In a statement provided to the Blade on Monday, the campaign for Democratic candidate Kendrick Meek hammered Crist and said he’s making a “total flip” on LGBT issues. The Meek campaign accused Crist, the current governor of Florida, of being willing to say anything to win election as a senator.
“Can anyone believe anything Charlie Crist says anymore?,” asked Abe Dyk, Kendrick Meek’s campaign manager. “It’s obvious Charlie Crist is willing to say anything. The only thing Charlie Crist says today that you can believe tomorrow is that he wants to be elected. The only thing we know about Charlie Crist’s track record is that he is a lifelong conservative Republican who has fought against every Democratic value. The governor’s charade trying to hide his lifelong conservative record just to get elected is an insult to every Floridian.”
On Sunday, the news website Raw Story published a leaked document outlining Crist’s support for an array of pro-LGBT bills pending before Congress, including repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. The article reports Crist intends to make these positions officially public as early as this week.
In response to this reporting, the Meek campaign maintains the Democratic candidate as a U.S. House member has been “on the front lines of the fight” for LGBT rights in the past while Crist has “stood in strong opposition.”
The campaign chides Crist for supporting “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” until earlier this year — after he made his bid as an Independent candidate for U.S. Senate — and for supporting Amendment 2 in Florida, which bans same-sex marriage and marriage-like unions in the state.
The Meek campaign touts how the Democratic candidate has been a co-sponsor of legislation that would repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” As a U.S. House member, Meek voted for an amendment on the House floor that would lead to repeal of the statute.
Additionally, the statement says Meek “stood against” Amendment 2 when it came before Florida voters in 2008 and voted for a version of ENDA in 2007.
A source with the Meek campaign said the Democratic candidate favors civil unions and opposes a U.S. constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage while believing the marriage issue should be left up to the states.
Meek and Crist are competing in a three-way election this fall to win the open U.S. Senate seat in Florida. The Republican nominee in the race is Marco Rubio.
Rubio’s campaign didn’t immediately respond to the Blade’s request to comment on Crist’s reportedly new positions on pro-LGBT legislation.
UPDATE: The Meek campaign is making public a mailing from Crist’s 2006 gubernatorial campaign in which Crist criticizes his Democratic opponent Jim Davis for supporting the LGBT community.
The mailing, titled “Jim Davis has turned his back on our values,” shows a picture of Davis apparently speaking before Florida’s GLBT Democratic caucus. Additionally, the mailing says under the heading “Davis is opposed to traditional families” that “Davis has consistently supported gay adoption.”
The portion of the mailing promoting Crist states that he “Defends marriage and protects traditional values” and “Leads efforts to protect Florida’s children.”