MIAMI | Incumbent state Sen. Daphne Campbell (D-38) answered with “I have my rights” when pressed about her anti-LGBTQ record during an informal, unofficial senate debate Aug. 19. Campbell faced off with challenger Jason Pizzo on CBS Miami’s “Facing South Florida,” a local Sunday morning political show.
Host Jim DeFede, who moderated the discussion, asked Campbell about her 2015 vote, when she was a member of the Florida House of Representatives, to maintain the adoption ban for same-sex couples.
“The gay people have their rights, I have my rights,” Campbell replied. “I took an oath to serve everyone. I don’t discriminate. I have gay people working in my office. I have gay friends. But they have their rights, I have my rights.”
DeFede pushed back on Campbell’s answer, saying by voting to keep the adoption ban for same-sex couples in place was her putting her beliefs ahead of the rights of LGBTQ people.
“No, that’s not true,” Campbell said. “This is Constitutional rights and this is freedom of speech, freedom of religion.”
DeFede subsequently mentioned Campbell’s opposition to same-sex marriage.
“The Christians have rights. The gay people have their rights,” Campbell replied.
Campbell was also called out for her co-sponsorship of the Florida House’s 2015 “bathroom bill,” which targeted transgender individuals and which public restroom they would be allowed to use.
“Everywhere you go, they say, ‘woman’s bathroom, men’s bathroom,’” Campbell said. “If you’re a woman in the bathroom, do you want somebody else to be in the bathroom?”
Campbell’s record of opposing LGBTQ rights led Equality Florida to endorse Pizzo in the District 38 primary.
“The Equality Florida Action PAC endorsement is a recognition of the competitive campaign that Jason Pizzo is running, his record of service, and his belief that his election will have a positive impact on the lives of LGBTQ Floridians,” said Equality Florida Senior Political Director Joe Saunders in June.
Along with its endorsement, Equality Florida’s Action PAC has pledged $25,000 to Pizzo’s election. They mailed flyers with the headline “One Candidate Stands For Equality. One Candidate Does Not,” and a side-by-side of the candidate’s position on LGBTQ rights.
“I do represent gay [people] for eight years, and I have gay staff in my office. So I have no problem with gay,” Campbell said.
District 38 voters will decide between Campbell and Pizzo as to who will hold the District 38 seat come Aug. 28. The district has no Republican challenger this year.
Watch the full unofficial debate from “Facing South Florida” below.