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Charlie Crist files legal brief in support of marriage equality

TALLAHASSEE — Democratic candidate for governor Charlie Crist filed a legal brief in support of marriage equality on Friday.

The brief comes as six same-sex couples who were denied marriage licenses prepare for their day in court. They are suing Miami-Dade Clerk Harvey Ruvin.

A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday in Miami-Dade circuit court.

Crist was governor when Florida passed a constitutional amendment banning the recognition of same-sex marriages in 2008.

In his brief, Crist called the ban "discriminatory" and said the courts should strike it down.

"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," Crist wrote. "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."

Gay-rights advocates said they welcomed Crist's support.

"As former governor and as someone who previously supported this measure, Charlie Crist's words matter a great deal," said Nadine Smith, of Equality Florida, which filed the lawsuit with the couples. "He has taken the same journey the majority of Floridians have taken in realizing this ban serves no purpose but to disparage and discriminate against gay couples and our children."

The mayors of Miami Beach and Orlando have also filed legal briefs.

Attorney General Pam Bondi's office announced this week that it will defend the state's gay marriage ban in the case.

Charlie Crist files legal brief in support of marriage equality 06/27/14 [Last modified: Friday, June 27, 2014 8:46pm]

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