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Charlie Crist on Civil Rights

Republican


2006: Came out for civil unions; denied rumors he was gay

[In my 2006 gubernatorial primary against a staunch social conservative], I came out for gay civil unions. I understood the word "marriage" was still awfully rattling to many people, Republicans and Democrats. I can see now I was heading in that direction. Like a lot of politicians, I just wasn't there yet. But it seemed clear to me even then that gay men and women deserved their legal rights.

As the primary campaign heated up, people starting floating rumors that I was gay. I denied those outright, telling an interviewer, "The point is, I'm not. There's the answer. Not that there's anything wrong with that, as they say on 'Seinfeld.' But I just happen not to be."

Source: The Party's Over, by Charlie Crist, p. 69-71 , Feb 4, 2014

Civil rights is an American value that all should embrace

We got the legislature to change the law in Florida to allow the attorney general to bring civil rights cases without going through the US Justice Department first.

"We've got this new law," I said. "Let's go use it."

What could be more important to our democracy than basic civil rights? The right to vote. The right to equal protection under the law. The right to fair treatment in employment, housing, and public accommodation. If these rights aren't in place, we don't have a democracy. That's not liberal or conservative opinion. It's not Republican or Democratic. It's an American value that everyone should embrace.

Source: The Party's Over, by Charlie Crist, p. 55-56 , Feb 4, 2014

2006: Supported civil unions en route to gay marriage

I spoke in favor of embryonic stem cell research, disagreeing with President Bush's decision to veto a stem cell bill. I came out for gay civil unions. I understood that the word "marriage" was still awfully rattling to many people, Republicans and Democrats. I can see now I was heading in that direction. Like a lot of politicians, I just wasn't there yet. But it seemed clear to me even then that gay men and women deserved their legal rights. For a Republican primary candidate, I sounded awfully moderate on most issues.

As the primary campaign heated up, people started throwing all kinds of stuff at me. They floated rumors I was gay. I denied those outright, telling interviewer Jim DeFede on WINZ radio: "The point is, I'm not. There's the answer. How do you like it? Not that there's anything wrong with that, as they say on Seinfeld. But I just happen not to be."

Source: The Party's Over, by Charlie Crist, p. 69-72 , Feb 4, 2014

Diversity is one of our strengths in America

I wanted to extend fresh opportunities & help people succeed. [Sarah Palin] wanted to blame the poor, the unemployed, and struggling.

I wanted to let individuals & families make their own personal life decisions. She was deeply suspicious of abortion, contraception, and alternative lifestyles.

I believed that diversity was one of our strengths in America. She seemed to consider it a threat.

She was a member of the same party John and I were, but our worldviews couldn't have been further apart.

Source: The Party's Over, by Charlie Crist, p.135 , Feb 4, 2014

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

I support marriage equality in Florida

Charlie Crist is taking some heat for having backed a Florida gay marriage ban during his 2006 Republican primary for governor. Tonight he posted the following on Facebook:

"Some great news: On Tuesday, Delaware became the 11th state to allow marriage equality. And just a few days ago, RI adopted a similar measure, which followed victories last fall in ME, MD, and WA. I most certainly support marriage equality in Florida and look forward to the day it happens here."

Seems to us he still has some explaining to do about his position. Was it an evolution or an acknowledgement that he felt the need to discard his true feelings in '06 to avoid antagonizing social conservatives? Crist back then called himself a "live and let live" Republican and at one point suggested he backed civil unions (back then that position still carried some political risk). And yet he signed the petition for the gay marriage ban initiative, and sent campaign mailers touting his support for "traditional marriage."

