Tweet calling Gov. Kay Ivey ‘gay,’ costs former Alabama legislator her new job heading Orlando LGBTQ group
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — A retiring Alabama legislator who tweeted Tuesday night that Gov. Kay Ivey was gay, will not be taking over as head of an Orlando-based LGBTQ group, the One Orlando Alliance announced Thursday.
Ivey denied the claim Wednesday, calling it a “disgusting lie.”
Longtime Jefferson County area Rep. Patricia Todd, a Democrat, had been hired to serve as the One Orlando Alliance’s executive director effective June 1, but its board voted Thursday to rescind that offer.
The fateful tweet followed a political back and forth involving Ivey and her denial that she supported a Huntsville-based group, Free2Be, which provided services to the LGBTQ community.
In a news release announcing the decision, the One Orlando Alliance cited Todd’s comment about Ivey. Todd was the only openly gay member of the Alabama Legislature.
“The Board affirms that Ms. Todd’s recent comments are not aligned with the values of One Orlando Alliance. We strongly believe that coming out is a personal choice and we do not support involuntarily outing,” said Jennifer Foster, Chair of the Board of Directors and one of the original co-conveners of the Alliance.
The issue began with the closure of Huntsville-based Free2Be on Friday, which WHNT News 19 reported Monday. Free2Be provided counseling and other services to LGBTQ teens and adults.
Free2Be received funding through the state agency ADECA, and had suddenly shut its doors without explanation.
Ivey’s GOP gubernatorial rival Scott Dawson cited WHNT’s reporting Tuesday and criticized the governor concerning Free2Be. Dawson said it received state funding which showed Ivey was betraying Alabama’s values.
Ivey’s campaign responded by saying Free2Be got federal, not state funds. And, it said, “Governor Ivey does not support the values pushed by” Free2Be.
That remark may have provoked Todd.
In her tweet, Todd complained about “closeted elected officials.”
Ivey’s campaign denounced Todd’s tweet Tuesday night, calling her a “paid liberal political hack” and calling the gay claim a “disgusting lie.”
Ivey responded on Twitter the next day, denying the allegation several ways.
AL.com asked Todd for evidence about her claim about Ivey on Wednesday.
Todd replied, “ask her directly if she has ever had a relationship with a woman,” AL.com reported.
Ivey’s campaign again denied the claims.
Then, the One Orlando Alliance announced Wednesday afternoon they were planning an emergency board meeting. Todd’s fate was announced Thursday.
“This has been a challenging situation. While Ms. Todd has a well-established record of outstanding service to the community, her lapse in judgment has led us to end our relationship with her,” One Orlando’s Foster said. “We admire her many decades of exemplary service and believe that, with the right opportunity, Ms. Todd will continue to use her many talents to make significant progress advocating for justice and equality.”