Anthony Niedwiecki

Know Thy Neighbor

Filed By Anthony Niedwiecki | August 20, 2008 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Amendment 2, Florida4Marriage, Know Thy Neighbor, marriage equality, Marriage Protection Amendment

Florida is facing one of its most important, and toughest, political battles this November. We face Amendment 2, an intrusive and dangerous amendment to our state constitution that would not only enshrine discrimination against the LGBT community and other unmarried Floridians into the state constitution, but also repeal domestic partnership registries and rights across the state. These rights include hospital visitation, end-of-life decisions, insurance, and other important benefits vital to the survival of many couples across the state- both gay and straight.

It is imperative that we come together and educate everyone in our lives about this so-called "Marriage Protection Amendment." We must reach out to family, friends, and neighbors to share with them our stories so we can show just how dangerous this amendment is.

One great tool to helping you find out who you need to reach out to in your community is the website The site, sponsored by the Christ Church of Peace in Jacksonville, lists the names and addresses of people who signed the petition to get the amendment on the ballot in a searchable database that can be divided up by name, county, or even street.

I can tell you from some of the people I have spoken to that many of those who signed the petition for the amendment didn't really know what they were signing up for. Many signed it in church or were told only vaguely what the amendment would do, not that it would have such a broad and devastating effect on many families around the state.

Looking through the list, I was surprised by some of the names I found- people I work with, neighbors, and people in our local government. Many of the names I saw were people whom I considered friends, people who know my partner and our family.

That's when I knew how I could make a difference.

I began to use the website as a tool to find those in my life who I could talk to. I knew I had to sit down and talk with them, explain how this amendment would impact me and my family. It became my mission to change hearts and minds, one person at a time.

By sitting down with these people who knew me and telling my story, putting the face of a friend on what until then had been a distant matter to many of them, I was able to make sure they didn't give money, support, or vote for Amendment 2.

We can all make a difference by reaching out to those in our lives and educating them about this amendment. Please use the Know Thy Neighbor website and begin having these conversations today. Together we can make sure we protect all of our families from this dangerous and deceptive amendment.

For more information on how to help defeat Amendment 2 or make a contribution to the campaign against it, please visit

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The only person I know who is on the Know Thy Neighbor list is my hairdresser. And every time I get my haircut I have 2 Vote No buttons on my purse, one on the front and the other on the back, so she can see them when I arrive and and when I leave.

I have found that wearing a Vote No 2 button on the upper part of the shoulder strap is very effective. People stop me and ask what the button means. It's amazing how many people, both gay and straight, have no idea about Amendment 2 so I get plenty of opportunities to educate them.

Anthony Niedwiecki | August 21, 2008 8:15 AM

I couldn't agree with you more, Dianne. My office where I teach has signs for SayNo2, so everyone is forced to ask me about it. The more we educate everyone, the closer we get to defeating this terrible amendment.