Concluding an hour-long segment prominently featuring sit-down interviews with incumbent Florida governor Rick Scott on Sunday's This Week in South Florida, a senior political reporter at Miami's WPLG TV called out what he said amounts to cowardice in the Republican's opposition to marriage equality in the state.
After five state and federal court rulings all struck down local and statewide bans on same-sex marriage in Florida, Attorney General Pam Bondi has dug in her heels to fight the freedom to marry, even opposing a lesbian couple's petition to get divorced in Florida. Bondi, a Republican, has been twice divorced and thrice engaged herself.
Despite the fact that Scott is Bondi's boss, that both politicians belong to the same party, and that both are facing a heated reelection battle, Scott told the WPLG anchors that Bondi's stalwart defense of marriage discrimination is "entirely her business" and that the governor has no influence over the attorney general's actions.
"That is just nonsense," senior political reporter Michael Putney said at the conclusion of Sunday's episode, according to video posted by the Miami Herald. "Governor Scott is the top elected official in the state. If he didn't want Attorney General Bondi to file those appeals, he can simply call her up and say, 'Hey, stop it.' Or he could order a stop."
Putney then went on to point to several other state leaders who have stopped defending their state's marriage bans in the wake of overwhelming legal precedent supporting the freedom to marry. Most notably, Putney pointed to fellow Republican Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin, who agreed to let marriage equality take effect after the Supreme Court declined to review lower court rulings striking down the state's ban on same-sex marriage.
"Those states are among 32 that Washington now recognizes as having legally married same-sex couples," Putney continued. "And they're eligible for federal benefits, including Social Security. More important, those couples now enjoy the seal of approval for their unions by the states where they live, work, and raise families. Florida should be among those states — right now. The fact that Governor Scott refuses to take responsibility for preventing that is appalling. But it's not the first time."
Watch the clip, in which Putney offers what he calls a "personal perspective about a politician who just refuses to take responsibility," below.