Now that Charlie Crist knows what Amendment 2 will do if passed, he's rescinded his "live and let live" philosophy in favor of supporting a proposed Florida ban on gay marriages and domestic partnerships. As a native Floridian, I'm more disappointed than surprised that he's finally toeing the right-winger line. But I can only imagine how my progressive gay friends feel who voted for Crist despite his party affiliation, and his suspiciously traditional "lifestyle." Most of them figured that voting for Crist meant protecting (not even improving) gay rights for Floridians. No one expected the man to act like a progressive, though it sent shivers of hope up my spine when he repealed the Florida law that prohibited felons from voting, despite the political consequences.
But open-minded Floridians never guessed he'd get behind a ban on gay marriage.
Despite it being one of the freer states around, Crist knows as well as the rest of us that Florida is run by good ole' boys, the kind that don't really care too much for gays or librah types. But Crist also knows, better than any elected Republican save Mark Foley, that Florida is also something of a gay mecca, and that allowing gay marriage and/or domestic partnerships would bring a much-needed boost to the economy of a state that's been hit hard by the mortgage crisis.
And Mr. Crist shouldn't forget that HIV+ gay Floridians and their partners are going to continue to face all kinds of cruel bureaucratic obstacles surrounding personal finances, medical care, and visitation rights if Amendment 2 passed. And that it's more than just the sunshine that has made Florida a refuge for persecuted gay immigrants.
I know, I know: It's not Crist's fault—really it's not. Floridians have a right to their referendums! But was it really necessary for him to go on the record in support of Amendment 2? It wasn't right, Charlie. It just wasn't right.
If Amendment 2 passes in November, be sure to gauge Crist's reaction at his favorite event of the season.