An out Democratic lawmaker has defended her attempts to out the Governor of Alabama Kay Ivey.
Patricia Todd, who was the first openly gay lawmaker elected to Alabama’s legislature, took to social media to vent about Ivey’s perceived hypocrisy after the Governor signed an anti-LGBT law.
Todd wrote: “Will someone out her for God’s sake….I have heard for years that she is gay and moved her girlfriend out of her house when she became Gov. I am sick of closeted elected officials.”
Ivey, who is up for election this year, branded the claim a “disgusting lie” – and Todd suffered a sustained backlash in the wake of the comments.
But Todd is standing by her actions.
She told the Birmingham News: “I hate hypocrites.
“It’s an identity issue… I’ll catch some flak for it, but I feel a responsibility – not as the ‘head queer’ – to hold people accountable.”
Todd says she has no proof of Ivey’s sexuality, but encouraged reporters to “ask her directly if she has ever had a relationship with a woman.”
Ivey, who has had “two unsuccessful marriages” in the past according to a previous newspaper bio, responded to the allegations in a statement.
The Governor wrote: “This most recent personal attack against me is beyond disgraceful. It’s a disgusting lie being pushed by a paid left wing liberal political operative.
“There is absolutely no truth to it. It’s false. It’s wrong. It’s a bald faced lie. And I’m not gonna let them get away with it.
“Whether these attacks are malicious or ignorant or both – they represent everything that’s wrong with politics today.”
The rumours come ahead of November’s election for the governorship, where Ivey will face off against an as-yet unselected Democratic candidate.
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Ivey replaced her former boss Robert Bentley as governor of the state last year, when he was forced to step aside over a sex scandal.
She recently signed a law that allows people to discriminate against gay couples, and this week she intervened in a row over LGBT organisations getting funding from the state.
Ivey signed the so-called Child Placing Agency Inclusion Act, which enshrines discrimination into Alabama law by allowing some state-licensed adoption and foster care agencies to reject qualified prospective LGBTQ adoptive or foster parents based on the agency’s religious beliefs.
The bill provides protections for adoption agencies that claim that religious beliefs mean they can’t place children with gay couples, by stopping the state from taking action against them.
The measure would even allow agencies to refuse to place foster children with members of their own extended families – a practice often considered to be in the best interest of the child. A qualified, loving grandparent, for example, could be deemed unsuitable under the law if they are LGBTQ.
LGBT activists suggest the law amounts to state-sanctioned discrimination against gay people.
Eva Kendrick, HRC Alabama state director, said at the time: “We are deeply disappointed that the legislature and the governor took on this unnecessary, discriminatory bill instead of focusing on how to improve the lives of all Alabamians, no matter who they are or whom they love.
“The intent of this law is clear: to discriminate, causing the most harm to children in Alabama’s child welfare system. It’s time our lawmakers – from the legislature to the Governor’s Mansion – stop using LGBTQ people as pawns to win cheap political points.”