Fla. politicians coy on amendment stance
Will conservative Sen. Martinez oppose anti-gay measure?
By CHRIS JOHNSON, The Washington Blade | Mar 12, 1:33 PM
Some of Florida’s senior politicians are being surprisingly coy about where they stand on the state’s November ballot initiative that would ban same-sex marriage in the constitution.
When asked by the Blade, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat, offered nuanced opposition to the measure, while Sen. Mel Martinez, a conservative Republican, declined to take a position.
“I haven’t made any plans to do one thing or the other but I don’t really want to get into it,” Martinez said in a brief interview on Capitol Hill on March 4.
Martinez voted in favor of the Federal Marriage Amendment and is considered staunchly anti-gay. During the 2004 election, Martinez made the passage of the amendment a central part of his Senate election campaign. He attacked one of his opponents at the time, U.S. Rep. Bill McCollum (R-Fla.), for supporting legislation to authorize the federal government to prosecute anti-gay hate crimes. Martinez accused McCollum of catering to the “radical homosexual lobby” by supporting the measure.
In another reference to the hate crimes bill, the Martinez campaign described McCollum in a direct mail piece as “the new darling of the homosexual extremists.” The mailing prompted the St. Petersburg Times to rescind its endorsement of Martinez.
In 2006, Martinez was quoted as saying that the U.S. Constitution must address marriage and that leaving the issue to the states was not sufficient.