In one of the biggest political changes of position in the nation, a former Florida governor who once signed his name on a petition to put a gay marriage ban in the Florida Constitution has filed a brief in court seeking to overturn that ban.
Crist filed the brief as a friend of the court in a Miami circuit court lawsuit seeking to overturn the ban. That case is set for a hearing July 2.
“In just the last six years, our society has evolved and moved past the prejudices rooted in our past. Further, science has uniformly reached the conclusion that heterosexual marriages are just as valued and revered as they have ever been; and children raised by gay and lesbian parents fare just as well as kids raised in straight families.
“Thus, with the arc of history now, in fact, bending toward justice, this issue of marriage equality will almost certainly not even be an issue for the children and grandchildren of this State. But it is still the duty of those in the present to recognize that the legitimacy of government depends upon its willingness to fairly, transparently, and equitably administer the law. That goal is frustrated by denying an entire class of citizens equality in the institution of marriage simply because of who they are and whom they love.”
This is an about face from Crist’s position in 2010 when the then-Republican governor ran for U.S. Senate against conservative Marco Rubio, the eventual winner. Calling marriage “a sacred institution,” Crist told CNN four years ago, “I believe that it is between a man and a woman.”
Crist served as a Republican governor of the Sunshine State from 2007 to 2011. During his Senate run, he left the Republican Party. Eventually, he endorsed President Barack Obama for re-election in 2012 and became a Democrat.
In November 2013, Crist officially declared his candidacy for governor, challenging former state Sen. Nan Rich, who also is seeking the Democratic nomination. The primary will be Aug. 26. Whoever wins will face incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Scott on Nov. 4.
Crist was born in Altoona, Pennsylvania.
Like all Greek Americans he comes from immigrant origins. His family’s origins are rooted in Cyprus. In 1912, while the nation was falling under British control during the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, Crist’s grandfather Adam Christodoulou left for America. At age 14, he arrived in Altoona.
Destitute, Adam shined shoes for $5 per month and in 1932 fathered Charles Joseph Christodoulou. Young Charles shortened his name to Crist. In his 20s, after attending Penn State University, he was accepted to Emory University’s prestigious medical school and graduated in 1960. He married a demure Irish woman, Nancy Lee, and fathered three daughters and Charlie.