Gay marriage activists gave Florida
Governor Charlie Crist something to chew on as he traded marriage
vows for the second time on Friday.
Outside the First United Methodist
Church in St. Petersburg, Florida where Crist, 52, and Carole Rome,
39, were married about 250 demonstrator gathered to protest Amendment
2 – the Florida constitutional amendment that restricts marriage to
Protesters wore pink T-shirts that were
designed to match the wedding party. Signs read: “Congratulations
Governor Crist. When can I get married?”
The demonstration was organized by
members of Impact Florida, a grassroots response to passage of the
gay marriage ban. Florida is one of four states where voters
approved anti-gay measures on Election Day. In California and
Arizona, constitutional amendments banning gay marriage were also
passed, while in Arkansas a newly approved measure forbids gay
couples from fostering or adopting children (single gays and
lesbians, however, are free from the prohibition).
During the wedding that began at 7PM,
the protesters gathered in Williams Park, across from the church, and
followed the wedding party to their Vinoy Resort reception, where
they held an hour-long candlelight vigil.
A rowdy Amendment 2 proponent holding a
sign that read “Homo sex is sin” was steadfastly ignored by the
After the ceremony, the governor and
Florida's new first lady posed for reporters in front of the church
and waved happily at the demonstrators. “It was bizarre,” Lorna
Bracewell, a spokeswoman for the group told On Top Magazine
during a telephone conversation. “He
definitely acknowledged the group.”
wedding was targeted because he had supported the anti-gay measure,
not because of rumors that he was gay, Bracewell confirmed.
denying the right to marry to millions of Floridians, and now, barely
a month later, he's exercising that same right himself. I don't care
if he's gay, straight, bi – whatever – that's pretty
Bracewell said she
believes the gay community was uniting behind the issue of marriage
equality, which she said was more about equality than marriage.
“The reason we
are being denied the right to marry is because we are not interpreted
as complete citizens, or complete persons, by our leaders or by our
fellow citizens who are voting for measures like this,” she said.
“I want to be treated with the dignity and respect that every human
“Our goal is to
keep the issue of marriage equality alive,” she added. “Keep
pressure on our leaders. Make sure that they understand this is not
resolved as far as we're concerned.”
To that end, the
group is hoping to stage a larger demonstration in Tallahassee, the
state capital, where they plan to ask legislators for domestic
partnerships. “We're going to push for what we can get,”
It was the second
marriage for both Governor Crist and Rome, who have planned a
honeymoon somewhere in Southwest Florida.