Former Republican Florida governor Charlie Crist has apologised for backing a 2008 constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in the state.

“I’m sorry I did that. It was a mistake. I was wrong. Please forgive me,” Mr Crist told LGBT site Watermark Online. When asked whether his previous statements against marriage and adoption rights for same-sex couples were “politically expedient,” he said, “They were. They were. And it was wrong. That’s what I’m telling you. And I’m sorry.”

Mr Crist was a Republican when he served as governor from 2007 to 2011, but is now running for a second term as a Democrat.

In 2008, he voted for the successful Amendment 2, which enshrined a ban against same-sex marriage in Florida’s constitution.

At the time, he said, “It’s what I believe in.” The year before, Mr Crist had said that he had a “live and let live” attitude and that it was “not an issue that moves me.”

“The examples you cited were examples of me trying to be a good Republican. I couldn’t do it anymore, and I’m sorry I did,” said Mr Crist in his interview to Watermark.

“I made a mistake. I’m not perfect … please don’t hold me to that standard. And I’m sincerely sorry. I understand when it’s necessary to say I was wrong. That‘s the journey I’m on … and I’m still on it.”

Mr Crist announced that he supported equal marriage in May 2013.