Gay rights groups (& Kendrick Meek supporters) throughout Florida remain skeptical about Charlie Crist's conversion

On Tuesday Governor Charlie Crist said that he's had an “appropriate evolution” regarding gay rights after he released a position paper this week outlining his new progressive views on several issues that are important to the gay rights community.

Although his comment that he was "reviewing" Florida's ban on gay adoption gained headlines, nothing will be decided about that law until the 3rd District Court of Appeals (finally) weighs in on the state's appeal of a 2008 ruling by a Miami judge.  The plaintiff in that case, Martin Gill, said that he doesn't want the Governor to intervene, but instead wants the courts to ultimately decide, to make any change in the current law binding, not just in Miami, but throughout Florida (if it's found to be ultimately unconstitutional).

When asked by reporters what's changed his attitude (and not just the fact that he is no longer a Republican), Crist said not much had.

“Not a whole lot has changed to be candid. I also said (back in 2006) that I’m a live-and-let-live kind of guy. And I am. As I said this morning, I think that the older you get, the less judgmental you become,” Crist said. “Maybe I was more rigid earlier. But I don’t feel that way. And I know who’s supposed to be judging people and it’s not me."

The state's leading gay rights group, Equality Florida, has come out in praise of Crist's new stance, calling it "the most comprehensive, pro-LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered) equality stand of a sitting governor in Florida's history."

But others are shall we say, a bit more skeptical. Then again, they have a vested rooting interest in Kendrick Meek's candidacy.  This morning in an e-mail sent out by Sally Phillips with the Hillsborough County GLBTA Democratic Steering Caucus, she wrote to members:

What has Charlie actually done for the GLBT community?"  The answer is, "WORSE THAN NOTHING." While he wants us to believe he is now for our families, he has harmed our families throughout his public life.  In only his one term as the sitting governor of Florida, Charlie

  • Is pursuing an appeal on the court decision concerning adoptions by gay parents.
  • Supported Amendment 2
  • Flip-flopped on DADT, stating at one point, "I think the current policy has worked pretty well ..."

Our message to Charlie is this, "Actions speak louder than words.  So if you really want us to listen, you've got a lot of ground to make up — a lot of positive actions to do — to show us you are trustworthy.  Actions like we've seen from Kendrick Meek throughout his career."

Which is followed up by a series of votes in Congress that the GLBTA supports.