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FL Governor Charlie Crist to announce sweeping endorsement of LGBT rights

Sunday, September 12, 2010
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Charlie Crist, the current governor of Florida and Independent candidate for U.S. Senate, is preparing to endorse an wide array of pro-LGBT legislation and gay rights issues, as early as this week, according to a report by RawStory.com.

Crist

In the document provided to RawStory.com, Crist lends his support for gay couples, including hospital visitation, inheritance and adoption rights; opposition to the ban on gays serving in the military; support for anti-discrimination laws and appropriations for HIV and AIDS programs.

The governor’s position paper comes amidst a tense climate on sexuality for Crist. The 2009 documentary “Outrage,” which ran in theaters and on HBO, asserted that Crist was himself gay: in the film, two anonymous subjects claimed to have had sex with the governor, and a former girlfriend was quoted as saying, “Call me in ten years and I’ll tell you a story.”

While major media outlets knocked the accusations as plausibly deniable, or ignored them entirely, “Outrage” drew national attention to Crist’s positions on gay issues and his marital life. He is currently married; his ex-wife of his first marriage now lives with her lesbian partner.

Crist has been strongly criticized by gay rights activists in the past. He’s previously voiced opposition to same sex marriage; the draft doesn’t revise his position. It does, however, include language endorsing civil unions.

Following is a recap of Crist’s positions:

Civil Unions

“I believe that the government should not make it harder for people to take care of their loved ones. 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.”

Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)

“I support strong anti-discrimination laws including ENDA. Employment and advancement should be based on skill and merit, not hindered by prejudice of any kind.”

Repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

“I’m a strong supporter of the men and women of our military. Those willing to risk their lives to defend our country should not be compelled to lie to do so. I support the current efforts by Congress and military leadership to end Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and hold every member of the military to the same standard of professionalism that has made our military the greatest force for good in the world.”

Federal Safe Schools Improvement Act

“Everyone who has children or who has worked with students knows that anti-gay taunts are used relentlessly on our campuses. We need to address the epidemic of bullying and create safe learning environments for every single student.”

Every Child Deserves A Family Act

“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.”

The Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act

“I’ve been a consistent supporter of providing legal protections for gay couples. Like most Americans I believe the government should make it easier, not harder, for people to take care of their loved ones.”

Uniting American Families Act

“Family reunification has been the foundation of U.S. immigration law but U.S. citizens who are gay cannot sponsor their partners for family-based immigration. As a consequence, many same-sex, bi-national couples are kept apart or torn apart sometimes even separating parents from their children. This bill, which I support, humanely addresses a problem that disproportionately impacts Floridians.”

Equal Access to COBRA Act

“I strongly support this act which mandates that employees, their partners and dependent children be allowed to continue participation in their employer-sponsored health coverage.”

Appropriations for HIV/AIDS Programs

“I believe we must make combating HIV/AIDS a priority by harnessing all possible resources to prevent new infections, provide meaningful access to quality care and treatment, boost research to find a cure and address the global crisis.”

“This is the first time in Florida’s history that a sitting governor has taken these public positions on a wide range of LGBT equality issues,” Nadine Smith, Director of Equality Florida, told RawStory.com. “It marks a shift in the debate in our state.”

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