Florida Governor Charlie Crist is
preparing to endorse a package of gay rights bills, RawStory.com
reported, but not gay marriage.
The website is reporting that the
governor will shed his apathy on gay rights and offer a ringing
endorsement as early as this week.
“I believe that the government should
not make it harder for people to take care of their loved one,” a
document at the website reads. “I believe civil unions that
provide the full range of legal protections should be available to
gay couples. That includes access to a loved one in the hospital,
inheritance rights, the fundamental things people need to take care
of their families.”
While Crist is not backing gay
marriage, the document includes support for ending Florida's ban on
gay adoption, a stance the governor has only previously hinted at.
“We need to take politics out of
adoption decisions,” he says. “That is why I oppose Florida's
current law that requires Family Law judges to ignore what is right
for a child in order to adhere to what Florida law blindly demands.
There is only one question that matters: What is in the best interest
of the child?”
Crist will also back repeal of “Don't
Ask, Don't Tell,” the 1993 that forbids gay troops from serving
openly, a federal gay-inclusive anti-bullying measure, a federal bill
that would allow the spouses of gay government workers access to
benefits, and the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), a
controversial bill that Congress has previously attempted to attach
to immigration reform measures with little luck. The UAFA would
allow gay Americans to sponsor a spouse for citizenship over the
objections of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the 1996 law that
forbids federal agencies from recognizing the legal marriages of gay
and lesbian couples.
Gay marriage advocates will be
disappointed that Crist continues to back civil unions for gay
Last month, the governor, who is
running in Florida's Senate race as an independent, took heat when he
said during an appearance on CNN's State of the Union that he
supports putting a gay marriage ban in the U.S. Constitution, then,
abruptly, backtracked, insisting the next day that he was misquoted.
The governor said he was merely reiterating his support for
Florida's current law that bans gay marriage.
Crist's change of heart comes as
conservatives are increasingly taking the lead on gay rights. Gay
GOP group Log Cabin Republicans is behind a successful challenge to
“Don't Ask, Don't Tell.” And conservatives are openly
arguing that gay marriage is a conservative value after a judge's
ruling overturning California's gay marriage ban, Proposition 8, was
argued by one of their own, Ted Olson, and former
RNC chief Ken Mehlman came out gay to support the case.
Mehlman before him, gay activists might harbor resentment towards
Crist who has a long anti-gay record and has
been the subject of gay rumors himself, which the married
politician has denied.