State of Florida Archives: on Civil Rights


Pam Keith: Racists are sad aberrations, but they still exist

Q: What did being black mean to you growing up?

A: From 0-6, I didn't even know I was "black." I was just an American and a girl. I was introduced to race as an issue when "Roots" came on TV. It was very traumatic for me to learn that I descended from people who were so profoundly abused, because I wanted to go back in time and stop slavery and get justice. I didn't relate any of that to my own existence until I moved to Kentucky when my Mom got a scholarship to attend UK. Racism was alive and real, and palpable. By then, I had developed a habit of accepting people and expecting them to be basically good. So I considered the mean folks in Kentucky to be sad aberrations, people who were just ignorant and unhappy. I didn't really focus on race issues again until I was a teenager in a racially mixed school, and chose to embrace African American culture. That choice was central to me feeling good about myself and who I am, without sacrificing my love and acceptance of others.

Source: Rise Miami News on 2016 Florida Senate race Aug 13, 2015

Jeb Bush: OpEd: "One Florida" scrapped affirmative action

In early 2000, state Sen. Kendrick Meek was angry at Bush's "One Florida" decision scrapping affirmative action in Florida's higher-education system. Bush said he issued the order to head off a ballot initiative that would have been more stringent. He contended his move would increase minority enrollment in state universities. It guaranteed admission to the top 20% of high school seniors, expanded the state's student financial aid budget and made it easier for minority businesses to be certified to work across Florida.

But the surprise nature of the governor's executive order incensed lots of Floridians--to the point that Meek showed up uninvited in Bush's office. He insisted he wouldn't leave until the affirmative action ban was rescinded. Seeking to end a public relations nightmare, Bush agreed to meet lawmakers in a Capitol conference room. There he agreed to delay his order ending affirmative action so public hearings could be held on the issue. The plan did go through, slightly delayed

Source: Washington Post, "Florida affirmative action ban" Apr 7, 2015

Kendrick Meek: Sit-in to protest "One Florida" end of affirmative action

In early 2000, state Sen. Kendrick Meek was angry at Bush's "One Florida" decision scrapping affirmative action in Florida's higher-education system. Bush said he issued the order to head off a ballot initiative that would have been more stringent. He contended his move would increase minority enrollment in state universities. It guaranteed admission to the top 20% of high school seniors, expanded the state's student financial aid budget and made it easier for minority businesses to be certified to work across Florida.

But the surprise nature of the governor's executive order incensed lots of Floridians--to the point that Meek showed up uninvited in Bush's office. He insisted he wouldn't leave until the affirmative action ban was rescinded. Seeking to end a public relations nightmare, Bush agreed to meet lawmakers in a Capitol conference room. There he agreed to delay his order ending affirmative action so public hearings could be held on the issue. The plan did go through, slightly delayed

Source: Washington Post, "Florida affirmative action ban" Apr 7, 2015

Gwen Graham: Fight to pass Paycheck Fairness Act

A dollar doesn't go as far as it used to, but Congress can take the steps now to help strengthen the financial stability of families' right here in North Florida.
Source: 2014 Florida House campaign website, GwenGraham.com Nov 4, 2014

Charlie Crist: I support same-sex marriage

Source: Miami Herald on 2014 Florida Gubernatorial debate Oct 15, 2014

Rick Scott: I support traditional marriage

For the roughly 7 percent of voters who remain undecided there were plenty of clear differences to consider:
Source: Miami Herald on 2014 Florida Gubernatorial debate Oct 15, 2014

Charlie Crist: I left GOP because they bash Obama's race

Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (D) said Tuesday that a "big reason" why he left the Republican Party was because many in the GOP were hostile to President Obama due to his race.

Crist said that he felt uncomfortable with his previous party affiliation. Republicans are perceived as "anti-women, anti-immigrant, anti-minority, [and] anti-gay," he said, and they refuse to compromise with Obama. The ex-governor said he feels, "liberated as a Democrat."

