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Florida Is at a Moral Crossroads

Campaigns have a way of revealing deeper truths

Political campaigns have a great way of revealing deeper truths about a society, and Florida’s gubernatorial election is no exception. After years of observing cultural trends, listening to stump speeches, considering candidate records, and speaking with Floridians across the state, it is clear that Florida is at a moral crossroads.

When Gov. Ronald Reagan left California to lead our nation, Californians faced a stark choice between two visions for their state’s future. To put it simply, they chose a culture of instant gratification, promiscuity, and secularism over a culture of principle, family, and faith traditions. They made the wrong choice, and are paying for it with high rates of abortion, drug use, divorce, crime, and school dropouts.

Now Florida faces a similar alternative in choosing its next governor. Issues such as taxes, education, and insurance are important and should be debated vigorously. But politics is about more than who gets what. Nothing is more crucial to the destiny of a people than its cultural heritage. Social issues define us as a people and a governor sets the moral tone and climate for a state. Floridians cannot afford to make the mistake of California — to vote without first considering the character, principles, and lifestyles of its leaders.

Tom Gallagher will stand up for the basic conservative values and institutions that Floridians cherish. Charlie Crist will not. Tom Gallagher will protect traditional marriage, defend life and work to end the scourge of abortion, and defend family values. His record, character, and personal testimony speak to these convictions. Charlie Crist’s principles arise out of political expediency.

Today, the most basic human institution of our society is under attack and needs defending. Marriage between one man and one woman is not merely a lifestyle choice. It is a sacred bond and an essential institution for raising children that is recognized and celebrated by every major religion and culture in history. The stakes are high for everyone when activist judges violate the will of voters and write gay marriage into law.

Tom Gallagher is an adamant supporter of traditional marriage and Florida’s families, and he has the real life experience to back this up. He proudly supports a ban on gay marriage. Charlie Crist refuses to come clean about his position on the issue. He offers lip service in support of traditional marriage, and then flip flops under pressure from the left. Just last year Charlie Crist said that there was no need for a constitutional amendment to define marriage as the union between one man and one woman.

On the abortion issue, the difference between Tom Gallagher and Charlie Crist is just as clear. Tom Gallagher is 100% pro-life. He is a proud father who understands the sanctity of life and is willing to defend it. On this issue as well, Charlie Crist is a political opportunist who is unwilling to clearly reject a practice that has killed more than 45 million American unborn children.

Charlie Crist is a conservative impostor. He claims to be pro-life and even told a priest that he would sign a South Dakota-style abortion ban. Moments later he retracted this statement when pressed by reporters. But his record speaks louder than his words. Charlie Crist is so "pro-choice" that he cast a deciding vote against a 24-hour waiting period for an abortion. Even the liberal NARAL Pro-Choice America rates Charlie Crist as "mixed choice" for his support for abortion rights. This should not come as a surprise. Charlie Crist is the same man who praised the judges that ordered Terri Schaivo’s feeding tube removed, condemning her to death by starvation. Our next governor will select at least two Supreme Court Justices to serve on the state’s highest court to preside over these important moral issues. We will have a unique opportunity to tip the court’s balance to a 4-3 majority in favor of judicial restraint. Tom Gallagher has the character to make good choices, and Charlie Crist has indirectly told us through his actions and his words that he will nominate two liberals.

There is a reason why more than 100 social conservative leaders in Florida have endorsed Tom Gallagher. That is because Gallagher is without question the strongest pro-life, pro-family candidate in the race — period. Charlie Crist may be a good man but he is not the best qualified man for the job — especially for social conservatives. Charlie Crist lacks the credentials, principles, and life experience to lead Florida on these crucial issues. Tom Gallagher is ready for the challenge.

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Written By

Mr. Stemberger is a former political director of the Republican Party of Florida.

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