The Florida Democratic Party is denouncing the remarks of Republican Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, who, in denying a same-sex relationship with a staffer, said women who look like her aren’t lesbians.
Carroll’s remarks to the press came as a scandal involving her office escalated.
A former aide says she was fired after she walked in on Carroll, who is married to a man and has children, with another female staffer.
The former aide, Carletha Cole, says she was harassed and threatened by co-workers after that encounter. She has since been arrested and accused of illegally distributing an audio tape of Carroll’s chief of staff suggesting disarray in the office.
Cole, in court documents in her defense, claimed this week that Carroll abused her power in trying to cover up her affair and intimidating Cole.
Carroll called the ex-aide’s claims lies and said, in her own defense, "Black women that look like me don't engage in relationships like that."
The Florida Democratic Party issued a statement describing Carroll’s remark as intolerant.
State Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith said, “Time will tell whether the allegations that the lt. governor has misused her position and harassed a subordinate are true, but there is one thing we know right now: Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll has embarrassed our state with her public comments insulting the gay and lesbian community. ”
The statement continued, “Her generalities about what black lesbians ‘look like’ were ignorant, irrelevant and unnecessarily hostile. The LGBT community is a valued part of the rich diversity that is Florida. It is sad to see an elected leader relying on unfair stereotypes to deflect criticism.
The party said Carroll’s attitude demonstrates why Democrats are working to enact protections in the Sunshine State for LGBT citizens.
Smith said, “The lt. governor should know better than to say what she said, and apologize for her ill considered and degrading remarks.”