US: Former Republican Governor files legal brief in favour of same-sex marriage

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The former Republican Governor of Floria has filed a legal brief supporting the introduction of same-sex marriage.

Charlie Crist, who was Governor of Florida until 2011, endorsed Barack Obama in 2012 and eventually defected to the Democratic party.

He first announced his support for same-sex marriage last year, but today actively filed an amicus legal brief in favour of the measure, as part of Equality Florida’s ongoing lawsuit to overturn the state’s same-sex marriage ban.

In the brief, Crist – who is also a former Attorney General – wrote that he is in a “unique position” to provide a perspective to the court, given he himself opposed equal marriage as Governor.

He wrote: “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.”

Nadine Smith, the CEO of Equality Florida, said: “As former Governor, and as someone who previously supported this measure, Charlie Crist’s words matter a great deal.

“He has taken the same journey the majority of Floridians have taken in realizing that this ban serves no purpose but to disparage and discriminate against gay couples and our children.”

In April, the state’s current Attorney General, Pam Bondi, claimed that equal marriage “would impose significant public harm”.

She added that recognising same-sex marriage would cause “significant financial and logistical problems” for state pension and insurance programs, despite the conspicuous lack of problems in any of the 19 states which already recognise same-sex marriage.