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Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll apologizes for remark that 'black women who look like me' are not lesbians

BY MARY ELLEN KLAS, HERALD/TIMES TALLAHASSEE BUREAU

TALLAHASSEE -- After an online petition drive garnered hundreds of signatures demanding her apology, Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll on Thursday apologized to the head of an advocacy group saying that her anti-gay comment two weeks ago was "wrong and inexcusable."

Equality Florida, a civil rights group that advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Floridians, launched the online petition campaign this week after Carroll told a Tampa television station on July 14 that "usually black women that look like me don’t engage in relationships like that."

Carroll was responding to allegations from former aide Carletha Cole, who, in court documents as part of a criminal case, said she caught Carroll and her travel aide in a "compromising position.”

Cole, 51, was charged last October with giving an illegally taped conversation to a newspaper reporter and had been fired her job as a senior program analyst for “conduct unbecoming.”

"It is wrong and inexcusable to make a comment that hurts people, and that was not my intention,’’ Carroll wrote in a letter to Equality Florida director Nadine Smith. "As a Christian, my faith guides me to love and respect all people. The false charges that have been lodged against me are no excuse for what I have said that may have been hurtful to members of your organization and to other Floridians.

"Please know that I am committed to treating every person with the utmost courtesy, respect and dignity and I hope you will accept my heartfelt apology,’’ she wrote.

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Lt. Governor Carroll Apology

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