"I couldn't be consistent with myself and my core beliefs, and stay with a party that was so unfriendly toward the African-American president, I'll just go there," he said. "I was a Republican and I saw the activists and what they were doing, it was intolerable to me."

Crist left the GOP

Source: Fusion.net e-zine on 2014 Florida gubernatorial race May 6, 2014

Charlie Crist: 2010: Backed gay marriage ban; 2014: supports gay marriage

Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is trying to make amends with the gay community--and the Democratic base-over his record on marriage equality. The Republican-turned-Democrat, who's running for his old job, directly apologized for previously supporting a state ban on same-sex unions. "I'm sorry I did that," Crist said in response to backing Amendment 2 to Florida's Constitution. "It was a mistake. I was wrong. Please forgive me."

After being pressed further, Crist once again addressed his evolving stance on the topic: "I made a mistake. I'm not perfect," he said. "That's the journey I'm on, and I'm still on it."

In 2010, he stood by the ban and said that he believes marriage is "a sacred institution between a man and a woman." Crist said he was inspired by President Obama to finally come out in support of marriage equality. "Everybody deserves to love who they want to. Everybody deserves to marry who they want to. Even the Pope has said, 'Who am I to judge?'"

Source: MSNBC coverage of 2014 Florida gubernatorial race Jan 3, 2014

Rick Scott: $36 million for community-based disabled help

Our budget increases funding for persons with disabilities by $36 million to help more disabled people receive community-based services, and $2.5 million for job training. Betty Kay Clements is here today--she is an advocate for persons with disabilities in the Orlando area. I was honored to meet Betty recently and hear her story about her daughter, Laura Lynne, who has overcome many obstacles with her disability to get a job at Target.
Source: 2013 State of the State speech to Florida Legislature Mar 5, 2013

George LeMieux: Pro-family supporter of traditional marriage

Our families and our autonomy is under assault. During my time in the Senate I defended our values. I am pro-family, pro-life and a supporter of traditional marriage between a man and a woman. If given the chance to represent the people of Florida again in the U.S. Senate, I will continue to defend these values.
Source: 2012 Senate campaign website, georgeforflorida.com, "Issues" Jul 16, 2011

Charlie Crist: Opposed gay adoption; then praised Court overturning ban

Meek pointed out that Crist has changed his position on several issues, including once being against allowing gay couples to adopt children and later praising a legal decision that said Florida's ban is unconstitutional.

"Charlie Crist stands on a wet paper box," Meek said. "You don't know where he is."

Rubio said neither Crist nor Meek would oppose the Obama administration.

Source: Associated Press coverage of 2010 Florida Senate Debate Oct 6, 2010

Al Franken: Apologized for comic routines that offended women

The convention's controversies brought to a head Franken's weakness among women voters. As he won the DFL nomination, he told the delegates, "It kills me that things I said and wrote sent a message, that they can't count on me to be a champion for women, for all Minnesotans. I'm sorry for that. Because that's not who I am. I wrote a lot of jokes. Some of them weren't funny. Some of them weren't appropriate. Some of them were downright offensive. I understand that."

As the real head-to-head battle with Coleman was set to begin, all of Franken's previous writings, satirical, hysterical, whimsical or not, were now political problems that especially turned off women voters.

Source: This Is Not Florida, by Jay Weiner, p. 75 Sep 16, 2010

Alexander Snitker: Open gays ok in military; don't define marriage

Q: Do you support allowing openly-gay men and women to serve in the United States military?

A: Yes.

Q: Should marriage only be between one man and one woman?

A: No. The government should not be involved in marriage. It is a contract between individuals. I support the civil rights of all Americans - not just certain groups.

Source: Florida Congressional Election 2010 Political Courage Test Aug 11, 2010

Alexander Snitker: End affirmative action programs

Q: Should the federal government end affirmative action programs?

A: Yes.

Source: Florida Congressional Election 2010 Political Courage Test Aug 11, 2010

Bernard DeCastro: Define marriage as one man and one woman

Question: ON MARRIAGE: Defining marriage as the exclusive union of one man and one woman?

