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Charlie Crist snags LGBT endorsements, calls out AG Pam Bondi for 'waste' in defending gay marriage ban

@SteveRothaus with @MarcACaputo

The largest gay-rights groups in Florida and the nation endorsed Democrat Charlie Crist on Thursday, a turnaround for the former Republican governor who once helped enshrine a same-sex marriage ban in the state's constitution.

In accepting the support of Equality Florida Action PAC and the Washington-based Human Rights Campaign, Crist pledged to pressure Florida's Republican attorney general, Pam Bondi, to stop fighting a lawsuit seeking to overturn the same-sex marriage ban voters approved in 2008 by 62 percent.

"I think it’s important to be able to use the influence of the office of governor in a positive effective way,” Crist said, “and encourage the attorney general, number 1, to get rid of these lawsuits – I think it’s a waste of time.”

“Number 2,” Crist said, “there’s a bully pulpit that comes with the office of governor. And I think you can appeal to the people of Florida to maybe call the attorney general and ask her to get rid of these lawsuits and let individuals in the state of Florida live their lives and keep your nose out of their private life."

The endorsements were particularly tough for Democrat Nan Rich, a former state Senate Democratic leader who fought for LGBT rights -- even when Crist opposed them. Rich is trailing Crist and Scott in the polls.

"I believe the best indicator of what someone will do is what they have done," Rich said in a written statement. "Regardless of who endorsed him today, when he was the Republican Governor of Florida Charlie Crist did not support issues important to the LGBT community. Crist opposed adoptions by same sex couples, and he signed the petition to put marriage discrimination on the ballot and was proud to say he voted for it."

Equality Florida says Crist has otherwise been a longtime LGBT-rights advocate. While governor, he dropped his support for Florida’s gay adoption ban and worked with the state Department of Children and Families to stop enforcement. During his Senate campaign, Crist supported repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and passage of a law that would prevent LGBT-related workplace discrimination.

“Charlie Crist’s position on marriage equality reflects the evolution of Florida voters,” said Stratton Pollitzer, chair of the Equality Florida PAC.

“The clear majority now supports full legal recognition of marriage equality, and that support is growing rapidly regardless of political party, age or religious identification.”

Some activists who supported Rich sounded disappointed.

“I’m going to continue to support Nan,” Broward LGBT/HIV activist Michael Emanuel Rajner said Thursday. “I trust Equality Florida is doing the best for the community to advance rights, legislation, protections. Unfortunately elections are not always what we would want them to be.”

Like other top Democrats, LGBT advocates endorsed Crist because they felt he has the best chance of beating Scott.

“We are honored to stand with Charlie Crist in his campaign to be the next governor of Florida,” said HRC National Field Director Marty Rouse. “Governor Crist will work to improve the lives of all Florida families – including LGBT families – and for that he has our gratitude and our support.”

In addition to shifting his stances, Crist’s party affiliations have switched over time. As governor, he became an independent in 2010 before he was going to lose a GOP U.S. Senate primary. But he lost in the general election anyway.

In 2012, Crist helped President Obama win re-election in Florida and soon after became a Democrat.

After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled a year ago that the federal government must recognize legal same-sex marriages, Scott said he would continue to support Florida’s 2008 constitutional ban.

“Look, it’s the law of the land. Voters in 2008 decided we’re going to be a traditional marriage state,” Scott told the Tampa Bay Times. “Look, I’ve been married since I was 19. I believe in traditional marriage.”

Florida's attorney general, Bondi, has appeared far more-conflicted about the gay-marriage ban.
In defending a lawsuit to undo the ban, her office filed a court brief that said "Florida's marriage laws, then, have a close, direct, and rational relationship to society's legitimate interest in increasing the likelihood that children will be born to and raised by the mothers and fathers who produced them in stable and enduring family units."

After she was criticized by liberals, libertarians and LGBT activists, Bondi said she was really talking about defending the will of voters.

"I take exception to those who have sought to manipulate our brief, trying to make it something it is not," she said in a statement. "The brief does not argue for or against same sex marriage as a matter of policy, wisdom, or fairness. Those decisions are for the voters of each state, not for lawyers or courts. It is my duty to protect Florida from the 'harm' of a federal injunction overriding the will of Florida voters."

Comments

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ed jenkins

Democrat primary voters have had enough of the party leaders sticking by this most horrible person crist following one embarrassment after another and now this is the last straw with this scumbag crist associating with a group of admitted perverts making a mockery of the party which once had honorable men like chiles and graham who would never be seen around such an offensive group to all Floridians. Party leaders cannot lack this much wisdom that they did not see this republican Trojan horse that has been sent to destroy the democrat party and they should not be so stubborn to admit their mistake and remove party leader preferred status from this scumbag crist.

FLMom

Perverts? Offensive? Ed, honey, put that mirror down right now!

Hmmmm...

What bothers me with Charlie attacking Bondi on her defending the Florida Constitution is the fact that it is her job...

Attack her on the language she used in her filing... but as a politician and Floridian, do you want politics deciding what aspects of the Constitution should be fought for and which ones should be ignored?

I don't... Charlie could have garnered a whole lot more support if he would have said he was getting John Morgan to start an effort to change the Constitution to eliminate that provision... but now (outside of the LGBT community) he is showing his lack of understanding of the workings of Florida law, the Constitution and separation of powers.

That is the last thing we need in the governor's mansion - an Obama clone.

d rogers

Seems Charlie wants HIS chance to play dictator as well.

Disappointed in the LBGTQ community for supporting this FRAUD...he doesn't care about nor intend to support them....he tried to BAN them...that's like Jews who vote for democrats, progressives, socialists....Hitler wad a lefty...isn't that a bit suicidal?

ed jenkins

Party leaders cannot continue to ignore democrat primary voters including this one who have warned about and then been disgusted that their predictions of the campaign meltdown of this scumbag crist would come true. The only explanation for the behavior of this most horrible man is that he has been sent as a Trojan horse by republicans to ensure their victory as no rational politician would be associated with this group of perverts he has now appeared with, a behavior greatly offensive to family friendly florida which has since its founding found this behavior to be criminal and recently affirmed that with nearly 2/3 of the state expressing their disgust for this behavior through a vote.

The readers

The readers have no desire to see arguments in the newspaper between this ed jenkins and his gay lover D where children might read their perverted comments.

Highly paid Republican operative

The readers,

The above comment by you is highly offensive and was not supposed to be disclosed publicly.

Can't take anymore

Bondi is awfully choosy about which parts of the US and Florida Constitutions she likes to involve in litigation. Guns, stopping abortions and protecting polluters are her favorite things to fight for while consumers, voters and working people are not really on her radar. She's too old to have kids but could enter into her third marriage to practice what she preaches.

jury

I met him what a douche.
I was part of a UCF STUDENT meet greet IN VOLUSIA COUNTY
in which he was HOURS LATE stayed for a few minutes then left.

It does't matter WHO you vote for,
just don't vote for this snake.
His view will change no matter what he says.
is';t there anyone better than him to vote for anyone ? get another den to vote for or whatever

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