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Baxley meets with Equality Florida about gay parents statement

A Florida state representative issued an apology after meeting with representatives of a prominent gay rights organization about statements he made about gay parents many considered disparaging.

Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, met with Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida, and Mallory Garner-Wells, the organization’s public policy director, on Oct. 16. That organization was among the most vocal critics of the remarks Baxley made during an Oct. 8 House committee meeting.

During a rant about parental involvement, he appeared to describe households with "two mommies" as dysfunctional. Baxley issued the following statement a day after his meeting with Equality Florida, according to a press release from the organization:

"Please let me thank Equality Florida leadership for coming to visit with me concerning the remarks in the K-12 Education Committee discussion. I am very sorry anyone was offended. It certainly is not my desire to disparage anyone. The context on the open discussion which turned to 'parental involvement' was to recount a teacher's challenges expressed to me and to express my encouragement to teachers who often provide the stabilizing place for many students who come to school with many life challenges. It is tough for teachers to be accountable for learning gains, but we are showing children can learn no matter their life situations. We all need to thank a teacher."