Answer: SUPPORT

Source: Florida Catholic Conference Candidate Questionnaire Aug 11, 2010

Charlie Crist: Lifetime member of NAACP

He has appointed judges whom many Republicans deem liberal, and his support for restoring voting rights to ex-felons is hardly a Republican hobbyhorse. He boasts of being a "life member" of the N.A.A.C.P., and one black legislator called Crist the state's "first black governor."
Source: New York Times on 2010 Florida Senate debate Jan 10, 2010

Rudy Giuliani: Comfortable with trying to reach voters in Spanish

Q: Your immigration plan calls for all immigrants to learn English to gain citizenship. So why is your campaign airing an ad in Spanish?

A: This is a country that is built around the English language. If you want to become a citizen, you should demonstrate your facility with English. If you know other languages, that is a wonderful thing. If we have substantial portions of populations that know other languages, I’m very comfortable trying to reach them in both English and in Spanish.

Source: 2008 GOP debate in Boca Raton Florida Jan 24, 2008

Mitt Romney: MA Constitution, by John Adams, has no same-sex marriage

I’ve been in a state that has gay marriage, and I recognize that the consequences of gay marriage fall far beyond just the relationship between a man and a woman. They also relate to our kids and the right of religion to be practiced freely in a society.

The status of marriage, if it’s allowed among the same sex individuals in one state is going to spread to the entire nation. And that’s why it’s important to have a national standard for marriage. And I’m committed to making sure that we reinforce the institution of marriage in this country by insisting that all states have a right to have marriage as defined as between a man and a woman; and we don’t have unelected judges saying we’re going to impose same-sex marriage where it was clearly not in their state constitution.

My state’s constitution was written by John Adams. It isn’t there. I’ve looked. The people need to speak on this issue and make sure that marriage is preserved as between a man and a woman.

Source: 2007 GOP primary debate in Orlando, Florida Oct 21, 2007

Ron Paul: Protect all voluntary associations; don’t define marriage

Q: On gay marriage. You’ve been quoted as saying, “Any association that’s voluntary should be permissible in a free society.” And you’ve expressed your opposition to a constitutional ban on gay marriage.

A: If you believe in federalism, it’s better that we allow these things to be left to the state. My personal belief is that marriage is a religious ceremony. And it should be dealt with religiously. The [government] really shouldn’t be involved. The government got involved mostly for health reasons 100 years or so ago. But this should be a religious matter. All voluntary associations, whether they’re economic or social, should be protected by the law. But to amend the Constitution is totally unnecessary to define something that’s already in the dictionary. We do know what marriage is about. We don’t need a new definition or argue over a definition and have an Amendment. To me, it just seems so unnecessary to do that. There’s no need for the federal government to be involved in this.

Source: 2007 GOP primary debate in Orlando, Florida Oct 21, 2007

Rudy Giuliani: No Marriage Amendment needed now, but maybe if DOMA fails

Q: You said that if DOMA were to fail, or states began to legalize gay marriage, you would [withdraw your opposition to] a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

A: I do not believe under the state that presently exists, with the Defense of Marriage Act and basically one state that has by judicial fiat created same-sex marriage--I don’t think we need a constitutional amendment at this point. If a lot of states start to do that--5 or 6 states--then we should have a constitutional amendment.

Source: 2007 GOP primary debate in Orlando, Florida Oct 21, 2007

Betty Castor: Support basic protections for gay couples, but not marriage

Q: Do you support gay marriage? Do you support civil unions?

CASTOR: I do not support gay marriage, but I oppose changing the US Constitution over this issue. We should be conservative with our Constitution, not run out and change it over contentious social issues. I do support basic legal protections for couples who make a commitment to each other, such as the right to visit each other in the hospital. No one should be denied basic human rights like that.

MARTINEZ: I believe a marriage should be only between one man and one woman and I will vote for the constitutional amendment that defines marriage as a union between a man and woman.

