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New film ‘Outrage!’ doesn't 'out' Gov. Crist

By BETH REINHARD, breinhard@MiamiHerald.com

Two things you should know about Outrage, a new documentary that skewers politicians who are gay in private but oppose gay rights in public.

It's a worthwhile, provocative movie.

It does not ''out'' Gov. Charlie Crist.

The movie by Academy Award nominee Kirby Dick premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York last week and was shown Thursday at the Gay & Lesbian Film Festival in Miami Beach. It opens May 15 in South Florida.

HEARSAY

The film is worth seeing -- not because it breaks any new ground on Crist's sexuality, because it doesn't. It relies on hearsay from shadowy sources, clever edits and innuendo to build a feeble case. (Crist has denied that he's gay.)

But the film does make a coherent, compelling argument about the dangers of electing politicians who lie about their sexuality. Aside from the obvious personal destruction the closet wreaks on self and families, it enables politicians to live above the law.

The part of the movie featuring Crist opens during the 2006 campaign. A newscaster intones: ''Charlie Crist. Fifty. Single. No kids. Doesn't own a home.'' What more do you need to know, right?

Well, plenty. Even New Times blogger Bob Norman, whose reporting is repackaged in the film, wrote this week, ``So yes . . . I'm in the new film Outrage. And no, I offer no proof that our governor is gay.''

Asked about the lack of evidence, Dick said in a telephone interview that ''it's hard to have 100 percent proof.'' He's a long way from that, especially when compared with other targeted politicians who either acknowledge being gay, had sex with men willing to talk about it on camera, or, in the case of former Idaho Sen. Larry Craig, got arrested making a pass at an undercover cop in a men's bathroom.

As for proving the charge of Crist's hypocrisy, the film shows his awkward response to a question on same-sex marriage at a Tampa debate eight days before the 2006 election. At that time, Crist was a briefly married, former longtime bachelor.

''I believe that marriage is a sacred relationship between a man and a woman,'' Crist said. ``A marriage is a relationship like my mother and father had -- like I had before I got divorced.''

2008 AMENDMENT

The movie also hammers Crist for supporting the constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage on the 2008 ballot. Yet it omits that Crist didn't stump for the ban, and unlike former Gov. Jeb Bush, he didn't oversee a $300,000 donation from the Republican Party of Florida to the pro-amendment campaign.

Crist has said he has a ''live-and-let-live'' attitude and that civil unions are ''fine.'' That's basically the same position taken by President Barack Obama. Still, Dick said the amendment might not have passed without Crist's support.

''Look at the significance of this amendment, which may be the most important legacy of Charlie Crist,'' Dick said. ``If he truly has a live-and-let-live attitude, that would correspond to allowing gays and lesbians to marry.''

The movie closes with video from Crist's 2008 wedding, shown in slow motion for an ominous effect. It comes at an awkward time for Crist as he considers running for the U.S. Senate in 2010.

Knowing Crist's anti-confrontational style, he'll ignore the film. Because the scenes that don't involve him are so compelling, I don't think moviegoers will.

Beth Reinhard is the political writer for The Miami Herald.

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Come out, come out wherever you are Charlie.

Brava, Beth. There's such a HUGE difference between Crist publically supporting Amendment 2 and not stumping for it - talk about hair-splitting!!!

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