As a Republican, governor and senatorial candidate Charlie Crist supported the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, but has adopted a more uncertain stance after entering the race as an independent. At best, his position can be described as confused, at worst, it’s a flip flop, as Crist’s Democratic opponent, Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-FL) is arguing.
On Monday, for instance, Crist insisted that he supported DADT, and claimed that the policy was working. On Tuesday, Crist’s staffers said they did not know where he stood on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, but did not say that the governor had changed his position. On Thursday, Crist changed his position, saying in a statement that he “would be inclined to support the Senate’s action on this.” Here is Crist declaring his support for the policy:
CRIST: I think the current policy has worked pretty well for America. I really do. So I don’t know why there’s any need for change at this time.
When I contacted the campaign to ask them about Crist’s evolving position, they explained that Crist supported Rep. Patrick Murphy’s (D-PA) DADT compromise because it deferred the repeal decision “to the Pentagon and to the generals.” Refusing to answer whether Crist still believes that the policy “has worked pretty well for America,” Crist’s spokesperson, Michelle Todd, said that Crist would likely disagree with House Republicans who have misrepresented the amendment as an immediate repeal. Todd also said she could not answer why Crist changed his mind between Monday and Thursday.
Crist has had a confused record on LGBT issues. He has supported efforts to ban gay marriage in Florida, but has said that civil unions between gays are “fine.” In 2007, however, he asked the Republican party to stop spending money promoting “a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in Florida” even after he signed a petition “to place an amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage on the 2008 election ballot.” “When asked if he supported civil rights on the basis of sexual orientation, Crist said ‘no.'”
On July 28, 2006, Crist told a radio show that he “haven’t taken a position yet” on the right of gays to adopt, but only days after — in an interview by the Florida Baptist Witness — “Crist answered ‘no’ to repealing the ban on gays’ adopting.”