The Florida Supreme Court was in South Florida Wednesday hearing arguments for why Amendment 6, also known as Marsy’s Law for Florida, should remain on the November General Election ballot. More than political or legal theatre, this is an issue that is so important and so deeply personal to Floridians who are survivors of crime, including me.
Right now, the scales of justice in Florida are far from balanced. While the accused and convicted have 20 distinct rights afforded to them under the U.S. Constitution, that great document is silent on victims’ rights. Our own state constitution lacks any clear, enforceable rights for victims. How can we as a society look crime victims in the face and tell them they don’t have the same rights and protections as the person who perpetrated the crime against them?
If passed by voters, Amendment 6 would ensure victims have the same rights and protections already provided to the accused and convicted -- no more, no less -- and would place these rights in the Florida Constitution. Victims deserve to have coequal rights and the voters deserve an opportunity to consider this measure.
The victims’ rights movement in Florida is on a precipice. We have the opportunity to join with other states in providing meaningful constitutional protections for victims or to remain among the few who do not. The decision lies with the Florida Supreme Court. My hope is the high court will uphold Amendment 6 and voters will be able to exercise their democratic right to vote for what they believe on this issue in November.
Lauren Book is founder and CEO of Lauren’s Kids, an internationally-recognized child protection advocate. She is also a best-selling author and a state senator.