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Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll Apologizes for Remarks

By: Angelica Alvarez, Whitney Ray Email
By: Angelica Alvarez, Whitney Ray Email

Tallahassee, Florida - July 27, 2012

There's a new twist today in the controversy surrounding Florida's lieutenant governor. The leader of a civil rights group says Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll has apologized for a recent comment.

Carroll's comment involved a denial she was involved in lesbian affair with her travel aide. Lieutenant Governor Carroll said, "black women who look like me don't engage in relationships like that."

It prompted a civil rights group promoting equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Floridians called "Equality Florida" to demand Carroll apologize. According to the group's executive director Nadine Smith, Carroll has apologized.

In a statement Smith says Carroll's chief of staff faxed her written apology. She also says Carroll personally called her to apologize for the comment. Smith in her statement thanks the lieutenant governor for taking responsibility for her words and for responding to the harm those words inflicted.

Smith went on to say apologies by elected leaders for public mistakes are rare and it's to the lieutenant governor's credit she has taken that step.

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Statement from Nadine Smith, Executive Director, Equality Florida

I just got off the phone with Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll. Her Chief of Staff faxed her written apology and the Lt. Governor called to personally apologize for the words she used in refuting allegations brought by former staffer. In addition, Lt. Governor Carroll expressed her appreciation for the opportunity to communicate her commitment to treating everyone with respect and dignity. She invited Equality Florida to reach out to her office if she could be of assistance and I offered our organization as a resource as well.

On behalf of a Equality Florida, I want to thank the Lt. Governor for taking responsibility for her words and for responding to the harm those words inflicted.
Apologies by elected leaders for public mistakes are rare and it is to the Lt. Governor’s credit that she has taken this step.

In Florida, which has no statewide legal protections from discrimination for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents, the words of our elected leaders matter a great deal.

You can read the apology by clicking on the PDF above
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[UPDATE] Tallahassee, Florida- July 26, 2012

A gay rights group is demanding an apology from Florida’s Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll. In an attempt to explain away allegations that she had a lesbian affair, Carroll told reporters essentially that she’s 'too pretty to be gay'. Now, pressure is building for Carroll to apologize.

Under fire by a former employee accusing her of carrying on an inappropriate relationship with a female staffer, Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll offered this explanation during a Jacksonville visit on July 16th.

“Black women who look like me don’t engage in relationships like that.”

Carroll’s comments sparked backlash from gay and lesbian groups. The latest comes from Equality Florida. The advocacy organization started an online petition demanding an apology from Carroll.

The petition was launched Wednesday and by Thursday afternoon the group had nearly meet its goal.

The petition asks Carroll to, “have the character to apologize for your statement that demeans and diminishes the existence of black lesbians and stereotypes all black women.”

Dr. Louise Ritchie signed it.

“I think there are many people in the state who don’t want to support ignorance and would be happy to sign the petition,” said Louise Ritchie.

Ritchie is a clinical physiologist and has taught diversity courses at some of the country’s top businesses.

“I think it is a teachable moment and it is a time that many people can learn that you can’t look at a person and tell if they’re gay,” said Ritchie.

Ritchie is straight, but says she has gay friends who look like her. In the aftermath of Carroll’s comments, Twitter has exploded with people making similar statements and tweeting pictures. One tweet aimed at Carroll reads: “I am what a black lesbian looks like and so are you.”

WCTV asked the Governor’s office what Carroll meant by her statement and if she plans to apologize. We are still waiting on a response.
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Tallahassee, Florida- July 26, 2012

Some gay rights activists are not too happy about a remark recently made by Florida's Lieutenant Governor, Jennifer Carroll.

Carroll made the remark in response to a former employee accusing her of having a sexual relationship with another female employee.

In response to that claim from a now former state employee, Lieutenant Governor Carroll told a Jacksonville TV station that
"Black women who look like me don't engage in relationships like that." Now the leader of a Florida gay-rights group is letting Carroll know she's not happy with that statement.

Nadine Smith, the Executive Director of 'Equality Florida' has started an online petition... Saying these marks were insensitive.
Smith says:
"As a black lesbian from florida, I personally felt the sting of Florida Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll's words,"

Smith went on to say that:
"Instead of simply denying the claims, Carroll stereotyped black lesbians in order to deflect her own charges."
Carroll has repeatedly denied the claims of an indicted former employee who said she saw Carroll in a "compromising position" with the travel aide.

Carletha Cole is charged with violating state law by secretly recording a conversation with Carroll's Chief of Staff. She is then accused of giving that recording to a newspaper reporter.


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