A Victory for Core Civil Liberties in the Defeat of Amendments 5, 6 and 8

Howard Simon,
Executive Director, ACLU of Florida 

In this election, we Floridians had to defend our constitution from assault by our own Legislature.

The defeat of Amendments 5, 6 and 8 is  a major victory for the people of Florida over the  legislature which tried to deceive us into voting to surrender  our civil liberties  with misleading constitutional Amendments. The fact that the legislature came up short is a triumph for the constitutional rights of Floridians.

Amendment 5 would have altered  the delicate balance and separation of powers between the legislature and the courts by making the courts subservient to the legislature. The defeat of Amendment 5 is a victory for the independence of the judiciary on which all of our rights depend.

The defeat of Amendment 6 also represents a victory over an attempted overreach by Tallahassee politicians –  overreach into the private medical decisions of Florida women. In voting this amendment down, Floridians demonstrated that we trust Florida women to make private medical decisions rather than let legislators force decisions on them.  We are thankful that the voters refused to amend Florida’s constitutional right of privacy, making sure that everyone remains protected.

The voters also saw through the deceptive and  misleadingly-titled ‘Religious Freedom’ Amendment and preserved historic separation of church and state.  The defeat of Amendment 8’s  means that the Florida Constitution’s no-aid to religious institutions provision will continue to protect us against the dangerous entanglement of government and religion that comes with  taxpayer funding of religion.

The legislature tried to pull the wool over the voters’ eyes, but  the people of Florida demonstrated that we weren’t going to be fooled.

We are grateful for the support of our members, supporters, volunteers and local ACLU chapters across the state who worked hard with us to defend the Constitution from the legislature’s overreach.

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