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If Moms for Liberty co-founder had sex with a woman, why is she targeting Florida’s gays? | Column
The crusading ideologue — who demanded private Christian school-style mores in public schools, from grades K-12, when high-school students are either close to or already adults — is now facing the ultimate scrutiny of her sex life.
 
Republican Party of Florida chairman Christian Ziegler, left, greets former president Donald Trump at the Republican Party of Florida's Freedom Summit in Kissimmee last month.
Republican Party of Florida chairman Christian Ziegler, left, greets former president Donald Trump at the Republican Party of Florida's Freedom Summit in Kissimmee last month. [ JOE BURBANK | Orlando Sentinel ]
Published Dec. 4, 2023

Wouldn’t it be ironic if the woman who led an ultra-conservative movement in Florida education that sought to put gays back in the closet was having a long-term, three-way lesbian relationship with a lover she shared with her husband, the state’s GOP chairman?

Fabiola Santiago
Fabiola Santiago [ DIAZ, ALAN | Associated Press ]

That’s the allegation being made about Bridget Ziegler — co-founder of far-right Moms for Liberty and a Sarasota School Board member — by an unnamed woman accusing Christian Ziegler of rape and sexual battery.

Hypocrisy on steroids, if true.

The crusading ideologue — who demanded private Christian school-style mores in public schools, from grades K-12, when high-school students are either close to or already adults — is now facing the ultimate scrutiny of her sex life.

Bridget Ziegler is a member of the Sarasota County School Board.
Bridget Ziegler is a member of the Sarasota County School Board. [ Facebook ]

Christian Ziegler, according to a laboriously redacted Sarasota police report released to media Thursday after the Florida Trident, a watchdog news outlet, broke the news, is under an “active criminal investigation.”

He’s accused of going to the woman’s house without Bridget on Oct. 2 and raping her, according to the police and media reports citing law-enforcement sources.

His wife isn’t facing any charges.

But, in the context of the investigation, the woman revealed to the police officer who initially responded and the investigating detective her long-running “three-way” sex life with the couple.

Christian Ziegler’s lawyer vehemently denied the charges made against the brash party boss, who vowed earlier this year: “Until we get every Democrat out of office and no Democrat considers running for office, we’re going to continue to step on the gas and move forward in Florida.”

The Zieglers were considered a quickly rising power couple — close collaborators of Gov. Ron DeSantis and also supporters of ex-President Donald Trump.

But while he talked tough and boisterously, she seemed to be the real mover and shaker.

The group she co-founded in the name of “parental rights” — credited with banning school books featuring gay characters and Blacks confronting discrimination in a predominantly white society — has spread nationwide at a vertiginous rate: 300 chapters in 48 states in two years.

Even in liberal California, the misnamed Moms for Liberty and supporters attempted to purge a social studies textbook that contained a biography of legendary San Francisco gay-rights leader Harvey Milk.

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“We are fighting for the survival of America,” the group claims in its literature.

Such loyalty to an agenda that’s also the governor’s has been generously rewarded.

DeSantis not only endorsed Bridget Ziegler’s school board candidacy, but he gave her a seat on the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District Board of Supervisors.

This is the agency formed after the dispute with Disney World over its corporate criticism of the Parental Rights in Education Act, also known as the Don’t Say Gay law, banning sexual-identity discussion in schools and following the termination of Disney’s Reedy Creek special taxing district operational agreement with the state.

Now, that a woman’s allegations include the claim that sex tapes were made, the Zieglers are being dubbed “a throuple.”

Every corner of the state is abuzz with the Zieglers’ news — and, in particular, with the titillating allegation of the anti-gay wife’s bisexual encounters.

Group sex and swinging as a lifestyle might be nonpartisan. But Democrats don’t pretend to hate gays — legislate against them to score political points — while secretly inviting them to join the marital party.

There’s national history on the topic, self-righteous conservatives — priests, pastors, politicians — who, while preaching repression, act in an questionable manner.

Newt Gingrich, former Republican U.S. House speaker and presidential candidate, comes to mind.

He led the effort to impeach Democrat Bill Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky affair and insisted on calling him “a sexual predator.”

Gingrich’s moral high ground crumble from underneath him when it was revealed that he had been having a six-year affair with another congressman’s employee while married to his second wife.

But, no need to go that far back, not with no-shame Trump insisting he’s worthy of another term after almost derailing American democracy and now promising to run the country with a dictator’s iron fist.

Accused by 26 women of sexual misconduct — and, earlier this year, found liable in a civil trial of sexually abusing writer E. Jean Carroll in 1996 — he’s the epitome of moral corruption. During the presidential campaign in 2016, he paid stripper Stormy Daniels hush money to lie about his extramarital affair with her while his wife Melania was pregnant.

So why wouldn’t other Florida Republicans feel emboldened to let loose?

No matter how low Trump falls on the morality scale, he’s still the almost locked-in front-runner — further proof of the low bar Republicans set for themselves.

If the allegations are true, then the Zieglers are in good company.

©2023 Miami Herald. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.