[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/08/29/art.crist.sotu.0829b.cnn.jpg 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.