Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey is reacting to news sparked by a Tuesday evening tweet from the state's first openly gay legislator. Patricia Todd's tweet speculated on the governor's sexuality and called for someone to out her as a lesbian.
WSFA 12 News sat down with Ivey Wednesday afternoon. The tweet was among the topics discussed. When asked if she was a lesbian, the governor said "absolutely no. I have never been, I'm not going to be, it's a falsehood that people are spreading." Ivey also called in a "bald-faced lie."
A spokesperson for the governor earlier in the day called it "a disgusting lie being pushed by a paid liberal political hack. There is absolutely no truth to it."
"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," Todd tweeted around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. She set her account settings to private shortly after 11 a.m. Wednesday.
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. https://t.co/0WP5J734sd— Patricia Todd (@reptodd) May 16, 2018
Todd advocated the public outing following a news conference from one of Ivey's GOP primary competitors, Scott Dawson. Dawson claimed Ivey "betrayed Alabama values" by approving funding for Free2Be, an LGBTQ nonprofit that until its recent closing had a mission statement of counseling children bullied because of their sexual orientation. The Ivey administration says the funds are from a federal grant, not state funds, and have specific stipulations on its use that are beyond the governor's control.
WSFA 12 News asked Ivey why the claims matter.
“It’s my name and reputation. It’s my name that is going to be on the ballot," she said. "And they are attacking my name and character." Ivey said she is "proud to be a born-again Christian and my biblically based faith definition of marriage is that it is between a man and a woman."
The governor went on, stating that "nobody should be spreading lies about another human being. That’s just not what you are supposed to do. I’m shocked and appalled an elected official would do such a thing. Shame on her."
Ivey did say she does not think it matters if a candidate for elected office is gay or straight. "This is about people who do and do not tell the truth. And Kay Ivey tells the truth."
Todd, who represented Alabama's House District 54 until recently, is in the process of moving to Orlando where she's been named to lead the nonprofit One Orlando Alliance.
The more than 100 comments that followed Todd's post were less than supportive of her idea.
Really? You want someone outed for political points? Heck, I am a South Ala Dem and you make me want to fund your opponent. Cruelty is not progressive it’s just mean!— Maria Dixon Hall (@mariadixon) May 16, 2018
I am honestly saddened and disappointed in this remark. As a member of the LGBTQ community, we should all know that outing someone is just plain not okay. As a dem, this is far from progressive. It's bullying and it is shameful.— Rachael Pike Burnett (@rachaelanne86) May 16, 2018
Some even responded by tweeting at the former lawmaker's new employer.
@OneOrlandoAll you sure you want someone like this as your Executive Director? Seems to me that this type of vitriol would go against your mission.— Jonathan Seifried (@politicaltiger) May 16, 2018
Tuesday's tweet is not the first time Todd has threatened to expose elected officials.
In 2015, while a sitting state legislator, Todd said she would begin outing colleagues whom she said were either gay or having extramarital affairs if they kept opposing same-sex marriage on the grounds of "family values."
The Facebook post read:
"Then I'm going to try and hold you in check. Because some of your folks don't exactly have the greatest family values either," Todd said. "So be careful when you start throwing that brick. And I realize that it's not a popular opinion and I'll get a lot of backlash, but at this point in time, I'm willing to risk everything politically to make this happen."
In addition to her Twitter account being locked, Todd's Facebook page disappeared from public searches around the same time Wednesday morning.
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