Former Florida Gov. Reubin Askew died early Thursday at age 85.
Askew, according to his obit in the Miami Herald, was a "fiercely determined advocate" for racial equality.
He was no friend to the gay community.
As documented in the new Miami Herald/WPBT2 film by Joe Cardona, The Day It Snowed In Miami, Askew firmly stood by friend Anita Bryant and supported repeal of Miami-Dade County's gay-rights ordinance.
Said Askew in 1977:
"If I were living in Dade County, I would have no hesitation in voting to repeal the ordinance. I do not want a known homosexual teaching my child and I think that a person ought to have the right to determine whether or not they want someone with that known lifestyle living on their premises."
Two years later, during his confirmation hearing to be U.S. Trade Representative under President Jimmy Carter, Askew testified in the Senate that he would not knowingly hire a gay person.
From a 2009 opinion article written for the Miami Herald by former U.S. Sen. Bob Packwood, who took part in Askew's confirmation hearing:
For the first time in congressional history, perhaps, we embarked on new ground on civil rights. I asked Askew whether he had said these words, ``I would not have a homosexual on my staff.''
The official hearing record makes it clear:
Askew: ``Yes sir, I did. I said a known homosexual, and I would not.''
I asked if that was his present position, and he confirmed it was true. His position was well known because of his support for Anita Bryant's efforts in Dade County to deny ``homosexuals'' employment rights and specifically, the ability to teach in schools in 1977.
I followed up again and asked if it was his position to ``not have a homosexual'' on his staff. He responded, ``I would not have a known homosexual on my staff, simply, senator, by virtue of the tremendous problems it presents in dealing with public constituencies.''
I asked, ``If I understand your answer to the extent that you can, within the bounds of the law, you intend to follow the policy as Special Trade Representative of not hiring known homosexuals?''
Askew: ``Let us put it this way, senator, that I would follow whatever the personnel policy of the federal government is, but in the selections I have made thus far -- and I have very little flexibility in hiring -- I have not, and would not.''