(TALLAHASSEE) Candidates in the most watched U.S. Senate race in the country have made equal rights for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community a centerpiece of their campaigns this week.
Governor Charlie Crist released an LGBT Issue Statement covering a wide range of topics, including: calling for an end to Don't Ask Don't Tell, passage of the Uniting American Families Act and an end to anti-gay adoption laws, among others. Crist statement is the most comperehensive pro-LGBT equality stand of a sitting governor in Florida's history.
Democratic nominee Kendrick Meek responded immediately calling Crist's positions "too little, too late" and touting his longstanding support for equal rights including his strong opposition to an amendment that bans gay people from being recognized as married in Florida.
"We are thrilled that support for LGBT issues has taken center stage in this race," said Nadine Smith Executive Director of Equality Florida, the largest civil rights organization in Florida dedicated to ending discrimination against the LGBT community. "While it is fantastic to see these positions so clearly articulated, the truth is studies show these are mainstream positions. Most Floridians, like most Americans, believe discrimination in the military, in employment, and in adoption is just wrong."
Governor Crist and his campaign team reached out to Equality Florida several weeks ago to let us know of their intention to spell out the Governor's positions on federal LGBT issues and to get our input on the most important areas that should be addressed. The resulting official position statements are attached along with Congressman Meek's response.
Crist, who is running as an independent after leaving the Republican party, and Democrat Kendrick Meek will face Republican Marco Rubio in November. Rubio has not issued a position statement on LGBT issues.
Equality Florida does not endorse in Federal races but does provide voters with information on where Federal candidates stand on equal rights issues that effect the LGBT community.