.
  10. ^ "Proposition 8 Title and Summary". Archived from the original on November 20, 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-25.
  11. ^ "California's Passage of Proposition 8 Setback for Same-Sex Binational Couples".
  12. ^ "Initiative Information - Florida Marriage Protection Amendment" (PDF). Florida Department of State, Division of Elections. February 6, 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 9, 2008. Retrieved November 5, 2008.
  13. ^ "Education played bigger role than race in approving gay marriage ban". Archived from the original on 2010-06-06. Retrieved 2009-09-06.