Timing is everything, and, while it is clear that this wasn’t the exact moment Charlie Crist (Governor of Florida and Independent candidate for the US Senate) wanted to reveal his sweeping support for gay rights, it was soon to come out anyways. The website RawStory.com obtained a copy of a memo from Crist’s office which outlines support for issues ranging from the repeal of DADT to the ability of gay couples to adopt-something Crist formerly opposed. One item you won’t find on the list is same-sex marriage. The former Republican – Crist left the GOP in April – still tows the party line that marriage is between one man and one woman.
So why is this all that interesting?
In 2009, Director Kirby Dick released a documentary named Outrage focused on closeted members of the Republican Party and the hypocrisy between their personal lives and their legislation. One individual of interest in the film is Ken Mehlman, former Chairman of the Republican National Committee. After years of all but public certainty of his homosexuality, the former Bush campaign manager decided to come out of the closet in an August interview with the Atlantic.
Another big target of the film is none other than Charlie Crist. Highlighted in the film is Crist’s purported affair with a young staffer named Jason Wehterington as well as his convenient relationships with women during campaign seasons. One such woman, Kelly Heyniger, was approached by the filmmakers for a comment on the Governor’s sexuality. Her response was, “I think I should keep my mouth shut… contact me in ten years and I’ll give you a story.”
As for the moral of this tale, I think openly gay Representative Barney Frank (D-Mass) said it best. “There’s a right to privacy, not a right to hypocrisy.” Staying in the closet as an LGBT politician does immense harm to the community and to the politician personally. Have the courage to stand up for that which you know in your heart is right. I know it may be easier said than done, but it is the politicians job to perform the difficult tasks. The work Mehlman and Crist are doing now is wonderful, but it comes after an equally horrific political background. Let’s stop the harmful history of projection from the likes of George Rekers and Ed Schrock and work towards a progress that leaves every American feeling like a full citizen.
image of Crist’s memo