Source: Florida Senate Debate, Q&A by Associated Press Oct 24, 2004

Mel Martinez: Support the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage

Q: Do you support gay marriage? Do you support civil unions?

CASTOR: I do not support gay marriage, but I oppose changing the US Constitution over this issue. We should be conservative with our Constitution, not run out and change it over contentious social issues. I do support basic legal protections for couples who make a commitment to each other, such as the right to visit each other in the hospital. No one should be denied basic human rights like that.

MARTINEZ: I believe a marriage should be only between one man and one woman and I will vote for the constitutional amendment that defines marriage as a union between a man and woman.

Source: Florida Senate Debate, Q&A by Associated Press Oct 24, 2004

Andy Martin: Discontinue affirmative action programs

Source: 2000 Florida Congressional National Political Awareness Test Nov 1, 2000

Bill Nelson: Favors requiring companies to hire more women & minorities

Earlier this year, I hit Nationwide, one of the country’s biggest insurers, with a $100,000 penalty to end marketing practices that discriminated against Floridians based on their age, sex, marital status and occupation.

We quickly and effectively ended the use of marketing strategies that discriminated against consumers across the state.

Each of us, in whatever capacity we serve, can also act to help win every battle for equal rights.

Source: Remarks at Florida Voters League, June 20, 1998 Sep 20, 2000

Lois Frankel: Affirmative action in state hiring and college

Q: Should state government agencies should take race and sex into account in college and university admissions?

A: Yes.

Q: Public employment?

A: Undecided.

Q: State contracting?

A: Yes.

Source: Florida 1998 National Political Awareness Test Nov 1, 1998

Jeb Bush: Supports Affirmative Action; against quotas

Source: 1998 Florida National Political Awareness Test Jul 2, 1998

Jeb Bush: No hate-crimes status for gays; no gay marriage

Q: Do you believe that the Florida government should include sexual orientation in Florida’s anti-discrimination laws?

A: No.

Q: Do you believe that the Florida government should recognize same-sex marriages?

A: No.

Source: 1998 Florida National Political Awareness Test Jul 2, 1998

Ronald Reagan: Supports constitutional amendment to allow prayer in schools

When our Founding Fathers passed the First Amendment, they never intended to construct a wall between government and religious belief. The Supreme Court opens its proceedings with a religious invocation. Congress opens sessions with a prayer. I believe the schoolchildren of the United States are entitled to the same privileges. I sent the Congress a constitutional amendment to restore prayer to public schools. I am calling on the Congress to act speedily and to let our children pray.
Source: Speech in Orlando Florida Mar 8, 1983

  • The above quotations are from State of Florida Politicians: Archives.
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2016 Presidential contenders on Civil Rights:
  Republicans:
Gov.Jeb Bush(FL)
Dr.Ben Carson(MD)
Gov.Chris Christie(NJ)
Sen.Ted Cruz(TX)
Carly Fiorina(CA)
Gov.Jim Gilmore(VA)
Sen.Lindsey Graham(SC)
Gov.Mike Huckabee(AR)
Gov.Bobby Jindal(LA)
Gov.John Kasich(OH)
Gov.Sarah Palin(AK)
Gov.George Pataki(NY)
Sen.Rand Paul(KY)
Gov.Rick Perry(TX)
Sen.Rob Portman(OH)
Sen.Marco Rubio(FL)
Sen.Rick Santorum(PA)
Donald Trump(NY)
Gov.Scott Walker(WI)
Democrats:
Gov.Lincoln Chafee(RI)
Secy.Hillary Clinton(NY)
V.P.Joe Biden(DE)
Gov.Martin O`Malley(MD)
Sen.Bernie Sanders(VT)
Sen.Elizabeth Warren(MA)
Sen.Jim Webb(VA)

2016 Third Party Candidates:
Gov.Gary Johnson(L-NM)
Roseanne Barr(PF-HI)
Robert Steele(L-NY)
Dr.Jill Stein(G,MA)
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Page last updated: Dec 21, 2015