August 30th, 2010
09:34 AM ET
13 years ago

Crist walks back same-sex marriage remarks

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption =" Charlie Crist spoke with CNN’s Senior White House Correspondent Ed Henry on Sunday morning."](CNN) - Florida Gov. Charlie Crist appeared to backtrack from statements he made regarding same-sex marriage during a CNN interview Sunday, saying in a statement that he does not support a Constitutional ban on the practice.

The comments appear at odds with what the Florida Senate candidate told CNN's Ed Henry on State of the Union, during which he expressed continued support for a ban on same-sex marriage.

"I feel the same way, yes, because I feel that marriage is a sacred institution, if you will. But I do believe in tolerance. I'm a live and let live kind of guy, and while I feel that way about marriage, I think if partners want to have the opportunity to live together, I don't have a problem with that," said Crist when asked about his stance against same-sex marriage when he ran for governor four years ago.

"When it comes to marriage, I think it is a sacred institution. I believe it is between a man and woman, but partners living together, I don't have a problem with," added Crist, the former Republican-turned-Independent who is leading the three-way Senate race in most recent polls and is counting on significant support from Democratic and independent voters to eek out a victory.

In a statement released later Sunday, Crist said he in fact is against a Constitutional ban on same sex marriage and was instead only offering his support for a state ban on the practice.

"I was not discussing an amendment to the U.S. Constitution banning same-sex marriage, which I do not support, but rather reaffirming my position regarding Florida's constitutional ban that I articulated while running for governor," he said in the statement.

Full transcript with Henry and Crist from Sunday, after the jump:

Crist's latest clarification comes days after the Florida governor says he he "misspoke" when he told a television interviewer that he would have voted for President Obama's health care reform package.

Crist had previously said he would have voted against the bill were he in Washington at the time, but in an interview Friday with Orlando TV station Central Florida News 13, Crist said, "I would have voted for it but I think it can be done better. I really do."

Crist later issued a statement saying, "If I misspoke, I want to be abundantly clear: the health care bill was too big, too expensive, and expanded the role of government far too much. Had I been in the United States Senate at the time, I would have voted against the bill because of unacceptable provisions like the cuts to the Medicare Advantage program."

Crist's Republican opponent, Marco Rubio, has repeatedly accused Crist of flip-flopping on key issues in an effort to win over moderate voters.

Full transcript with Henry and Crist from Sunday:

HENRY: Another big issue, same-sex marriage. Many conservatives like Marco Rubio support a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. But this week, the former Republican Party Chairman Ken Mehlman came out and said he's gay and he called on conservatives to kind of move to the political center and be more tolerant on this issue. You have previously said in your gubernatorial campaign, you supported a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Now that you're trying to occupy the political center, are you still in favor of a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage?

CRIST: I feel the same way, yes, because I feel that marriage is a sacred institution, if you will. But I do believe in tolerance. I'm a live and let live kind of guy, and while I feel that way about marriage, I think if partners want to have the opportunity to live together, I don't have a problem with that.

And I think that's where most of America is. So I think that you know, you have to speak from the heart about these issues. They are very personal. They have a significant impact on an awful lot of people and the less the government is telling people what to do, the better off we're all going to be. But when it comes to marriage, I think it is a sacred institution. I believe it is between a man and woman, but partners living together, I don't have a problem with.

HENRY: But governor, doesn't it sounds like you having it both ways by saying live and let live, but I also support a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. If it's live and let live, why would you ban same-sex marriage?

CRIST: Well, everything is in a matter of degree, Ed, and when it becomes to the institution of marriage, I believe that it is between a man and a woman, it's just how I feel.

Filed under: 2010 • Charlie Crist • Florida • State of the Union
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. clr

    He will flip flop and say whatever he thinks voters in the democrat party want to hear. How anyone can trust the weasle from either party is beyond me.

    August 30, 2010 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  2. Willy Brown

    Charlie is T-O-A-S-T.

    August 30, 2010 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  3. gt

    crist is toast....the far left will support meek,,, you just cut your own throat with the independents...

    August 30, 2010 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  4. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    Claiming to be an Independant now....he doesn't know what to think now does he?Trying to pander to everyone to get elected is an old Taliban tactic.

    August 30, 2010 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  5. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    One thing you cannot accuse Rubio of is changing his mind. But the real flip flopping is by Rubio and those who want to deny rights guaranteed to Americans in the constitution by adding an anti rights amendment. Of course you would never convince the cabana boy for big government that his economic plans are a disaster for Floridians.

    August 30, 2010 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  6. Orlando Patriot

    Charlie Crist walking "back" on his statement? NOW THERE'S A SURPRISE!! This man would sell his mother for a vote and sell his children if a poll told him it would benefit him. This type of politician is EXACTLY what is wrong with this country!! Politicians without backbone or character are more common than illegal immigrants in Phoenix Arizona. Crist was against off-shore drilling, then for offshore-drilling, now against off-shore drilling again. WHAT?!?!

    For those of you who think a vote for Crist is to your benefit because NOW he is an "Independent" (aka "Liberal") just remember the MINUTE a poll tells him to vote conservative again he will stab you in the back as quickly as he stabbed us conservatives. Is that what you want? This guy is pathetic and needs to be kicked out of office!!!

