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Former Fla. governor Charlie Crist files brief in support of marriage equality

Former Fla. governor Charlie Crist files brief in support of marriage equality

MIAMI — Former Florida governor Charlie Crist on Friday filed an amicus brief in support of the marriage equality in a lawsuit challenging the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Charlie Crist
Charlie Crist AP

The suit, Pareto v. Ruvin, was filed in January in Miami-Dade Circuit Court on behalf of Equality Florida Institute and six same-sex couples, and is one of four lawsuits challenging the ban. A hearing in the case is scheduled for Wednesday in the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court in Miami.

The lawsuit argues that Florida’s laws barring same-sex couples from marriage violate the United States Constitution by denying them the legal protections and equal dignity that having the freedom to marry provides.

In the brief, Crist states that as a former Governor and Attorney General who previously supported the ban, he is in a unique position to provide the court a perspective on why it is wrong, harmful to Florida and harmful to gay couples and children who are denied the protections only marriage provides.

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“As former Governor, and as someone who previously supported this measure, Charlie Crist’s words matter a great deal,” said Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida. “He has taken the same journey the majority of Floridians have taken in realizing that this ban serves no purpose but to disparage and discriminate against gay couples and our children.”

Crist is among a growing majority of Floridians, 57 percent currently, who have come to support full marriage equality.

In filing, he joins the Mayors of Orlando and Miami Beach, who also filed amicus briefs earlier this week on behalf of their cities including arguments on how lifting the ban alleviates hardships for same-sex couples and provides numerous benefits for citizens and employees to live in a non-discriminatory environment.

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