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Broward gay leaders to host Crist fundraiser

Several activists in Broward’s gay community are hosting a fundraiser for Charlie Crist's campaign for governor next week.

The March 19 event will be held at the home of Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner Dean Trantalis, an attorney and the city’s first openly gay city commissioner. The event is the first fundraiser in Broward’s politically active gay community for Crist.

Crist’s Democratic rival, former Sen. Nan Rich of Weston, has been a loyal supporter of gay rights. But Rich is lagging behind in fundraising and gay Democrats want to invest in the candidate they believe can win.

“I know that everyone is saying why have you abandoned Nan Rich? I don’t think we have abandoned Nan,” Trantalis said. “She has been a longtime supporter of equal rights for the LGBT community and she is a great person. ... There are some members of the gay community who have embraced Nan Rich’s campaign and I think that’s fine, but the reality is I don’t believe Nan has the ability to win statewide whereas I believe Charlie Crist has that ability...”

Gay activists point to Crist’s transformation in favor of gay marriage -- a stance that many more politicians have come to support including President Barack Obama. In an interview with Watermark, a Central Florida publication that caters to the gay community, Crist apologized for his previous stance against gay marriage.

"It comes down to one word: fairness," Crist told Watermark in an interview published in December. "Everybody deserves to be treated fairly."

PolitiFact has examined Crist’s stances on a few gay rights topics -- we put two on our Flip-O-Meter which does not make a judgment call on a politician’s changed stance but measures whether the person did flip and to what extent.

* PolitiFact gave Crist a “Full Flop” for changing his stance on gay marriage -- he came out in support in 2013.  After gay marriage had victories in several states, Crist posted a message of support on Facebook: "I most certainly support marriage equality in Florida and look forward to the day it happens here." 

* PolitiFact gave Crist a Full Flop for his stance on gays adopting -- he came out in favor after he left the GOP and became an independent in 2010.

* PolitiFact fact-checked Crist’s claim “I always supported civil unions.” Crist repeatedly made statements in favor of civil unions between 2006 and 2010. In fact a gay publication endorsed him in the Republican primary in 2006 because of his stance on civil unions. But Crist sacrified his support for civil unions by voting for an anti-gay-marriage amendment that could have also banned civil unions. We rated his claim Mostly False.

Back to the fundraiser: other host committee members include Michael Albetta, a well-known gay Democratic activist in Broward; Robin Bodiford, co-author of the county's domestic partnership ordinance and Norman Kent, publisher of South Florida Gay News.

The fundraiser starts at 5:30 p.m. and is seeking $100 per person or $25 for those under 30.