    August 30, 2010 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  7. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Charlie, take a break from the interview circuit, you are stumbling! Better yet, get out and support the Democrat before nut job Rubio wins!

    August 30, 2010 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  8. LimRickNews

    Running for the Senate in Flor’da,
    Charlie Crist, a Republican, yeah sort’a.
    Now it’s crystal unclear,
    Which party he holds dear.
    Would winning crystallize Senate disorda?
    For more, google "LimRickNews".

    August 30, 2010 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  9. yarrrr

    I understood what he meant... he's done a lot of flip flopping lately but I don't see it here...

    August 30, 2010 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  10. Ellie

    WHY are we not surprised?

    August 30, 2010 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  11. James

    Coming from a man who is gay himself! Charile is well known with gays in FL...he has been known to be a "Mark Foley" as he is called down here.

    Charlie, its time to do the right thing and come out. Be honest. Be proud. Be real. Enough of your "boys on the side"

    August 30, 2010 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  12. Sam Sixpack

    Seems there is no low to which you will not stoop to push your lopsided propoganda.

    August 30, 2010 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  13. ED FL

    Right now Crist has plenty of DEMO support but the More he FLIP/ FLOPS on past beliefs and votes, the less chance he has to retain that support. Wise up Charley or you and Scott will be fishing together on other than Florida waters.The Cuban crook of miami Dade county keeps talking about his family roots. The family is not running he is and until we find out what he actually did with all the GOP credit cards and the Secret house in foreclosure he will be just another Miami Dade politician without any support from outside of the Dade County vote that is easily bought.

    August 30, 2010 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  14. Soap

    Another flip flop and how could anyone really vote for this clown. He is joined with obama at the hip and tells people what he thinks they want to hear depending where he is at the time.

    August 30, 2010 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  15. Chessnutz of Liverpool NY

    What? Is love only for the right of Christians?
    When will my brothers and sisters have the right to live their private life without government intrusion as protected by the U.S. Constitution?
    Why is Love between same sex couples viewed as immoral? Because the Bible says so?

    IMHO opinion unconditional love is exactly that LOVE! And Love is certainly something this world needs more of...

    I will not look at love and see a problem. I will see Love and I will be glad in it and be joyous.

    After all my brother gave his life to show us the power of unconditional love.

    August 30, 2010 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  16. tess

    can you say FLIP-FLOP FOOL!!!! this man is a disgrace and floridians should send him packing faster than he can change his mind again.

    August 30, 2010 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  17. jc

    I notice that he never really answers a question. Its very annoying. He seems like a decent guy (for a republican) but for once I would like to hear him actually answer a question.

    August 30, 2010 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  18. Liz the First

    Walking back from federally sanctioned bigotry to his home-grown version. what's the difference? no government has any rational justification for discrimination against people on the basis of sexual orientation. period! all marriages need to be civil marriages. it's a legal contract with rights and privileges given by state and federal governments. people of any sexual orientation have the right to enter into a legal contract. 'holy matrimony' is a blessing by a church of this legal contract, and any church in this country is, and will be, free to grant the blessings of 'holy matrimony' on whoever they chose, or not. this is separation of church and state, one of the foundations of this great country, revisionists notwithstanding.

    August 30, 2010 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  19. "Walks back" = talking out of 2 sides of mouth

    When a politician "walks back" a previoulsly made statement, campaign promise, or vote, it is political speak for he is either talking out of both sides of his mouth trying to get as many votes as possible from opposing viewpoint voters; he is lying; or he has no clue what he is doing; In some cases it means all three.

    In Crist's situation, he is trying to say yes to everything and everybody to get votes -and yet he is unwilling to say who he will caucus with if elected - this man is a walking talking disaster with a capital D for Democrap

    August 30, 2010 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  20. rachel

    Hurry hurry get yourself aligned with the democrats real qucks Crist. This faker than a reality show.

    August 30, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  21. Sharpton disgraces King memory

    What most people will remember is about 500,000 civilized Americans of all races and religions politely listening to Mr Beck while down the street about 3,000 blacks led by Al Sharpton hurled racially charged insults at the Beck rally and claiming incredulously that Martin Luther's Kings legacy is for blacks only -– I was appalled at what Sharpton was saying. if MLK were in DC over the weekend, he would have been standing with Glenn Beck arm in arm -- for ALL Americans. But this is what Sharpton and the democrats are all about - Hate, bigotry, racial politics, and just plain BS. Americans need and wants change from the present disaster in DC

    August 30, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  22. phoenix86

    Gay marriage. Next is incestual marriages and poligamy. The left loves to wreck anything with morals.

    August 30, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  23. PEDRO

    I feel the same way about allowing Christians to marry. It is way too sacred to allow them get married.

    August 30, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  24. Robert Haas

    Waffles with syrup, and plenty of buttering up.. a sticky mess, Sir

    August 30, 2010 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  25. Bill, Bloomington Il

    Is this the sinking of the Crist bandwagon?

    August 30, 2010 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
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