Orlando Sentinel cheap shots family values group

  • by: Blas Padrino 03/24/09

When local State Rerpresentative Scott Plakon (R-Dist. 39) introduced an amendment to the pre-marital preparation provisions of the Florida marriage law, he probably didn’t expect the brouhaha that the Orlando Sentinel has brewed. After all, it is inconsequential in terms of State policy.
Since 1998, Florida has required folks who apply for a marriage license to pay added fees of $32.50 to fund the Displaced Homemakers’ Trust Fund and the Family Courts Trust Fund. The law provides for waiver of the fees if the prospective spouses attend a pre-marital preparation class of at least four hours. The provision was signed into law by then-Governor Lawton Chiles, a Democrat, without so much as a peep of concern from the Sentinel. Representative Plakon’s proposal raises the fees by $100.00, but waives the increase for those love birds who take an eight-hour, instead of four-hour class. If anything, the proposal doubles up on the State’s already-established goal of encouraging couples contemplating marriage to learn about the obligations that come with the institution.
So, what’s got the flame-throwers at the Sentinel so riled up? Well, it’s all about John Stemberger and the Florida Family Policy Council. Under the headings of “’Marriage tax’ is an intrusion we don’t need” and “Fools rush in . . . to meddle in other people’s private lives,” columnists Scott Maxwell and George Diaz are tag-teaming on Mr. Stemberger and his organization like the old ‘Bolshevicks’ of the WWE. And like the duo of Volkoff and Zhukov, they’re not sparing the pokes-in-the-eye and the yanks of the hair.
To read the Sentinel columns, one would think that the bill is the product of some dark plot by the Family Policy Council to have the government stick “its nose into our bedrooms,” as Mr. Diaz wrote. But, of course, the Plakon bill does nothing of the sort. What the Sentinel articles reveal is an obvious hatred against Mr. Stemberger and his group for reasons unrelated to this bill.
The Florida Family Policy Council was part of the successful campaign to enact a constitutional amendment that defined marriage as between one man and one woman. This is an unpardonable offense in the Sentinel’s eyes. From that moment on, anything that the Council advocates will be regarded by the Sentinel as evil, its intentions will be questioned, its members will be demonized, and its work will be slandered.
On the other hand, the Sentinel will still be bankrupt.
(Top right: FFPC President John Stemberger)