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Charlie Crist tells CNN that he supports constitutional ban on same-sex marriage

From Charlie Crist’s Sunday interview with Ed Henry on CNN’s State of the Nation:

cnn HENRY: Another big issue, same-sex marriage. Many conservatives like Marco Rubio support a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. But this week, the former Republican Party Chairman Ken Mehlman came out and said he's gay and he called on conservatives to kind of move to the political center and be more tolerant on this issue. You have previously said in your gubernatorial campaign, you supported a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Now that you're trying to occupy the political center, are you still in favor of a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage?

CRIST: I feel the same way, yes, because I feel that marriage is a sacred institution, if you will. But I do believe in tolerance. I'm a live and let live kind of guy, and while I feel that way about marriage, I think if partners want to have the opportunity to live together, I don't have a problem with that. …

… when it becomes to the institution of marriage, I believe that it is between a man and a woman, it's just how I feel.

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News release from Kendrick Meek campaign:

Governor Crist Tells CNN That He Has "A Live And Let Live" Attitude While Reiterating Support For Constitutional Ban On Same-Sex Marriage

Flashback: Governor Crist Endorsed Amendment 2, An Constitutional Ban On Any Type Of Same-Sex Partnership That Put Any Domestic-Partner Benefits In Doubt
Crist: "Everything is just a matter of degrees"

MIAMI GARDENS, FLA. -- While telling CNN that he has a "live and let live" attitude towards gay marriage today, Governor Crist reiterated his support for a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. When pressed by CNN's Ed Henry on the disconnect between the two statements, the governor responded by explaining that "everything is just a matter of degrees."

In 2006, Governor Crist endorsed Amendment 2, an amendment to the Florida constitution that was widely criticized for banning not just gay marriage in Florida but also blocking any other type of same-sex partnership.  The measure also put the constitutionality of extending any domestic-partner benefits to same-sex couples in doubt. Kendrick Meek lead the fight against the measure and was featured in a television commercial opposing the amendment.

While Governor Crist has a long record opposing LGBT rights, Kendrick has been a strong defender of LGBT rights.  He has been endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign, Save Dade, and Stonewall Democrats in the race for U.S. Senate.

Kendrick is the only candidate in the U.S. Senate race who has stood with Florida's LGBT community in the fight for equality. Check out the governor's record below. 

Crist's Stand Against Gay Marriage: Amendment 2
On Sept. 10, 2008 the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported that Crist said he supported Amendment 2, which banned gay marriage in the state, but also announced that he would not spend time actively promoting it, instead focusing on the Presidential race. Crist stated, "I'll support it, I'll vote for it, move on. It's not top-tier for me, put it that way." The Orlando Sentinel further added that Crist had prohibited the Republican Party of Florida from spending money to support the gay marriage ban. [South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 9/10/2008; Orlando Sentinel, 9/10/2008]

Amendment 2 Banned Gay Marriage and Cast Doubt on Partner Benefits
The Orlando Sentinel reported that Amendment 2 banned gay marriage and cast doubt on whether benefits would be legally extended to same-sex partners. The Sentinel wrote, "The one-sentence Amendment 2 defines marriage as between one man and one woman and bars any other 'legal union' that is an equivalent to marriage - a standard that would ban civil unions and, critics contend, could cast doubt on domestic-partner benefits." [Orlando Sentinel, 9/10/2008]

Crist Announced Support for Amendment 2 Despite Previous "Live and Let Live Attitude"
On Sept. 6, 2008, the Washington Blade reported that Crist's formal endorsement of Amendment 2, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman, was a break from his previously proclaimed "live and let live attitude." The Blade wrote:

Governor Charlie Crist's "live and let live" policy regarding the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Florida is now a thing of the past. A Crist spokesman confirmed that the governor is undeniably supporting Amendment 2. On Monday, Crist made a statement during an impromptu barbershop Q & A with reporters. When asked his position on Amendment 2, Crist's reply was surprisingly clear. "I support it," he said. [Washington Blade, 8/6/2008]

Crist: Including Gays, Pregnant Women In Civil Rights Legislation Too Controversial.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, the civil-rights law passed in 2003 failed to include discrimination against pregnant women as well as gays. While most states ban job discrimination against pregnant women and 12 other states already specifically prohibit discrimination in the workplace because of sexual orientation, AG Charlie Crist contended both were too controversial in clued and could have distracted from the main goal of fighting discrimination against minorities. Crist said fighting discrimination against minorities "was the prime focus." According to the article, "Many states also include discrimination against pregnant women, and at least a dozen specifically prohibit sexual- orientation discrimination in the workplace. Laws protecting gays from discrimination are being passed by a rising number of states, and many corporations have adopted such policies, including Wal-Mart, which announced last week that the company will include gays and lesbians in its anti-discrimination policy." [Orlando Sentinel, 06/07/03]

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Kendrick Meek is a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate in Florida. Prior to running for elected office, Kendrick was a Trooper in the Florida Highway Patrol. For more information, go to www.kendrickmeek.com.

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