From The Buzz political blog:
Hours after he sidestepped the question of whether he would support or oppose an Arizona-style anti-gay law in a national TV appearance, Gov. Rick Scott said Wednesday he would veto it.
Scott's new statement came after his likely Democratic opponent, former Gov. Charlie Crist, blasted him for not firmly opposing any forms of discrimination.
At issue is a bill that the Arizona Legislature has passed that would allow business owners to refuse to serve gay customers based on religious beliefs. On MSNBC's The Daily Rundown Wednesday, Scott was asked about the issue three times and dodged the question each time. In Scott's new statement, he made reference to Arizons Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican who must decide by Friday whether to sign or veto the bill.
“I don’t want to tell Gov. Brewer what to do, she can do what’s best for her state," Scott said. "From my understanding of that bill, I would veto it in Florida because it seems unnecessary. In Florida, we are focused on economic growth, and not on things that divide us. We are for freedom here in Florida. And we want everyone to come here, create jobs, and live in freedom, and that includes religious liberty. I am very much opposed to forcing anyone to violate their conscience or their religious beliefs, and of course, I’m very much opposed to discrimination. As a society, we need to spend more time learning to love and tolerate each other, and less time trying to win arguments in courts of law. Other states can spend their time fighting over issues like this, but in Florida we are laser focused on creating jobs and opportunities. It’s working, and we need to keep it going and will not get distracted by this or anything else.”
This is an important message from Governor Scott to extremists in his party not to push Florida in the disastrous direction Arizona has taken. The condemnation from all quarters - most visibly from the business community- has driven home the simple fact that discrimination is morally wrong and economically reckless.
The time of garnering votes with strident anti-gay rhetoric is over. In fact, there are polls that show that voters will now punish candidates for opposing equal rights.
Where candidates stand on LGBT equality issues is becoming a litmus test for the emerging electorate. In Florida, the 3 million registered voters with no party affiliation will decide the next election. These are largely the younger voters who vote based on issues that inspire them not simply based party. Both candidates are well advised to speak to their values of fairness. Who they believe will be decisive.
Nadine Smith, CEO
Equality Florida | Equality Florida Institute