Washington, DC — Today LGBTQ Victory Fund, the only national organization dedicated to electing LGBTQ leaders to public office, condemned the homophobic campaign of Miami Gardens Councilmember Erhabor Ighodaro, calling it "one of the most homophobic campaigns we've seen from a Democratic candidate this year." Ighodaro is running for a Florida state Senate seat against openly gay state Representative Shevrin Jones, who is endorsed by LGBTQ Victory Fund and is one its Spotlight candidates. Rep. Jones would become the first openly LGBTQ state senator in Florida history if he defeats Ighodaro in the Democratic primary and is elected in November.
For months it was clear Ighodaro planned to run a homophobic campaign, yet a new video from a campaign event makes it indisputable. In it, the candidate criticizes Democratic party "values" and claims "there is an image that God says a marriage should look like, that families should look like." His complete anti-LGBTQ remarks are below.
Additionally, Ighodaro's campaign slogan is "Families First," a long-time dog whistle used by anti-LGBTQ hate groups to imply LGBTQ families are inherently different from heterosexual-led families. Numerous supporters of Rep. Jones have also reported being approached by Ighodaro campaign staff and volunteers who emphasize Rep. Jones' sexual orientation and question whether a gay candidate should represent them.
In the video of Ighodaro at the February 20 campaign event, he says ( 5 minutes and 10 seconds in ):
"I thank God for allowing me to have a woman I can trust. ( ... ) Families First is my theme for my campaign. It's not just rhetoric. We need to fight for our families. You see what's happening in Tallahassee. Our families are under assault. And I'm a Democratic. But I'm a Democrat that still has sense. You know, we're not conceding the Evangelicals and the Republicans with the idea of promoting faith and family. We still have people who have values in the Democratic Party. And we have values - we're gonna fight for our families. Yes. There is an image that God says a marriage should look like, that families should look like. And that's what we're gonna fight for."
Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund, released the following statement about the remarks:
"What we are seeing from Erhabor Ighodaro is not simply a homophobic record or remark, but an entire campaign aimed at inspiring hatred toward his opponent because of his sexual orientation. Frankly, it is one of the most homophobic campaigns we've seen from a Democratic candidate this year — and with so many issues facing Florida and District 35 — it is insulting to voters that Ighodaro makes bigotry his focus.
"It is especially egregious that Ighodaro would attack Shevrin's family or to try and label him as anti-family. Shevrin is incredibly close with his father, who is a widely admired pastor, as well as his mother and brothers. It was in grieving the passing of one of his brothers that Shevrin decided to publicly come out while a state representative — recognizing that life is fragile and it was important to live his truth. Shevrin is running openly and honestly and will remain focused on a message of inclusion and in delivering results for his constituents. The contrast with Ighodaro's hateful and selfish campaign could not be starker."
More information about the candidates is available at victoryfund.org/ourcandidates. Since 1991, Victory Fund has helped thousands of openly LGBTQ candidates win local, state and federal elections.
LGBTQ Victory Fund
LGBTQ Victory Fund works to change the face and voice of America's politics and achieve equality for LGBTQ Americans by increasing the number of openly LGBTQ elected officials at all levels of government.
—From a press release