At Wednesday’s Florida gubernatorial debate in Davie, Republican incumbent Rick Scott and Democratic challenger (and former Republican) Charlie Crist took opposing sides on whether they think same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.
In 2008, nearly 62 percent of Florida voters supported a constitutional ban against same-sex marriage and civil unions. Polling now shows a majority of Floridians now support same-sex marriage and several local and federal courts last summer ruled the ban unconstitutional.
Crist, who was governor when voters passed the constitutional ban, now apologizes for supporting the amendment and says gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to marry. Scott and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, also a Republican, have consistently defended the state’s marriage ban and earlier this week Bondi asked that the Florida Supreme Court decide the issue.
The state’s Third District Court of Appeal has not announced whether it will request that the state Supreme Court directly hear the case. In September, the Supreme Court rejected a similar request from the Second District Court of Appeal.
Here’s a video clip from the gubernatorial debate, followed by the transcript:
“You say you’re against discrimination, but the courts have said Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional because it is discriminatory. Do you think the ban is discriminatory?” asked Rosemary Goudreau, editorial page editor at the Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale.
Gov. Rick Scott’s response:
“Let's think about where we are. None of us believe in discrimination. I clearly don't believe in any discrimination.
In 2008, part of our Democratic process, led by Charlie, there was a constitutional amendment passed that marriage would be between a man and a woman.
While I believe in traditional marriage, we've got to understand people have different views. It's going through the court system. My understanding is it's going right directly to the Supreme Court.
Whatever the Supreme Court decides, they'll decide what the law in Florida is. I will abide by that law.
What's important to me is, we need to understand, that people have different views. We shouldn't have ill will because people have different views.
We have to remember that all this was started with Charlie as governor.
Goudreau: Gov. Scott I don't think I got an answer to the question. (Boos from audience.) Do you believe the ban is discriminatory?
I don't believe in discrimination. (More boos.)
I don't believe in discrimination. I believe in traditional marriage. the court's going to decide. This is a decision for the courts and they're ultimately going to make the decision.
Former Gov. Charlie Crist’s response:
“I don't believe in discrimination either and I don't believe in it so much that I believe gay couples should have the right to marry.”