Just days after flip flopping on his support for the health care law, Gov. Charlie Crist (I-FL) had to clarify his stance on a federal amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Crist has supported efforts to ban gay marriage in the past and on Sunday, when asked if he is “still in favor of a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage,” Crist signaled that he was:
HENRY: Another big issue, same-sex marriage. Many conservatives like Marco Rubio support a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. But this week, the former Republican Party Chairman Ken Mehlman came out and said he’s gay and he called on conservatives to kind of move to the political center and be more tolerant on this issue. You have previously said in your gubernatorial campaign, you supported a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Now that you’re trying to occupy the political center, are you still in favor of a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage?
CRIST: I feel the same way, yes, because I feel that marriage is a sacred institution, if you will. But I do believe in tolerance. I’m a live and let live kind of guy, and while I feel that way about marriage, I think if partners want to have the opportunity to live together, I don’t have a problem with that. [...]
HENRY: But governor, doesn’t it sounds like you having it both ways by saying live and let live, but I also support a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. If it’s live and let live, why would you ban same-sex marriage?
CRIST: Well, everything is in a matter of degree, Ed, and when it becomes to the institution of marriage, I believe that it is between a man and a woman, it’s just how I feel.
Hours later, Crist clarified his statement, saying that while does not support a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, he still opposes same-sex marriage. “In an interview that aired today, I was not discussing an amendment to the U.S. Constitution banning same-sex marriage, which I do not support, but rather reaffirming my position regarding Florida’s constitutional ban that I articulated while running for Governor,” he said. “In fact, the interviewer’s question reflected just that. I am fully supportive of civil unions and will continue to be as a United States Senator, but believe marriage is a sacred institution between a man and a woman.”
This isn’t the first time Crist has changed his position on LGBT issues. As a Republican, governor and senatorial candidate Charlie Crist supported the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) policy, but as an independent, he now supports its repeal. Crist has also 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.”