Monday, June 11, 2012

Oh, Crist

Another bunch of stories came out, so to speak, last week about whether or not former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R I) is gay.

The stories are part of an ongoing legal battle with Jim Greer, the former chairman of the Florida Republican Party, and Mr. Greer’s defense team is bringing it up to damage any testimony that Mr. Crist might give at trial. Apparently they think that tarring Mr. Crist with Teh Gay will destroy him and his credibility as a witness. They also throw in that he likes his liquor. (Ah, lawyers. I get the whole zealous defense meme, but sheesh.)

So is Charlie Crist gay? The instrument has yet to be invented that can measure my indifference to the subject. He’s not running for office at the moment, although some folks have been making noise in the state that he should run against Rick Scott as a Democrat. Why that’s a bad idea is another story, but whether or not Mr. Crist is gay shouldn’t have any bearing on credibility as a witness.

However, should he choose to run, he should be held accountable for his views on gay rights and marriage equality, regardless of whether or not he is gay. He is on the record as being against same-sex marriage, which, given his circumstances, is probably the politically correct thing to do. And it doesn’t automatically brand him as a flaming hypocrite if it should turn out that he does play for our team; there are some people in the gay rights movement who want no part of marriage equality, seeing it as conforming with and endorsing heteronormative values. (Somehow I doubt that’s his reason, but hey, it’s a possibility.) At this point, all it does is make him look like he’s following the knee-jerk response expected from someone who’s trying to get elected in Florida.

If we’re truly going to mature as a society, the whole speculation about someone’s sexual orientation should be as irrelevant as the color of their eyes or whether or not they’re left or right-handed. Charlie Crist’s qualifications as a candidate for political office should be based on solely on his experience and record unless his personal life has disrupted his effectiveness. Just being gay — or not — isn’t a disqualifier.

HT to Benjamin Kirby.