It’s been a great summer for the gay community in Florida. Each and every marriage equality case that went before the courts in the Sunshine State was settled in the LGBT community’s favor, gay and lesbian marriages are happening from Pensacola to Key West, and Charlie Crist is a candidate for Governor of Florida on the Democratic ticket. It seems crazy to me that the second statement is false and that the last statement is TRUE.
It truly was the summer of gay love as Florida’s LGBT community celebrated five victories in various courts all around the state. In the Keys, we won when the Monroe County couple successfully sued for the right to marry claiming the state’s law of prohibition violated their constitutional rights. In South Florida, we won in Miami-Dade, we won in Broward and we won in Palm Beach. Then, in the Broward County ruling, the judge was forced to vacate his ruling due to a procedural issue that had to do with a filing error in which the plaintiff failed follow established Florida law when she didn’t notify the Office of the Attorney General correctly. A hard fought victory was snatched out of our hands after it was looking very likely that action would be taken in this case. However, the judge did say that the plaintiff could re-file. Maybe I’m wrong, but doesn’t it seem crazy to think that fundamental constitutional rights could be denied based on a procedural error?
Unfortunately, despite all the victories, there is still no marriage equality in Florida. While judges have (mostly) taken a stance in favor of marriage equality, state lawmakers of the Republican variety have ALWAYS taken the opposite stance and have supported the state’s anti-gay marriage law. Governor Lord Voldermort Rick Scott has refused to evolve on the issue and his minion the Attorney General Pam Bondi has vowed to fight tooth and nail to defend the state’s right to deny the LGBT community the right to marry. So, the state has appealed each and every lawsuit, in turn promising to cost the taxpayers untold amounts to defend their right to hate. My favorite part is that the attorney general purports to have many “gay friends.” If she brings out her hairdresser and florist, I swear… Let’s just say, it wouldn’t surprise me if that was her next move. Give it up madam, you DO NOT have to defend this law, you don’t have to appeal every decision, and you should take a stance that everyone deserves equality instead of passing the buck along to the Supreme Court. FYI, it was announced that the SCOTUS have agreed to consider seven marriage equality cases in their first conference of the 2014/2015 term on September 29. This doesn’t guarantee that the court will ACTUALLY hear any, or all, of the cases, but they finally taken notice and are widely expected to rule on at least one of the cases.
A few years ago, if you would have asked me if I would ever even consider voting for Charlie Crist, I would have scoffed and asked you if you had lost your mind. It boggles my mind that Floridians seem to love Crist so much, but the former governor, in one of the biggest political flip flops of all time, is back in a big way, and has won his primary bid for a second chance in the Governor’s Mansion. Luckily, for the LGBT community at least, Crist’s change of heart now has him firmly backing us. He even went so far as to publicly criticize Governor Scott for his lack of support of our community and urged his administration to stop appealing the recent rulings that have unanimously declared the law unconstitutional. Like many people in the LGBT community, I am leery of Crist. I hesitate to support him based on his previous positions and lack of support (and downright antipathy) for our causes. However, as is often the case in politics, the governor’s race in Florida this cycle is about choosing the lesser of two evils, and clearly that choice is Crist. Hotspots is not a news organization, and this article DOES NOT represent the magazine’s opinion on Charlie Crist in this race. This is my opinion only, one choice I wish I didn’t have to make, but the voters in the Democratic party have left us little choice. Let’s just hope Crist can win and we can get rid of HE WHO MUST NOT BE NAMED.