Former Florida Governor Charlie Crist on Tuesday pledged to sign an executive order which would prohibit state agencies from discriminating against employees on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity if he returns to the governor's mansion.

Crist announced that if elected he will sign five executive orders on January 6, 2015 that “will make Florida a better place for all – not just those at the top.”

Among the orders in what Crist calls the First Day of Fairness is one which would “prohibit any form of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity within the state agencies or its contractors – because all Floridians should be equal in the eyes of the law.”

Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida, applauded the move.

“Florida is at a critical moment in our struggle to end discrimination, and the next governor can make a tremendous impact on the everyday lives of thousands of LGBT people in our state,” Smith said in an emailed statement. “It is also clear that policies of nondiscrimination will make Florida more economically competitive in the global marketplace.”

The 58-year-old Crist has a complicated relationship with the LGBT community. In 2006, Crist signed a petition to put Florida's constitutional amendment banning gay marriage on the ballot. Voters approved the ban two years later.

Since leaving the Republican Party – with a pit stop as an independent – Crist has reversed course, apologizing for supporting the ban and stating that chief among his reasons for leaving the GOP was its opposition to gay rights.

Crist officially became a Democrat in late 2012.

(Related: Charlie Crist applauds ruling striking down Florida's gay marriage ban.)