Source: Adam C. Smith in Tampa Bay Times , May 8, 2013

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

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

Uphold Florida’s Defense of Marriage Act

Charlie strongly supports Second Amendment rights and advocates policies that strengthen Florida families, including fighting to uphold Florida’s Defense of Marriage Act.
Source: 2006 Senate campaign website, www.charliecrist.com, “Issues” , Nov 7, 2006

Provide compensation to victims of racial discrimination

As the first elected Republican Attorney General of Florida, he fought for and obtained passage of new Civil Rights legislation to ensure that all Floridians are treated fairly. The first case brought under this law was settled in August 2005, providing compensation to victims of racial discrimination.
Source: 2006 Senate campaign website, www.charliecrist.com, “Issues” , Nov 7, 2006

Discontinue affirmative action programs

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

Other governors on Civil Rights: Charlie Crist on other issues:
FL Gubernatorial:
Jeb Bush
Rick Scott
FL Senatorial:
Bill Nelson
Marco Rubio

Election 2013:
NJ-R: Chris Christie (won)
NJ-D: Barbara Buono (lost)
VA-R: Bob McDonnell(Retiring)
VA-R: Ken Cuccinelli (lost)
VA-D: Terry McAuliffe (won)

Gubernatorial Debates 2014:
AL: Bentley(R) vs.Griffith(D)
AR: Ross(D) vs.Hutchinson(R) vs.Griffin(R,Lt.Gov.)
AZ: Riggs(R) vs.DuVal(D) vs.Mealer(I)
CA: Brown(D) vs.Kashkari(R)
CO: Hickenlooper(D) vs.Beauprez(R) vs.Tancredo(R) vs.Hess(L)
CT: Malloy(D) vs.Foley(R) vs.Walker(R,Lt.Gov.)
FL: Scott(R) vs.Crist(D)
GA: Deal(R) vs.Carter(D)
HI: Abercrombie(D) vs.Aiona(R)
IA: Branstad(R) vs.Hoefling(R) vs.Hatch(D)
MA: Coakley(D) vs.Grossman(D) vs.Berwick(D) vs.Baker(R)
ME: LePage(R) vs.Michaud(D) vs.Cutler(I)
MI: Snyder(R) vs.Schauer(D)
NM: Martinez(R) vs.King(D)
NY: Cuomo(D) vs.Astorino(R) vs.Hawkins(G) vs.Teachout(D) vs.Hochul(D,Lt.Gov.)
OK: Fallin(R) vs.Dorman(D)
PA: Corbett(R) vs.Wolf(D) vs.Schwartz(D,lost primary) vs.Critz(D,Lt.Gov.,lost primary)
Up for re-election 2014:
AK-R: Sean Parnell
AL-R: Robert Bentley
CA-D: Jerry Brown
CO-D: John Hickenlooper
CT-D: Dan Malloy
FL-R: Rick Scott
GA-R: Nathan Deal
HI-D: Neil Abercrombie
IA-R: Terry Branstad
ID-R: Butch Otter
IL-D: Pat Quinn
KS-R: Sam Brownback
ME-R: Paul LePage
MI-R: Rick Snyder
MN-D: Mark Dayton
NH-D: Maggie Hassan
NM-R: Susana Martinez
NV-R: Brian Sandoval
NY-D: Andrew Cuomo
OH-R: John Kasich
OK-R: Mary Fallin
OR-D: John Kitzhaber
PA-R: Tom Corbett
SC-R: Nikki Haley
SD-R: Dennis Daugaard
TN-R: Bill Haslam
VT-D: Peter Shumlin
WI-R: Scott Walker
WY-R: Matt Mead
Abortion
Budget/Economy
Civil Rights
Corporations
Crime
Drugs
Education
Energy/Oil
Environment
Families/Children
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
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Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Immigration
Infrastructure/Technology
Jobs
Local Issues
Principles/Values
Social Security
Tax Reform
War/Iraq/Mideast
Welfare/Poverty

Term-Limited or Retiring 2014:
AR-D: Mike Beebe
AZ-R: Jan Brewer
MA-D: Deval Patrick
MD-D: Martin O'Malley
RI-I: Linc Chafee
TX-R: Rick Perry


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Page last updated: Jul 10, 2014