Thursday, October 16, 2014

Is Florida's gubernatorial race a new referendum on marriage equality?

Inasmuch as marriage is the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife, no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized.”

Florida Amendment 2 — 2008
As a resident of South Beach, I am not at all amused by the fan incident in last night's debate between Charlie Crist and Florida Gov. Rick Scott. However their views on marriage equality are worth noting. Scott told the statewide television audience Wednesday that he supports traditional marriage but ultimately it is a question the courts will decide.

Well I, too, support traditional marriage. I also support same-sex marriage. The only reason that the courts are deciding this matter is because Scott and his attorney general (Pam Bondi) have done everything possible (at taxpayer's expense) to defend Florida's 2008 ban.

In 2008 more that 61% of the electorate, including Charlie Crist, supported the ban. Charlie Crist now supports marriage equality. His prior opposition is irrelevant. We welcome changed minds on the issue. The reason for Charlie's position in 2008 and the reason that he "evolved" are also irrelevant. The only thing that matters is that he supports equality.

Charlie is right on a host of social and economic issues including both environmental and consumer protections. Charlie also supports high-speed rail. Scott turned down $2.4 billion in federal funds as an appeal to ignorance for his Tea Party base. Right now these two men are in a dead heat; tied within the margin of error in most polls with Crist having a slight edge. If our people vote, Crist probably wins.

The other important race is for Florida attorney general. As the Sun Sentinel points out, the current AG, Pam Bondi, has been nothing but a partisan ideologue. However, she has raised more than four times as much money as her opponent, Democrat George Sheldon. Much of that money has come from corporate interests who are just fine with Bondi's lack of consumer protection advocacy.

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