BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com
Charlie Crist, rumored to be running as a Democrat for Florida governor, has come out in favor of gay marriage.
“I most certainly support marriage equality in Florida and look forward to the day it happens here,” Crist quietly announced Wednesday night on his Facebook page, hours after Delaware became the 11th state to legalize gay marriage.
Crist, formerly a Republican governor, apparently has evolved since the last time he ran for public office in 2010. During the GOP primary campaign against Marco Rubio for U.S. Senate, Crist told CNN he supported a constitutional ban against marriage equality.
“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,” Crist said at the time, adding that when it comes “to the institution of marriage, I believe that it is between a man and a woman. It's just how I feel."
Wednesday afternoon, Crist met in a Biscayne Boulevard restaurant with Miami mortgage broker Joseph Falk a public policy advisor at Akerman Senterfitt and former board chairman of SAVE Dade, the county’s largest gay-rights group.
“We discussed a great number of topics, one of which, of course, was the issue of marriage equality,” said Falk, a national Democratic Party fundraiser and activist. “He listened to some of the topics and he did not tell me that he was going to go on Facebook later that night and announce his decision to support marriage equality.”
Falk said Crist said little about the issue at lunch, before the former governor returned to Tampa.
“We talked and he said, ‘I’m already there,’" Falk recalled. "I did not press him, nor question or give him advice on whether it was the appropriate time to make any kind of formal announcement. But I did say this was important to a large constituency group here in Florida.”