Tag Archives: florida lt. gov. jennifer carroll

LGBT activists demanding apology from Florida Lt. Gov

The leader of Florida’s largest LGBT civil rights group is petitioning for an apology from Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, who provoked a national backlash with comments about black lesbians as she denied that she herself is a lesbian.

Nadine Smith, the executive director of Equality Florida, launched the petition drive on July 25.

Carroll is embroiled in a scandal that involves a former aide alleging that she was fired after walking in on the lieutenant governor in a sexually “compromising position” with another female staffer. Responding, Carroll told reporters earlier this month, “Black women who look like me don’t engage in relationships like that.”

Smith said, “As a black lesbian from Florida, I personally felt the sting of Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll’s words. Instead of simply denying the claims, she stereotyped black lesbians in order to deflect her own charges. With that one quick statement, Lt. Gov. Carroll appealed to racial and homophobic stereotypes that do real harm.”

She continued, “Despite the lieutenant governor’s attempt to portray lesbians like me as so very different from her, we actually have a great deal in common. I too am married and a mother. The difference is my marriage is not legally recognized and I’ve had to fight for the legal right to be a parent to my son.”

Carroll is the highest-ranking black woman ever to serve in Florida government.

“Whether the allegations that she abused her authority are true or not is for a court to decide,” said Smith. “But I launched this petition in hopes that others who are as outraged as I am can join me in calling on the lieutenant governor to show the strength of character to apologize for stereotyping black women in general and lesbians in particular.”           

The petition is online at http://www.change.org/petitions/she-said-what.

Florida Dems denounce lt. gov’s anti-lesbian remarks

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.”

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Florida lt. gov. embroiled in same-sex sex scandal

An ex-aide claims in court documents that she was fired after finding Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll in a “compromising position” with another woman.

Carroll, commenting on the assertion, recently told WTSP-TV in Florida, said, “The problem is that when you have these accusations that come out, it’s not just one person you’re attacking. It’s an entire family. My husband doesn’t want to hear that. He knows the type of woman I am. I mean, my kids know the type of woman I am. For 29 years – I’m the one that’s married for 29 years. The accuser is the one that’s been single for a long time. So usually black women that look like me don’t engage in relationships like that.”

Carletha Cole is alleging that Carroll obstructed justice in an attempt to conceal her lesbian relationship with another woman, also a member of her staff.

The claim comes in Cole’s defense in a case stemming from her arrest after she allegedly distributed recordings at the state capitol without permission.

Cole, in her complaint, said that after she discovered Carroll and another woman, other members of the staff criticized, harassed and threatened her. At one point, the woman that Carroll allegedly was involved with set a fire in Cole’s workplace trashcan.

The incident was investigated and, according to Cole’s attorney, it “ended with Carroll signing a recommendation letter for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement agent who destroyed the evidence.”

Carroll, a Republican, has said that Cole’s story consists of “outright lies” and the Florida Federation of Republican Woman issued a statement in defense of the conservative politician. The president of the group said Carroll is the “victim of a vile, vicious and ludicrous attack from a disgraced former employee.”

Cole’s attorney, Stephen Webster, said, “If Cole’s story really is an accumulation of lies, and the signed recommendation letter exists, then the lieutenant governor needs to be looking for the person who forged her signature.”

He also said Carroll is “using her power as a politician, as a leader within the American government system, to trample on a fine person. Carletha Cole is telling the truth, but the powers that be are doing everything possible to silence her.”

The news release on Cole’s behalf stated that she is “a mother of two and grandmother of four. She has never before been accused of criminal behavior.”

The release also says that to join Carroll’s staff, “Cole sacrificed her place in the seminary program at Harvard University. An AME minister, Carletha Cole has led an extremely successful life both personally and professionally.”

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