A bill which would recognize the
relationships of gay and lesbian couples with domestic partnerships
was introduced Wednesday in the Florida Senate.
State Senator Eleanor Sobel's Families
First bill (SB 196) seeks to allow gay Floridians some rights usually
reserved for married couples.
“The state has a strong interest in
promoting stable and lasting families, and believes that all families
should be provided with the opportunity to obtain necessary legal
protections and status and the ability to achieve their fullest
potential,” the bill reads in part.
John Stemburger, president of the
Florida Family Policy Council, a group opposed to gay rights, said
the bill wouldn't go far in the Republican-controlled Legislature.
“I think they're lucky if they get it
debated,” Stemburger told News
Service of Florida.
He described the proposal as a attempt
to circumvent Florida's 2008 voter-approved constitutional amendment
limiting marriage to heterosexual couples.
Sobel, a Democrat from Hollywood, has
previously introduced similar measures. Three major Florida cities,
Miami, Orlando and Tampa, along with several counties, currently
recognize gay couples with domestic partnerships.
According to a recent poll by The
Washington Post, a majority of Florida voters (54%) support gay
nuptials, while 33 percent remain opposed. Other polls, however,
have pegged support at less than 50 percent.