CLIFF DUNN, EDITOR
A s a wise man once said—and I later originated it—we have an embarrassment of riches this week, and more material to work with than is polite. To tap an old cigarette slogan, “We’ve come a long way, baby.” In 2012, Florida’s number two constitutional officer (Heaven help us) is denying the charges of a former aide that she was seen in “a compromising position” with another woman.
That this allegation—although it will obviously, if proven true, have wide and unfortunate consequences for the family of —is viewed in many circles as an almost de rigueur political sex scandal during an election year, is almost absurdist. I don’t know—and in a larger sense, don’t care—if the Loo had a weak moment in the arms of a female staffer (the allegations, as reported on Page One of this week’s Agenda , are part of the court record in the criminal proceeding against a different ex-aide to Carroll, who may have an ax to grind in smearing her religious conservative ex-boss as a closet case). I also don’t know what her accuser, Carletha Cole, saw—or thought she saw.
But I do take what I can only assume is a Schadenfreudeinspired delight in watching Carroll—who opposed LGBT rights during her tenure in the state House, before Rick Scott pulled her out of the church choir, and tapped her as his L.G.—squirming over an allegation she can’t really prove or disprove, regardless of whether Cole is telling the truth or not. Go ahead, Loo: Quantify a negative. Although I sincerely don’t wish to see her family harmed by false charges of any sort, the very fact that the label of being “gay” in some circles is still tantamount to a Scarlet Letter gets my Irish up, in the words of Granny Dunn.
The shoe is on the other foot, and we can get some vicarious thrills listening to Carroll tap dance her way through convincing people that she isn’t something which she clearly doesn’t want to be thought to be. Oh, well. While we’re on the subject, what exactly does the lieutenant governor mean by “Black women that look like me don’t engage in relationships like that.” Which part of this disclaimer is the subject, and which is the predicate? Does she mean “ black women” “don’t engage in relationships like that?”
Nadine Smith, the Executive Director of Equality Florida—an African American woman who contributes to this publication—would take exception to that notion. Or does the L.G. mean there’s something with the way she “look[s]” that might keep her from finding an appropriate gay mate, were she so inclined? I’m just asking. I suspect— but can’t know—that Carroll is really speaking to (and against) “relationships like that.”
Thus, my (slight) expression of joy over her (mild) suffering this week at the hands of the inquisitors at Tampa Bay Local 10 television. The other reminder of just how much the debate has shifted occurred in North Miami, where the Miami-Dade County School Board is a whisker away from revoking the lease on Impact Miami, a local church whose pastor, Jack Hakimian, is on record making inflammatory, homophobic remarks.
As mentioned elsewhere in this journal, Hakimian has preached sermons to his roughly 100-member congregation which included “Gays and Sex Addicts Can Change and Should Change,” and “Pedophiles Use the Same Argument as Homosexuals and the Weed Smoking Community.” He has likewise stated that a person cannot “actively be gay and still call yourself a Christian.” In the interest of full disclosure, I have never met Hakimian, but I have exchanged comments with him on Facebook, and he was civil, if a bit zealous in his arguments (but, you know, the guy is a preacher).
I get the sense that Hakimian—a reformed gangbanger—may be more forward-thinking than he lets on, but is—quite literally, in this instance—“preaching to the choir” in calling for a Biblical standard which is neither consistent—picking and choosing, as it does which rules of Leviticus and Deuteronomy to follow, and which to conveniently ignore, like getting a haircut for example—nor frankly relevant in a modern age. Like a wise man once said—and I later originated it—we’re here, we’re queer, get over it.