The Florida lieutenant governor accused of a lesbian affair is apologizing for something she said while defending herself from the allegation.
Jennifer Carroll had said in a TV interview that "black women that look like me don't engage in relationships like that." Equality Florida Executive Director Nadine Smith was among the outraged voices that said Carroll had stereotyped lesbians.
Now Carroll has called Smith to apologize and issued a statement.
"I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincerest apologies to anyone I may have offended with my recent comment," she wrote to Smith, delivering a written apology following their phone conversation. "It is wrong and inexcusable to make a comment that hurts people, and that was not my intention. As a Christian, my faith guides me to love and respect all people.”
Carroll, a Republican who is outspoken about the role of faith in government, said she was trying to fight "false charges" that she had an affair in her office with a female travel aide. The accusation surfaced in a court filing by another staffer who is suing for wrongful termination.
"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," Carroll wrote. "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.”
Smith seemed receptive to the lieutenant governor's words. She said Carroll invited Equality Florida to reach out to her office if ever she could be of help, and Smith said she offered her organization as a resource in return.
"On behalf of a Equality Florida, I want to thank Lt. Governor Carroll for taking responsibility for her words and for responding to the harm those words inflicted," Smith said in a statement. "Apologies by elected leaders for public mistakes are rare and it is to the Lt. Governor’s credit that she has taken this step."