The Washington Times - August 30, 2010, 12:58PM

Senate candidate Gov. Charlie Crist of Florida has soft peddled statements he made Sunday regarding gay marriage, saying that he doesn’t support a Constitutional amendment to bar the practice.

When speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union” program Sunday, Crist, who is running as a independent after leaving the Republican Party in the spring, said that – while he doesn’t condemn same-sex partnerships — marriage should be reserved for heterosexuals.

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“I feel that marriage is a sacred institution, if you will. But I do believe in tolerance I’m a live-and-let-live kind of guy, and while I feel that way about marriage, I think if partners want to have the opportunity to live together, I don’t have a problem with that. And I think that’s where most of America is,” Crist said.

“So I think that you know, you have to speak from the heart about these issues. They are very personal. They have a significant impact on an awful lot of people and the less the government is telling people what to do, the better off we’re all going to be. But when it comes to marriage, I think it is a sacred institution. I believe it is between a man and woman, but partners, you know, living together, I don’t have a problem with.”

But Crist’s campaign later issued a statement clarifying the candidate’s statements, saying that he doesn’t support changing the U.S. Constitution to make same-sex marriage illegal.

“I was not discussing an amendment to the U.S. Constitution banning same-sex marriage, which I do not support, but rather reaffirming my position regarding Florida’s constitutional ban that I articulated while running for governor,” he said in the statement.