Robotexts to voters reference his “recent homosexual contact”
Washington, DC – Today LGBTQ Victory Fund, the only national organization dedicated to electing LGBTQ leaders to public office, called on media outlets and authorities to investigate the source of homophobic robotexts targeting Florida state Representative Shevrin Jones, who is running for state Senate. Voters in his district were sent text messages saying: “the Miami Herald reported that Shevrin Jones was discriminated against for recent homosexual contact.” The text included a link to a webpage unaffiliated with Jones’ campaign – ShevJones.com – and copied an old Miami Herald article reporting on Jones being denied the opportunity to donate blood because he is gay.
Neither the source of the website or text message are known, but Jones faces several candidates in his Democratic primary race, including two anti-LGBTQ opponents. The texts and websites are clear political speech aimed at influencing an election, yet no disclaimer was provided on the website to identify the source as required by law.
Jones – who has faced homophobic attacks throughout the campaign – would be the first openly LGBTQ member of the Florida state Senate if elected in November.
“Shevrin Jones is an out gay man who has been honest with constituents about his personal life and firm in his positions,” said Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund. “These text messages are pathetic appeals to homophobia and they will backfire, but it is vital that the cowards sending this information are identified and exposed. We urge media outlets and Florida officials to investigate who is responsible for what appears to be illegal campaign activity and that the source is known to voters before the primary next week.
“This is not the first homophobic attack Shevrin has faced during his campaign and some of his challengers are actively opposed to equal rights for LGBTQ people. The media should ask each candidate if they are responsible for the text messages and website. We also encourage media to report on each candidates’ positions on LGBTQ equality and expose those who align more with Donald Trump than the people of the Senate District 101.”
Among Jones’ opponents is Miami Gardens Councilmember Erhabor Ighodaro, whose campaign slogan is “Families First.” In one campaign speech, Ighodaro criticizes Democratic party “values” and claims “there is an image that God says a marriage should look like, that families should look like.” (The homophobic rhetoric begins 5 minutes and 10 seconds into the video.) In a 2019 book called Word Is Enough, Ighodaro and a co-author wrote: “If you don’t have the spiritual fortitude to see the handwriting on the wall, we hope it is not difficult for you to see visual reminders of our disobedience like mass shootings, suicide, depression, pandemic of drug use, malnutrition, genetic decadence, disease, homosexuality, sexual immorality, teenage pregnancy, rape and warmongering (even Stevie Wonder can see that!).”
Another opponent, Daphne Campbell, voted against same-sex adoption and co-sponsored a so-called “bathroom bill” targeting trans people while a member of the Florida state House. Defending her votes, she said, “The gay people have their rights. I have my rights.”
Jones has also been the target of at least one homophobic attack by a local radio host.
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.