Former Florida governor and newly minted Democrat Charlie Crist said on Wednesday that he regrets signing a 2006 petition against same sex marriage. According to the Tampa Bay Times, Crist named the petition as one of his chief regrets from his time in office.
"Would I do it today? No," Crist said to a group of reporters gathered at the Pinellas County Board of Elections headquarters, where he was handing in his paperwork to officially change party affiliation from Republican to Democrat.
He went on to say, "I think the best way to judge where my heart is is to look at the deeds that I have done, whether as attorney general, governor -- restoration of rights, civil rights cases, things of that nature that I think show a compassionate heart and hopefully someone who cares and knows who the boss is -- and the boss is the people of Florida."
The 2006 petition, which was created by the group Florida4Marriage.org, proposed a ballot measure to amend the state's constitution, defining marriage as a privilege reserved for heterosexual couples. It fell 155,000 signatures short of its goal, but in 2008, Florida voters passed Amendment 2, which said, "This amendment protects marriage as the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife and provides that no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized."
Crist discussed his disenchantment with the Republican Party with reporters, as well as his disappointment in Tea Party Republican Gov. Rick Scott.
"I am disappointed. It started with rejecting the high speed rail. When I was governor we had several special sessions to try to tee that up to the us department of transportation, working on Sunrail. We were successful I think in proving that Florida needed it, wanted it and was ready for it. So I think that was disappointing. De-funding education -- $1.3 billion the first year. As a public school kid that really bothered me and disappointed me. The way the environment's being treated. The disabled. We could go on, but I won't," he said.
"That's a big reason I'm a Democrat now," Crist concluded, "because they care, and they're compassionate."
[image via Fifth World Art's Flickr Photostream]