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Christian Ulvert: Pam Bondi’s criticism of Anderson Cooper is “truly unbelievable”

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

One of the plaintiffs in the fight to overturn Florida’s gay-marriage ban has penned an open letter to Attorney General Pam Bondi, the same week of her feud with CNN newsman Anderson Cooper.

Christian Ulvert, a Miami-based communications consultant, wrote Bondi that he “dismayed by the response you offered to Mr. Cooper regarding your efforts in your relentless fight against the LGBT community.”

Bondi and Cooper have been sniping at each other over a live interview they did Tuesday.

The attorney general later went on talk radio, suggesting she was sandbagged by questions about her defense of the ban in the wake of Sunday’s mass shooting in Orlando that targeted a gay nightclub.

Cooper said his “job is to hold people accountable.”

“If … a politician is talking about love and embracing ‘our LGBT community,’ then I don’t think it’s unfair to look at their record and see if they have actually ever spoken that way publicly before,” he said Wednesday night on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360°.

Ulvert—the Florida Democratic Party’s former political director—married Carlos Andrade in Washington, D.C., in July 2013.

They were one of “eight married same-sex couples to challenge Florida’s refusal to recognize same-sex marriages performed out of state,” according to the ACLU-Florida’s website. That ban and those in other states have been struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court.

While Ulvert said he “greatly appreciate(s) the fact you are in Orlando to lend a voice to the victims of the horrific and tragic event in Orlando,” he added he was disappointed Bondi chose to fight.

“You had the opportunity as Gov. Lawton Chiles once did in saying the state is on the wrong side of history and unable to defend the discriminatory measure in our constitution,” Ulvert said.

“Worse, as the Attorney General of Florida, you declared that gay Floridians like my husband and me posed great harm,” he wrote. “Those aren’t my words, those are yours, because it was done under your control and supervision. You cannot deflect responsibility to one of your lawyers, as you said in the interview.”

Bondi is “right about one thing: These days should be about paying tribute to the victims who were targeted because they were gay,” Ulvert said. “I cannot think of a better way to recognize their loving lives than by demanding action that the days of discrimination in our state are over.

“You had the opportunity to tell Anderson Cooper on live television that the state was wrong for declaring gay Floridians were a harm, and to undo the pain, you would be a leading voice in the call for a statewide non-discrimination bill,” he wrote.

The measure, known as the “Florida Competitive Workforce Act,” died this past session. It aimed to prohibit employment, retail and other discrimination against people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, amending the state’s Civil Rights Act.

“… Rather than saying times need to change, you attempted to make yourself a victim,” Ulvert said to Bondi. “That is truly unbelievable.”

bondi

Before joining Florida Politics, journalist and attorney James Rosica was state government reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He attended journalism school in Washington, D.C., working at dailies and weekly papers in Philadelphia after graduation. Rosica joined the Tallahassee Democrat in 1997, later moving to the courts beat, where he reported on the 2000 presidential recount. In 2005, Rosica left journalism to attend law school in Philadelphia, afterwards working part time for a public-interest law firm. Returning to writing, he covered three legislative sessions in Tallahassee for The Associated Press, before joining the Tribune’s re-opened Tallahassee bureau in 2013. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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