Critics -- conservatives in particular -- will no doubt have plenty of reasons why they think Gov. Charlie Crist made the wrong choice in appointing his former chief of staff to serve out the remainder of U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez's term. Never elected to office. Potential conflicts of interest involving his firm and state contracts and other clients. He's negotiating the state's gambling compact (many conservatives including Crist's US Senate opponent Marco Rubio oppose gambling).
But it's some of the stances LeMieux took on gay adoption and gay benefits way back in 1998 when he ran unsuccessfully for the state House that could really rankle the conservative base.
In 1998, when LeMieux was challenging Democratic state Rep. Tracy Stafford for a Broward Congressional seat, he sought to siphon off votes from the district's gay community in Fort Lauderdale and Wilton Manor.
LeMieux told Steve Bousquet (back then of the Herald, now of the Times/Herald) in September 1998 that gay couples in Florida should be allowed to adopt children. He also said he favored domestic partnership laws to extend health care and other benefits enjoyed by married couples. He said unmarried partners should be permitted to be listed as beneficiaries on insurance policies.
LeMieux said he opposed gay marriage, but said he was willing to let voters have the final say in a referendum.
"Marriage is a fundamental kind of institution," LeMieux said. "If you're going to have such a significant change, I think the people would have to speak on it."
When asked today if they have any differences of opinions (aside from the fact that Crist likes the Bucs, LeMieux the 'Fins), Crist said he didn't know...