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Posts for September, 2010

Charlie Crist To Consider Dropping Gay Adoption Lawsuit

Jim Burroway

September 14th, 2010

The Palm Beach Post reports that Florida Governor and Independent candidate for the U.S. Senate Charlie Crist is considering dropping a lawsuit challenging a gay couple’s adoption of two foster children that is now on appeal:

“I think we need to review that. My comments really reflect that it’s better to have more of the judicial branch involved in this process. I think that most who follow the judiciary recognize that what’s in the ‘best interest of the child’ is what should be paramount in these kinds of decisions. That’s what I believe and I think that’s what will be the best for them,” Crist, the independent candidate in the three-way race for U.S. Senate, told reporters.

This comes on the heals of last weekend’s revelation that Gov. Crist will back a large number of LGBT equality measures, excluding marriage.

The lawsuit, re the Adoption of John and James Doe, is now before a state appeals court, which is expected to issue a decision at any time. That lawsuit has already caused no end of grief to Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, who losthis bid for the GOP’s nomination for U.S. Senate. That loss that is partly attributable to controversy surrounding his hiring of George Rekers to serve as an “expert witness” to defend the state’s ban on gay couples adopting children. Rekers was later exposed as a customer of a rentboy while on vacation in Europe. McCullum authorised payment of $120,000 for Rekers’ testimony, which was ultimately dismissed by the trial judge as “motivated by his strong ideological and theological convictions that are not consistent with the science.”

Crist endorses gay rights

Timothy Kincaid

September 13th, 2010

Charlie Crist is a bit of an anomaly. He served in Florida as a moderate Republican in the State Senate and two other statewide offices before winning the Governor’s seat in 2006. However his moderation has at times been a bit subservient to his desire to win and his positions of social issues tended to swerve right during primary season.

Crist has long been believed to be gay (and is one of the subjects of the movie Outrage). However, in the summer of 2008 when it became rumored that he was on Sen. John McCain’s short list of potential running mates, Crist quickly became engaged and married in December of that year. His positions on gay issues have been, well, all over the place.

In 2009, Crist announced that he would not be running again for Governor and would instead be running for US Senate. Conservatives were not content with Crist and so Marco Rubio, the House Speaker, challenged him in the primary. As it became clear that Crist could not win the party’s Primary election, he dropped out of running as a Republican and is now running as an Independent.

While campaigning against Rubio, Crist’s social issues veered right. But now that he is not beholding to the conservative wing of the Republican Party, Crist has again become moderate on social issues and released a list of positions on GLBT issues to Raw Story. Specifically, Crist endorses civil unions, ENDA, anti-bullying, adoption, overturning DADT, and immigration.

Crist is running in the polls just slightly behind Rubio while Kendrick Meek, the Democratic candidate, is tailing far behind. This may be a move to give Democrats some comfort with his social issues and to steal away votes from Meek. (Some insiders believe that the Democratic leadership is quietly encouraging support for Crist under the impression that he will caucus with the Democrats in the Senate)

How Do You Write A Movie Review Without Naming Its Characters?

Jim Burroway

May 12th, 2009

NPR managed to do just that.

A review appeared on NPR of the Kirby Dick’s documentary move Outrage, and nowhere in it does the review mention any of the politicians discussed in the review. There is a photo of Sen. Larry Craig accompanying the review, which hints that he may be one of the movie’s subjects. But nowhere is there any mention of Florida Gov. Charlie Crist or Larry Craig in the review. Those names were cut by NPR editors, citing “a long-held policy of trying to respect the privacy of public figures.” Ironically, Larry Craig’s arrest on soliciting sex in a public men’s room wasn’t a private affair. It was a matter of public record.

Critic Nathan Lee had originally written the piece to include mention of Craig and Crist. When NPR insisted on removing references to those to politicians, Lee removed his byline from the article in protest and lodged a complaint on the NPR site. That complaint was also quickly removed by NPR executives. Lee’s complaint read:

“I asked that my name be removed in protest of NPR’s policy of not ‘naming names’ of closeted or rumored-about politicians – even those who actively suppress gay rights, and thus whose sexual identities are of significant importance to the press.” … “I personally disagree with NPR’s policy – there is no other area of ‘privacy’ that elicits such extreme tact,” Lee continued in his comment that was excised from the NPR website. “And also feel that it is a professional affront to my responsibility as a critic to discuss the content of a work of art, and an impingememnt of my first amendment right to free speech and the press.”

