Gov. Charlie Crist clarified on Thursday that he thinks judges ought to be allowed to decide on a case-by-case basis whether gay couples can adopt children rather than continuing a statewide ban, the only one in the nation.
I think thats a decision best left to judges, Crist said while speaking to a group of newspaper editors in Sarasota. A better law would be to allow judges to make that decision on a case-by-case basis.
Florida has long banned gay couples by adopting, though a local judge in South Florida threw the law out in that circuit in 2008 and the state is appealing.
Crist wasnt asked whether the state should now drop the appeal since he is against the ban.
Crist, however, recently dropped his Republican registration and said Thursday the party has left him rather than the other way around on several issues, presumably this one included.
Critics have said Crist has flip-flopped on several issues in recent weeks. Its not clear that Crist was ever a strong proponent of the ban. but during the nearly four years he has been governor he never pushed for an end to the ban. There have been bills in the Legislature for several years to lift it. Republicans have generally favored keeping the ban in place, and the measure has gone nowhere in Tallahassee.
In 2008, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Cindy Lederman ruled that the state's ban on gay people adopting children was unconstitutional. The case involves Martin Gill, a gay man who has adopted two boys.
The states appeal is being handled by Republican Attorney General Bill McCollums office. McCollum is a GOP candidate for governor. Crist is running for the United States Senate as a no party candidate.