Former Florida governor Charlie Crist, who won this week’s Democratic primary in his bid to return to the governor’s office, sent a letter Friday to GOP Gov. Rick Scott, urging him not to appeal the recent federal court ruling declaring Florida’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional.
“By declaring the marriage ban finished you could discourage any future appeals and end the nightmare that loving same sex couples all across our state endure every single day, ending court battles that could drag on for months or years,” Crist wrote.
Last week, U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle in Tallahassee ruled against the ban, joining four state judges in Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties in siding with same-sex couples seeking marriage equality.
In his ruling, Hinkle dismissed Attorney General Pam Bondi from the case, leaving the appeal in the hands of Scott appointees and a small town clerk of court.
Crist, a former Republican who now supports marriage equality, said Scott has the power to abide by the judge’s order and declare an end to the ban:
Dear Governor Scott:
When the ruling came down, I believed it was my job as Governor to exercise the authority vested in me by the people and our Constitution. The day the judge ruled, I declared Florida’s adoption ban over. Gay and lesbian parents began adopting the children they loved immediately.
It is one of my proudest moments as an elected official.
Last Thursday Federal District Judge Robert Hinkle gave you the same chance to speak out for what is right when, in a ruling that would apply statewide, he struck down Florida’s ban on same sex marriage. By declaring the marriage ban finished you could discourage any future appeals and end the nightmare that loving same sex couples all across our state endure every single day, ending court battles that could drag on for months or years.
Courts throughout Florida are endorsing the principle that government ought not deprive an entire class of citizens the right to marry simply because of whom they love. Florida deserves a governor who will stand up for all of the people of this state.
You have the power to end the suffering of people like Arlene Goldberg. Last March, Arlene lost her wife and partner of 47 years, Carol Goldwasser. At a moment of enormous and understandable grief, Arlene had to suffer the humiliation of not being listed as Carol’s wife on the death certificate. Even worse, she lost her home because she was denied the social security benefits they had earned.
When faced with a very similar decision four years ago I did what I believed was best for Florida and best for the thousands of children waiting to be adopted by loving parents.
Today, I urge you to do what’s best for Floridians and declare the state will not be challenging Judge Hinkle’s Order or any other orders supporting the rights of all Floridians to marry.
Respectfully, Charlie Crist