Charlie Crist Challenges Rick Scott to Not Defend Gay Marriage Ban

Categories: Politics

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Michele Eve Sandberg
Same-sex marriages could become legal in Florida as soon as September 22, thanks to a 33-page ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle last week. That is, if Rick Scott doesn't file an appeal to stop it.

Gay rights advocates, including Rand Hoch, Florida's first openly gay judge, have already called on Scott not to intervene.

Now Charlie Crist has stepped into the fray, taking it up a notch by penning an open letter to Scott to not get in the way of Florida lifting the ban on same-sex marriage.

See also: Florida's Same-Sex Couples Could Start Marrying on September 22 If Rick Scott Team Lets Court Ruling Stand

Crist doesn't mince words, coming out saying that when he was first governor, he was faced with a similar situation:

Four years ago, a district court of appeals ruled Florida's ban on gay and lesbian adoption unconstitutional. When the ruling came down, I believed it was my job as Governor to exercise the authority vested in me by the people and our Constitution. The day the judge ruled, I declared Florida's adoption ban over. Gay and lesbian parents began adopting the children they loved immediately. It is one of my proudest moments as an elected official.

Crist then challenges Scott to do the same with this recent ruling:

Last Thursday Federal District Judge Robert Hinkle gave you the same chance to speak out for what is right when, in a ruling that would apply statewide, he struck down Florida's ban on same sex marriage. By declaring the marriage ban finished you could discourage any future appeals and end the nightmare that loving same sex couples all across our state endure every single day, ending court battles that could drag on for months or years.

Crist, who announced his support for gay marriage last year, does manage to get political in the letter -- although the letter in and of itself is a giant political gauntlet being laid down. Crist tells Scott outright that Floridians deserve a governor who looks out for the best interest of everyone, not just a select few:

Courts throughout Florida are endorsing the principle that government ought not deprive an entire class of citizens the right to marry simply because of whom they love. Florida deserves a governor who will stand up for all of the people of this state.

And the challenge is a simple one: Scott can simply do nothing. No appeals, no injunctions. Just let the ruling stand and let Florida join other parts of the country that are coming around on same-sex marriage.

All in all, it's a savvy move by Crist, who has either failed to pull away or has fallen a bit behind Scott in recent polls.

It puts Scott, who is spending millions on campaign ads attacking Crist's integrity as a former Republican turned Independent turned Democrat, on the defensive.

And Crist seems to be getting the backing of prominent gay-rights groups like Equality Florida.

"Four years ago Charlie Crist stood up for our families and declared Florida's ban on adoption by gay and lesbian parents over," said Stratton Pollitzer, deputy director of Equality Florida, via a news release following Crist's letter. "He did what was best for thousands of children hoping for a loving home, and he did what was best for Florida.

"Rick Scott has a chance to do the right thing too," Pollitzer adds, "by directing the Surgeon General and the Secretary of Management Services not to appeal Judge Hinkle's ruling that would overturn Florida's ban on marriage equality. If there is no appeal, than the marriage ban would end on September 22, the four-year anniversary of the day the adoption ban ended."

You can read Crist's full letter, as well as Hinkle's ruling, below:

Dear Governor Scott: Four years ago, a district court of appeals ruled Florida's ban on gay and lesbian adoption unconstitutional.

When the ruling came down, I believed it was my job as Governor to exercise the authority vested in me by the people and our Constitution. The day the judge ruled, I declared Florida's adoption ban over. Gay and lesbian parents began adopting the children they loved immediately.

It is one of my proudest moments as an elected official.

Last Thursday Federal District Judge Robert Hinkle gave you the same chance to speak out for what is right when, in a ruling that would apply statewide, he struck down Florida's ban on same sex marriage. By declaring the marriage ban finished you could discourage any future appeals and end the nightmare that loving same sex couples all across our state endure every single day, ending court battles that could drag on for months or years.

Courts throughout Florida are endorsing the principle that government ought not deprive an entire class of citizens the right to marry simply because of whom they love. Florida deserves a governor who will stand up for all of the people of this state.

You have the power to end the suffering of people like Arlene Goldberg. Last March, Arlene lost her wife and partner of 47 years, Carol Goldwasser. At a moment of enormous and understandable grief, Arlene had to suffer the humiliation of not being listed as Carol's wife on the death certificate. Even worse, she lost her home because she was denied the social security benefits they had earned.

When faced with a very similar decision four years ago I did what I believed was best for Florida and best for the thousands of children waiting to be adopted by loving parents.

Today, I urge you to do what's best for Floridians and declare the State will not be challenging Judge Hinkle's Order or any other orders supporting the rights of all Floridians to marry.

Respectfully,
Charlie Crist

237442096 Grimsley v Scott Order Granting Preliminary Injunction 2 by Chris Joseph


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4 comments
deborahsbrumfield
deborahsbrumfield

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Ben Pogue
Ben Pogue

....the one you signed?? Can we trust the new, improved Charlie? and what did he do with the old, Right Wing Charlie?

OrlandoChris
OrlandoChris

Why vote between 2 known liars? Florida, we are fortunate enough not to
be stuck picking one liar or the other this time. We actually have an
alternative. Take advantage of the opportunity. Adrian Wyllie deserves
my vote. He is a honest average Floridian just as you and I , that is
willing to stand up and do something for the interest of all of us here
in Florida. The other candidates both Republican and Democrat are owned
and controlled by special interest, like puppets and will lie to your
face to gain your vote, then continue the same old agenda that we
complain about year after year. Time to get off this merry-go-round,
election after election, thinking it will be any different. Take a
stand, vote for the candidate that loves this state and is willing to
take time out of his life, effort and money to SERVE the people of
Florida and stop voting for these ‘paid for’ career politicians that are
only out for money and fame and have zero interest in us Floridians.
Even if it’s just for honesty alone, vote for Adrian Wyllie instead of
the other two (Scott/Crist) which are proven liars. The choice is yours
and yours alone, if you want the same old corruption and slap in the
face, go ahead and vote for one of the two puppets (Scott/Crist) OR do
what is right for our (yours and your children’s) future and vote for
Adrian Wyllie. Support him by donating to his campaign, spreading the
word and contribute to the super brochure program which I think is very
powerful. Visit his website today

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