In a rare move, SAVE Dade, a group that aims to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people against discrimination, has revoked its endorsement of a Miami-Dade County School Board member seeking reelection.
SAVE Dade executive director Orlando Gonzales said District 7 incumbent Lubby Navarro asked the group to remove her from their list of endorsed candidates. Gonzales said Navarro informed them that she had received and accepted an endorsement from the Miami-based Christian Family Coalition Florida, which calls itself “pro-family” on its website.
In a voter guide posted on the coalition’s website, Navarro is marked as a “highly qualified” candidate who supports prohibiting “biological boys in girls’ bathrooms and locker rooms.”
“That’s the policy issue that concerns us the most,” said Gonzales. “What she said in our interview ... was that she would be voting against that kind of legislation or policy.”
He added, “There’s a conflict in what she’s telling us and what she’s saying to the CFC.”
Gonzales said all candidates vetted by SAVE Dade are specifically asked if they will pursue an endorsement from the coalition, a deal-breaker for the pro-LGBTQ group. He said all candidates receive a questionnaire, and once turned in, are interviewed for an endorsement.
“For us, it’s very important to preserve the integrity of our process,” Gonzales said. He declined to share specific details of Navarro’s stance on trans youth or provide the Herald with a copy of her questionnaire, saying the group does not make that material public.
After she was appointed to the School Board by Gov. Rick Scott in 2015, Navarro ran in her first election for her seat in 2016. SAVE Dade did not endorse her at that time.
Anthony Verdugo, founder and executive director of the Christian Family Coalition, said his group determines which candidates are qualified based on experience, knowledge and their stance on issues related to education.
“If you want to talk about an equality candidate or fairness candidate, that’s Lubby Navarro,” he said, pointing out that she is in favor of equal rights for students and faculty to celebrate religious holidays and teaching the Bible as history as an elective course.
“This whole issue with gender identity is just really so confusing to so many people,” said Verdugo. “When you look at the issue and how people talk about it and the narrative, the narrative is mostly boys using girls’ bathrooms. I think that’s just natural to have that fear.”
Navarro is also marked supporting parental consent for sex education, according to the voter guide.
In a text, Navarro told a reporter, “I support all students.” She did not answer questions about her stance on trans youth and why she accepted the coalition’s endorsement after earning the SAVE Dade endorsement.
Both organizations said they did not make any donations to Navarro’s campaign, which has topped $100,000, almost doubling the amount raised by her two challengers.
Marie Flore Lindor-Latortue, a health sciences adjunct professor at Miami Dade College and a Haitian media personality, has raised $58,483. Lorraine Ordenes Real, a retired school district elementary school assistant principal, has raised $13,743.
The Christian Family Coalition also marked District 5 candidate Christi Fraga as a “highly qualified” candidate, though candidates Mara Zapata and Jaime Petralanda also supported the coalition’s platform, including prohibiting trans girls from using the girls’ bathroom. Another candidate, Michel Diaz Suarez, did not submit any answers.
The coalition did not have any picks or answers from candidates running for School Board seats in District 3 and District 9.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.