On the eve of Pride weekend, Charlie Crist has filed an amicus brief (a/k/a/ friend of the court) in support of the marriage equality lawsuit set for a hearing next week in the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court in Miami.
"As former governor, and as someone who previously supported this measure, Charlie Crist's words matter a great deal,” said Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida, which issued a press release this afternoon announcing the move. “He has taken the same journey the majority of Floridians have taken in realizing that this ban serves no purpose but to disparage and discriminate against gay couples and our children."
Although the Republican Party of Florida's press shop generally seizes on any statement that Crist makes these days in order to bash him, it will be interesting to see if they attack Crist on this front, unless it would come under the predictable label of "flip-flopping," something virtually every major Democrat who now supports same-sex marriage has done on the issue in recent years, beginning with President Obama and Hillary Clinton.
“In just the last six years, our society has evolved and moved past the prejudices rooted in our past," Crist says in a statement. "Further, science has uniformly reached the conclusion that heterosexual marriages are just as valued and revered as they have ever been; and children raised by gay and lesbian parents fare just as well as kids raised in straight families."
“Thus, with the arc of history now, in fact, bending toward justice, this issue of marriage equality will almost certainly not even be an issue for the children and grandchildren of this State. But it is still the duty of those in the present to recognize that the legitimacy of government depends upon its willingness to fairly, transparently, and equitably administer the law. That goal is frustrated by denying an entire class of citizens equality in the institution of marriage simply because of who they are and whom they love.”
Last night, Crist expressed similar sentiments to the large crowd gathered at St. Petersburg's Museum of Fine Arts for a reception kicking off St. Pete Pride weekend. Evoking the Golden Rule and President Obama's change of heart on the same-sex marriage issue, he asked rhetorically, "Who am I to tell anyone who to love?"
Florida banned same-sex marriage via constitutional amendment back in 2008. The court case taking place in Miami-Dade County challenges that ban. Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is defending the state in the case.
In recent months a number of same-sex marriage supporters have successfully challenged similar bans around the country. Just this past Wednesday Utah and Indiana became the latest states to see their bans on same-sex marriage struck down by a federal court, ruling that the prohibition is unconstitutional.