Gay rights group backs Charlie Crist for governor in Florida

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Charlie Crist is running for governor in Florida as a Democrat.

Equality Florida Action PAC, the largest organization dedicated to electing pro-equality candidates in the state, has endorsed Democrat Charlie Crist for governor.

“The early endorsement reflects the urgency of electing a governor who will speed progress when it comes to equality, not stand in the way of fairness,” said Stratton Pollitzer, chair of the PAC. "Florida is at a critical moment in our struggle to end discrimination, and the next Governor will have a tremendous impact on the everyday lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in our state. Charlie Crist has taken a clear stand for equality and fairness and is delivering a message that will inspire the growing pro-equality majority in our state to stand on the right side of history.”

Crist served as governor before Republican Rick Scott. And when Crist held the office, he was a Republican. He declared himself an independent in a run for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Marco Rubio but has since become a Democrat. Crist has said he broke from his party, in part, over its increasing hostility toward gay people, women and the poor.

And Crist has apologized for votes that aligned him with the GOP platform, which he said went against his own conscience. Crist, as a Republican, said he supported a constitutional amendment banning same-sex couples from marrying.

But Crist has since come out for marriage equality, and he has been a supporter of civil rights measures protecting LGBT people in the workplace, as well as anti-bullying legislation. 

“Charlie Crist’s position on marriage equality reflects the evolution of Florida voters,” said Pollitzer. “The clear majority now supports full legal recognition of marriage equality, and that support is growing rapidly regardless of political party, age or religious identification.”

With marriage equality looming on Florida’s horizon, “We must have a pro-equality governor in the Tallahassee” added Pollitzer. "The next governor is likely to appoint four supreme court justices, and we cannot afford to leave our supreme court in the hands of a governor who refuses to recognize even the most basic rights for LGBT people.  We encourage every Floridian who values basic human rights to support Charlie Crist for governor.”

In addition to the Equality Florida Action PAC, Charlie Crist has been endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign, Florida Professional Firefighters, Florida Education Association, Florida Plumbers & Pipefitters and the Florida Young Democrats, along with more than 100 current and former state and local elected officials.

Crist, in a statement, said, “Floridians deserve a governor who fights for them — including for their right to marry the person they love and to be safe from discrimination in the workplace. I am proud to stand with Equality Florida Action PAC, the Human Rights Campaign and Florida’s LGBT community to fight to make Florida fair for all hard-working families.”