ST. PETERSBURG — Citing a change of heart, state Rep. Darryl Rouson apologized Monday night for a series of disparaging remarks he made two years ago against homosexuals and same-sex families.
"Sometimes we become educated and evolve," he said during a St. Petersburg NAACP candidate forum. "I have evolved."
In February 2006, Rouson spoke out against same-sex adoption and homosexuality on WEDU's Florida This Week.
"I think it is wrong to allow adoptions of children by gay and lesbian couples," said Rouson, a former Republican and NAACP president. "It sends a wrong message early to a child during formative years that's hard to overcome just by sitting down and talking to them.
"I think lesbianism and homosexuality is morally wrong," Rouson, a lawyer, continued, "The law is supposed to discriminate sometimes, in some respects, it is supposed to discriminate against social order and anarchy."
When another guest suggested opponents of same-sex adoption come up with a better argument than moral righteousness, Rouson responded: "We need to go back to some morals of what used to be and keep some things as simple as the Ten Commandments."
Monday, Rouson said he did not remember the appearance until it was shown to him this week.
But the Rev. Charles McKenzie, Rouson's opponent in the August 26 Democratic primary, challenged Rouson's new politics.
"I evolved to that point a long time ago," McKenzie said of his support of same-sex adoptions.
Rouson became a Democrat in January after he said he was recruited by party leaders to run for the District 55 seat. In a March candidate forum, both Rouson and McKenzie said they supported same-sex adoptions.