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Catholics for Choice Mobilizes Florida Catholics against Amendments 6 & 8

November 5, 2012

Catholics across the state of Florida have taken action to oppose two proposed amendments to the Florida Constitution: Amendments 6 and 8 appear on the November 6 ballot.

If passed, Amendment 8 would gut the separation of church and state in Florida’s constitution, give a free pass for religious organizations to discriminate and create a blank check for any individual or organization claiming a religious mantle, with no strings attached or questions asked.

If passed, Amendment 6 would allow the government to interfere with a woman’s conscience-based decisions about her reproductive healthcare needs.

In coalition with the Vote No On 6 Campaign and the Vote No On 8 Campaign, Catholics for Choice has engaged Florida Catholics to raise their voices to oppose Amendments 6 and 8. Citing their commitment to social justice, freedom of conscience and religious liberty for everyone, Florida Catholics have spoken out in their communities, in local and state media and through social networks.

  • BJ Star, a member of the Catholics for Choice network, spoke out as a Catholic, as a lawyer and as a Floridian against Amendment 6 during a press conference hosted by the Faith Voices Against 6 campaign, an interfaith coalition featuring Catholics for Choice, the National Council of Jewish Women and the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. She said: “I was taught in Catholic schools all through grade and high school, and they drilled into me that the most important virtues were faith, hope and charity. And since the word ‘catholic’ means ‘universal,’ that meant that we were obliged to practice universal faith, hope and charity. The consequences of Amendment 6, however, would mean less faith in our women, less hope for the poor and less charity all around.”
  • During a press conference in Spanish and English hosted by the No On 6 campaign, Aida Zuniga, a member of the Catholics for Choice network, explained why she opposes Amendment 6 as a Catholic, as a Latina and as a social worker in the Miami area. She noted, “As Catholics, we respect the rights of all people to make their own healthcare decision without interference from their employers or the government. Like the majority of Catholics around the world, including more than 2.2 million Catholics in Florida, we know that this respect includes women, whom we trust to make their own decision regarding whether and when to have children.”
  • Members of the Catholics for Choice network appeared in photos declaring that “Florida Catholics Vote No On 6 & 8,” which were featured in newspaper advertisements throughout the state.
  • Catholics in Florida have been sending letters to the editor to their local newspapers expressing their opposition to Amendments 6 and 8. In a letter to the editor that appeared in a Jacksonville newspaper, for instance, a Catholic resident of Green Cove Springs spoke out.
  • A resident of Tampa told us that she was standing up against Amendment 6 “because those personal decisions should be made by the woman after consulting with God and she should not be limited by the government or any other institution.”
  • Another individual from Winter Park said that she was opposed because she believes that “government needs to stay out of our personal lives and our personal business.”
  • A man from Cocoa Beach said he was opposing Amendment 6 because his faith tells him that “the moral correctness” of each woman’s reproductive healthcare decisions “belongs solely between her and God if she is Catholic, and not politicians.”
  • A woman from Tamarac Island kept her reason for opposing Amendment 6 simple: “Support freedom of religion!”
  • Catholics from throughout the state pledged to oppose Amendment 8 because they agreed that “Equal justice under the law should be more than a slogan. Amendment 8 attempts to twist the definition of religious liberty, however, to instead ensure that any individual or organization claiming a religious mantle has a right to government contracts, without oversight, accountability or questions asked.”
  • Thousands of Catholics and non-Catholics alike have clicked, liked and shared messages on Facebook to let their friends know that Catholics oppose Amendments 6 and 8.

At Catholics for Choice, we know that Catholics in Florida, like Catholics around the world, will continue to protect women’s health and consciences, respect separation of church and state and defend religious liberty for all even after the polls close tomorrow.