Cerabino: Revise the state constitution? Yes, and here are suggestions


Dear Gov. Rick Scott:

I am writing you to offer my services as one of the Floridians you appoint to revise the Florida Constitution.

As a borderline upstanding citizen in this state, I would consider it a high honor to be among the 60 Floridians chosen to comb over this state document, which requires revisions every 20 years.

In anticipation of being selected to the Florida Constitution Revision Commission, I have already begun working on my own, coming up with four potential revisions for my fellow committee members to consider.

Here they are:

Revision No. 1: Does Florida really need the section on “treason?”

Article 1, Section 20 of the Constitution discusses “treason against the state,” and prohibits Floridians from giving “aid and comfort” to the state’s enemies.

Is the situation that dire in North Florida with Georgia Bulldog fans?

People reading this paranoia in Florida’s Constitution might get the idea that we are gearing up for some kind of civil war here.

Which would be wrong, considering that the state’s biggest enemies these days are dirty water, disease-carrying mosquitoes, and summer.

Revision No. 2: Marriage defined

Article 1, Section 27 of the Constitution still contains the now-unconstitutional definition of marriage as “the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife.” And goes on to say that “no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized.”

I realize that many of my fellow committee members will be selected by some of the leaders who pushed for this now-unconstitutional provision to be inserted into the state constitution eight years ago. And some may want to let this provision stand, as a kind of enduring, toothless protest against gay marriage.

So as a compromise, I suggest that if the committee allows this unconstitutional definition of marriage to remain in the Florida Constitution, the document should be required to include another equally unconstitutional marriage provision from a prior version of the Florida’s Constitution. Like this gem from the Florida Constitution of 1885:

“All marriages between a white person and a negro, or between a white person and a person of negro descent to the fourth generation, inclusive, are hereby forever prohibited.”

Revision No. 3: Insert random humor

The Florida Constitution, as it stands, is not an easy read. If you want people to actually know what’s in the state constitution, you should sprinkle in some humor in it as a way to reward the reader for paying attention.

This could be achieved simply, and without great consequence, by inserting the words “in bed” at the end of certain sentences.

Here are some examples from the text where this could be used:

“All elected public officers and candidates for such offices shall file full and public disclosure of their campaign finances in bed.”

Or this: “Holders of a concealed weapons permit as prescribed by general law shall not be subject to the provisions of this subsection when purchasing a firearm in bed.”

And let’s not forget the pregnant pigs in the state constitution:

“It shall be unlawful for any person to confine a pig during pregnancy in an enclosure, or to tether a pig during pregnancy, on a farm in such a way that she is prevented from turning around freely in bed.”

You see? Much more readable.

Revision No. 4: English as the state’s official language

Article II, Section 9 of the Florida Constitution declares English as the state’s official language and instructs the legislature to “enforce this section by appropriate legislation.”

In the revision, this should be written in Spanish and Creole so more Floridians will understand what it says.


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