Florida’s four major Republican candidates vying for a U.S. senate seat made it known at a Florida Family Policy Council and West Orlando Tea Party sponsored debate Saturday that they are all opposed to gay marriage, civil unions and LGBT inclusive hate crimes laws.
The four potential U.S. senators include former Ruth’s Chris CEO Craig Miller, former U.S. senator George LeMieux, former state Rep. Adam Hasner, and retired Army Col. Mike McCalister. Interestingly, while their approaches on the issues may have been slightly different, all four found much to agree on, especially when it came to the topic of gay marriage. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they’re not fans, and three of the four said they definitely want to see a federal marriage amendment banning same-sex marriage recognition.
The candidates – former Sen. George LeMieux, former state Rep. Adam Hasner, retired Army Col. Mike McCalister and former Ruth’s Chris CEO Craig Miller – all said they oppose embryonic stem cell research, gay marriage and civil unions, providing gays and lesbians protection under hate crime laws, Internet gambling and the recent deal to raise the nation’s debt ceiling.
“I do not see the need for hate crime legislation, every crime is hateful,” said LeMieux. “You don’t need a special category for anyone.”
“I’m opposed to same sex marriage whether it’s in New York or Florida or elsewhere,” Hasner said. “In every state where the voters have the opportunity, even in California, they’ve defended an institution of marriage between one man and one woman.”
McCalister was the only candidate to take a slightly different approach on this issue wherein he said that while he opposes gay marriage, he is a proponent of state rights to choose, indicating that while he might not support a federal marriage amendment, he would certainly advocate keeping the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act in place.
When asked about New York’s recent legalization of gay marriage, the four Republicans said they supported the federal “defense of marriage act,” which defines marriage as a union of one man and one woman.
“I think that’s how God intended it to be,” said Miller. “This direction, this slope we’re on, takes our country in a direction that we need not go.”
McCalister said that, as a 10th Amendment advocate, he would prefer to leave marriage to the states “but it has to be protected.” He said variations of the issue have been on the ballot in 32 states — including Florida, which outlawed gay marriage in a 2008 referendum — and that “tens of millions of people have voted” to define the union.
As well as opposing gay rights, the four senate hopefuls vowed to vigorously oppose abortion and to block federal funding of Planned Parenthood. The majority did however concede some ground on abortion in instances or rape and incest, or where the mother’s life was in danger, but how that was to translate into policy was left largely undisclosed.
The senate hopefuls were also of like mind to prevent the United Nations from, as they perceive it, interfering or imposing an agenda on America, and specifically they all agreed on blocking either UN environmental or financial initiatives from being enacted in America.
Hasner said, “The United Nations is a corrupt organization.” McCalister went further, saying America’s relationship with the UN needed to be seriously amended and perhaps America should “get out” of the UN because he said America does not “need the UN, or any other countries, trying to tell us how to run this place.”
One of the other big talking points that drew applause from the 200 or so in the crowd was opposition to appointing “activist” federal judges, with Miller returning to the issue of abortion, saying: “Activist judges dominated the court and we ended up with things like Roe vs. Wade,” — a reference to the 1973 case that legalized abortion.
The four were also of a consensus that there needs to be a balanced budget and, as one might expect, they all wanted to see a cuts in federal spending.