The whole point of Dick’s documentary was the hypocrisy of closeted politicians who vote against the interest of gay people in Congress, while seeking the comfort of those very same people after hours. As the movie illustrates, the need to preserve the closet can lead some politicians to vote against their very own conscience. When a closeted politician votes against HIV/AIDS prevention programs or LGBT civil rights, it can sometimes be a ruse to throw off suspicians that he may be gay. It’s like the schoolyard bully who picks on the effeminate kid in order to cover his own securities over his sexuality.

The motivations of closeted politicians is absolutely a valid story, one that the mainstream media should be covering. It was huge news when it was revealed that South Carolina Sen. Strom Thurmond had a daughter by an African-American woman. He had been a staunch segregationist for much of his career. Hypocrasy is clearly a real news story. Nathan Lee puts it this way:

The entire point of ‘Outrage’ is that there is an ‘overriding public need to know’ about the kinds of men profiled in ‘Outrage’,” film critic Nathan Lee told indieWIRE on Sunday, “Let’s say Charlie Crist had a record of voting for vigorous anti-immigration policies, and then it was rumored that he employed illegal immigrants. The press would have absolutely no qualms investigating him to the hilt in the public interest of exposing hypocrisy. Why should it be any different in the case of possibly gay public figures who vote against the civil rights of gay people, or, in the case of HIV/AIDS funding, their very life and death?”

But there really is a different standard at NPR when it comes to closeted politicians. As Movie Line notes:

In the last month, NPR was all too happy to run an editorial about the sexuality of American Idol frontrunner Adam Lambert, wherein writer Linda Holmes snarks on the media outlets that are reticent to fully acknowledge what she presumes is Lambert’s homosexuality. And this past November, after comedian Wanda Sykes came out as a lesbian at a gay rights rally in Las Vegas, NPR spent minutes of airtime discussing whether it would lead Queen Latifah (who’s never publicly stated that she is a lesbian) to do the same.

So what interpretation of its own ethics policy allowed NPR to air and publish rumors in those cases?

More to the point, doesn’t Charlie Crist’s sexuality pose far more important consequences to public policy than Queen Latifah’s — especially now that he’s announced his run for the U.S. Senate?

Porno Pete Wants To Out Gov. Crist

Jim Burroway

March 27th, 2008

Charlie Crist and Carole RomeA few years ago when Florida Governor Charlie Crist was running for office, allegations surfaced that Crist was gay. Crist has repeatedly denied it — not that there’s anything wrong with that. After all, he isn’t opposed to civil unions, and he did direct the state Republican Party to halt funding of the anti-gay marriage initiative.

But now Governor Crist has a new girlfriend, and Crist’s father, Dr. Charles Crist is vouching for him as well:

Dr. Crist said his son, married once from 1979 to 1980, has always enjoyed the company of women: “Always! I mean, I can’t keep up with him,” Dr. Crist laughed. “And they like him, too.”

I guess he’s really straight after all. Good timing too, now that Gov. Crist is being talked up for as possible GOP vice-presidential slot.But none of that is enough for Peter LaBarbera. He still thinks all the as-yet unsubstantiated rumors by themselves are enough to disqualify Gov. Crist from the ticket. What’s more, Petey is intent on outing him:

You won’t believe the amount that’s already been written and discussed in the media about Crist’s sexuality and related issues in the homosexual and liberal press … In our view, that’s a reason right off the bat not to consider Gov. Crist for the highly visible and important position…

We called the Florida’s Governor’s office to ask if the governor is a homosexual or bisexual, and whether he has ever engaged in homosexual behavior — odd questions, to be sure, but necessary ones in this situation. We did not hear back.

Imagine that. The Florida Governor’s mansion isn’t returning Peter’s calls.

Florida Republican Gov. Crist Won’t Push Anti-Marriage Amendment

Jim Burroway

December 28th, 2007

The signatures are in and the campaign is on. Florida will be voting on a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages — marriages which are already banned under state law. The Florida Republican Party put up nearly three-fourths of the funding to gather signatures, funding which abruptly ended when Gov. Charlie Crist took office and instructed the state GOP to not contribute any further. And now that the proposal has been certified to appear on the ballot, Gov. Crist has declined to offer his endorsement:

And even though he signed a petition to support the same-sex-marriage ban while he was running for office, he says he’s not interested in pushing the issue anymore.

“It’s not something that moves me,” he said last week.