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Election No Good for Floridians Hoping for Marriage Equality

Election No Good for Floridians Hoping for Marriage Equality

Election No Good for Floridians Hoping for Marriage Equality

If the Democrats had won, they presented a clear path toward marriage equality in the state.

Bondi, Crist, Scott

Both Rick Scott and Pam Bondi have won reelection, according to the Associated Press, sending a discouraging message to LGBT Floridians hoping to see change on marriage equality there.

If the Democrats had won, gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist had said the state's marriage ban is discriminatory, and the candidate for attorney general, George Sheldon, had said he would refuse to defend the ban from legal challenges.

"They may slow us down but they will never turn us back," said Equality Florida on its Facebook page in reaction, conceding "it's been a tough night for all of us."

Crist had made a bid to recast himself as a Democrat who supports marriage equality, but Scott spent hard to label Crist as a flip-flopper. Crist was once the Republican governor of the state but is now a Democrat, and he was once opposed to marriage equality but is now outwardly in favor. 

The gubernatorial race might be best remembered for "fangate." While Crist was introduced on stage during a live TV debate, anchors were left explaining that Scott refused to join in because he objected to a fan that Crist used to keep cool at his podium. It was all a little surreal, and maybe it reinforced a common dig at Scott — that he refuses to answer questions.

For LGBT voters, the clearest example of Scott's evasive nature is his insistence that Bondi, the state's Republican attorney general, is solely responsible for insisting on defending his state's marriage equality ban. Even Edie Windsor wrote a letter to Scott imploring him to use his power to stop the defense.

Scott also wouldn't say during a debate whether he believes a marriage ban is a form of "discrimination," as courts across the country have ruled. Crist, on the other hand, called it discriminatory: "Who is it for us to tell other people who to love?" 

For her part, Bondi won reelection handily. With over half the expected vote counted, Bondi had 55 percent to Democrat Sheldon's 42 percent, the Associated Press reports. Bondi had an edge over Sheldon in fundraising and name recognition.

At a campaign event this summer, Bondi made clear that she’s only just begun to fight to keep Florida’s marriage ban — a law that Sheldon said he would not defend. Before reporters could even ask her about the ban or the numerous court cases challenging it, she asserted, “That is part of the Constitution, which I am sworn to uphold. … This is me doing my job as attorney general. And I will continue to do that and if anybody wants me to moderate my message or stand for less I have a message for them: I am just getting started.”

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